Lots of questions

Information, discussion and questions about Death on the Gambia
Drewwww
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Lots of questions

Postby Drewwww » Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:07 am

Hello there!

I am very new to this, but I am trying out my very first freeform game in a couple of months to celebrate my 40th birthday. I am eating all of this info up right now, but I have a few questions about DOTG. Hoping the wisdom of the moderators and those experienced with the game will come through :)

1. Venue concerns: We have booked a local venue to have our event. It is a riverboat which has permanent residence here in our home town. The space we have is a small (seats 30) room and the outside balcony which essentially surrounds the room. It will be so great. However, with the complications of an external venue I was wondering what to expect when you are not at home and can’t “improvise”. Meaning, if something needs to be printed out at the last minute or something goes missing and you need a quick replacement, you can do this easily at home. But somewhere else, what do you do? Is this even an issue? Has anyone else held their event on a riverboat, and what can we expect?

2. Multiple Extras: We have a lot of players - 15 total, so we are using all of the extra characters. I had to modify the character sheets as indicated, but it occurs to me that each “extra character” only refers back to the original 11. Would it be ok to add other things so that extra characters (like Ginger Roberts) can also have ties to other extra characters? Otherwise it seems like they could be outsiders with only 8-11 “main” players. This would mean changing the “info about others”, and I’m not really certain if doing so adds too much conflict/requirements/complexity for each character. And on that note:

3. Adding Goals: Looking over the character sheets of the original 11 and the extras, it seems like some characters have more goals to accomplish than others. In fact, it seems like some characters have goals that would be met before the end of game. Would it be ok to add more goals or remove some goals from some players for more even distribution? Again, not sure what this does to complexity/requirements/conflict.

4. Adding Clues: I see that each character has one secret and one clue (except for one who has none, by design). We plan on putting each in an envelope so these cannot be seen by others easily. However, with the sheer number of players, I was wondering if anyone had toyed around with the idea of giving each player two clues, One of which is shown before Mansa Konko and one which is shown afterward. Is this too much? Just seems like the clues exhaust their usefulness after the first half, as most people would know all the dirt by then.

5. Prop Usage: I like the idea of props, especially for the cameras and guns. Shooting at someone pointing a card and saying “bang” isn’t nearly as fun as getting shot with a fake pistol. We bought small drawstring bags for each player which could hold some handheld items (like an idol or a camera for example) and the players could strap it onto themselves. We bought the bags yellow so we could call them life jackets while we were on the boat, and everyone could have them on their person. My question is - has anyone used props before and what has worked/not worked? Are the props worth the extra effort of making and carrying, or are the cards just enough that physical props would not be useful? And on that note, what do you do with “big, heavy, black” props? It also seems like some items lend themselves to be better as item cards. do you keep a mix of cards and props in the same bag?

6. Music: Has anyone used music successfully? what did you find not too distracting for the guests - I’m thinking like string quartet stuff?

7. Folders: For people that have previously played DOTG specifically, do players generally need to take notes, or do most just “take it all in”? In other words, in addition to carrying all of the items, abilities, and their own character sheet, do players also need a notepad? How do they typically handle so many things (not to mention a dinner plate of food and/or drinks)?


I may have more questions later but these are just the main things going through my mind right now. I still have 2 months to come up with more. 

Thanking you all so much for your help!

-Drew

PS I realize now after typing this that this is really long - apologies for that! I will try to be less wordy in future posts. Thanks for taking the time! :)

mo
Moderator
Posts: 816
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2005 1:00 pm

Re: Lots of questions

Postby mo » Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:12 pm

Hi there,

We'll see if some other hosts will answer most of these questions, but from our end: if you'd like the files in Microsoft Word or something similar, so you can easily make edits and additions, just let us know and we'll send them over.

best wishes,

Mo

Drewwww
Murderer
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:16 am

Re: Lots of questions

Postby Drewwww » Fri Feb 06, 2015 6:38 pm

Thanks! But we can open and edit PDFs just fine if needed. Hoping some of the hosts will chime in soon! Please? :D

steve
Moderator
Posts: 179
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2005 1:00 pm

Re: Lots of questions

Postby steve » Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:33 pm

Hi,

I wrote Death on the Gambia (and I'm one half of Freeform Games), so I'll do what I can to answer your questions.

Venue: I have run games in venues other than home, and the trick is to bring everything yourself. Don't rely on the players to bring anything other than themselves and a costume. So make sure you print everything out and pack all the envelopes - and take that with you.

If you're worried about losing something, then I suggest having some paper/card/scissors with you so that you can create missing items if you need them. You could also put all the pdfs onto a tablet or laptop for reference..

Extras: Yes, I would definitely amend the extras to refer to the other extra characters, for all the reasons you state.

Goals: I wouldn't worry so much about the goals. While some people have more goals than others, the goals aren't equal. So some goals are easily achieved, but others are much harder. But if you want to add more goals - please go for it!

Clues: Adding an extra clue sounds like quite a fun thing to do. I haven't found it necessary, but I'm very interested in hearing how that works. I talked about Clues on our blog here: http://www.freeformgames.com/blog/clari ... formation/

Props: I don't tend to use props much. I know that they help the game, but I don't have a great collection of props so don't tend to use them. But I know that a lot of people like using props, so if you want to use props, go for it. (They are better for photographs, certainly.)

In terms of the big, heavy things, you might want to stick to the item card for those. After all, in "reality" that sort of item would be hidden in a suitcase or steamer trunk rather than carried in a pocket. Unless you have cabins and cases handy, then I wouldn't worry about the bulky items.

Music: I've not tended to use music in the games. If you do use music, make sure that it's not so loud that everyone has to shout.

Folders: It's a rare game where people don't need to take notes, so I'd make sure there are paper and pens handy. You don't have to provide specific notebooks (although that can be nice).

I hope that helps.

steve

Drewwww
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Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:16 am

Re: Lots of questions

Postby Drewwww » Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:40 pm

Wow! Thanks I would really appreciate it!

steve
Moderator
Posts: 179
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2005 1:00 pm

Re: Lots of questions

Postby steve » Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:53 pm

I hit "submit" instead of "preview" so I posted prematurely! My responses are in the post above.

steve

Drewwww
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Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:16 am

Re: Lots of questions

Postby Drewwww » Fri Feb 06, 2015 9:34 pm

Thanks for the reply. I'll digest this info and see what will work best for us. I definitely don't want to ruin the game by adding or changing too many things. But I will apply the tips you gave me and see what can be done to "enhance" the experience. Thanks again!

Drewwww
Murderer
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:16 am

Re: Lots of questions

Postby Drewwww » Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:41 am

Hey Steve/Mo,
Hate to bother you about this, but seeing as how you are the authors and experts and I am just some schmuck, would you mind reviewing the extra clues/goals/info once I have finished updating? :?:
Its a lot to ask, so I'd understand if you decline. But it sure would be nice to know from the real authors that I was actually enhancing something instead of detracting from the game itself. After all, I am not overly experienced in game flow, nor the intentions of the original design (other than what I have read).
If you do it I promise to take it all constructively - you can tell me honest feedback, good and bad, and I will listen intently! :P
Hoping,
Drew

steve
Moderator
Posts: 179
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2005 1:00 pm

Re: Lots of questions

Postby steve » Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:37 pm

Hi,

When do you want feedback?

The next two weeks are very busy for me - it's not that I don't want to help, I'm just managing expectations.

What would help is if you can summarise the extra stuff so that I can quickly look at it.

in terms of getting the information to me, my email is steve at freeformgames.com

steve

Drewwww
Murderer
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:16 am

Re: Lots of questions

Postby Drewwww » Mon Feb 09, 2015 5:24 am

Thanks Steve. The game is not until early April, so I anticipate me having things finished by the end of this month. Thanks for letting me know your schedule and contact info... its really great of you to do this. Everything is very much appreciated. You guys are awesome.
Also, I will highlight the updates so you can easily see what I have done.


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