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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

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jwarrend
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Ok, it's time for my second session in the GDW. This is a game that I've been kicking around for about a year but only recently completed and am hoping for some feedback on some of the systems, which I'll be more specific about as this session progresses...

The rulebook and game board can be accessed in the downloads section, or by following these links:

Game Board
and
Rules

As you'll see, my motto is "function before form" or something like that.

Any and all feedback on the game is welcome!

Best,

Jeff

Scurra
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

Very interesting - certainly a unique theme for a game!

There are some parts that are obscure but not significantly: for instance, at the start of the game you randomly select five deeds and place them beside the indicated locations; I assume this means that one town could start with more than one deed attached to it, although the rules don't explicitly say this.

Just one quick question: How many Deed/Event cards there are in total (even a rough estimate)? And is the Deed/Event stack a "once through" event (this seems the most logical idea, but I can't seem to find it explictly stated anywhere.)

Everything else seems amazingly compact, with no obvious holes (without seeing the actual Events it's tricky to judge this of course!) I'll be fascinated to find out how Traitor scoring compares to Disciple scoring over a long series of games.

One last thing: Was the board constructed after experiments, or is it a "feels right" sort of affair?

jwarrend
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

Scurra wrote:
Very interesting - certainly a unique theme for a game!

Thanks! To put a few of my cards on the table, while I think that the recent trend of "re-theming" good games for the religious market (Ark of the Covenant, Settlers of Zarahemla) is a cool idea, I feel like original games with strong German design principles and a religious theme are sorely lacking, and so this was my attempt to that end!

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There are some parts that are obscure but not significantly: for instance, at the start of the game you randomly select five deeds and place them beside the indicated locations; I assume this means that one town could start with more than one deed attached to it, although the rules don't explicitly say this.

Sure. And in fact, though the rules aren't clear on this, Capernaum and Jerusalem have more Deed cards (maybe 10 each) than some of the other towns (Cana may only have 3 or 4).

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Just one quick question: How many Deed/Event cards there are in total (even a rough estimate)?

I think about 60; probably 40-45 Deeds and 15-20 Events. The Events will probably vary from "Advance the Pharisees by 1" to "All players with Jesus receive one Action Card" and so on. The Deeds will be mostly of the sort shown in the rulebook.

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And is the Deed/Event stack a "once through" event (this seems the most logical idea, but I can't seem to find it explictly stated anywhere.)

Yes, although I hope to make it work out that the game should typically end before the deck is exhausted. But, yes, it's once through -- after you perform a Deed, you keep the card (for game end scoring). If Jesus performs a Deed, or if the card is an Event, it's simply discarded.

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Everything else seems amazingly compact, with no obvious holes (without seeing the actual Events it's tricky to judge this of course!)

Yeah, when I read the rules, I was like, "is this all there is to this game?" It seems so simple. Earlier versions of the game were much more "simulation" oriented, but I've tried to strip things down to a couple of simple interlocking systems. I think the "decision matrix" of "what Deed will I perform" is informed by (a) the position of the Action track counters, (b) The possible consequences of the available Deeds (c) The geographic location of the Deeds and (d) Whatever "secret goal" I may hold. So, I think there's actually a basis for decision making even in a simple package, or at least that's the hope.

Originally, each Deed card had a value and an "action card cost", but I thought the Action tracks might be a more interesting way of having action costs shift from game to game and from card to card.

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I'll be fascinated to find out how Traitor scoring compares to Disciple scoring over a long series of games.

Yes, this will obviously be the subject of much playtesting effort to get the balance right. The idea with the Gospel tokens, secret goals, and last turn actions, is that all of these are meant to conspire to make it impossible for the Traitor to have "perfect information" about scoring, or else the end game will break down, and even so it might. Still, this is the "core concept" around which the rest of the game was built, so in a sense, I have to make this aspect work.

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One last thing: Was the board constructed after experiments, or is it a "feels right" sort of affair?

This is my first iteration of the board, so yeah, it's just a "first try" at this point. Originally, I wanted to have separate boards for the map, the Action Tracks, and the "Anger Tracks", and then just a set of draw piles, but in the end, I just decided that throwing everything together on a 17" x 17" board would probably work best from a prototyping standpoint. Obviously, the thing is an artistic disaster, but I hope the game makes it out of the workshop with a favorable enough review that it seems worth going to the playtesting stage! We shall see!

Thanks again for your comments,

Jeff

Scurra
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

jwarrend wrote:
Yeah, when I read the rules, I was like, "is this all there is to this game?" It seems so simple.

Never think this about a game. I wrote the first draft rules of one game out and they took up half-a-side of A4, and the final version came out to 500 words in total (and that was with some extra clarification that playtesters asked for!) and the end result was something unexpectedly deep.

Although I suspect that there won't be many "painful" decision moments in your game, the matrix is broad enough that everyone will have different routes to take at any time without there always being an obviously easy choice - although my sense is that this is a "lighter" game anyway, that non-gamers shouldn't have serious trouble with; which, I hasten to point out, I think is a good thing.

jwarrend
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

Scurra wrote:

Although I suspect that there won't be many "painful" decision moments in your game, the matrix is broad enough that everyone will have different routes to take at any time without there always being an obviously easy choice - although my sense is that this is a "lighter" game anyway, that non-gamers shouldn't have serious trouble with; which, I hasten to point out, I think is a good thing.

I admit I haven't really thought all that much about where on the complexity scale this one will fall, but my sense is that you're right; this game is slightly more "one-dimensional" mechanics-wise that some of my other projects. But I think that's ok, and my hope is that the "meta-game" of figuring out who the Traitor is will add a layer of fun to the game. So, you're right, Tigris it ain't, but I hope that it's perhaps at the level of Settlers or Carcassonne -- a good "gateway" game with enough depth to be fun but even transparency to be accessible. We'll see how it shakes out if it gets to a playtest!

-Jeff

DarkDream
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Interesting Game

Very interesting theme. I'm a little worried about the game having such a strong religious theme. Anything about Jesus can be a little controversial. There may be people who object to even having a board game about Jesus (it is sacrilgieous or something to do so).

Besides that, the game appears to be *very* interesting. A couple of questions first. I suppose if multiple players are in a town with Jesus and it is in there turn, there is no struggle to get Jesus and the player just takes him. I wonder if there is any play testing problem with players trying to snatch Jesus back and forth.

I assume that when a player performs a deed, he or she keeps the Deed card for scoring?

If a player has the most Gospel tokens, he or she *must* have written the a Gospel? If the player with the most Gospel tokens do not write a Gospel then the person gets nothing? What if a person has less Gospel tokens than another person who did not write a Gosple? Does that person get any points?

Besides these questions, I think you have done an excellent job of creating various victory conditions in order to win the game. The tracks are a nice addition adding tension and supporting the event cards. What makes it interesting, is that your decision to play a Deed might be influenced by the current activity tracks. This definitely adds texture.

The only worrying thing is the traitor to me. First of all identifying the traitor seems to be just pure luck. I think players need to be rewarded on skill and not luck. Maybe an event can somehow offer a clue about the traitor. The point is of creating something that will allow a player to use skill (figuring out) to get rewarded.

Scoring the traitor differently, I'm not sure I like. It is going to be very difficult to balance.

Overall, I think this is a very solid game. Best of luck with it.

-- DarkDream

SVan
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

Jeff,

Very good game! I am glad to see a religous game. The rules are clear and concise and the game seems fun and fast. The game fits the theme very well, making you feel like you were a part of the time.

The only thing so far that is confusing to me is the amount of players the game can play. I figure 6 as the maximum, but didn't see a minimum. Also will there we difference of rules for different amount of players?

The game looks balanced, the only thing I really saw that doesn't seem balanced is the traitor's points from unfinished deeds at the end of the game if he betrays Jesus. It may be possible to keep the number low, but i figure that the betrayer could get a lot of points from this, from 3 to even above 6. This may not be the case if the deeds get taken off quick enough.

Gospel tokens are earned from deeds or events I take it. And disciples can cash those end on the "last turn" they get? I guess this could balance somewhat the unfinished deeds.

Hope this helps some. Again great game! I definately would play it.

Torrent
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

I like this so far. Especially the secret goal cards. Basically each player is going about trying to gain as many deeds as then can right? Allowing(requesting) Jesus to perform a deed reduces the cost of subsequent deeds.
Each player increases an action track every turn. So with a 3 player game, the overall action track will be increased by 3 from one of my turns to the next. However for a more player game it will be higher. So I think you will have to watch out that at some player number the speed at which the action cost goes up does not outstrip the ability of players to produce these costs, since the card numbers are fixed.

I think religous themed games are great and this one seems very cool to be close to the history. However, when you start marketing it I wonder if you might have any problems with players unwilling to play the Traitor for emotional reasons. I dunno, just a thought.

The Traitor seems to be predisposed to actually betraying instead of just waiting out the Romans. In that he has one less 'secret goal' card in the case that the Romans take their initiative without his help. So if the rest of the players play in such a way as to keep the Jews in the middle, they can keep the Traitor from his points.

I couldn't find in the rules what happens when an event should push the Jews track beyond +/- 2. I assume there are cards that make the track go back and forth in some sort of equal measure. Also do the Pharisees can one per turn the Jews are at either end, or just at the point their track reaches an end?

I really don't understand the 'last turn' idea of letting players attempt any left over deeds. I assume that each player going around doesn't fiddle with the action track in this last round, leaving all the costs at 1. So at the most you can perform one deed within two spots of your current location or tow if they are both at your location. For the Gospel scoring, it is the most and second most of those who wrote a gospel, or of anyone author or not?

I agree the board needs some work, but the rest of the game seems really good.

Andy

jwarrend
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

DarkDream wrote:
Very interesting theme. I'm a little worried about the game having such a strong religious theme. Anything about Jesus can be a little controversial. There may be people who object to even having a board game about Jesus (it is sacrilgieous or something to do so).

I can definitely understand your concern. Let me say for the record that I am a Christian, so my hope is that I can defuse the concerns at least of the religious folks by saying, "hey, I'm not trying to make light of this at all--I take it pretty seriously myself." On the flip side, folks without strong religious beliefs may not like the game solely because of its theme. That, I think, is a risk I'm taking, but I'm ok with that risk. I think the goal is to make a game that is solid enough that people will enjoy playing it. I don't necessarily want people to feel like they're being "preached at" while playing. Obviously, it won't be for all tastes.

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Besides that, the game appears to be *very* interesting. A couple of questions first. I suppose if multiple players are in a town with Jesus and it is in there turn, there is no struggle to get Jesus and the player just takes him. I wonder if there is any play testing problem with players trying to snatch Jesus back and forth.

Your interpretation of the rules is correct. There will be a couple of "Event Cards" that will move Jesus, but otherwise, yes, a player in the same town as Jesus can "bring Jesus along" with him, and there's no fight amongst players -- the active player just moves the Jesus pawn. This is by no means the last word on movement of Jesus; it's a system that I came up with, but no doubt will need to change. I welcome any thoughts on a good way to have Jesus move. The game hasn't been playtested yet, so I don't know whether the system I've chosen will be successful or not.

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I assume that when a player performs a deed, he or she keeps the Deed card for scoring?

Correct.

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If a player has the most Gospel tokens, he or she *must* have written the a Gospel? If the player with the most Gospel tokens do not write a Gospel then the person gets nothing? What if a person has less Gospel tokens than another person who did not write a Gosple? Does that person get any points?

The idea is that during the game, when you're in the same town as Jesus when He performs an action, you get a Gospel token. Then, in the last turn of the game, you can forfeit your turn to compile a Gospel. Of those players that spent their last turn writing a Gospel, the player with the most Gospel tokens gets 4 points and the player with the 2nd most gets 2 points.

This rule is certainly subject to change, but my idea was that you can use your last turn either to pursue Deeds, presumably to complete Goals, or writing a Gospel, but not both. It's not even really historically accurate, so it's certainly open to change, with the likely change simply being "compare Gospel tokens".

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Besides these questions, I think you have done an excellent job of creating various victory conditions in order to win the game. The tracks are a nice addition adding tension and supporting the event cards. What makes it interesting, is that your decision to play a Deed might be influenced by the current activity tracks. This definitely adds texture.

Thanks, I am hoping that the different tracks will create some different layers to motivate decision making.

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The only worrying thing is the traitor to me. First of all identifying the traitor seems to be just pure luck. I think players need to be rewarded on skill and not luck. Maybe an event can somehow offer a clue about the traitor. The point is of creating something that will allow a player to use skill (figuring out) to get rewarded.

I agree with this, but I don't necessarily want it to be a "deduction" system so much as a "interpretation of actions" system. Because the traitor scores points differently, his actions will likely differ from those of other players. For example, if there's one guy who keeps performing Deeds that increase the level of the Pharisees, he may be a good candidate for the Traitor. The idea is that you need to watch the other people carefully and try to determine, based on their actions, whether they are the traitor or not.

In practice, this may not work. I think it's just something to try out and see whether it's possible for someone to identify the traitor. The other question will be, can the traitor be "subtle" and yet still influence the game in his favor? Or conversely, does the traitor lose anything by completely masking his actions and going for perfectly "innocuous" deeds? If not, then some balancing needs to be done. That, I think, is partly why the Pharisees track is currently a bit steep -- there's a BIG incentive for the Traitor to get that track to be high, but doing so may expose him as the traitor.

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Scoring the traitor differently, I'm not sure I like. It is going to be very difficult to balance.

Absolutely, yet it's sort of essential to the design -- the idea is that the Pharisees are willing to pay the Traitor (again, mildly historically inaccurate...), and their anger determines how much they're willing to pay. So, there is a direct correlation between taking actions that anger the Pharisees and giving more potential points to the Traitor. And this creates, I think, an interesting balancing act for the players. Of course, I don't want the opposite scenario where it's impossible to win as the Traitor because players can overwhelm the ability of the Pharisees track to advance. But, it will just take some testing to see!

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Overall, I think this is a very solid game. Best of luck with it.

Thanks! I really appreciate your comments and observations.

-Jeff

jwarrend
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

SVan wrote:

Very good game! I am glad to see a religous game. The rules are clear and concise and the game seems fun and fast. The game fits the theme very well, making you feel like you were a part of the time.

Thanks! I'm glad to hear that it sounds appealing to you.

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The only thing so far that is confusing to me is the amount of players the game can play. I figure 6 as the maximum, but didn't see a minimum. Also will there we difference of rules for different amount of players?

Indeed, I didn't spell this out. The game currently takes 5 players only. I haven't thought about how it would change with different sizes. My guess is that it will be playable from 3-5, with different end game scoring for the different sizes, and possibly with the 3 player game having the possiblity of NO player being the Traitor.

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The game looks balanced, the only thing I really saw that doesn't seem balanced is the traitor's points from unfinished deeds at the end of the game if he betrays Jesus. It may be possible to keep the number low, but i figure that the betrayer could get a lot of points from this, from 3 to even above 6. This may not be the case if the deeds get taken off quick enough.

I think you've hit on one of the major design concerns I have. The balancing problem isn't even so much one of making the scoring options balanced, as taking into account the possibility that there could be a wide variability in some of the scores for the 2 different contributions for the Traitor. I think the dilemma it creates for the disciples (or so I hope) is that you need to watch the Pharisees track from getting too high, but you can't simply avoid performing Deeds with bad consequences, since doing so could also benefit the Traitor. But, as you point out, there is a lot of variability in the scoring and it will take some testing to see how it works.

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Gospel tokens are earned from deeds or events I take it.

No, they're earned whenever a player has Jesus perform a Deed. All players in the same town as Jesus get a Gospel token.

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And disciples can cash those end on the "last turn" they get? I guess this could balance somewhat the unfinished deeds.

Yes, on the "last turn", players can write a Gospel, OR they can perform more Deeds. The idea with the latter is that the Traitor can't know for sure at the time he betrays Jesus just how many Deeds will be left at the game end, since there's one more turn.

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Hope this helps some. Again great game! I definately would play it.

Definitely, thanks for your comments! And I'm glad to hear the game sounds promising to you.

Much thanks,

Jeff

sedjtroll
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First thoughts at a glance

This may sound critical, but of course it's intended to be constructive criticism. There are things I like about the game, but my biggest first reaction was to one thing in particular. I'll revisit for more comments later.

Right off the bat I see that your Game End process looks very odd and somewhat fiddley. You do some math, compare some numbers, people lose VPs, then you give up your cards (but remember who had what- not difficult considering the points just lost I guess), then you take another turn... so the game's NOT over yet? Can the Traitor betray Jesus in that last turn?

It seems like if you want to write a gospel, you should have to do that before the game ends- which presumably isn't entirely calcuable. Maybe once per game a player is allowed to write a gospel, contributing as many gospel tokens or whatever- never being able to add to it. So if you fear the game end, and you want to score some points for the gospel tokens you've collected, then you turn them in. If you get more, tough. If you wait too long the game ends andyou miss out. Something like that.

It just seems like you've got that whole 'last turn' thing in there just to let people write gospels, which sounds strange to me.

An unrelated question I didn't see in the rules (but maybe I missed it)... Who is the traitor and when do you get to betray? I see that you can betray whenever you want, as long as the track doesn't say you can't (obv so people don't end the game right away). But is one of the 'secret goals' a card that says "You're the traitor, betray Jesus"?

How many secret goals are there? Are there enough that the game can be really different every time? If so, there could be 1 Traitor card which you'd seperate out and then draw X-1 Secret goals at random from the supply... those could be the secret goals for the game- one of them is always the traitor. Maybe this is what you have, or maybe you have something better. I didn't catch it in the rules.

Oh, or can ANYBODY be the traitor, by deciding to betray (when allowed)..? I think that's probably better for the game than one player being the traitor (scoring-wise), but then you can't accuse someone of being the traitor. Personally, at first glance, I think it would make more sense if anyone could betray (then you have to decide if you want to, etc) and nix the accusations (which doesn't seem to be that central to the game anyway). What do you think?

- Seth

doho123
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

Ahhhh, how depressing. Just last night (before I read this this morning) I had an idea where the players were a group of explorers trying to kill a vampire, while one of the players was secretly the vampire, trying to mess up the rest of the game for the group, while not making it apparent that they were the traitor in their midst.

oh well....

jwarrend
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

Torrent wrote:
I like this so far. Especially the secret goal cards. Basically each player is going about trying to gain as many deeds as then can right? Allowing(requesting) Jesus to perform a deed reduces the cost of subsequent deeds.

Correct. As a non-traitor, you are trying to get points by:
-- Performing Deeds
-- Using these to complete Goals
-- Watching Jesus perform Deeds and collecting Gospel tokens
-- Identifying the Traitor
-- Not losing points by having the most Action symbols left in your hand.

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Each player increases an action track every turn.

Only when they reveal a Deed card (as opposed to an Event card), and then, after they've performed a Deed.

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So with a 3 player game, the overall action track will be increased by 3 from one of my turns to the next. However for a more player game it will be higher. So I think you will have to watch out that at some player number the speed at which the action cost goes up does not outstrip the ability of players to produce these costs, since the card numbers are fixed.

Indeed, this will require some balancing. But, the costs, as you can (I think) see on the board, max out at 4. And at that point, having Jesus perform a Deed "resets" the track to 1 (although, interestingly, because of the turn order you can't "reset" a track and that take an action. Thus, there's some risk inherent to having Jesus perform a Deed).

But, your overall concern is well-noted; the difficulties of actions may definitely accelerate too fast in a big game. Good point!

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I think religous themed games are great and this one seems very cool to be close to the history. However, when you start marketing it I wonder if you might have any problems with players unwilling to play the Traitor for emotional reasons. I dunno, just a thought.

It's funny, that's an excellent point that my friends and I hit on when I mentioned the idea to them. I think that it's essential in gaming to enforce a "wall of separation" between yourself and the game -- for example, I like Axis and Allies, but that doesn't mean pretending I'm Hitler if I draw Germany. That said, there are plenty of game themes that I'd be very uncomfortable with. So, people will have to decide for themselves where they draw the line. I'm sure this game will anger some Christians, which is ironic, but my hope is that many more will be able to see the game for what it is -- a game, first and foremost, that is set thematically in the lives and actions of the Disciples, but not an exact simulation of those events. But, your concern is definitely well-founded, and should the game get to that level, this would definitely be the subject of some market research. Perhaps a "non-traitor variant" would be needed.

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The Traitor seems to be predisposed to actually betraying instead of just waiting out the Romans. In that he has one less 'secret goal' card in the case that the Romans take their initiative without his help. So if the rest of the players play in such a way as to keep the Jews in the middle, they can keep the Traitor from his points.

I agree with your first point. Yet, the Traitor can choose to play it straight -- he must actively choose to betray Jesus, and as the Pharisees track gets higher, he'll be increasingly tempted to do so. I think the dilemma of being the Traitor may be the closest "thematic simulation" element in the game.

As for your second point, there will be Deeds that advance the Pharisees as well, but you're right, concerted play by the other players could keep the Pharisees track down. I may throw out the turn option that lets you move the Jews or the Pharisees back; at any rate, it needs to be sufficiently "expensive" that it hurts to do it; perhaps it should be 2 Cards instead of 2 symbols.

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I couldn't find in the rules what happens when an event should push the Jews track beyond +/- 2.

Sorry, this wasn't clear on the board. The idea is that when the Jews reach the "Temple" icon, the Pharisees advance. (So, the "Temple" icons are, effectively, positions "-3" and "+3" on the Jews track.) The Jews can't advance further than this.

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I assume there are cards that make the track go back and forth in some sort of equal measure.

In principle, yes, though I haven't worked out all the cards yet.

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Also do the Pharisees can one per turn the Jews are at either end, or just at the point their track reaches an end?

Currently, it's the latter. The former is an interesting possibility, but would create a slightly different way of doing the bookkeeping, so for now, it's just "whenever the Jews reach one end of the track or the other." But, the other way is interesting and potentially equally valid. I'll think about it. Thanks!

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I really don't understand the 'last turn' idea of letting players attempt any left over deeds. I assume that each player going around doesn't fiddle with the action track in this last round, leaving all the costs at 1. So at the most you can perform one deed within two spots of your current location or tow if they are both at your location.

I think this is accurate. The last turn may not succeed in practice, but in concept, it's meant to accomplish two things. One, it's meant to "blind" the Traitor to perfect calculation of scores -- he doesn't know how many Deeds will be left after the real end game. Second, it's meant to be a bit thematic, with the concept of "Redemption" -- the cards that stayed in your hand and cost you negative points are then used by you to (potentially) get you more points at the end of the game.

But, the "last turn" concept isn't fully fleshed out yet, and may need some tweaking.

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For the Gospel scoring, it is the most and second most of those who wrote a gospel, or of anyone author or not?

Of those who wrote a Gospel.

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I agree the board needs some work, but the rest of the game seems really good.

Thanks! And yes, the board is really only "playtest quality", and perhaps not even good enough for that. Certainly the "real thing" would look very different!

Thanks for your feedback, I appreciate it!

Best,

Jeff

jwarrend
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

doho123 wrote:
Ahhhh, how depressing. Just last night (before I read this this morning) I had an idea where the players were a group of explorers trying to kill a vampire, while one of the players was secretly the vampire, trying to mess up the rest of the game for the group, while not making it apparent that they were the traitor in their midst.

oh well....

Hey, great minds think alike! But, don't abandon your idea just yet -- I'm sure there's plenty of room for a game that will likely be completely different from this one. And, I suspect that Vampire games sell better than religious ones!

-J

jwarrend
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Re: First thoughts at a glance

sedjtroll wrote:
This may sound critical, but of course it's intended to be constructive criticism. There are things I like about the game, but my biggest first reaction was to one thing in particular. I'll revisit for more comments later.

Hey, I said any and all feedback. Criticism is most definitely welcome!

Quote:

Right off the bat I see that your Game End process looks very odd and somewhat fiddley. You do some math, compare some numbers, people lose VPs, then you give up your cards (but remember who had what- not difficult considering the points just lost I guess), then you take another turn... so the game's NOT over yet? Can the Traitor betray Jesus in that last turn?

I agree with you in principle; the idea of the Traitor "ending the game", but then it doesn't really end, is weird, and may need a little better execution.

The idea is, the game ends when Jesus is crucified. This happens EITHER by (a) the actions of Jesus and the Disciples have attracted so much attention from Rome that they must kill Jesus to calm things down OR (b) Jesus has so angered the Pharisees that they are willing to kill Him, and have paid one of His disciples to betray Him. So, if the last turn was reached by method (b), then the Traitor has already betrayed Jesus. If it was reached by (a), Jesus has already been crucified, and there was no Traitor (or at least, no betrayal...)

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It seems like if you want to write a gospel, you should have to do that before the game ends- which presumably isn't entirely calcuable. Maybe once per game a player is allowed to write a gospel, contributing as many gospel tokens or whatever- never being able to add to it. So if you fear the game end, and you want to score some points for the gospel tokens you've collected, then you turn them in. If you get more, tough. If you wait too long the game ends andyou miss out. Something like that.

This is a good idea, thanks!

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It just seems like you've got that whole 'last turn' thing in there just to let people write gospels, which sounds strange to me.

No, this isn't the main function of the last turn. As I told Torrent (sorry to repeat myself!), it's more for the dual purpose of (a) making the game end scoring of other players uncertain to the Traitor, and (b) adding the thematic element of "redemption" -- that having unused cards in your hands is "bad", in the sense that they were unfulfilled potential -- yet, God uses them to turn them around and have something "good" happen -- more Deeds are performed.

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An unrelated question I didn't see in the rules (but maybe I missed it)... Who is the traitor and when do you get to betray? I see that you can betray whenever you want, as long as the track doesn't say you can't (obv so people don't end the game right away). But is one of the 'secret goals' a card that says "You're the traitor, betray Jesus"?

Exactly. And, if I didn't say this, you can betray only on your turn, and you must be in the same town as Jesus. I think I said in the section on "Goal cards" that one of them says, as you say, "You're the traitor".

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How many secret goals are there? Are there enough that the game can be really different every time?

Currently there are 10, and each player gets 2. One is the "traitor" card, and the other will be things like "perform a Deed in 4 different towns" or "perform 4 Healings" or something similar. I don't know if they'll make things totally different in a replay sense, but they will give you different things to work toward each time, and completing them should be important scoring-wise (although of course, doing so may force you to perform Deeds that move the Anger Tracks unfavorably!). I think the replay value will come from the random order that the Deeds will appear in, as well as the way that the cost of actions will fluctuate from turn to turn. So, "Feeding the 5000" will require Compassion in every game, but just how much compassion it requires will vary from game to game, and even from turn to turn.

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If so, there could be 1 Traitor card which you'd seperate out and then draw X-1 Secret goals at random from the supply... those could be the secret goals for the game- one of them is always the traitor. Maybe this is what you have, or maybe you have something better. I didn't catch it in the rules.

The goals are always secret -- there are never Common goals. I actually thought about doing just what you say, but I elected to go with secret goals because it creates a "hidden information" system that will again blind the traitor a little bit -- he can't really know whether you've completed 0, 1, or both of your goals.

Quote:

Oh, or can ANYBODY be the traitor, by deciding to betray (when allowed)..? I think that's probably better for the game than one player being the traitor (scoring-wise), but then you can't accuse someone of being the traitor. Personally, at first glance, I think it would make more sense if anyone could betray (then you have to decide if you want to, etc) and nix the accusations (which doesn't seem to be that central to the game anyway). What do you think?

I considered this very thing, but I rejected it because I think it violates the theme. I think the game captures the idea that the Traitor didn't necessarily have to be Judas because of some cosmic law of the universe, but the flip side of the mechanic you're proposing (and that I considered) is that it makes the game very opportunistic -- people are willing to turn Jesus in at the drop of a hat if it's advantageous for them to do so. I don't like the effect that would have on the theme. Jesus' disciples, with the exception of the one who betrayed Him, weren't just waiting for an opportune moment to flip on him and get the payoff. So, it is a cool idea, but I don't think it would work in this game.

You're right that the "accusation system" isn't central to the game, I think it's just meant to be a fun meta-game that rewards you for paying attention to what the others are doing, and, if you're the Traitor, to try to be a little subtle in your dealings. Pure gamers will probably hate it, but I think it's in the spirit of the game, particularly since the Traitor, even if he's been exposed, can still betray Jesus to end the game. It's just in his interest for people not to know he's the traitor, since it makes his job easier.

Thanks for your comments!

-Jeff

benedict
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

Hi

One thing that stood out when I looked at the board is the first aid truck icon - seemed out of place in a game set in the time of Christ. Perhaps it could be replaced with something else?

Phillip

jwarrend
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

benedict wrote:
Hi

One thing that stood out when I looked at the board is the first aid truck icon - seemed out of place in a game set in the time of Christ. Perhaps it could be replaced with something else?

Most of the icons were taken from the "Webdings" font. I just went with something that would convey the idea of the action in question. You're quite right, and the game will need a serious visual overhaul before getting to "the next level." But, for a first order playtesting prototype, it's ok for now, although I certainly wouldn't object if someone found more thematic icons out there somewhere!

Thanks for the suggestion,

Jeff

sedjtroll
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

jwarrend wrote:
There will be a couple of "Event Cards" that will move Jesus, but otherwise, yes, a player in the same town as Jesus can "bring Jesus along" with him, and there's no fight amongst players -- the active player just moves the Jesus pawn. This is by no means the last word on movement of Jesus; it's a system that I came up with, but no doubt will need to change. I welcome any thoughts on a good way to have Jesus move.

What about a fixed route for Jesus to move? Like Dr Lucky who moves in a pre-determined path around his house, Jesus could 'make the riounds' to each of the cities in turn.
Or, as an alternative to a simple cycle, there could be a game-state determined destination for Jesus ("At the beginning of the round move Jesus to the city with the most players at it, next city over in the case of a tie" for example. Or "least players", or whatever criteria you want.)
Finally, you could have player actions move Jesus, which sounds like what you have actually... but another way. Like if someone does a Deed, move Jesus to the city the deed was done in... something like that (not that exact thing, cause it sounds kinda counterproductive).

- Seth

jwarrend
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

sedjtroll wrote:

What about a fixed route for Jesus to move? Like Dr Lucky who moves in a pre-determined path around his house, Jesus could 'make the riounds' to each of the cities in turn.
Or, as an alternative to a simple cycle, there could be a game-state determined destination for Jesus ("At the beginning of the round move Jesus to the city with the most players at it, next city over in the case of a tie" for example. Or "least players", or whatever criteria you want.)
Finally, you could have player actions move Jesus, which sounds like what you have actually... but another way. Like if someone does a Deed, move Jesus to the city the deed was done in... something like that (not that exact thing, cause it sounds kinda counterproductive).

Cool ideas, thanks! A fixed route would definitely have come up next on my "try this" list, and may yet. I like the "game state destination" idea as well; maybe Jesus goes to the area with the most Deed cards showing? (This, incidentally, could be one more "tell" with regards to the Traitor -- "why did he just move his pawn to the area with the most Deeds, and yet not perform a Deed there? Maybe he's lying in wait for Jesus?" )

Great suggestions, thanks!

-Jeff

Scurra
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

I do like "Jesus goes to the town with the most Deed cards showing" idea (with a simple tie-break mechanic included) as this seems somehow better than the players moving Jesus around, which feels a bit like "Come on Jesus, you know you want to go to Jerusalem!" to me rather than the disciples following Jesus around, which they would do with that sort of revised mechanic (since you want to be where Jesus is.)

I'm also rather taken with the "if you haven't written your Gospel when the game-end is triggered, tough" idea, although I suspect that it would make that aspect of the game more frustrating for some people (it would be an ideal "variant" to include with the rules though.)

jwarrend
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

Scurra wrote:
I do like "Jesus goes to the town with the most Deed cards showing" idea (with a simple tie-break mechanic included) as this seems somehow better than the players moving Jesus around, which feels a bit like "Come on Jesus, you know you want to go to Jerusalem!" to me rather than the disciples following Jesus around, which they would do with that sort of revised mechanic (since you want to be where Jesus is.)

Yeah, it does seem weird to have Jesus following the disciples rather than vice versa. I think that already, the game lends itself a bit to the (wrong) interpretation that I am saying "the disciples were really the ones who did everything", and this mechanic just would add fuel to the fire.

Quote:

I'm also rather taken with the "if you haven't written your Gospel when the game-end is triggered, tough" idea, although I suspect that it would make that aspect of the game more frustrating for some people (it would be an ideal "variant" to include with the rules though.)

I think the problem I have with it is that it just gives the Traitor some more perfect information. Although, really, the Traitor knows how many tokens everyone holds (I assume it will be public), so in principle he can know roughly who might get the 4 points for the Gospel (though whether they'll take it or not he won't know).

On the other hand, I also like the "do it before it's too late, or else suffer the consequences" kind of approach. Maybe it should be, you must spend a turn writing your gospel, and then that's it.

Also, maybe we could add the rule "the Traitor cannot write a Gospel". This would be an additional "tell" -- why isn't Joe composing a Gospel, when he has so many tokens?

Of course, this would have worked better with an older rules version, where the traitor also lost points for having performed Deeds. Thus, the Traitor didn't want deeds in his area, so having Jesus perform deeds and collecting gospel tokens instead would seem to be a good idea, except that now, hoarding gospel tokens and not composing would potentially expose you as the Traitor.

The cute thing about this is there's a real "press your luck" effect -- you want to write your Gospel late enough that no one will be able to exceed it. Yet, when the game is closing in on "ending", there are other things that you want/need to do. But, wait too long, and you're out of luck.

I like it. I need to think about it some more, but I like it.

-Jeff

Torrent
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

I think I'll put on my "Theme Guy" hat on. Theme-wise, I agree with the more arbitrary movement of Jesus. Maybe even something like the most deeds present (He goes where the most good can be done).

One thing that struck me reading this is the similarity to El Grande. Not in actuallity but in potential. What if Jesus had some arbitrary or otherwise controlled movement.. and players had some restrictions about what deeds they could play in relation to Jesus. Then maybe it's not the disciples doing the deeds, but telling others of Jesus's deeds. If you could do a deed in a town as long as the town was one step or so from Jesus. As in actually Jesus did this thing, and you are here to tell others about it. I dunno, but if you are worried about the message of the disicples doing it all, even a simple re-wording could help.

Still with the Theme-guy hat, I tend to disagree with the write-it-before-the-end Gospel idea. The Gospels were histories and were written later. This rewards those disciples that follow Jesus the closest. Yeah, this gives the Traitor some perfect information, but if the secret goal cards were stronger they could balance that somewhat. Maybe even if there were more and players got 3 instead of 2. This might also help balance the temptation of the Traitor if you wanted to go that way.

The end game with the cards still bugs me a bit. Still because I probably don't understand it. Every gets their cards taken away, losing some points, then all those cards get stacked as a (new?) draw pile with two selctions. Does this mean the (old) 5 piles are no longer valid? So not only do I have to find a deed to do, but I have to make sure one of the two cards I can draw will fulfill it. I also think there needs to be some more clarity about the traitor in all of this. Maybe even two seperate End Game sections, one for each type of the end game (Traitor/Roman).

Last little thought, what happens at the end of the Pharisee track? Does it continue with more points? Maybe a suggestion is an end game there as well, with the Pharisees finding some (non-player) traitor.

Andy

sedjtroll
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Re: First thoughts at a glance

jwarrend wrote:

The main function of the last turn is for the dual purpose of (a) making the game end scoring of other players uncertain to the Traitor, and (b) adding the thematic element of "redemption" -- that having unused cards in your hands is "bad", in the sense that they were unfulfilled potential -- yet, God uses them to turn them around and have something "good" happen -- more Deeds are performed.

The scoring vs traitor makes sense. I'm still thinking though that the game would be deeper the other way- I see your concern, but if you seperate the player from the disciple then only the one that chooses to betray Jesus is the traitor. The Pharisees are, after all, trying to tempt all the disciples... not just 1 (aren't they?) As for (b), I think that sounds pretty tenuous and tacked on (no offense).
Quote:
Currently there are 10 [secret goals], and each player gets 2. I think the replay value will come from the random order that the Deeds will appear in, as well as the way that the cost of actions will fluctuate from turn to turn... The goals are always secret -- there are never Common goals.
Right, I meant there'd be, say, 9 face down secret goals, dealt from a deck of 'more than 9' goals, plus the traitor. That way you can't really narrow down someone else's goal as easily because there are more that it could be, and some are not represented in the game. Also, the games would have a wider variety because there are more possible combinations of goals for you and your opponents.
Quote:
sedjtroll wrote:
Oh, or can ANYBODY be the traitor, by deciding to betray...
I considered this very thing, but I rejected it because I think it violates the theme. I think the mechanic you're proposing makes the game very opportunistic -- people are willing to turn Jesus in at the drop of a hat if it's advantageous for them to do so.

As I mentioned above, it's the players that may be willing to turn on Jesus, if the payoff from the Pharisees is big enough (like bigger than your current score, and bigger than other players' current scores)... not the Disciples. Perhaps this means that you'd want to Betray (if at all) BEFORE people start writing Gospels (which could score, say, 1VP per Gospel Token- no matter when you turn it in- no order effect), as bigger Gospels would probably push that player's score over the amount you'd get for betraying.

So the various ways to go (the 'shipping vs buildng' for this game if you will) would be...
1. Push the Pharisees track along and look to Betray before people get too many Gospel Tokens and write Gospels. Probably write a small Gospel yourself which may telegraph your intention to betray, enticing other players to either try and stop you, or write a Gospel or otherwise get as many VPs as possible that turn.
2. Do Deeds and collect Gospel Tokens fast enough to stay ahead of the Betrayal score (so either noone will Betray, or you will bet them if they do). Watch out for signs that somone may betray and if you think it'll happen then cash in your Gospel Tokens. Try and keep the Pharisees track low to give yourself more time to collect points.

Likely, with all or most people trying to keep the traitor strategy at bay it wouldn't come to that all that often... but sometimes if it worked out, or if a player were able to advance the traitor strat enough then they might squeak it out (like mayoring before the last builder to keep the big buildings from getting manned).

Does that make any more sense? To me it feels like it would make the game a little deeper, which might not be what you're looking for.

- Seth

Scurra
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

I think I have to disagree with Seth on this one, re players versus disciples. One of the things I like about the current set-up is the "hidden Traitor" thing - the fact that everyone knows that there is a traitor, but no-one is sure who it is. This is much more in keeping with the theme, and I also think it fits the current scoring system too, since if it was opened up to any player, then there would be some serious AP as players tried to work out whether giving up on goal scoring (which I think would have to be the trade-off) was worth the return. Whereas under the current system, players have to actively keep the Pharisee level down to minimise the Traitor's reward, making the Traitor's job much more difficult without giving themselves away.

[If anyone has played the "Gollum" variant of the Knizia Lord of the Rings game, they might know what I mean. In that, one of the Hobbits is a traitor and wins if they can deliver the Ring to Sauron, but they are out of the game if someone correctly accuses them. Because you know that one Hobbit is a Traitor, you start being suspicious of everyone's suggestions and the whole game descends into hilarious paranoia.]

(I am a little concerned by the "accuse someone" rule though - in a three-player game, if you aren't the Traitor then you have a 50-50 chance of accusing the Traitor, so you might as well do it on the first turn! Perhaps a player needs to be debarred from making an accusation until a later point in the game? I can see why you might not always want a Traitor in a three-player game... Maybe you have to simply have to randomly deal the 10 Goal cards out, so that there would always be a Traitor in a five-player game but perhaps there wouldn't be in a three- or four-player one.)

OTOH I think that more Goals would definitely be a good thing, but it would make the testing so much more difficult as you would need to try out a lot of permutations to make sure that none of them were broken :)
(cf. Balloon Cup for a classic example of this.)

jwarrend
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

Torrent wrote:
I think I'll put on my "Theme Guy" hat on. Theme-wise, I agree with the more arbitrary movement of Jesus. Maybe even something like the most deeds present (He goes where the most good can be done).

Ok, I'll think more about something like this. The only thing I don't like about this is that currently, the game has a "continuous loop of turns" effect, where things just keep going and going. In the movement scheme like what you mention, there needs to be an "interrupt" phase during which Jesus moves. I suppose I could trigger this with event cards, but I'm worried that Jesus would still move too infrequently.

Quote:

One thing that struck me reading this is the similarity to El Grande. Not in actuallity but in potential. What if Jesus had some arbitrary or otherwise controlled movement.. and players had some restrictions about what deeds they could play in relation to Jesus. Then maybe it's not the disciples doing the deeds, but telling others of Jesus's deeds. If you could do a deed in a town as long as the town was one step or so from Jesus. As in actually Jesus did this thing, and you are here to tell others about it. I dunno, but if you are worried about the message of the disicples doing it all, even a simple re-wording could help.

It's a fine line I'm walking; I believe the Bible is very clear that the disciples were capable of doing everything that Jesus did (as evidenced by Acts, for example). What I'm not saying, though, is some bizarre claim that "the disciples did all the work". Perhaps no one would ever have even interpreted things this way, but it's something I worried a little about.

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Still with the Theme-guy hat, I tend to disagree with the write-it-before-the-end Gospel idea. The Gospels were histories and were written later. This rewards those disciples that follow Jesus the closest. Yeah, this gives the Traitor some perfect information, but if the secret goal cards were stronger they could balance that somewhat. Maybe even if there were more and players got 3 instead of 2. This might also help balance the temptation of the Traitor if you wanted to go that way.

I'm very glad that you guys are arguing both sides of this one so compellingly, it gives me a lot to think about (although an overwhelming consensus would have made my decision a bit easier...)

Quote:

The end game with the cards still bugs me a bit. Still because I probably don't understand it. Every gets their cards taken away, losing some points, then all those cards get stacked as a (new?) draw pile with two selctions. Does this mean the (old) 5 piles are no longer valid? So not only do I have to find a deed to do, but I have to make sure one of the two cards I can draw will fulfill it. I also think there needs to be some more clarity about the traitor in all of this. Maybe even two seperate End Game sections, one for each type of the end game (Traitor/Roman).

Ok, here you make an excellent point that perhaps I hadn't appreciated -- the success of the "last turn" really hangs on whether there are any good cards left to begin with. If everyone has used all of their cards, then the last turn will be somewhat dull.

How about this instead:

1.The game ends. All players do the following (except the Traitor if he betrayed Jesus...)
2. All players count the remaining symbols in their hand. The player with the fewest symbols gets that many VPs.
3. Players can take one last action -- they can either write a Gospel, or perform one Deed in the town they're in or in one adjacent to it.

Step 2, I think I like because it has the effect I wanted of "blinding" the Traitor to perfect info about scoring. And 3 is now simple enough that it won't give way to serious Analysis paralysis problems of people trying to max out their scores. (or maybe it will...)

Quote:

Last little thought, what happens at the end of the Pharisee track? Does it continue with more points? Maybe a suggestion is an end game there as well, with the Pharisees finding some (non-player) traitor.

I think the idea, instead, should be that the end of the Pharisees track should be so lucrative that it is almost a given that if it gets there, the Traitor will betray and almost certainly win the game.

Thanks again!

-Jeff

jwarrend
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Re: First thoughts at a glance

sedjtroll wrote:
jwarrend wrote:

The main function of the last turn is for the dual purpose of (a) making the game end scoring of other players uncertain to the Traitor, and (b) adding the thematic element of "redemption" -- that having unused cards in your hands is "bad", in the sense that they were unfulfilled potential -- yet, God uses them to turn them around and have something "good" happen -- more Deeds are performed.

The scoring vs traitor makes sense. I'm still thinking though that the game would be deeper the other way- I see your concern, but if you seperate the player from the disciple then only the one that chooses to betray Jesus is the traitor. The Pharisees are, after all, trying to tempt all the disciples... not just 1 (aren't they?)

From the text, one doesn't get the sense that all of the disciples were targets for possible betrayal. One gets the sense that Judas volunteered for the job, as it were. I'll say more on the subject below...

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As for (b), I think that sounds pretty tenuous and tacked on (no offense).

Well, it is meant to be a bit tenuous -- it's thematic consonance, not explicit theme-mechanic overlap. The point is, the Gospels don't end on the "sour note" of the crucifixion, but on the "high note" of the Resurrection and the empowerment of the Disciples to go out and do great things. And I sort of want the game to be that way as well. Yes, it's only a game, but still, the point is, the story doesn't end on the cross, and I don't think the game should, either. See my proposed "reworking" of the end game in my note to Torrent. Does that seem any better?

Quote:
Right, I meant there'd be, say, 9 face down secret goals, dealt from a deck of 'more than 9' goals, plus the traitor. That way you can't really narrow down someone else's goal as easily because there are more that it could be, and some are not represented in the game. Also, the games would have a wider variety because there are more possible combinations of goals for you and your opponents.

On the other hand, having a more restricted set of goals would mean that you probably could figure out, based on their actions, what goals other people were working on, and move in such a way to prevent them from obtaining it (not exactly in the spirit of the theme, but hey, it is a competitive game, after all!)

There seems to be a lot of interest in the Goals, and I'm glad this is an idea people like. However, I'm not sure I have a terribly interesting set of Goals cooked up yet. I'm thinking of things like:

-- Perform 4 Healings
-- Perform a Deed in at 5 different towns
-- Perform the largest number of Exorcism deeds
-- Perform more Deeds than the Traitor

etc.

Any other great suggestions? It's kind of a simple game system, so building a lot of variety into the goals system may be tough...

Quote:

As I mentioned above, it's the players that may be willing to turn on Jesus, if the payoff from the Pharisees is big enough (like bigger than your current score, and bigger than other players' current scores)... not the Disciples.

I'm not sure I can enforce such a mental divorce between "players" and "disciples" as you. This isn't an rpg, but still, the players are taking on the role of the disciples. The game mechanics should work in such a way that the decisions you face should, at some level, reflect those faced by the Disciples.

I have thought about this a lot, believe me, and I"ve come to the conclusion that a game where anyone can flip on Jesus if it's to their advantage to do so just doesn't work for me. I think such a game would be more appropriate as a pirate ship game, where anyone can trigger a mutiny against the captain if it will benefit them. A great example of just this idea is Meuterer.

I understand your point, that it might create some interesting decisions if anyone can become the traitor. But, I want this game to be playable by Christians, and I feel that if one of the important strategies of the game is to wait for the opportune moment to flip on Jesus, many people (myself included) will be uncomfortable with that. I understand that this is exactly the goal for one of the players (the traitor), but the whole point is, that player is functioning as Judas -- he is the "bad apple" among the good apples. Using a little bit of imagination to put yourself in that situation will, I think, make the game rich and interesting, but if ALL players were trying to put themselves in a position to take a payoff by betraying Jesus, it would not hit many Christian tables (and probably not mine).

I appreciate the thought you've put into this, however, I must tell you that this is not a change that I am willing to make to the design. If the games stays "light" rather than becoming "deep", this is a consequence I must accept, because the change would fundamentally jar the theme, I believe.

Moreover, while an "anyone can betray Jesus" may add depth, it may very well add chaos instead. And, while I haven't playtested yet, I really do think the metagame of "which of us is the traitor" could be a lot of fun as a game element, even if it's not as deep as "how can I delay Joe from flipping on Jesus so that I can flip on Jesus instead"?

I am fairly adamant about this, but I do sincerely appreciate your looking at the game from a different angle, and I do think the game you're describing could work very well -- but, I think it would need a completely different theme. The most appropriate, as I said, is a mutiny on a pirate ship, and that has been done in Meuterer as well as in the newly released "Mutiny!" (which I haven't played). Meuterer, I'd say, is almost exactly what you're describing. Check it out on the boardgamegeek site and see if you agree!

Thanks again for your thoughtful suggestions and arguments.

Jeff

jwarrend
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

Scurra wrote:
I think I have to disagree with Seth on this one, re players versus disciples. One of the things I like about the current set-up is the "hidden Traitor" thing - the fact that everyone knows that there is a traitor, but no-one is sure who it is. This is much more in keeping with the theme, and I also think it fits the current scoring system too, since if it was opened up to any player, then there would be some serious AP as players tried to work out whether giving up on goal scoring (which I think would have to be the trade-off) was worth the return. Whereas under the current system, players have to actively keep the Pharisee level down to minimise the Traitor's reward, making the Traitor's job much more difficult without giving themselves away.

I admit, this is not a point that I had fully appreciated; it's true that from an AP standpoint, it's much easier for all players (except the Traitor) to have the position "Pharisees track going up = bad".

Moreover, I think that's the only proper way for the theme to be evoked. If you're making decisions based on a thought process like this: "Ok, I'll do this good deed because it will make the Pharisees mad, then I will betray Jesus and they'll pay me more to do it!", you've just kissed the theme goodbye -- the whole game becomes about being opportunistic and manipulating things with no regard to which side you're on. I don't think it fits, and indeed, it may be more analysis-heavy since it's a bigger matrix of options you'd need to consider.

Quote:

(I am a little concerned by the "accuse someone" rule though - in a three-player game, if you aren't the Traitor then you have a 50-50 chance of accusing the Traitor, so you might as well do it on the first turn! Perhaps a player needs to be debarred from making an accusation until a later point in the game? I can see why you might not always want a Traitor in a three-player game... Maybe you have to simply have to randomly deal the 10 Goal cards out, so that there would always be a Traitor in a five-player game but perhaps there wouldn't be in a three- or four-player one.)

Yes, I think there needs to be a possibility in a smaller game that no one is the Traitor. Perhaps there also needs to be a punishment for an incorrect guess -- the wrongly accused player gets 1 card, perhaps? The reason there isn't currently such a thing is that a wrong guess is currently "punished" by making a correct guess easier for the remaining players (by virtue of the number of options being reduced). On the other hand, the possibility of a bad result doesn't address the problem of the possibility of a lucky guess. Maybe "you need to be within town of the player you're accusing", to make it slightly more difficult? I agree, having random guessing be rewarded is bad, but I'm not sure of a great fix.

One idea I tossed around is to have each player, at some point, write down who they think is the traitor, and if they are right, each gets the bonus, or something like that. Maybe it would be an event card. But, I don't know if this really makes things better, either -- in fact, it even more encourages (and rewards) guessing, since it requires you to guess!

Quote:

OTOH I think that more Goals would definitely be a good thing, but it would make the testing so much more difficult as you would need to try out a lot of permutations to make sure that none of them were broken :)
(cf. Balloon Cup for a classic example of this.)

Another thing I haven't really considered is Goals that weren't equal in value -- ie, you might draw a "harder" goal that was also worth more points. In the end, it's all the same from a balancing standpoint -- each goal needs to be worth a fair number of points, whether the value is the same across all cards or not -- but in the "unequal goals" model, it would make things a little less sure for the Traitor scoring wise. And, it's somewhat thematic -- after all, not all the Disciples were called to the same level of responsibility. But, in the interest of fairness, probably all the goals should be worth the same. Otherwise, maybe you should have some choice in which goal you want. Maybe everyone is dealt one "4 point goal" (one of which is "Traitor"), and then players can choose, for their second goal, either a 5 point goal or a 3 point goal...

Maybe there's even an Event that lets you draw an additional goal card...

Ahhh, the possibilities!

-Jeff

sedjtroll
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on another note

For what it's worth, I'd consider re-naming your game to simply Disciples or something. A name that begins with "The" is kind of :/

Possible exceptions being something already well known like maybe The Three Musketeers... but even then I think Scurra has it better off with his game name being All For One rather than The Three Musketeers.

I just noticed the name thing when looking in the GDW Archive list. I see a lot of great names of games in there... Profit and Provenence, Everest, 8/7 Central, Dirty Business... the one "The" seems to stand out.
Also, the game isn't playable by 12 people anyway

- Seth

Idea: What if there were 12 characters, and the players each played 1, and the others were basically NPCs (like Jesus) which would follow Jesus around (or randomly be in cities maybe) and suck up points from players (like sharing XPs in an RPG)... might make for some interesting things to think about regarding moving and scoring.

sedjtroll
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Another tangential thought

I noticed Jeff had more total posts than me, so i thought I'd post again.

Hi everyone :)

- Seth

Just so it's not completely unrelated- I understand what Jeff said about the game not ending on the cross, but after it.... but I really feel like actually taking turns afterwords seems really anti-climactic.

On the one hand, I guess it's ike 'triggering the game end' which happens in other games and isn't so bad- then everyone gets one last turn.

On the other hand you could say that all the game end scoring and stuff happens after the cross and it basically matches the theme that way...

jwarrend
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Re: on another note

sedjtroll wrote:
For what it's worth, I'd consider re-naming your game to simply Disciples or something. A name that begins with "The" is kind of :/

As I may have said somewhere else, all of my titles are working titles, and follow my philosophy of "function before form" -- they simply describe what the game is about. Actually, in my games notebook, I just have them labeled by number -- Game 1, Game 2, etc (this one is Game 9). When they're ready to playtest, I give them a working title like "Civ lite game" or "The 12 Disciples", and when they are sufficiently "done", I may cook up a more fancy-sounding working title like "Profit and Provenance". Should "the 12 Disciples" go to "the next level", I'll let the ad wizards from the publishing house cook up a snazzy name for it.

Quote:

Idea: What if there were 12 characters, and the players each played 1, and the others were basically NPCs (like Jesus) which would follow Jesus around (or randomly be in cities maybe) and suck up points from players (like sharing XPs in an RPG)... might make for some interesting things to think about regarding moving and scoring.

Hmmm...an interesting idea, but I'm afraid things could get a big cluttered on the board. An alternative would be that no player actually represents a Disciple, but that he may move any of the 12 disciples on the board and perform a Deed. This could actually invoke your concept of "the more people in one space, the better the chances of success" -- maybe having multiple disciples in one space reduces the cost of the action.

I think it's a bit weird from a thematic standpoint (who is moving the disciples around?), but might be a cute different take on the game.

Quote:
but I really feel like actually taking turns afterwords seems really anti-climactic.

This, in my opinion, is something that only playtesting could reveal. I think the most significant game-based argument for having an "endgame turn" effect is the traitor issue. Of course, it just shifts the AP issues to the non-traitors, but in the version I proposed to Torrent, they'd probably be limited enough that they'd just do whatever maxed out their points, or something.

It may be something that will end up getting tossed in the end, but I think I need to at least try the game out with it in and see how it goes.

Thanks again!

-Jeff

Scurra
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Re: Another tangential thought

sedjtroll wrote:
I noticed Jeff had more total posts than me, so i thought I'd post again.

Yeah, but Jeff joined the board six weeks before you did :)

Anyway, I reckon your "12 NPCs" idea sucks. But only because that's how All for One works, so I'd be grateful if you didn't start suggesting it for everyone else. Plus I can tell you that my board gets pretty cluttered, and it's about four times bigger than Jeff's... ;)

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