Monday, January 09, 2023

Story Post: Escape from Banewood Mansion

The runes on the three Fragments glowed as a bright white light appeared before Trapdoorspyder. A voice from within the light spoke, “I am the Master of Banewood Mansion. You have summoned me, and I have found you worthy. I hereby set you free from this house and its demon Katastrophe. Go forth and seek your fortune outside these walls.” The light disappeared, and Trapdoorspyder found himself standing outside of a boarded-up mansion on the verge of collapse. A sign posted on the door stated that this was Banewood Mansion and that it was scheduled to be demolished on January 11, 2023. Trapdoorspyder walked away, free from the Mansion’s clutches.

Feel free to use this post to comment on the dynasty


SingularByte: he/him

09-01-2023 15:58:47 UTC

This dynasty has been an interesting one, but admittedly I’ve been playing a different game to every other player on account of gaining the possessed status early and holding onto it all game. For everyone is, much of it was likely directionless walking until useful items appeared nearby, but for me it was a challenge in resource management - for instance I could (and did) distract people from finding my cat by dropping new rooms or even dropping a fragment on their head that they would spend the whole turn collecting it, but with the risk that it makes them more powerful in the endgame.

In the early game when I set out to find the cat, I did actually intend to just be a neutral party with the purpose of keeping the cat safe and making the game an equal challenge for all major players. Once TDS sought me out for an alliance though, I ended up going all in on that instead.

The end-game definitely was quite a fluke in places - I had no way of counting on the utility room having the perfect malfeasance for a one turn victory, nor did I know that the lights would go out the moment I moved there, making the malfeasance actually usable.

Josh: he/they

09-01-2023 16:06:04 UTC

Mm, this dynasty had some fun bits but was not, I think, a classic; for the majority of it it felt very shapeless, only really swinging into focus when it was essentially almost over.

The cat (and thus Katastrophe) having been more mobile would have helped a lot; a dynasty where a lot of people had not enough information would have been a lot better than one in which one player was essentially in control of the whole game.

None of that is to take away from SB and TDS, who did a fantastic job of keeping control! More of a game design note.

Benbot: he/him

09-01-2023 16:31:08 UTC

Hey, atleast I can sleep forever in the wine cellar.

Kevan: he/him

09-01-2023 16:34:16 UTC

That actually had some of the most enjoyable backroom scenes I’ve seen in a long time, of plotting with Josh and SingularByte in a private Discord channel without betraying the fact that my suspicions were split maybe equally between Bucky and Josh. And without realising that it was SingularByte all along!

The Chalk Circle was an outright lure to see if Josh would be a bit too pleased at the idea of me and SingularByte agreeing to use it to target Bucky, and that they might openly vote for such an anti-Katastrophe proposal in order to convince others. (The hash in comments there was “Josh! Who could still be Katastrophe on a three-person team if the above confession is deliberately a little vague and hypothetical, but if we unpick that now we’ll just be back in the same place.”) Was not expecting it to trigger a confession.

I really liked how the map turned out, and appreciated Jonathan putting the work in on it, even for the very boring minor steps of flashlights being turned on and off. The gameplay was a little bit sandbox overall, but I think probably only needed an accusation mechanic and a bit more player interaction to close it up.

Big three takeaways from that dynasty for me were:

* Always avoid resolving ties randomly, as much as possible; a placeholder at most, until you can tiebreak another way. It would have been disappointing if the endgame there had come down very plainly to a single coin flip on which equal-speed action happened first.
* As players, make sure that the ruleset matches the game that you think you’re playing. Although that dynasty was superficially “one player is secretly the antagonist, hiding their identity”, it was much closer to just “one random player has more power than everyone else, with no downside”. I was holding off on an accusation mechanic so that I could tailor it to whichever prime suspect actually emerged, but left it too late.
* We really do need something like the Tick Tock endgame lockdown, rather than leaving it up to unpredictable, veteran-friendly etiquette to decide when the time for proposals has passed.

Josh: he/they

09-01-2023 16:47:06 UTC

Why did you suspect me, Kevan? I think there was decent evidence to back up the Bucky suspicion but I’m not sure that I did much that was overtly suspicious. (I mean, not deliberately anyway, obviously.)

JonathanDark: Publisher he/him

09-01-2023 17:10:06 UTC

Regarding the “one random player has more power than everyone else”, there were multiple Proposals that could have mitigated this, but they were voted down.

What do you think happened with those? Was it apathy, a misunderstanding of the power that the possessed Explorer had, or something else?

Kevan: he/him

09-01-2023 17:24:58 UTC

[Josh] Mostly Bucky saying in a private message that they’d deduced from a glimpsed Cat position that you could have been possessed on a particular turn - which made the two of you my lead suspects.

But I already had my doubts from your Afternoon Fea proposal, that described itself as “just moving things around” while adding a new Katastrophe ability. That your response to my proposal to remove the ability was made on a social rather than gameplay footing seemed like the response of a Katastrophic player wanting to quickly move on.

[Jonathan] For Bucky’s A Game of Tag, I was voting worst case: of the various plausible situations in the game at that point, one of them was that (with Cold Iron making Fragment generation random) Katastrophe wished to vacate their current host and leave a Fragment behind - I think at that point TDS held two fragments and Bucky one, which meant Bucky being Katastrophe would fit with that. Bucky following up with a no-explanation Giving Up the Ghost to make it even easier and faster to do the same thing seemed like an obvious no.


09-01-2023 17:54:04 UTC

I think I made the decisive error in misinterpreting the timing for Peek info such that I failed to realize I had spotted SingularByte being possessed until very late in the dynasty.


09-01-2023 18:27:47 UTC

Things that I’d propose early if we restarted the dynasty from the final ruleset but a new mansion:
* Giving Up the Ghost verbatim
* More ways to discover already-existing Malfeasances
* New players start with a flashlight
...All in the spirit of spreading the fun around more.



Josh: he/they

10-01-2023 07:55:03 UTC

I agree with all of those Bucky.

Kevan: he/him

10-01-2023 10:21:21 UTC

I’d also highlight the Black Cat as a good example of a small mechanic from a less active player, which other players then connect into wider ruleset, making it one of the defining parts of the game. Would be good to see more of this.