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« on: October 11, 2011, 11:02:35 AM »
Completed a second game over e-mail. 3rd complete game and first successful escape. I'll admit part of me was rooting for the player to escape, but I tried my best to keep hitting him hard and not letting up. Mostly he got lucky on the card draws (more on that later).

I'll admit that the genre's a bit out of my comfort range -- not because it actually makes me uncomfortable, but because horror just isn't something I do a lot of. But I wanted to give it a shot, and it was a challenge. Luckily, by going over e-mail I could give myself a little time to consider responses, which helped immensely.

The situation found the player (Gabriel) in the basement of some old factory with huge hulking pieces of machinery. He encountered a couple ghosts of animals -- they mostly looked solid but parts of them were transparent (some deep gashes here and there, or maybe entire limbs or tails). I was trying to make it obvious they had been tortured and killed in life. I'm pretty sure he picked up on it.

Eventually he ran into a ghost that we started referring to as "The torturer". A figure of unknown gender wearing a surgical mask and a thick leather apron. It was surrounded by ghostly images of animals of varying size. I liked the idea that the ghosts of the animals stuck around and maybe killed the torturer, but in death they were bound together.

Gabriel kept having pretty close calls and getting assaulted, but he was creative in his attempts to survive/escape. Finally I got 4 cards in my hand and flipped them over, only to find 2 suits, I drew a 5th and got 3 suits, so the game was still on.

I did find at that point I was struggling more as he continued trying to escape and having more encounters. Luckily his very next move towards escape produced the 4th suit and he was home free. If that hadn't completed the set I could see myself struggling more and more trying to keep the tension up. It's worth noting we were playing with the 1st playtest rules and I see in the 2nd that there's a new rule that at 7 cards, consider there to be 4 suits -- it's nice to have that definite end to work towards.

Back to the player's card draws. Somehow, even though this was my 3rd time being the GM, I still hadn't caught on that the player is supposed to discard after every bust (I'm pretty sure the player in this game wouldn't have survived if we'd followed that).

Talking with a couple other people we wonder if only forcing the discover on a 21+ bust would be better and if the possibility of busing a few times in a row isn't too harsh. I mean, murderous ghosts and all that, but at least from my playthroughs (playing wrongly and not discarding after 1-5 value busts), it seemed to set up a nice rhythm and cycle of play.

I've got another game going on and I'm making sure to discard after busts, so I'm interested to see how different it feels.