Friday, June 12, 2015

Proposal: Okay, Let’s Try This

Reached quorum 4 votes to 0. Enacted by Kevan.

Adminned at 13 Jun 2015 08:41:13 UTC

Replace the word “Esteem” in the rule “Alliances” with “Prestige.”

Rename the rule “Secrets and Prestige” to “Lab Tokens,” and reword its first paragraph as follows:

Each Kaiju has a number of Lab Tokens, which are tracked in the GNDT and default to zero.

Add a new rule, inserted in the Ruleset above the rule “Lab Tokens,” called “Prestige” with the following text:

Each Kaiju has an amount of Prestige, which is a nonnegative integer defaulting to 100, and which is tracked in the GNDT. This represents their current standing in the eyes of the Kaiju Court. It is best not to be seen striving too hard for an advantage; however, it is worse to be seen at a disadvantage.

The Attendant should call a meeting of the Kaiju Court at least once per week, but may not do so if fewer than 96 hours have passed since the previous meeting. At each meeting of the Kaiju Court, if there are more listed Secrets than there are Kaiju, the Attendant will offer a number of Secrets equal to the number of active Kaiju plus one for bidding. These Secrets are selected from the list in the rule “Secrets,” and for each of them, the Attendant shall create a Story Post with the title of the Secret it represents.

While such a Story Post is active, Kaiju may post Bid Comments on it; a valid Bid Comment consists of a positive integer x which is greater than the previous valid Bid Comment and less than their current Prestige. They must then decrease their own Prestige by x and increase the Prestige of the Kaiju who posted the last valid Bid Comment before theirs by x. (If there was no previous valid Bid Comment, if the bidding Kaiju themself posted the previous Bid Comment, or the poster of the previous valid Bid Comment has since become idle, then the bidding Kaiju loses x Prestige but no one gains any as a result.) If they fail to pay Prestige in this way within five minutes, or cannot pay, their Bid Comment is not valid. If they do in fact do pay within five minutes of posting the Bid Comment, they gain control of the Secret the Story Post represents, and its previous controller, if any, loses control of it.

As long as a Kaiju controls a Secret, that Kaiju has its passive effects applied to them, if any, and may use its active effects, if any, as laid out in the text of the Secret itself. Any Kaiju who has that Kaiju as their Left Claw also has its passive effects applied to them and may use its active effects in the same way, as long as that Kaiju remains their Left Claw.

When the Attendant calls a new meeting of the Kaiju Court and offers new Secrets, all Kaiju lose control of the Secrets they previously held, and the Story Posts for those secrets are no longer active.

Add a new rule called “Secrets” with the following text:

A Secret consists of a name, a Power Score, zero or one Passive Effects, zero or one Active Effects, an Activation Cost if it has an Active Effect, and possibly Restrictions on its use. A Secret’s Power Score is always equal to the value of the most recent valid Bid Comment on its Story Post. Active and Passive Effects may affect the gamestate as stated in their text. To use an Active Effect, a Kaiju must pay its Activation Cost in Prestige.

The list of possible Secrets is as follows:

  • Title: Earsplitting Shriek
    Active Effect: Reduce the Prestige of two other Kaiju of your choice by 5.
    Activation Cost: 5
    Restrictions: This Secret may only be activated as a Daily Action.

Basically, the Attendant deals out some powers from the deck, each of them gets its own running public auction as long as it’s out, and if you back the right horse you get secret access to their powers as well. After a few days we wipe the slate and deal out a new set.



06-12-2015 07:50:07 UTC

There are things I really like about this, and things I’m unsure about from a gameplay perspective.

I really like the overbid mechanic for another game, but here I suspect that the low number of players and the slow pace of play effectively means that these powers aren’t actually being auctioned, they’re just actions with costs in the same way as any other action with a cost. The only actual player interaction is the dynamic prices, and I don’t think that’s going to have much impact; in practice, players can’t use the powers to tactically deny each other advantages.

Second, while I understand that I like subjectivity more than others, I think that the process of getting new secrets into the game - propose, vote, enact, then auction - is onerous and restrictive, and will have a chilling effect on both the number and inventiveness of the powers that end up in the game. I think that proposals tend to end up producing mechanics that are safer and more concerned with balance, and I also think that people tend to vote on them more defensively, concerned with rival uses than personal ones.  This undercuts one of the advantages of an auction mechanic, which prices game entities according to their power / interestingness / usefulness.

I can think of some ways around both of these, though, so imperial for now.


06-12-2015 08:42:25 UTC

[Josh] It’s an interestingly odd process, but it’s still an auction: if you’re buying an object for a price of your choice, and anyone can buy it from you against your will for a higher price, then that’s an auction. That you get to use the ability while it’s passing through your hands is perhaps a bit strange, but might be fun.

We need some kind of restriction on new effects so that it doesn’t become an unsatisfying game of (as Zilla in Manilla potentially was) “sneak a loophole past the Attendant, even if your actual opponents would have spotted it”. But there are plenty of ways to do that - perhaps pseudo-proposals that run for 24 hours and enact if nobody has convinced the Attendant that they’re overpowered, in that time.



06-12-2015 08:52:52 UTC

Oh, I’m not trying to argue that Zilla in Manila would have been a better approach. That failed and fair enough, I understand why. I would prefer a middle ground, though, that still sidesteps the proposal track. As you say, there are ways of doing that, which is why I went DEF rather than AGAINST.

I still don’t agree that this is meaningfully an auction process, though, if only because the person who “wins” the auction doesn’t keep the power - it gets cleared away when the next Kaiju Court is convened. The only difference between the last bidder and the first is how much they pay. In practice, this means that the decision is always short-term and tactical: do I want to take this action right now, because I probably won’t have it next time I need it.


06-12-2015 09:18:29 UTC

Bidding for actions seems fine, but I agree it does feel a bit strange that we’re committing to being Aliens or Mutants, but not committing to whether we can do that Earsplitting Shriek again next week. Maybe we could spend Lab Tokens to keep abilities permanently.


06-12-2015 15:36:40 UTC