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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

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sedjtroll
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Re: Another tangential thought

Scurra wrote:
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.

Sorry about that- it barely crossed my mind (and not until afterwards) that the suggestion was at all like All For One. In fact, it really isn't- in your game you move any character you want, while in my idea you would be a specific Disciple... there would just be more desciples than players, so the leftovers would follow rules like Jesus, moving mindlessly around the board- their purpose would be to follow Jesus around (mayube a mechanic like the robots in Daleks- whenever Jesus moves, the Disciples move 1 step in his direction) and to either make more/less points for players (the more Disciples in the city when Jesus does X, the more/less points it's worth- interesting as with the movement idea just suggested, there would be more and more desciples with Jesus as the game goes on- could even use that as a game-end mechanism... game end triggered when all desciples are in the same city as Jesus, but that might not last long enough, and is probably a different game alltogether)

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Plus I can tell you that my board gets pretty cluttered, and it's about four times bigger than Jeff's... ;)

Oh, I didn't know that. I suppose that IS a pretty big concern. Yes, I guess 13 tokens on a board would indeed necessitate a large board. Or at least a lot of spaces. Say the board were on a grid the size of a Chessboard (8x8)... that's 64 squares only 1/5 of which would have guys in them... maybe not that bad after all.

Just thinking out loud...

- Seth

Scurra
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Re: Another tangential thought

sedjtroll wrote:
Scurra wrote:
Plus I can tell you that my board gets pretty cluttered, and it's about four times bigger than Jeff's... ;)

Oh, I didn't know that. I suppose that IS a pretty big concern. Yes, I guess 13 tokens on a board would indeed necessitate a large board. Or at least a lot of spaces. Say the board were on a grid the size of a Chessboard (8x8)... that's 64 squares only 1/5 of which would have guys in them... maybe not that bad after all.

"Cluttered" may be a relative term here. Jeff's board has, what, seven spaces on it, with four to six pieces altogether, but with the possibility of them all being in the same space at the same time. So it probably doesn't matter in a sense how large the board is, as long as it can cope with that. And there are no movement restrictions in Jeff's game either, so this is less of an issue - a piece can always move from one space to a neighbouring space. And that movement is relatively limited too, so that a piece doesn't fly around the board during a single turn. But the incentive to be in the same space as Jesus (whether by following or moving) means that there will probably be a tendency for spaces to have several tokens on them, thus reinforcing the impression of clutter.

Doubling (or tripling) the number of tokens means you would have to address issues like maximum space occupancy and so on. And doubling or tripling the number of spaces for them doesn't actually address that issue at all.

(For reference, All for One has a board with 26 spaces in total. and a maximum of 11 tokens moving around it at any one time. Due to the movement rules I have, you rarely get more than two tokens in the same space, although two are not infrequent. But unlike Jeff's board, the locations on mine do not have the same frequency of visitation, which leads to crowding around the centre and a feeling of "clutter".)

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 :/

And not to give any more attention to this pretty minor point, but I'll just observe that you will of course have heard of "The Settlers of Catan", "The Princes of Florence", "The Traders of Genoa", etc...

jwarrend
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Re: Another tangential thought

Scurra wrote:

Doubling (or tripling) the number of tokens means you would have to address issues like maximum space occupancy and so on. And doubling or tripling the number of spaces for them doesn't actually address that issue at all.

I admit, you guys have got me thinking. I don't really think I am in favor of adding 7 "NPCs" to the board, I think coming up with good movement rules would be an addition of complexity that probably wouldn't be justified by whatever improvement in gameplay. But, as a simpler change, it might make sense to have an additional effect of being in the same town as Jesus be that you get a discount on whatever action you're going to take. Under the current movement rules for Jesus (which I'll probably keep for now, just as a first pass), this would give more incentive for players to move Jesus around with them, although it might also create weird meta game effects where a player could perhaps "monopolize" Jesus' movement -- "Hey! Stop hogging Jesus!"

I don't know. Something worth thinking about. I do think that the disciples as NPCs could add an interesting twist to the Action cost system, but I need to think it through some more; my biggest concern is the movement issue. I think the "board clutter" effect would probably be less significant, but it would be easy to lay out the board and see, I guess.

jwarrend
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More thoughts about goals

I'm going to use this thread to think about a couple of "Secret Goals" for the game. Here are some I scribbled down this morning. I welcome your reactions to these, or suggestions for others.

-- Perform at least 4 Healings
-- Perform at least 4 Exorcisms
-- Preach in at least 3 Towns
-- Perform Deeds in 5 different towns
-- Perform more Deeds than the Traitor
-- Perform at least 2 Deeds for every Gospel token you hold
-- Perform 2 Deeds in each of the Cities (Jerusalem and Capernaum)
-- Perform more Compassion Deeds than any other player

I will update this along the way.

Also, I'm trying to think of Events that could work in such a way that the Traitor can advance his cause but must tip his hand a bit to do so.

For example, "each player must advance the marker on one of the 3 Anger Tracks". The overwhelming preference ought to be for the Jews track (or perhaps the Rome track, if it's at a low enough value) -- if the Traitor picks the Pharisees track, that might give him away in some sense. Or, alternatively, a non-traitor could do this to confuse the other players.

Anyway, this exact event might be too devastating, but I'm trying to think of things like this that would force the Traitor "out into the open", as it were.

Any suggestions along these lines are also welcome!

Scurra
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Re: Titles and so on

jwarrend wrote:

And not to give any more attention to this pretty minor point,

so I stir a little more... :)

jwarrend wrote:

but I'll just observe that you will of course have heard of "The Settlers of Catan", "The Princes of Florence", "The Traders of Genoa", etc...

But, of course, we always drop the definite article from those games when we talk about them. Whereas talking about a game called "Twelve Disciples" as opposed to "The Twelve Disciples" is odd. But calling the game just "The Disciples" would permit such a drop (even if you eventually added an "...of Jesus" or something to the end.)

And, from the other direction, I will note that one of those games is referred to widely as "Die Siedler" despite being normally called just "Settlers" in English.

I reckon we need another thread somewhere else about titles...

zaiga
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

OK, I managed to actually find some time to read the rules. I also read through the comments posted in this thread.

The theme of the game appeals to me a lot. Even though I am not a Christian myself, the story of Jesus' life has always greatly interested me. If this game would be a good strategy game and not overtly "evangelizing" then I'm pretty sure I would pick it up.

The rules are not too complicated, a good thing. There are a few things that remind me of "Urban Construct": the secret goal cards and the different tracks. Other than that the game seems to be completely different.

The drawing of action cards. There's the option of drawing from a blind pile, which will give you a card with (on average) 2 random symbols or drawing one card of a known symbol. I'm not sure if this really works. It seems that the best course of action is to draw from the blind pile most of the time and only draw a specific card if you really need it. If this is what you want than that is OK, of course, but I wonder if you have considered an alternative such as one blind pile and three or four open cards (ala Union Pacific). This way player's still have some control over what they draw and it introduces a subtle way of interaction as players may sometimes want to draw a card just to keep it out of the hands of another player.

I know that you penalize players for holding symbols in hand at the end of the game, but I don't like that much either. It penalizes player's for careful use of their resources and it seems counter-intuitive. I guess that you incorporated the negative scoring for symbols at the end because you want players to spend their cards instead of hoarding their cards, but drawing a card already costs an action, so a player who is left with many cards at the end of the game has already punished himself by taking useless actions.

Why is it necessary to perform the actions in a pre-described sequence? Does it break the game if players may choose the order? If it is to combat AP then I don't think it works, because players will now probably plan all their actions beforehand. Would the game still work if you were only allowed to perform two actions per turn? Then you could also get rid of the rule of "only 2 actions of a given type", which I don't like much. What if you got rid of drawing a card as an action and made it a mandatory thing at the end of a player's turn. I always like player's to draw at the end of turn, because t forces them to plan a head a bit and it also neatly signals "I'm done". Just brainstorming a bit here.

I also wonder how you control the length of the game. Disregarding the Traitor's special ability for a moment, the way the game ends is when the Rome track hits the end spot, the Roman track moves forward when the Jews track ever moves 2 or more in one direction. Is it possible that, through a particular combination of player actions and certain random factors, that the game takes a very long time (or the opposite: a very short time)? Not criticism necessarily, just wondering how you are going to keep the game length in check.

Despite the simple rules, there are a lot of ways to score points. Secret goal cards, guessing the Traitor, Gospels, cards in hand (negative points in this case) and the Pharisee bonus for the Traitor. Now, I like multiple paths to victory in a game, but this is a case of "Too Many Ideas Cramped Into A Single Game" [TM], I think. Find out what this game really should be about, get rid of the stuff that doesn't contribute to this and keep the stuff that does.

I already said I didn't like the negative points for symbols and I think you can get rid of that without losing much in the way of strategy. It does make the blind pile much more interesting than the open pile of action cards, but I already gave a suggestion to cope with that.

I don't like the "guess the Traitor" scoring. Just throw it out all together. There will still be a deduction element, because people will try to figure out which player will have which secret goal card based on what other players do and plan their own actions around that information.

Instead of having a fixed reward when a player has reached a goal on his card, make it a sliding scale. For example: "You gain 2 points for each performed Deed of Compassion to Sinners". I did the same with the secret goal cards in "Urban Construct" and it made the game much, much more interesting. Making the secret goal cards the main focus of scoring point (or at least 50% of the total VP's) would be a good thing in my opinion, because it gives focus to the game and it gives a clear goal to the players.

Incorporate the Gospel tokens into the scoring of the secret goal cards. For example: "you gain 3 points for each Gospel token". Get rid of that strange appendix round at the end of the game.

I think it is a good idea if performed Deeds themselves are also worth points in some way. Perhaps if a certain player performs the most Deeds in a single category (Preaching, Compassion, etc) he gets a certain amount of points, unless Jesus performed the most Deeds in that category. This would create competition between the players and it would add a nice twist to "asking Jesus to perform a Deed".

Perhaps it is fun if you make 12 secret goal cards each depicting an individual disciple. Each of them scores in a different way. Luke, John, Matthew and Mark would score points for Gospel tokens of course ;) Perhaps Peter would score points for performed Deeds and I'm sure you can come up with interesting scoring abilities for the other disciples. Judas would score points accoring to the advancement of the Pharisee track, although I have a different suggestion for Judas (more on that later). At the start of the game deal 2 disciple cards to each player, so that they can score points in 2 different ways. This means that with 3 players there is a 50% chance that one of the players is Judas and around 83% with 5 players. The idea that there may or may not be a Traitor could add some nice tension into the game in the form of paranoia :)

All right, now the trickiest part of the game is the role of the Traitor. I think I would incorporate Judas as an ordinary disciple, except that his scoring ability is a bit weaker than each of the other disciples. However, Judas has another ability: namely that of winning the game outright (no fiddly VP stuff) when at the end of his turn the Pharisee track has reached a certain treshold.

Now, the player drawing Judas (and one other disciple) has the option to play the game normally (yet at a slight disadvantage) or to try and betray Jesus and win the game outright. In this case it becomes very important to tweak the game so that if the other players get greedy and neglect the Pharisee track Judas will have a very good chance of betraying Jesus and winning the game. This means that all the players must invest something in keeping the Pharisee track low, with the exception of the player who drew Judas, balancing the game. It will be tough to balance all the secret goals, but it will be great if it works!

Good luck with the game!

- Rene Wiersma

Scurra
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

zaiga wrote:

Perhaps it is fun if you make 12 secret goal cards each depicting an individual disciple. Each of them scores in a different way. Luke, John, Matthew and Mark would score points for Gospel tokens of course ;) Perhaps Peter would score points for performed Deeds and I'm sure you can come up with interesting scoring abilities for the other disciples. Judas would score points accoring to the advancement of the Pharisee track,

Now that's brilliant (except that it is probable that none of the Gospel writers were disciples; certainly Luke and Mark weren't!)
It gives a theme linkage to the Secret Goal cards, and (as observed) can mean that you can have a five-player game without a "Traitor".

I'm not sure I agree with the idea about an "outright victory" for the Traitor though; ISTM that it somehow devalues the work the other players have done during the game. But I do like a scaled Secret Goal score - that matches up better with the scaled points the Traitor gets on the Pharisee line too.

Anonymous
Play it

"already said I didn't like the negative points for symbols and I think you can get rid of that without losing much in the way of strategy. It does make the blind pile much more interesting than the open pile of action cards, but I already gave a suggestion to cope with that. "

I think Jeff wants this mechanic not just for strategic purposes but to bring out the idea that one should not waste their talents. It plays off a parable in the Gospels. Its clever without being preachy.

Jeff, I will have to think on the bonus idea for each individual player. The important point would be that each "goal" is rather equal in its difficulty, or there is a variance of points awarded for each one.

At this point it seems you should just play the game with what you have, then see where serious adjustments need to be made.

Anonymous
Zealot Revolution!

Now that's brilliant (except that it is probable that none of the Gospel writers were disciples; certainly Luke and Mark weren't!)<br />
It gives a theme linkage to the Secret Goal cards, and (as observed) can mean that you can have a five-player game without a "Traitor". 

You could have some fun with a few of these like doubting Thomas (must end game in the same town as Jesus) or Simon the Zealot, someting along the lines of winning his goal if the Jews are outraged at the end of the game.
Some fun flavor to be had here.

jwarrend
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

zaiga wrote:

The theme of the game appeals to me a lot. Even though I am not a Christian myself, the story of Jesus' life has always greatly interested me. If this game would be a good strategy game and not overtly "evangelizing" then I'm pretty sure I would pick it up.

Great, I'm glad to hear it appeals to you. Indeed, I don't think the game should be terribly "preachy"; I think, like any game, it creates a context for social interaction. Presumably a group of Christians playing the game could get into the game more deeply if they wanted to, whereas non-Christians could of course just enjoy the simply for what it is -- (hopefully) a fun game!

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The rules are not too complicated, a good thing. There are a few things that remind me of "Urban Construct": the secret goal cards and the different tracks. Other than that the game seems to be completely different.

Total coincidence. I know almost nothing about Urban Construct, and the majority of the mechanics of this one have been in place for many months. I know you're not accusing me or anything, it's just funny how very different games can still exploit similar mechanical concepts...

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The drawing of action cards. There's the option of drawing from a blind pile, which will give you a card with (on average) 2 random symbols or drawing one card of a known symbol. I'm not sure if this really works.

Maybe not; this is one of those things playtesting will hopefully catch. I think the idea is that the face-up piles give you "exactly what you want", but at reduced value compared to the face-down draw pile. It's certainly unique, but whether it works or not, we'll see. Also, I'll point out that there's no guarantee you'll get a better card in drawing from the face-down pile. There are some value-1 cards in there as well.

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I know that you penalize players for holding symbols in hand at the end of the game, but I don't like that much either. It penalizes player's for careful use of their resources and it seems counter-intuitive. I guess that you incorporated the negative scoring for symbols at the end because you want players to spend their cards instead of hoarding their cards, but drawing a card already costs an action, so a player who is left with many cards at the end of the game has already punished himself by taking useless actions.

That's a fair point. I think that based on my discussion with Torrent, I've tentatively decided to reward the player who has the fewest symbols left at the game end, and he gets VP equal to the number of symbols he has. I want players to have to cut it close to the bone. You make the point that "card hoarders" have wasted their actions, but the game end is uncertain in this one, thus, card-hoarding might be viable -- it would give you the flexibility to take any action, except that, you can never know when you're going to be accounted. I think the new system will work better, and continue to make this difficult for the traitor to calculate.

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Why is it necessary to perform the actions in a pre-described sequence? Does it break the game if players may choose the order? If it is to combat AP then I don't think it works, because players will now probably plan all their actions beforehand.

I think people will do that either way. I guess I can't make a super-compelling case, but I think the idea is mainly that you can't have Jesus perform a Deed, and then perform a Deed yourself at greatly reduced cost. That, and you can't "Deed-hop", in other words, go to town A, perform a Deed, go to town B and perform another. It may not matter much, but I think a little restriction never hurts...

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Would the game still work if you were only allowed to perform two actions per turn?

Maybe, but my sense is no. Because you draw an Event/Deed card on your turn, this would be too many card draws to actions. But, it may turn out that 3 actions is a happy medium!

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Then you could also get rid of the rule of "only 2 actions of a given type", which I don't like much.

I don't think this rule is all that bad. I understand that we as designers want our rules to be as clean as possible, but this is an example of a rule that sounds clunky but in practice, is easily internalized. "Can I draw a 3rd card? No, I cannot, I'm limited to two of each type." It's not really that bad.

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What if you got rid of drawing a card as an action and made it a mandatory thing at the end of a player's turn. I always like player's to draw at the end of turn, because t forces them to plan a head a bit and it also neatly signals "I'm done". Just brainstorming a bit here.

I considered the draw as a "forced option", but that led to the "two-step turn" which I'm sure someone else would have complained about had I done that! Now that I think about it, card draws (still optional) at the turn end might be a nice rule, in the sense that if you draw to start your turn, you then have to spend time thinking about what you've just pulled and what you're going to do, whereas if you draw later, you have your resources before you, so to speak, and you know what's available.

The only reason I'm inclined to leave it as is is the action tracks -- let's say at the end of your last turn, you drew cards such that you had 3 Heal symbols -- the Heal track was on 2, so you figured you'd be all set. But then, two other players drew Heal Deeds, and performed them, so now, the Heal track is on 4, meaning you can't perform a Heal Deed this turn. I think this could be an interesting way to make things cagey (and argue in favor of your 3 generic face up draw piles model -- "oh, Rene is drawing Heal cards -- let's make "Heal" deeds a little tougher!"), but it might also make planning more difficult rather than less.

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I also wonder how you control the length of the game. Disregarding the Traitor's special ability for a moment, the way the game ends is when the Rome track hits the end spot, the Roman track moves forward when the Jews track ever moves 2 or more in one direction. Is it possible that, through a particular combination of player actions and certain random factors, that the game takes a very long time (or the opposite: a very short time)? Not criticism necessarily, just wondering how you are going to keep the game length in check.

I think the idea is that through the Deed cards and Events, the "upper limit" of the game will be inevitable, assuming players perform most of the Deeds (and if they don't, the Traitor may pounce on that for mucho points). It's a difficult balance -- you're giving control to the players to determine where the game will end, but at the same time, if they don't perform the Deeds (and accept the consequences), they can't score points, so someone will break at some point. The idea is just that the Deeds must be balanced such that the end can't be avoided, but neither will it occur in just a couple of turns. It will take some work to achieve this, but it's manageable in principle.

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Despite the simple rules, there are a lot of ways to score points. Secret goal cards, guessing the Traitor, Gospels, cards in hand (negative points in this case) and the Pharisee bonus for the Traitor. Now, I like multiple paths to victory in a game, but this is a case of "Too Many Ideas Cramped Into A Single Game" [TM], I think. Find out what this game really should be about, get rid of the stuff that doesn't contribute to this and keep the stuff that does.

I'm somewhat less worried about this. I don't think it's so much "multiple paths to victory", because the Deed cards + Goals will really be the main VP vehicle, but there will be some little ways of getting "extra" VPs -- finding the Traitor, writing a Gospel, or having the fewest Symbols in hand at game end. I think it's just enough mechanisms to make perfect calculation by the traitor difficult.

Keep in mind, the Traitor's score is ONLY the Pharisee track level plus the number of Deeds on the table at the game end.

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I already said I didn't like the negative points for symbols and I think you can get rid of that without losing much in the way of strategy. It does make the blind pile much more interesting than the open pile of action cards, but I already gave a suggestion to cope with that.

How does my solution do at addressing your concern, and still preserving my intent?

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I don't like the "guess the Traitor" scoring. Just throw it out all together.

I respectfully disagree. Perhaps it should be less valuable, but I think it has potential to up the fun factor a bit.

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There will still be a deduction element, because people will try to figure out which player will have which secret goal card based on what other players do and plan their own actions around that information.

This is possibly true, but I don't see what harm a small bonus for figuring it out does.

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Instead of having a fixed reward when a player has reached a goal on his card, make it a sliding scale. For example: "You gain 2 points for each performed Deed of Compassion to Sinners". I did the same with the secret goal cards in "Urban Construct" and it made the game much, much more interesting. Making the secret goal cards the main focus of scoring point (or at least 50% of the total VP's) would be a good thing in my opinion, because it gives focus to the game and it gives a clear goal to the players.

I haven't actually written up Goal cards yet, so this is very much in the realm of the possible. What I really like about this is that it continues to make calculating everyone else's score difficult. The traitor can't say "well, if he's completed both goals, the MOST he can have is X+6" or something. But, it's perhaps more of a pain to balance, ie, having 5-10 goals that are all "equally good". Although, if they were all variants on "get a bonus for each deed of this type you perform", it would really streamline the "who has what goal?" guesswork, and I guess, with only 5 goals, figuring out "which of us is the Traitor?" would be simplified somewhat. On the other hand, I sort of felt that having 2 goals to work on might make things more interesting, but perhaps it just needs some more thought...

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Incorporate the Gospel tokens into the scoring of the secret goal cards. For example: "you gain 3 points for each Gospel token". Get rid of that strange appendix round at the end of the game.

Again, the "appendix round" is important because the Traitor can't perfectly know how many Deeds will remain on the board. And also, I'll point out that I'm proposing changing the Appendix round to being either "Write a Gospel" or "Perform a Deed with the cards in your hand". This will give players who are "out" of the gospel scoring a chance to get some last points.

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I think it is a good idea if performed Deeds themselves are also worth points in some way.

You do get one point for each Deed; or did you mean something else?

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Perhaps if a certain player performs the most Deeds in a single category (Preaching, Compassion, etc) he gets a certain amount of points, unless Jesus performed the most Deeds in that category. This would create competition between the players and it would add a nice twist to "asking Jesus to perform a Deed".

This isn't a bad idea, although it does add another layer to the scoring systems! I do like the possible idea of having to compare your Deeds to those of Jesus for the very reason you mention, but that will probably have to wait one or two iterations to see how the current system works.

I've also considered making the Deeds worth something other than just "1 each", but I'm not sure.

Another possibility could be to have a way of grouping the Deeds in addition to location and category. For example, maybe some Deeds fall into the class "Characters" -- these are specific people you need to help -- Mary Magdalene, Nicodemus, etc. And, they need different actions (Mary -- Exorcism, Nicodemus -- Preaching), but the player who has the most Deeds in each of these categories gets some points. It could add another layer to decision making, but there should probably only be 2 or 3 categories, for simplicity.

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Perhaps it is fun if you make 12 secret goal cards each depicting an individual disciple. Each of them scores in a different way. Luke, John, Matthew and Mark would score points for Gospel tokens of course ;) Perhaps Peter would score points for performed Deeds and I'm sure you can come up with interesting scoring abilities for the other disciples.

Minor nitpick -- Luke and Mark weren't disciples. Luke was a follower of Paul, Mark is thought to have been Peter's secretary.

That notwithstanding, this is a cute idea. But, I'm not so sure it would be easy to come up with good goals for some of the Disciples -- imagine coming up with a goal for Thaddeus or Bartholomew, who we know only by name? Still, a nice thought, to be sure...

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Judas would score points accoring to the advancement of the Pharisee track, although I have a different suggestion for Judas (more on that later). At the start of the game deal 2 disciple cards to each player, so that they can score points in 2 different ways. This means that with 3 players there is a 50% chance that one of the players is Judas and around 83% with 5 players. The idea that there may or may not be a Traitor could add some nice tension into the game in the form of paranoia :)

All right, now the trickiest part of the game is the role of the Traitor. I think I would incorporate Judas as an ordinary disciple, except that his scoring ability is a bit weaker than each of the other disciples. However, Judas has another ability: namely that of winning the game outright (no fiddly VP stuff) when at the end of his turn the Pharisee track has reached a certain treshold.

Don't be so sure the VP system is necessarily "fiddly" -- I think it has potential for a rich set of decisions; the decision rests much more with the Traitor in my version. In yours, it's more with the Disciples trying to go into "prevention" mode. In fact, I could see all sorts of shenanigans like playing "hot potato" with Jesus, trying to keep Him away from the Traitor so He can't be betrayed. It's certainly worth considering, but it's such a big change that I think it's worth trying my existing version first.

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Good luck with the game!

Thanks! And thanks for the great suggestions. I think it's probably premature to implement some of them, but they all have a lot of potential. Thanks again!

-Jeff

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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

Ok, I've finally read through the rules and the replies (FWIW I've found that I have to read through rules on paper -- it doesn't work for me on screen for some reason -- and I've been out of toner for 3 days :) ).

First let me say that I think the game is extremely clever and does a fantastic job of evoking the politics of the time (and a pretty good job of evoking the lives of the disciples). It's a game I could see myself playing for fun, even though I'm not much of a Christian. You don't have to be an archeologist to enjoy Tikal.

Obviously some of the things I would have commented on have been covered, and some of your potential changes modify what I was thinking, so here's what's left:

Here's another way to move Jesus, another one that doesn't have the "Jesus, follow me!" factor: At the end of your turn -- end, not beginning (though you could have the deed card draw be last) -- you can either leave Jesus where he is or move him one town towards the town with the most deeds, ties decided by the mover. This will keep Jesus moving around, generally working towards the cities with the most deeds, but because you can choose not to move him (and often will, I think), Jesus won't be hopping around like crazy.

I love the traitor idea -- nicely thematic and it seems like fun -- but there's one thing I think I missed: Other than giving one player 3 points when he guesses you correctly, why do you care if anyone figures out who you are? They can't really make it much more difficult for you to move the Pharisees, I don't think. I don't really think there's enough of a downside to being revealed.

One possibility would be that if you are accused then you lose x points, period, whether you're the traitor or not. If the accuser is right then he gains y points, but if the accuser is wrong then he loses x or y points. If all but one person has been falsely accused then no one can accuse the remaining guy (no process of complete elimination allowed). This will also keep the traitor from falsely accusing, which I think is a good thing... he needs to feel paranoid, imo. In addition, losing x points for a false accusation both fits thematically (you shouldn't go around accusing people) and prevents people from accusing lightly, which is good mechanically.

Another thing that could be used to (a) make the traitor look a little more suspicious and (b) make the traitor not want to reveal himself is if the traitor loses points for having Gospel tokens if he betrays. I think it works both thematically (he keeps seeing evidence that Christ is special so it counts against his traitorous act) and mechanically (he won't want to hang around Jesus until he has to, changing his behavior). If he doesn't betray then award him for having the least Gospel tokens (if he does) so he can make up for losing a goal.

I think it's important that deeds not count towards multiple goals, as that will reward luck of the deal. The player must choose one goal or the other for a deed to apply to. Example: if you get "Perform at least 4 Healings" and "Perform at least 4 Exorcisms" then that's 8 different deeds you need to do to fulfill both, but if you get "Preach in at least 3 Towns" and "Perform Deeds in 5 different towns" then you've only got to do deeds in 5 different towns and make certain that 3 of them are preaching. I know those aren't your final goals, but any amount of overlap allowed will result in luck playing a much heavier role than I think you intend.

I like the final round... it's great thematically, and it just means that betrayal signals the last round, not that it's the end of the game. I quite like the redemption aspect. In fact I think the traitor should be able to get points for final deeds performed, too, allowing him to also be redeemed (maybe not quite thematic, suicide and all, but more pleasant for the traitor player).

I agree that game length control is going to be a problem. I think you need some additional inexorable "event timer" or "turn timer" that will bring the game to an end no matter what, in a reasonable time.

Lastly, I think I saw an indication in one of your replies that you were considering making drawing a deed optional (as an action)... I'm pretty sure you weren't, but just in case: you can't do that, as no one will be that magnanimous, risking a chance that the deed won't be within his reach. However, I do like the idea of drawing the deed card last instead of first, to signal turn end. Though it won't cut down on A/P (since the previous player put down a deed just before your turn), it is a nice "my turn is done" signal.

Hope those ideas help, perhaps sparking some new ideas for you or (just as good) cementing the ideas you already have.

Again, great game!

-- Matthew

jwarrend
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

FastLearner wrote:

First let me say that I think the game is extremely clever and does a fantastic job of evoking the politics of the time (and a pretty good job of evoking the lives of the disciples). It's a game I could see myself playing for fun, even though I'm not much of a Christian. You don't have to be an archeologist to enjoy Tikal.

Thanks fast. Indeed, the game is meant to be a solid game first and foremost, and I hope gamers of all creeds would enjoy playing it.

Quote:

Here's another way to move Jesus, another one that doesn't have the "Jesus, follow me!" factor: At the end of your turn -- end, not beginning (though you could have the deed card draw be last) -- you can either leave Jesus where he is or move him one town towards the town with the most deeds, ties decided by the mover. This will keep Jesus moving around, generally working towards the cities with the most deeds, but because you can choose not to move him (and often will, I think), Jesus won't be hopping around like crazy.

I think this has a lot of potential, thanks! In fact, this could help to answer your own question below, "who cares who the Traitor is?" If you know who it is, you could play "keep away" with Jesus. Probably just as silly as "Jesus, follow me!", but it might matter. Anyway, this is a nice, simple system, I'll consider implementing it as an alternative to my own!

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I love the traitor idea -- nicely thematic and it seems like fun -- but there's one thing I think I missed: Other than giving one player 3 points when he guesses you correctly, why do you care if anyone figures out who you are? They can't really make it much more difficult for you to move the Pharisees, I don't think. I don't really think there's enough of a downside to being revealed.

Maybe not. I'm hoping playtesting will reveal this. I think the idea is, I guess, that knowing on whose turn Jesus could be betrayed gives you a better idea of exactly when certain things need to happen. For example, maybe on my turn, I perform a Deed that forces me to increase the Pharisees to a slightly dangerous level, but I do it anyway hoping that the next player isn't the Traitor. Whereas, if I know that the next player is the traitor, you can bet I won't do that Deed.

I think the idea is that moving the Pharisees up will be difficult to avoid, and moving them down will be expensive, so knowing who the traitor is will help you know when those actions are priorities. And, this is a game of inches, so the points towards identifying the Traitor should certainly help.

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One possibility would be that if you are accused then you lose x points, period, whether you're the traitor or not.

I don't think this is a good solution, particularly if someone just took a wild guess. Even if not, you shouldn't be penalized just for "acting suspicious" or something...

Quote:

If the accuser is right then he gains y points, but if the accuser is wrong then he loses x or y points.

This is more the idea -- that there should be an "incorrect guess" penalty. I think it might be that you have to give a card to the guy you falsely accused, perhaps...(plus, you've given more info to the other players, making it easier for them to guess correctly -- don't disregard this effect!)

Quote:

If all but one person has been falsely accused then no one can accuse the remaining guy (no process of complete elimination allowed). This will also keep the traitor from falsely accusing, which I think is a good thing... he needs to feel paranoid, imo. In addition, losing x points for a false accusation both fits thematically (you shouldn't go around accusing people) and prevents people from accusing lightly, which is good mechanically.

Right. I want to see how the whole "accusation thing" works out in the tests. Can you actually figure out who the Traitor is, or is it too tough? I want to add some events that would help you narrow it down a bit...

Quote:

Another thing that could be used to (a) make the traitor look a little more suspicious and (b) make the traitor not want to reveal himself is if the traitor loses points for having Gospel tokens if he betrays. I think it works both thematically (he keeps seeing evidence that Christ is special so it counts against his traitorous act) and mechanically (he won't want to hang around Jesus until he has to, changing his behavior). If he doesn't betray then award him for having the least Gospel tokens (if he does) so he can make up for losing a goal.

This is the right kind of thinking. In the original, the Traitor lost points for performing Deeds, same idea. However, I think "Traitor gets VP for unfilled Deeds" is enough of an incentive -- he doesn't want to do deeds, but has to to avoid looking suspicious. These are the right kinds of things to incorporate. (except a bonus for having least Gospel tokens -- you don't reward a bad person for failing to succeed at being bad!)

Quote:

I think it's important that deeds not count towards multiple goals, as that will reward luck of the deal. The player must choose one goal or the other for a deed to apply to.

Excellent analysis, thanks!

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I like the final round... it's great thematically, and it just means that betrayal signals the last round, not that it's the end of the game. I quite like the redemption aspect. In fact I think the traitor should be able to get points for final deeds performed, too, allowing him to also be redeemed (maybe not quite thematic, suicide and all, but more pleasant for the traitor player).

Hey, finally someone who likes the final round! All right! I think for now I'll compromise and have it be a "final action" -- you either do a Deed, or write a Gospel. Nice and simple. The Traitor doesn't score points for Deeds he's performed, and since he scores for unfinished Deeds at the game end, he wouldn't want to perform any. As for allowing him to "repent" -- I considered something like this, but true repentence is about recognizing your wrongdoing and being sorry for it, not "choosing the path that maxes out your score". Since there isn't really a strong ingredient of right and wrong in this game (ie, the player being the traitor isn't "bad" -- he's just playing a game), opportunistic stuff like "repenting" such that your score maxes out appears to give you the letter of thematic consonance, but in actuality it's pretty devoid of the real substance, and that's why I didn't use something like that. But, it is a good thought!

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I agree that game length control is going to be a problem. I think you need some additional inexorable "event timer" or "turn timer" that will bring the game to an end no matter what, in a reasonable time.

Probably. I could always toss some "move Rome up one" events, as well...

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Lastly, I think I saw an indication in one of your replies that you were considering making drawing a deed optional (as an action)...

No, I wasn't considering this. I probably just misspoke. It is true that drawing a Deed won't happen every turn (sometimes you'll get an "event" instead).

I think what you might be referring to was making drawing Action cards mandatory rather than a turn option. I suspect I'll keep it as is for now.

Quote:

I'm pretty sure you weren't, but just in case: you can't do that, as no one will be that magnanimous, risking a chance that the deed won't be within his reach. However, I do like the idea of drawing the deed card last instead of first, to signal turn end. Though it won't cut down on A/P (since the previous player put down a deed just before your turn), it is a nice "my turn is done" signal.

Now, "reveal a Deed at the end of your turn" is not a bad option at all. But, I can't make enough of an intellectual case as to why it's clearly better than "at the start of your turn", so I'll probably try it as-is first.

Quote:

Hope those ideas help, perhaps sparking some new ideas for you or (just as good) cementing the ideas you already have.

Definitely! Thanks so much again for your excellent feedback.

Jeff

hpox
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

I haven't read the thread but hopefully theses first impressions will be useful somehow.

Overall the rules, presentation & sample images were excellent and the game seemed pretty rich and well done. So forgive me but I'll list only the bad stuff and suggest some ideas. :)

GAMEPLAY : Turn

Quote:
Next, the player may take a total of 4 actions from the following list. He may take only 2 actions of a given type, and he must perform the actions in the order indicated

Then you've got a list of 5 actions. So, 4 of 5 but only 2 of the same in the order 1,2,3,4,5. I imagine every player will have a some kind of player-aid card.

Is the order necessary? Of course you'll always want to draw an action card before moving, same for performing a deed. But that restriction does not let a player move, perform a deed, move, perform a deed. Do you really want to avoid people performing 2 deeds at 2 different cities?

If a player move to a city, perform a deed, draw a card and that puts a deed on the city he was previously on, too bad. Seems to me that this rule will be "more or less" followed without having to tell it.

To be frank, it also reads complicated because it's a third rule to follow (having to think about) when playing your turn. If it is followed subconsciously then it will be "forgotten" as a strict rule because almost ALL cases will conform to it. So what will happen when a player wants to perform 2 deeds at 2 different cities? By the rules, he can't and the rule-lawyer will point it out (now, or maybe after he lost the game). Of course, there might be a very strong reason to follow order that I don't see.

GAMEPLAY : Move to an adjacent town

That's the only way to move Jesus right? Seems out of theme, wouldn't it be better if players had to follow jesus and predict where he's going. If mechanically it would work, Jesus could have a predefined path or a very straightfoward algorithm and move once each time it's a player's turn.

GAMEPLAY : Have Jesus perform a Deed

I was looking over the big actions list (5 is a lot) and wondering what could be cut to streamline the actions... This is the obvious choice. Keeping in line with the previous suggestion of having Jesus move on his own: Why should a player use an action to have Jesus do something?

Jesus can handle himself. The proposition is to have at the beginning (or the end) of each turn a quick Jesus phase. Move him and he perform the topmost deed card (or something else) of that city where he arrive at. People in this city receive a gospel token if the deed was a big one (4). I have a funny picture in my mind of a Jesus "stealing" (performing deeds at a city before the player can) easy deeds from players.

With this, you're adding a new phase but also removing the least used action bringing down the total of actions to a more reasonable 4. Think about this ; The least used action could be forgotten (how it works) by players. While if you put it in a phase that is done every single turn by every player, it will become automatic and it won't be thought of as an action.

Like in Puerto Rico where it make sense that you need colonists working in a corn field to produce corn, it make sense that Jesus decide where he goes and what deed he perform. It doesn't make sense that people move him around and tell him what deed to perform. Not sure this is such a good example...

GAMEPLAY : Identifying the traitor

Don't like this at all. "At any time", seems like it will be obvious who the traitor is. Another "action" that is almost never used. I see what could be good about it, but I don't like it at all. It deny a potential of 4 points to the Traitor too.

Get rid of it.

GAME END

It's the game end but players still get another turn! Oh and the traitor cannot play that last turn. No! not true, he can play if he didn't betray, if he did, he can't! Ah... ok.

The game end and final scoring part of the rules are not the most easy to read and understand. Even worst is you'll get to do it just once per game so each time you play, you'll have forgotten how it's done. But I think it's just a problem of organization and density of text w/o pictures or tables.

Suggestion: For the last turn, remove the Jesus pawn from play. By doing so, you don't have to specify that players can only do this and that action. Since Jesus is not there anymore, he can't perform deeds. For the "create motion" action on the Pharisees track problem (ie: you don't want a player to reduce scoring of the traitor) just give the Traitor his Pharisees points immediately after he betray.

Again, I listed only the stuff I saw as "bad" because otherwise it looks delicious!

Scurra
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

hpox wrote:

Suggestion: For the last turn, remove the Jesus pawn from play. By doing so, you don't have to specify that players can only do this and that action. Since Jesus is not there anymore, he can't perform deeds.

That's a simple solution that fits thematically (since you've already established that the last turn is "post-Resurrection"). Plus it's fairly easy to remember to do.

jwarrend
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Re: Titles and so on

Scurra wrote:
jwarrend wrote:

And not to give any more attention to this pretty minor point,

so I stir a little more... :)

jwarrend wrote:

but I'll just observe that you will of course have heard of "The Settlers of Catan", "The Princes of Florence", "The Traders of Genoa", etc...

But, of course, we always drop the definite article from those games when we talk about them. Whereas talking about a game called "Twelve Disciples" as opposed to "The Twelve Disciples" is odd. But calling the game just "The Disciples" would permit such a drop (even if you eventually added an "...of Jesus" or something to the end.)

And, from the other direction, I will note that one of those games is referred to widely as "Die Siedler" despite being normally called just "Settlers" in English.

Ok, fine, I'll bite. Any of these grab anyone?

The Disciples of Jesus
Disciples of Jesus
Followers of Jesus
Disciples of Christ
Disciples of God
Sheep among Wolves
Fishers of Men
The Acts of the Disciples
(presumably, to be followed by the sequel game, "The Acts of the Apostles", of course!)

No need to tell me which you don't like, since these are just off the top of my head, but if you do like any I'm happy for the feedback...

-Jeff

jwarrend
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

hpox wrote:
I haven't read the thread but hopefully theses first impressions will be useful somehow.

That's fine. I want to again stress that following the discussion is not meant to be a requisite for contributing suggestions in the GDW. These conversations get big and unwieldy, but anyone should still feel free to chime in with suggestions. Thanks!

Quote:

Overall the rules, presentation & sample images were excellent and the game seemed pretty rich and well done. So forgive me but I'll list only the bad stuff and suggest some ideas. :)

Good enough, thanks!

Quote:

GAMEPLAY : Turn

Quote:
Next, the player may take a total of 4 actions from the following list. He may take only 2 actions of a given type, and he must perform the actions in the order indicated

Then you've got a list of 5 actions. So, 4 of 5 but only 2 of the same in the order 1,2,3,4,5. I imagine every player will have a some kind of player-aid card.

Is the order necessary? Of course you'll always want to draw an action card before moving, same for performing a deed. But that restriction does not let a player move, perform a deed, move, perform a deed. Do you really want to avoid people performing 2 deeds at 2 different cities?

I don't know. Is there any compelling reason to allow this? I understand that you (and others) are just making suggestions, but I think that without testing it's hard to know whether this is an undue restriction or not.

Quote:

To be frank, it also reads complicated because it's a third rule to follow (having to think about) when playing your turn. If it is followed subconsciously then it will be "forgotten" as a strict rule because almost ALL cases will conform to it. So what will happen when a player wants to perform 2 deeds at 2 different cities? By the rules, he can't and the rule-lawyer will point it out (now, or maybe after he lost the game). Of course, there might be a very strong reason to follow order that I don't see.

I think the bigger restriction is the idea that if you're going to have Jesus perform a Deed, you can't act after that. And indeed, you can't do Deeds in 2 towns. Is this important enough to merit the restriction? Maybe not. But come on, guys, this rule is not that difficult. Take 4 actions, no more than 2 of one type, and take them in this order. With a player aid card in front of you, this will be trivial, won't it?

I'm not saying that you might not be right, but I think there's a tendancy on this group (including with me) to nitpick about every single rule that doesn't seem totally simple. I can't imagine what would have happened if Wrede had workshopped Carcassonne on this group -- what would we have said about the Farmer scoring? Yet, it works just fine in the game. Slightly counter-intuitive rules are ok. But in this case, I think it's just the idea that the rules are a bit restrictive. And, maybe they're too restrictive-- we'll see!

Quote:

That's the only way to move Jesus right? Seems out of theme, wouldn't it be better if players had to follow jesus and predict where he's going.

I agree!

Quote:
If mechanically it would work, Jesus could have a predefined path or a very straightfoward algorithm and move once each time it's a player's turn.

And this is the rub! I haven't yet hit on a great algorithm, but I think Fast's idea was the closest -- "At the end of your turn, move Jesus toward the town with the most Deeds". On the other hand, we could also do it as a "visititation" mechanic, where Jesus moves one space each turn in a circuit, and maybe the 3rd time he comes to Jerusalem, the game ends, giving a fixed and definite end to the game which some people thought might be needed... I think I like a little more freedom of movement, but it's a thought, I guess...

Quote:

GAMEPLAY : Have Jesus perform a Deed

I was looking over the big actions list (5 is a lot) and wondering what could be cut to streamline the actions... This is the obvious choice. Keeping in line with the previous suggestion of having Jesus move on his own: Why should a player use an action to have Jesus do something?

First, of the 5 actions, two are "trivial" -- Draw a card, move one town. If there's an action that has to get hacked, my guess is actually that it will be the "Create motion on the tracks" option. I'm afraid players could use that too easily to lock the game up from ending. On the other hand, making it expensive, or (as my original rules had), giving you a penalty for doing this action, might also be good ways to allow players the option but make it undesirable.

As for why players use an action to have Jesus do something -- the motivation is twofold. One is that this is the only way to reset the Action tracks, and two is that it's the way to get Gospel tokens.

Quote:

Jesus can handle himself. The proposition is to have at the beginning (or the end) of each turn a quick Jesus phase. Move him and he perform the topmost deed card (or something else) of that city where he arrive at. People in this city receive a gospel token if the deed was a big one (4). I have a funny picture in my mind of a Jesus "stealing" (performing deeds at a city before the player can) easy deeds from players.

First, there aren't "easy Deeds/hard Deeds"; the cost of Deeds is set by the action tracks. I think your idea of a brief "Jesus phase" at the beginning of your turn is a possibility, although I'd probably want to have it once per round of turns. I'm a little concerned, though, that under the current system, Jesus can, by performing too many Deeds, deplete the deck. It may require a reenvisioning of how Deeds work. Right now, each card is tied (somewhat loosely) to an event from one of the Gospels, and the consequences are determined correspondingly. I could, I suppose, go to a system where instead of cards there were deed "tokens" that could appear randomly on the board, but I'm not sure whether the "consequence" system, an essential ingredient of the design, would fit as well into that context.

Quote:

With this, you're adding a new phase but also removing the least used action bringing down the total of actions to a more reasonable 4. Think about this ; The least used action could be forgotten (how it works) by players. While if you put it in a phase that is done every single turn by every player, it will become automatic and it won't be thought of as an action.

Oh, I'm not convinced at all that it will be "the least used action". Getting gospel tokens and cutting the Action costs could be very important. Paying 4 symbols to do an action will get expensive quickly. Reducing the cost could be (I would say, should be) essential to being able to afford to do anything. I am afraid that the action costs will accelerate too quickly (even though they're capped), but that can be tweaked. I'm also considering the possibility that having Jesus perform a Deed (and reset an action track) doesn't help you enough, since it gives everyone else a chance to perform low-cost actions before your turn comes around again.

My thinking is that currently, there are 2 ways the action tracks "creep up" -- when you draw a Deed, and when you perform one -- and in the end, maybe only one of these will stay, lest the game become impossible. But, no matter what, it should be tough!

Quote:

Like in Puerto Rico where it make sense that you need colonists working in a corn field to produce corn, it make sense that Jesus decide where he goes and what deed he perform. It doesn't make sense that people move him around and tell him what deed to perform. Not sure this is such a good example...

Change "tell" to "ask" and I think it's ok thematically. I agree, having a great algorithm for Jesus' movement and Deeds would be great, and I'm still trying to think of one, but I haven't come up with one yet. This one I think strikes the happy medium between the Disciples asking Jesus to perform a Deed (which did happen), and having the creative control to affect your destiny in the game (via reduction of action cost and receipt of Gospel tokens).

On the other hand, the other approach could work well, too;

Quote:

GAMEPLAY : Identifying the traitor

Don't like this at all. "At any time", seems like it will be obvious who the traitor is. Another "action" that is almost never used. I see what could be good about it, but I don't like it at all. It deny a potential of 4 points to the Traitor too.

Get rid of it.

I'm surprised by how unpopular this little mechanic has been. (I'm also surprised at how forceful some suggestions have been. Let's keep in mind that we're "suggesting" here, people, "suggesting"...)

Anyway, I would like to play it out and see how it works. I don't see how you can say it's "almost never used". Everyone will know, "hey, if I figure out the traitor, I get some points." This will create an atmosphere where people are watching each others' actions and trying to guess, based on the other players' actions, which one is dealing falsely. I think the reward incentivizes this aspect of the game. What I'm not sure about are the possibilities that (a) as Zaiga said, it may be too big a reward -- maybe just having figured it out for yourself is enough to be able to hose the traitor, or (b) as Fast said, it might be too little of a reward -- knowing who the Traitor is doesn't mean you can slow him down at all, and there's no incentive to the Traitor to be "secretive".

My feeling is that there's a good happy medium somewhere, where the meta-game of "who's the traitor?" is worth engaging in, but not the sole thrust of the game. And I think this minor reward definitely encourages this meta-game, which I think is an important part of the play experience I'm trying to create. Perhaps the rule could be considered "optional" such that "serious" players don't have to use it...

Quote:

The game end and final scoring part of the rules are not the most easy to read and understand. Even worst is you'll get to do it just once per game so each time you play, you'll have forgotten how it's done. But I think it's just a problem of organization and density of text w/o pictures or tables.

Excellent points. I have, based on the discussions, decided to streamline this aspect quite a bit. I agree, that part of the book is poorly written, but in the new version, it will be simpler. After Jesus is crucified, the player with the fewest symbols in his hand gets points equal to the number of symbols he holds. Then, everyone takes 1 action -- either "write a Gospel", making you eligible for Gospel VPs, or perform another Deed in an adjacent town. Then, it really ends. Much simpler, I think, but still preserving my intent (I think). It also has the nice effect of changing the "punitive" aspect of "lose points" to a "reward system" -- the player who best used his resources gained points.

Quote:

Suggestion: For the last turn, remove the Jesus pawn from play. By doing so, you don't have to specify that players can only do this and that action. Since Jesus is not there anymore, he can't perform deeds. For the "create motion" action on the Pharisees track problem (ie: you don't want a player to reduce scoring of the traitor) just give the Traitor his Pharisees points immediately after he betray.

Great suggestions, these will work perfectly. Thanks!

Quote:

Again, I listed only the stuff I saw as "bad" because otherwise it looks delicious!

Thanks again for your excellent feedback. Sorry if I came across as defensive at all, but I really do appreciate your time and thoughts on the game. Thanks!

-Jeff

jwarrend
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

Scurra wrote:
zaiga wrote:

Perhaps it is fun if you make 12 secret goal cards each depicting an individual disciple. Each of them scores in a different way. Luke, John, Matthew and Mark would score points for Gospel tokens of course ;) Perhaps Peter would score points for performed Deeds and I'm sure you can come up with interesting scoring abilities for the other disciples. Judas would score points accoring to the advancement of the Pharisee track,

Now that's brilliant (except that it is probable that none of the Gospel writers were disciples; certainly Luke and Mark weren't!)
It gives a theme linkage to the Secret Goal cards, and (as observed) can mean that you can have a five-player game without a "Traitor".

I agree, it's a great idea. Although, if everyone is drawing two cards, it jars the theme a wee bit -- are we one Disciple, or two, or what? And if we're two, how come the "straight" guy who's following the Traitor isn't turning him in? But, I agree, it has merit.

As for a 5 player game sans Traitor...I'm not sure. Have to think about it some more. Certainly, it would give more continuity between the 3, 4, and 5 player games.

Quote:

I'm not sure I agree with the idea about an "outright victory" for the Traitor though; ISTM that it somehow devalues the work the other players have done during the game. But I do like a scaled Secret Goal score - that matches up better with the scaled points the Traitor gets on the Pharisee line too.

I agree with the scaled secret goal, and I'm trying to think of ways to make those interesting. Here's an example I came up with:

"You receive one bonus point for each Heal Deed you have performed, plus two bonus points for each other player who performed more Heal Deeds than you"

I considered having something like this be just the latter part, but that would just mean you avoid doing Heal deeds. What I want to get across is the idea of needing to help the other players along as well. I think the game may give you ways of doing this, but I'm not yet sure.

In fact, possibly a way to enhance this is to add the rule that "being in the same town as Jesus, or other Disciples, gives you a discount on your action", either just a 1 point discount period, or a discount per pawn? This would work especially well with Matthew's movement suggestion for Jesus, since now Jesus moves "algorithmically" rather than at a player's whim. It would add another layer to making Jesus' location important, beyond just "Jesus can perform a Deed", and would also create a tangible way to "help" other players which the Goal cards could emphasize.

Much to think about! Thanks again!

-Jeff

Scurra
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

I would say that "Fishers of Men" would be a great title *if* you could be sure that people would get the reference.

(I must admit that I sort of imagined you'd already half-done the "Acts of the Apostles" sequel game - obviously set on a slightly larger board with Deeds causing the local Churches to grow and so on... :))

jwarrend
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

Scurra wrote:
I would say that "Fishers of Men" would be a great title *if* you could be sure that people would get the reference.

Yeah, I liked "Sheep among Wolves" for the same reason, but it's a more obscure scripture reference than "Fishers of Men." But actually, your journal entry on "All for One" made me think of it. It would be cool if the title both evoked the theme and described the game at the same time.

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(I must admit that I sort of imagined you'd already half-done the "Acts of the Apostles" sequel game - obviously set on a slightly larger board with Deeds causing the local Churches to grow and so on... :))

Yes, I've certainly considered the idea that Acts would be a "sequel" game (though I haven't really fleshed out any mechanics). And of course, the third game in the "trilogy" would probably be the "persecuted church". What would be cool would be if each of these was a stand-alone game of about 1 hour in length, but they could be "meshed" so as to be playable as a "campaign" game. I guess one player could be the permanent "bad guy" -- Traitor in "AotD", the "Roman establishment" in "AotA", and then Nero in "the Persecuted Church". Might be too much bad guy-ness for one person to stomach!

-J

zaiga
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

jwarrend wrote:
I agree, it's a great idea. Although, if everyone is drawing two cards, it jars the theme a wee bit -- are we one Disciple, or two, or what? And if we're two, how come the "straight" guy who's following the Traitor isn't turning him in? But, I agree, it has merit.

Jeff, according to the Gospel of Marc the disciples were sent by Jesus in pairs, so that's thematic justification right there ;)

- Rene Wiersma

Torrent
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

I like "Sheep Among Wolves". Or even maybe "Throwing Sheep to the Wolves", although that may be too much.

Sort of an odd thought, and I'm no Bible scholar so I don't know how thematic this is. What if you had only One Pawn on the board. This represents the entire group of Jesus + 12. Then there would be some sort of determine where to go with the group.
This would get rid of the 'following' vs 'leading' Jesus thing, and also allow for the thematic use of 1 Disciple per Card. However it would throw your whole Gospel thing out of whack, so I dunno.

jwarrend
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

zaiga wrote:

Jeff, according to the Gospel of Marc the disciples were sent by Jesus in pairs, so that's thematic justification right there ;)

Bingo! Nice thinking, thanks!

sedjtroll
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

As for the name, I like Acts of the Disciples, and I like simply Desciples (with definite articles thrown in as sen fit, to be removed by players anyway ;) )

As for the discussion of the traitor and guessing his identity... You've been clear that you want to stay in-theme, and you want players to feel like they're really the Disciples and whatnot- doing the things they ought to be and not things they oughtn't. Like "players shouldn't e willing to turn on Jesus at the drop of the hat if the payofff is big enough."

On that note, should the players all suspect each other of being a traitor I admit I haven't a clue what's in the scriptures... WERE the Disciples aware that there was a traitor in their midst? WERE they eager to jump on each other with accusations of trason against Jesus?

This comes back to the Traior mechanic again, and I see your point about one player (randomly determined) to be basially against the others- with the option of simply not betraying Jesus and scoring normally, but I think the game would simulate the feeling you seem to want (someone is tempted by the pharases to betray Jesus) if anyone could be the traitor.

At the moment, do the players have specific Disciples that they are associated with? Or are the generic disciples..? If the former, and one player is Judas, then sure-obviously he's the traitor. If the latter, then that's even more reason not to pre-determine the traitor.

And remember that the way the game is structured, it's not as if all players would be ready and willing to jump on the Pharisee's offer, because it wouldn't be in their best interest. However, if I player sets up for it, then it COULD turn into an opportunistic move for that player (not all players) at some point- but that's because they consciously tried to make that happen.

So I began this post simply to say that the Accusation thing does not appear to jive with what you want the game to do... but I ended up talking about the Traitor mechanic again... sorry about that.

- Seth

Deviant
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

sedjtroll wrote:

On that note, should the players all suspect each other of being a traitor I admit I haven't a clue what's in the scriptures... WERE the Disciples aware that there was a traitor in their midst? WERE they eager to jump on each other with accusations of trason against Jesus?
- Seth

Actually, yes. At the Last Supper, Jesus gave his disciples the whole "bread is my flesh, wine is my blood" speech and then announced that one of his disciples would betray him. This happened right before Jesus was in fact betrayed, but thematically I don't see this as a problem. It's a game, after all.

Actually, a "Last Supper" dynamic at the end would be interesting. Perhaps the unspent goal cards are revealed at this point. If there is no traitor there, all the disciples know he is among them, making the traitor's position all the more tenuous.

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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

sedjtroll wrote:
As for the name, I like Acts of the Disciples

I think I like this one too, it just "sounds" the best. (and, encourages me to develop the follow-up!)

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As for the discussion of the traitor and guessing his identity... You've been clear that you want to stay in-theme, and you want players to feel like they're really the Disciples and whatnot- doing the things they ought to be and not things they oughtn't. Like "players shouldn't e willing to turn on Jesus at the drop of the hat if the payofff is big enough."

On that note, should the players all suspect each other of being a traitor I admit I haven't a clue what's in the scriptures... WERE the Disciples aware that there was a traitor in their midst?

Yes.

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WERE they eager to jump on each other with accusations of trason against Jesus?

Not exactly; we don't really get the sense from the text that they really understood what Jesus meant, even when he revealed the identity of the traitor to them. I admit, this mechanic is a slight extrapolation.

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This comes back to the Traior mechanic again, and I see your point about one player (randomly determined) to be basially against the others- with the option of simply not betraying Jesus and scoring normally, but I think the game would simulate the feeling you seem to want (someone is tempted by the pharases to betray Jesus) if anyone could be the traitor.

Well, I must say, I admire your persistence, but really, this is not something I'm open to changing.

I agree that "anyone can betray Jesus" does convey the idea of "temptation". However, I don't feel it accurately conveys what being a Disciple was like, because I don't have any reason to think that any other than Judas were tempted in this way.

Think about it differently -- everyone is tempted by different things: some people are tempted to drink to excess, while others would never do such a thing. Judas, we see in the Bible, was tempted by money -- he stole money from the disciples' treasury, and when a woman used a costly jar of ointment to annoint Jesus, he complained at the waste of money. So, to Judas, the idea of getting money in return for betraying Jesus was a temptation, whereas for the other disciples, eg Peter, I shouldn't think that any amount of money in the world would have been enough to make them turn on Him.

So, while it would simulate "temptation" nicely, again, it completely violates the spirit of the game, it destroys the meta game of "who's the traitor" (which I like, at least for now), and it wouldn't be enjoyable for me to play. Thus, this is not a change I can make to the game. Really.

Of course, you're welcome to continue to try to convince me!

jwarrend
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

Deviant wrote:

Actually, a "Last Supper" dynamic at the end would be interesting. Perhaps the unspent goal cards are revealed at this point. If there is no traitor there, all the disciples know he is among them, making the traitor's position all the more tenuous.

This is a cute idea! I couldn't think of a good way to have the Traitor identified in a way that would still be "cloudy". This is a good solution -- to reveal, at the least, whether there is a Traitor or not.

Perhaps, if the Traitor card is in the deck, the game should end at this point? Otherwise, it seems like the "tension" of the Pharisees track has been removed somewhat (since the game can't end that way). Of course, this creates a *third* end game condition, which I probably don't need, I'm just not sure how best to handle the situation where no one is the traitor...

sedjtroll
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

Deviant wrote:
sedjtroll wrote:
I admit I haven't a clue what's in the scriptures... were the Disciples aware that there was a traitor in their midst?

Actually, yes. At the Last Supper, Jesus gave his disciples the whole "bread is my flesh, wine is my blood" speech and then announced that one of his disciples would betray him. This happened right before Jesus was in fact betrayed, but thematically I don't see this as a problem. It's a game, after all.

Well, ok. My bad. Maybe at the endgame there could be a 'last supper' where Jesus says "one of you is a traitor" and then everyone makes a (secret) accusation, based on how the game went, of who they think is the traitor. Everyone who is correct can score, so the traitor doesn;t want to make it obvious all game or everyone will score but him. Maybe the Traitor scores for each incorrect accusation? heh.

- Seth

hpox
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

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Get rid of it.

I'm surprised by how unpopular this little mechanic has been. (I'm also surprised at how forceful some suggestions have been. Let's keep in mind that we're "suggesting" here, people, "suggesting"...)

I understand it isn't much helpful to just say that outright. It wasn't my intention to come across as harsh as this. I sincerely apologize.

I think the meta-game you're imagining will fall flat. Of course, do playtest it before doing anything! It's in that sense that my "suggestion" wasn't helpful nor necessary. You don't really know until you try it. I have a pessimistic vision for this mechanic while you might have an optimistic one and the reality is just in between. Once you get to try it and tell us the results I'll gladly chime in with suggestions if tweaking is needed.

One little point. Once the Traitor is discovered. Does he still play? Can he do deeds and ask Jesus to perform deeds?

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I don't know. Is there any compelling reason to allow this?

To remove a rule!

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I think the bigger restriction is the idea that if you're going to have Jesus perform a Deed, you can't act after

that. And indeed, you can't do Deeds in 2 towns. Is this important enough to merit the restriction? Maybe not.

But come on, guys, this rule is not that difficult. Take 4 actions, no more than 2 of one type, and take them in this order. With a player aid card in front of you, this will be trivial, won't it?

I agree the rule is not difficult (far from it!) but it is almost unnecessary. It will be trivial with a player aid card of course. I'm afraid that rule make that part of the game look more complicated than it really is. Also, I think taking actions will feel more "programmatic"/"robotic" with a list that you must follow.

A simple solution could be to change the rule to : "You can only ask Jesus to perform a deed as your last action".

I think there is a way to comply to this rule without having to state it, by emergence of obvious decisions and other gameplay mechanics. Something like what I proposed by removing Jesus after he's betrayed/executed.

Suggestion: Let's say you use the "Jesus moves by himself" mechanic and remove the "Have Jesus perform a deed" action. At the end of a player's turn, Jesus moves and perform a deed in that city if it's at 4, reset, gospel, deed happen.

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And this is the rub! I haven't yet hit on a great algorithm, but I think Fast's idea was the closest -- "At the end of your turn, move Jesus toward the town with the most Deeds". On the other hand, we could also do it as a "visititation" mechanic, where Jesus moves one space each turn in a circuit, and maybe the 3rd time he comes to Jerusalem, the game ends, giving a fixed and definite end to the game which some people thought might be needed... I think I like a little more freedom of movement, but it's a thought, I guess...

That's good. Maybe a combination of the two? All cities have 2 branches except Samaria and the spot between Samaria, Jericho and Bethsaida which have 3 branches. Something interesting could be done with that...

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First, of the 5 actions, two are "trivial" -- Draw a card, move one town. If there's an action that has to get hacked, my guess is actually that it will be the "Create motion on the tracks" option. I'm afraid players could use that too easily to lock the game up from ending. On the other hand, making it expensive, or (as my original rules had), giving you a penalty for doing this action, might also be good ways to allow players the option but make it undesirable.

I agree with the triviality of the actions, maybe I'm too hung up with the "perception" of having a lot of actions. But being trivial, why should they respect a certain exact order? About the Create motion on tracks action, I'd suggest to try it and see if it's useful or not. If it's almost never used (you see where I'm going) cut it.

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First, there aren't "easy Deeds/hard Deeds"; the cost of Deeds is set by the action tracks. I think your idea of a brief "Jesus phase" at the beginning of your turn is a possibility, although I'd probably want to have it once per round of turns. I'm a little concerned, though, that under the current system, Jesus can, by performing too many Deeds, deplete the deck. It may require a reenvisioning of how Deeds work. Right now, each card is tied (somewhat loosely) to an event from one of the Gospels, and the consequences are determined correspondingly. I could, I suppose, go to a system where instead of cards there were deed "tokens" that could appear randomly on the board, but I'm not sure whether the "consequence" system, an essential ingredient of the design, would fit as well into that context.

Like suggested above, what if Jesus only do "4" deeds? Will that deplete the deeds too quickly? I'm not sure about your new system, try what you have before changing it. That's why I'm nitpicking, because overall it seems solid.

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I'm also considering the possibility that having Jesus perform a Deed (and reset an action track) doesn't help you enough, since it gives everyone else a chance to perform low-cost actions before your turn comes around again.

I saw that too and that's partly why I'm pushing the Automatic Jesus thing. It won't cost players actions and it will be more or less predictable when Jesus will come to a city to do a deed and reset the action track.

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Change "tell" to "ask" and I think it's ok thematically. I agree, having a great algorithm for Jesus' movement and Deeds would be great, and I'm still trying to think of one, but I haven't come up with one yet. This one I think strikes the happy medium between the Disciples asking Jesus to perform a Deed (which did happen), and having the creative control to affect your destiny in the game (via reduction of action cost and receipt of Gospel tokens).

Ok, I understand. Of course, you probably don't want a game with no control whatsoever! Hopefully, you'll have gathered enough variants of mechanics to choose the best once you playtest.

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Excellent points. I have, based on the discussions, decided to streamline this aspect quite a bit. I agree, that part of the book is poorly written, but in the new version, it will be simpler. After Jesus is crucified, the player with the fewest symbols in his hand gets points equal to the number of symbols he holds. Then, everyone takes 1 action -- either "write a Gospel", making you eligible for Gospel VPs, or perform another Deed in an adjacent town. Then, it really ends. Much simpler, I think, but still preserving my intent (I think). It also has the nice effect of changing the "punitive" aspect of "lose points" to a "reward system" -- the player who best used his resources gained points.

Cool. I guess that's normal since it's a workshop game. A lot of published games are much more confusing than yours.

sedjtroll
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Game #16: The 12 Disciples by jwarrend

hpox wrote:
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Get rid of it.

I'm surprised by how unpopular this little mechanic has been. (I'm also surprised at how forceful some suggestions have been. Let's keep in mind that we're "suggesting" here, people, "suggesting"...)

I understand it isn't much help to just say that outright. It wasn't my intention to come across as harsh as this. I sincerely apologize.

I disagree. This workshop is about telling people what you think and offering constructive criticism. It's not as if you don't offer reasons that mechanic should be cut, and it's not as if others haven't also ennumerated the same. I think the designer can understand that the suggestion is to nix that particular part of the game (not necessarily even replace it, but to give it the axe), which is a perfectly valid suggestion. It's of course up to Jeff in the end if the mechanic stays, changes, or goes.

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I saw that too and that's partly why I'm pushing the Automatic Jesus thing. It won't cost players actions and it will be more or less predictable when Jesus will come to a city to do a deed and reset the action track.

Yes, the "Automatic Jesus" mechanic is probably the way to go. I liked the suggestion of moving jesus to the town with the most deeds-that-need-doing best. In fact, is there a reason Jesus has to move 1 step at a time? Or can he just teleport (travel) all the way to the town in most need at the beginning of each round or whenever? In other words- move Jeseus all the way to the town in most need, not just 1 step. Otehrwise people near Jesus will simply always be near Jesus.

Also, Automatic Jesus is a neat name for something- not this game, but maybe another, or a Frisbee team or something.

- Seth

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