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Subject: How Much Text/Story Is Too Much rss

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Tommy Garza
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Greetings Programs,
I have in my head a amateur sleuth game that also uses modular boards like Mansions Of Madness or Betrayal At House On The Hill. You are these different sleuth characters as you end up in the middle of crimes and you gather evidence and such to try to figure it out.

My question is how much flavor text is too much. I see the game opening with some flavor text to set the scene. Then you investigate area A which leads you to other Areas. I am debating between flavor in between each area or just before and after.

Thanks for any input.
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Tim
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No such thing as too much, as far as I'm concerned. It's better if it's relevant to the story. If it's flavor just for the sake of flavor (many FFG games are guilty of this, from Runebound to MoM) then it can be foregone completely cause it's kind of useless, in my ever so humble opinion.

One of the greatest sleuthing games ever published is Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases which is basically little more than a giant multiplayer choose your own adventure story where you have the freedom to go wherever you want in London.

If the flavor text can be ignored, the game can become nothing but mechanics, and the point of the flavor is null. This becomes more apparent in games when you see them make the jump to the PC. Look at Talisman for PC/iOS. With the computer handling all the bits, it really highlights how minimal the flavor really is, and turns out it's actually quite boring...
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Tommy Garza
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This is very much in the planning brainstorming phase in my head. Like MoM or BaHotH, there are scenarios to work through, finding clues and info before the bad guys notice and/or try to stop "these meddling sleuths".

I would like to have a bit of story in between each Area to elaborate on what was found at the scene as well as to expand on the mystery a bit. But I know this is a board game not a RPG or book, so I know to keep it trimmed.

On a different design note, I have huge ideas for this game. But I am trying to break it down to smaller sets that can all be used together. As well as additional scenarios and such.
 
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Derek Wu
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Try to tell the story through the mechanics of the game, if you can't do that, then try telling the story through the art and appearance of the game, if you can't do that either, then use text, it should be your last resort.

Flavor text is a different thing, it's just there to accent the story and the characters.
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Derek Stephenson
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I generally like reading the flavour text especially if it helps get everyone immersed into the story the game is trying to depict. I haven't played it but if I recall correctly Mice and Mystics does something like what you're getting at where each section has a bit of flavour in the rule book to help set the tone for the next section.
 
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Stephen Keller
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In my world any flavor text is too much.
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John "Omega" Williams
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Background in the rulebook? As much as you want as long as you section it off from the rules.

Flavour text on the cards, etc? Keep it minimal. 1 to 2 sentences at best. No more than 4-5.

Some use it in inverse proportion to the game text on the card. Alot of text, little prose, little text, alot of prose.
 
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Contig
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Omega2064 wrote:
Background in the rulebook? As much as you want as long as you section it off from the rules.

Flavour text on the cards, etc? Keep it minimal. 1 to 2 sentences at best. No more than 4-5.

Some use it in inverse proportion to the game text on the card. Alot of text, little prose, little text, alot of prose.


You can provide more information about specific cards or items in the rule book. On the card, it should be minimal, as was said.
 
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John "Omega" Williams
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contiguity wrote:
Omega2064 wrote:
Background in the rulebook? As much as you want as long as you section it off from the rules.

Flavour text on the cards, etc? Keep it minimal. 1 to 2 sentences at best. No more than 4-5.

Some use it in inverse proportion to the game text on the card. Alot of text, little prose, little text, alot of prose.


You can provide more information about specific cards or items in the rule book. On the card, it should be minimal, as was said.


Not allways. In fact never allways. As with everything in the gaming biz. Varies wildly from one player to the next. Your too much will be the next persons too little. This applying to flavour text only.

Card specific rules should be on the card unless its some general effect. The player should not be refferencing a play-by booklet each card.

IE: All red cards can only be played in the combat phase - put that in the rulebook, not the card.
IE: The red warrior card can perform its listed action twice. Put that on the card.
IE: The red warrior and the blue wizard, when played in sequence grants an extra action for the warrior - Could go on the card or in the book.

Balance.



 
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Tommy Garza
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Okay, let me throw out a basic game play scenario as I see it in my head.

Joe, Jane & Sue are amateur detectives in Scenario 1 - "Murder By Night"
The map pieces are set up for Area 1 and the opening scene is read out. The game play occurs and the clues are found leading the sleuths to Area 2.

Now the clues tokens and cards I plan on keeping generic for re-playability. My question is should there more text continue the story, elaborating on the suspects and the clues and deepening the mystery. Or should the clues and suspects be elaborated at the end after the mystery is solved.
 
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Brook Gentlestream
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It's hard to say. Take Flash Point: Fire Rescue, for example. Do we really need any background details, names, ages, etc. of the victims?

On the other hand, I was so glad to find some character information in the Last Night on Earth rulebook because it disappointed me that the character play mats didn't have anything.

In Gunship: Fighter Rescue, each "Crewmate" has a name and description, but I would have just preferred generic titles "Fighter Ace" with no personal information.

For Sentinels of the Multiverse, I would lavish up every bit of flavor text they can give me, whether in the rulebook, on cards, in a seperate story book, or anywhere else because I find the characters very interesting and their story is at the forefront of gameplay.


In general, I like "suggestive" flavor text using titles and hints, rather than outright description. Arkham Horror does a good job of blending both styles, but I feel has too much description in the events. They manage character information, perfectly though, and for many Arkham Horror players, their characters feel very real to them while playing.
 
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Tommy Garza
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I grant you this is a subjective to player enjoyment. But as a wannabe designer, I love heavy themed games. And I love the story elements of Betrayal and Mansions with the scenarios.

In my game, as I have it in my head currently, there is a system for different stats for each character. Allowing for different ways to gather evidence and such. And along with that, each story has multiple suspects that as you go to the different locations there is text before each location to explore to tell more of the deepening mystery to the specific scenario.
 
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Helm's Deep
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I'm always a fan of a good story, so I'm opposed to pasted on "flavor" text (and pasted on themes). I think if you're going to write something you should write something and develop it, so in your example above, I would add more story to the part in between the Areas. Though a standard story, the Mice and Mystics chapters do a good job of this so you feel you're playing in the story.
 
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Carl Nyberg
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I like just a little flavor text. On the bottom of the box and the first page of the instruction manual, for instance.
 
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Sturv Tafvherd
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Another factor to consider: who is your target audience? What are their preferences?

I can imagine that among a non-boardgaming crowd, the answer may be: more flavor text is better. But that's assuming that the non-boardgaming crowd is so dependent on theme that you need to constantly keep them immersed in it.

I can also imagine that for a heavy roleplay crowd, the answer may be: little-to-no flavor text. And that's assuming that these roleplayers have such active imaginations that they prefer to have their own stories play out.


I'm a roleplayer, and I like making/adding my own story into any game I play. "My peaceful scientific city of Babylon finally get tired of military threats and now have a Siege Workshop and an Arsenal! Ha! Take that!"


My wife is still new to gaming, and I would need to do a Lord of the Rings trilogy marathon if I'm to succeed at opening up the LotR LCG with her. I definitely need to do Alien and Aliens before I open up Space Hulk: Death Angel with her.
 
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