Playtest: Forks and Knives

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Playtest: Forks and Knives
« on: October 08, 2011, 10:08:35 PM »
Me: The MC
PS (Pete Sylvain): The Player

For initial evidence, I chose rusty forks and knives, with long-dried bloodstains leading in.  PS's PC, Nelson, explored deeper, and soon found the first ghost: A dark-skinned little girl, covered in tiny puncture wounds like bloody ellipses (looks: wounds), slowly picking up the forks and knives with a slow scrape of fingernails on concrete (sounds: giving myself the wigs, as scraping fingernails on anything makes me uncomfortable as all get out).  Nelson was curious, and watched her to see what she would do next.  She decided to jab him with a rusty fork (assault + giving myself the wigs... I fear tetanus and blood poisoning with a passion), leaving a bloody ellipsis of her own before running deeper into the factory.

Although breathing quickly now and a little nervous, Nelson continued into the factory (explored further in), which turned out to be a place where they made some kind of canned meat- there were old abandoned meathooks and bolt guns and conveyor belts (new evidence).  Examining the bolt guns led Nelson to have a sudden vision- his own hands, small, dark, and girlish, manning the bolt gun as a drunken light-skinned man lay passed out underneath the bolt. (making it completely apparent)  I slammed the table with both hands, and that was the end of the vision.  When he came to, another ghost appeared: the drunkard with his skull caved in and the tips of rusty forks and knives jammed under his fingernails handle-first. (Giving myself the wigs: success!)  Nelson decided to stay motionless and see what the ghost would do, and the man lurched towards him, bellowing about how she was a bad girl for playing with that bolt gun.  Bad girls needed to be PUNISHED.  The ghost dug one jagged hand into Nelson's arm while flaying his face with the other (ghost makes him part of the story --> Nelson becomes the girl, messing with the bolt gun when she shouldn't be --> murdered, thanks for playing!).

In Retrospect:  In my eagerness to play, I told him he didn't have to worry about the MC's draw.  It's actually super vital that the player understands that spiel, and lots of other games have programmed me 'not to peek' at MC information as a player, so those two things conflicted.  I think that's mainly what led to PS' inclination to explore deeper and deeper rather than make any attempt to escape... though to be fair, staying to watch what the ghosts do in a game titled 'Murderous Ghosts' probably isn't the best plan in any event!

Questions before play:  What are the cards for?  How many do I start with?  Who 'goes first'?  (All fairly easily answered)

Questions in play that interrupted the game: "Wait, what's a free draw?" "Is this the first turn?"  "What does 'high hand or low hand' mean?"  "What happens now?"

Conclusions:  Playing to lose is still pretty decent?  I think maybe PS wanted to gain something from learning more about the ghosts, and felt just turning tail was some kind of trap, or too easy?  Also, PS flipped ahead to 22 before play and decided that was the 'easy way out', deciding never to go there in play.

Also, I never had more than one card as MC, nor did I have any reason to look at them.  I agree with other playtesters that the loops began to feel 'tired', but that feeling was greatly ameliorated by the fact that the player chose a different thing every time they came back to the 'loop' (Player's 2, FWIW), making it natural and less jarring every time they came back to it.

I wanted to reward PS for exploring deeper and taking risks to make up for the fact that he wasn't even trying to escape.  Maybe, when a player busts, the MC discards a card at random, and then the player chooses one card from the bust and hands it to the MC?  This way the player isn't any *closer* to escaping, but more likely to actually escape when the MC does get around to 4 cards (ideally the player feeds the MC a matching suit, especially when the MC plays face up).  But maybe that's my own bias of always wanting to bring in a little 'game' strategy to the affair, as well as inter-player mechanical interaction.  More rules than necessary, most likely.

THE END!  Will bring more as I can.