Story gaming

Rules questions, suggestions, and discussion

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Re: Story gaming

Postby Zupponn » Wed Feb 10, 2016 1:59 pm

I played Warhammer 40K once.  It wasn't as good as Brikwars.
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Re: Story gaming

Postby Quantumsurfer » Wed Feb 10, 2016 5:17 pm

Okay fair enough.  I know it's been longer but I feel like Netflix has only been a thing for, like, a couple of years.  That perception of time, though.

Yeah, much as I dig parts of the lore, playing 40k can be a real nightmare.
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Re: Story gaming

Postby runnybabbit223 » Thu Feb 11, 2016 6:18 am

And back to the subject...

One thing my Brikwars community does to create 'stories' is to muck around with heroes a bit.

What I mean by that is, heroes usually start off as a sergeant or officer in the army, if the officer does something awesome and survives (and sometimes even if he doesn't survive) he is promoted to a commander/captain/major (hero) then if he does something really awesome (or just survives a few battles) he becomes a general/war hero/ultimate dictator (usually meaning he is given a couple of SN die to use)

I don't know if anyone else does this, but treating the heroes as characters instead of 'just heroes' tends to add a bit of 'story' into the game, particularly if you have the bother to go though and develop the character for each of them.

The only downside is, it is a bit more tragic if your hero dies.
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Re: Story gaming

Postby mgb519 » Thu Feb 11, 2016 8:57 am

Why do heroes have to be generals? When we have random dudes that somehow manage to be awesome we promote him to hero status on the spot, usually.
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Re: Story gaming

Postby runnybabbit223 » Fri Feb 12, 2016 5:58 am

mgb519 wrote:Why do heroes have to be generals? When we have random dudes that somehow manage to be awesome we promote him to hero status on the spot, usually.

It was just an example which I thought would make sense, not all my heroes are generals. I was really pointing out the potential for character heroes, army officer or otherwise.
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Re: Story gaming

Postby stubby » Fri Feb 12, 2016 10:57 am

runnybabbit223 wrote:What I mean by that is, heroes usually start off as a sergeant or officer in the army, if the officer does something awesome and survives (and sometimes even if he doesn't survive) he is promoted to a commander/captain/major (hero) then if he does something really awesome (or just survives a few battles) he becomes a general/war hero/ultimate dictator (usually meaning he is given a couple of SN die to use)

I don't know if anyone else does this, but treating the heroes as characters instead of 'just heroes' tends to add a bit of 'story' into the game, particularly if you have the bother to go though and develop the character for each of them.

This is the plan for the "official" version of that: Thread 13993

It'll be going into the "Military Careers" section in 11.3.


runnybabbit223 wrote:The only downside is, it is a bit more tragic if your hero dies.

Upside, I think you mean. More tragic = more better. But see the "Heroic Deaths" section in 6.2.
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Re: Story gaming

Postby Zahru II » Sat Feb 13, 2016 7:29 am

Kommander Ken wrote:Is it weird that I'm the only one here's who's never played a tabletop game before? Unless you count games like Monopoly or Sorry, BrikWars is my first and only tabletop game I've ever played. Never even played stuff like D&D or Pathfinder before.


I only GM'd one d&d 3.5 game and a had few rounds of 'Aye, Dark Overlord!' prior to BW.
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Re: Story gaming

Postby WestNordOst » Mon May 09, 2016 7:31 am

I want to point out that you cannot promote story gaming by creating (more) rules.

In the end, even for concepts like the Benny, it is the people who you are playing with who will or will not reward you for good story gaming. You do not need rules for that, you don't need Bennies for that. In fact, there can't be an (effective) rule for that as it is always a subjective choice.

I think the only thing you can do to promote story gaming is to write the rulebook in a way that it makes clear the spirit of the game. And I think you do this pretty well already.
I do not see the Bennies, the rule of fudge, the WISG roll or the if-it-takes-longer-than-30s-to-look-up-a-rule,-ignore-it-rule as proper rules, but simply an illustration of in which spirit the game should be played. They encourage the players to make up their own rules on the go or make things happen as they would plausibly or better most funnily happen. I, for example, never get the parrying-rules, the fire rules and crash rules right, so we always make up something ("ok he and the tree he collided with both take 2d6 damage, okay?" "Okay, sounds plausible") as we go.

In one sentence: If you want to promote story gaming, have rather less rules and more convey the spirit of the game.

Some more thoughts:

Big Armies
In my experience, battles with big armies (especially if big guns and vehicles are involved) were always the least interesting BrikWars rounds despite them looking so epic in imagination. They are cool in movies and the imagination, but if I play it in BrikWars, they tend to get tedious and repetitive as you have to move every minifig by yourself (or wait for your teammates to do it) - a pure battle of material.
Battles with big armies feel more like a tabletop wargame. I feel there is much less room for fudging and carefully positioning your minifigs into that cool pose for taking a snapshot of the action (ain't nobody got time for that, with that many minifigs to control). Also, the bigger the armies, the more obvious it is what the only reasonable thing on the battlefield is to do: move towards and shoot at the others. Not much space left for creativity - only in how you shoot them  :| .

Also, in regards of vehicles: They are incredibly fun to construct and very cool to look at, but your 08/15 tank can only move and shoot, while your average minifig is empowered with the endless possibilities of story gaming which is such an important element of BrikWars. Yet, the tank is vastly superior to the same amount of minifigs (costing the same CP). I built so many cool vehicles, but I never play BrikWars with them, because they make the game so dull. One little idea here: Somehow convey in the rulebook that a key aspect of every mighty construction is to have an obvious weak point, as we all learned from Hollywood and video games
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Can you spot the weak point?

If you feel the same about big armies, you could replace pictures and stories in the rules that depict those "epic battles" with illustrations that "tell a story". (I know, there is pretty much of that already)

In one sentence: Focus the rulebook more on small individual scenarios than on big army clashes

More game scenario examples
Currently, there are many more abstruse and very specific rules in the later chapters which I would classify as construction bricks for creating unique scenarios or MOCs. I am sure for every of these you had a special scenario or setting in mind, and when reading those things about monstrous contagions, mook spawners, constructs etc. something immediately springs to my mind as well: A zombie invasion scenario, unique MOCs that fall apart one by one when damaged (Mixels are perfect for this by the way), some sort of dungeon run etc.

Coming to the point: The problem is, that these things are presented as (yet even more) rules. But in BrikWars, everyone know that you can make up rules for yourself.  So why try to cover every cool idea - and the things mentioned in the creatures chapter are cool ideas - as rules? That is not possible! Except if you want to end up with another BW2001.

Instead, those ideas should be presented as elements in example scenario setups that combine several of these new and interesting rule additions. Players can get from that much more than from one rule. Because if they particularly like one mechanic of the scenario presented, they can also take just that for their own scenario or MOC - as if you have written that as a rule. But they can also take the whole scenario idea and play it.

Vanilla BrikWars "army vs army" gets boring quite quickly, but BrikWars does not end there. There are countless possibilities for new game modes waiting to be conceived, playtested, written down and constructed. In the last five years, I tried out so many different things in BW, some worked, some didn't, and I am sure on this forum there are many more people who created their own very cool game mode. I believe those scenarios are a very important part of the BrikWarsophere, as they give ideas for alternatives to the classic tabletop wargaming game mode and should be described in the rulebook.

In one sentence: Instead of many specific rules, there should be a small set of extendible core rules and then a description of many possible scenario setups (with rules) described in the rulebook
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Re: Story gaming

Postby stubby » Tue May 10, 2016 10:29 am

This is all pretty accurate. I do want to go back through and continue editing down all the overly specific rules; it's just a matter of finding time. That's kind of how the process goes - I tend to come up with a whole bunch of specific stuff, figure out what works and what doesn't, and try and edit it down and distill it into generic systems over time.

I have some ideas I've been playing with over the last couple of weeks.  One is the idea of exit strategies.

Minifigs think that they're going to battle until every last enemy unit and installation is destroyed; but actually they only stay animated for as long as humans stay interested in them. So what I want to do is give everybody the idea that as soon as the fun winds down, they can just stop playing, individually or as a whole group together. Or they can switch to an endgame.

So I'm thinking of fleshing out the Humanity section and adding a trigger as soon as anyone has lost half their forces or more. ("Half their forces" will be a lot quicker and easier to determine once we've switched over to simple Unit Inches arithmetic rather than complex Construction Points algebra.) At the end of any turn, if a player has lost half their starting forces (or if they seem to be losing interest for whatever reason), stop and ask if they want to keep playing normally, or if they'd rather switch things up.


If they don't want to play anymore, and it's time to end the game:

    6. KANON FIRE. Everybody shakes hands and says "good game" and then you can skip straight to Kanon negotiations to decide the outcome and effects of the battle.


If they don't want to play anymore, but you don't want to end the game just yet:

    7. COMMAND DISRUPTION. The player's forces are now all NPCs, controlled by everyone at the table. On the NPCs' turn, all the remaining players take turns picking units or squads and controlling them, one at a time, until all the units have been moved or until all players except one (or, if you're playing with alliances, all alliances except one) decide they're finished moving all the NPCs they want to for that round. When they're controlling NPCs, players make a good-faith agreement to have them act (mostly) in character - i.e., you can't make them arbitrarily start shooting at themselves or their allies. Making powerful NPCs retreat for no reason from attacking your own forces, or having NPCs make suicidal attacks on a common enemy, is still completely okay.

    8. EXTREME COMMAND DISRUPTION. Just like Command Disruption, except there are no limits on how the NPCs act. They can step in front of traffic or self-destruct their moms or whatever you want. Appropriate for an army that's been driven mad with rage or despair or sugar cravings or whatever else.


If they want to keep playing, but have lost half their forces or more and don't see any way to win:

    9. BLAZE OF GLORY. Regardless of what happens from this point forward, they've lost the battle. But you're going down with them! From now on, every time one of their minifigs dies, they get an Almighty Benny. After this, even if they manage to defy the odds and achieve their objectives or kill all opponents, it's up to the players to come up with the in-Kanon reason why it still ended up being a phyrric loss for their side.

    10. TACTICAL RETREAT. Regardless of what happens from this point forward, they've lost the battle. But they'll live to fight another day! From now on, every time one of their minifigs escapes off a "friendly" side of the battlefield, they get an Almighty Benny. After this, even if they manage to defy the odds and achieve their objectives or kill all opponents, it's up to the players to come up with the in-Kanon reason why it still ended up being a phyrric loss for their side.


If they're doing fine and want to keep playing, but the game is getting boring:

    9. SOMEBODY BURSTS IN WITH A GUN. Secret factions appear! Ideally, these will be completely hostile and equally threatening to all players. They are controlled with the NPC rules, above. If there's only one of them (a giant Dogzilla monster attacks!), then roll each turn to see who controls it.
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Re: Story gaming

Postby RedRover » Tue May 10, 2016 10:36 am

I love the blaze of glory idea
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Re: Story gaming

Postby stubby » Tue May 10, 2016 11:00 am

I'm open to more generic endgame ideas if anyone has any; those are just the first ones I thought of.
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Re: Story gaming

Postby RedRover » Tue May 10, 2016 11:57 am

Orbital strike. If a player gives up or it is established that they will loose, all players can just agree to end the game. The winning player calls an orbital strike that decimates the loser's forces.
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Re: Story gaming

Postby Jabberwocky » Tue May 10, 2016 4:42 pm

May I make a suggestion for tactical retreat? I think that it would be a good idea to have extra vehicles on hand for it. I think it should be an actual tactical retreat. Where the player must bound back troops to an LZ and evac out every fig possible. Leave the table or room where the conflict is occurring if air support is unavailable.  Call for fire (artillery) med (redcross) and cas(casualty... usually cargo carrying vehicles) evac. CAS(close air support).... the losing army should get support vehicles to bring their boys home. Plus you can create some amazing MoH moments leaving the battlefield while losing. Just look at some of the vietnam chopper extractions. You want story... leaving the battlefield alive is a story
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Re: Story gaming

Postby stubby » Tue May 10, 2016 5:09 pm

It's tricky, though - that stuff is all fine if you know in advance that you're going to be playing a tactical retreat battle, but it's tough to expect players to have any of that stuff already handy if they only find out they're going to be retreating when the game's already 90% finished.
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Re: Story gaming

Postby RedRover » Tue May 10, 2016 5:23 pm

stubby wrote:It's tricky, though - that stuff is all fine if you know in advance that you're going to be playing a tactical retreat battle, but it's tough to expect players to have any of that stuff already handy if they only find out they're going to be retreating when the game's already 90% finished.


Hold up real quick, I have to build all my tactical retreat vehicles. Be right back!
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