2.1 meets 2.5 Feedback

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2.1 meets 2.5 Feedback
« on: February 22, 2013, 12:55:36 AM »
We played our seventh session tonight of our WWII game, run by Stephen.  We tried to layer in some of the changes from 2.5 (though obviously we still have the 2.1 playbooks for WWII). Here's some stuff that happened and some observations.

A. Assaults, Attacks, Covering Fire

The combined covering fire and assault move seems problematic, though in a couple of ways that surprised me.

1. The first came up twice - I was laying down covering fire with my BAR to aid various assaults, and a player (and then the GM) felt it was appropriate to use the Aid mechanic.

This floored me, and seemed like a sort of mechanics usability problem (as covering fire is somewhat buried).  In hindsight, I can see how they got there - covering fire, mechanically, is basically a specialized Aid move (the +1 forward), but which (unlike generic Aid) lets you inflict harm and use weapon tags.

2. The other thing happened twice - once when my soldier was laying down MG fire at ambushing riflemen in windows, and later when our sniper player was shooting into another MG nest.  The oddness is hard to explain, but it feels a bit like choosing Assault (instead of Attack) puts the cart before the horse:

"Tactical advantage" is rather open, in particular because it seems to include the possibility of the enemy losing ground - moving back under a hail of fire. So it seems that I choose Assault if I want my shooting to have the possibility of making the enemy retreat a bit, or to somehow give my friends an advantage.  But it's not obvious to me how I narrate the difference in my actions - either way, I'm just shooting. Then, if we settle on assault, the successful shooter is in the position of being able to decide how the enemies react.  (The shooter isn't moving up, so the pick of "seizure of contested territory" implies enemy retreat.)

To put it in BW terms, it feels like I carry out a task, and then, once I've done it, I choose what my intent was.

(I like it when there are clear physical actions that differentiate moves, rather than merely hopes for how it turns out: e.g. move while firing to claim ground, lay out fire wastefully to rattle 'em, careful controlled shots to kill them.  At the moment, a clear differentiator seems to be the amount of time you shoot for, which gives rise to the gear spend.)

3. Given how liberal the GM should be with incoming VOF, assaulting a position to claim it without inflicting any actual damage an Attack feels really weird to me.

4. The area fire vs. group thing came up when I used the LMG on the soldiers in the windows.  With enemies behind cover, it's a huge advantage if we don't use the "vs. Group" rule, because I can use my area tag to hit them all (potentially taking out the whole bunch if I roll 1W).

B. Rolling VOF against enemies

Tim hates rolling VOF against enemies, he says he doesn't care what happens to them. After play, the group rumbled close to the idea of the GM just adjudicating the effects of weapons during assaults; I'd be sad to see it go that way, I enjoy the gun porn.

In particular, the group seems to have settled on the idea that any VOF against NPCs above Scattered is irrelevant.  NPCs have two generic damage pips, and Direct or better fire always does one pip.

But - nevermind! I see now that we missed the line that it takes two Stress to do a pip of damage to an NPC!

Suppression

The rules for the effects and removal of suppressed and pinned seem to have been dropped from 2.5.

Stress

The gang really likes the new stress track.  As some of us started injured, we didn't migrate to the new wounding system.

Re: 2.1 meets 2.5 Feedback
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2013, 02:35:29 AM »
Awesome. Thanks for the great feedback, as usual, Michael.

We're on the same page regarding the shooting moves. They've gotten murky and need a refresh, especially making the triggers concrete and crisp.

(All the core moves are being worked on, actually.)

Damage to NPCs and groups is also less than ideal, agreed. Paul and I have competing damage overhauls in the workshop, and I'm gonna try to synthesize something better from them.

Thanks for playing and analyzing! The game is getting better for it.

Re: 2.1 meets 2.5 Feedback
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2013, 11:24:02 AM »
John, any ETA for a new version, wether it's the regular Regiment or Colonial Marines ?

thx !

Re: 2.1 meets 2.5 Feedback
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2013, 05:22:12 PM »
I'm working on a new thing this week. Hoping to have it ready by Friday.

Re: 2.1 meets 2.5 Feedback
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2013, 05:53:18 PM »
Yes, please! I will be testing the game (Colonial Marines or The Regiment) by Friday night!

A new version of The Regiment would be nice.

Re: 2.1 meets 2.5 Feedback
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2013, 06:35:07 PM »
I'm working on a new thing this week. Hoping to have it ready by Friday.

Great !! I just can't wait any longer ;)

Re: 2.1 meets 2.5 Feedback
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2013, 11:15:35 AM »
I'm working on a new thing this week. Hoping to have it ready by Friday.

John, do you know if you'll release a new version this week ?
I've a TR:CM game scheduled on saturday and it would help me to know if I need to focus on the 2.5 version or wait for an updated version.

Thanks !

Re: 2.1 meets 2.5 Feedback
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2013, 08:04:27 PM »
Yeah, sorry for the delay. The new version took longer than I thought it would. I got some feedback and am working on wrapping it up as soon as possible. Hopefully tonight, but we'll see.

Re: 2.1 meets 2.5 Feedback
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2013, 03:14:48 AM »
You don't have to be sorry at all !! You don't have to meet any deadline on this. It's really nice to provide us this hack.

Thx again for sharing this with the community.

Re: 2.1 meets 2.5 Feedback
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2013, 12:34:23 AM »
Edit:  Rethinking what I was saying.

Re: 2.1 meets 2.5 Feedback
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2013, 01:38:51 AM »
A bit more feedback from our most recent session:

1. We're still playing WWII, but it doesn't feel very WWII.  Individually, we feel quite powerful, and some of the moves, especially for the officer, don't seem to make a lot of sense unless we're playing a more contemporary setting. Particularly the officer's ability to call for fire.  The battles end up feeling more like a SEAL team fighting the NVA, or the SAS in the Falklands.  Our officer just managed to go home, so we're going to try playing without an officer to see if it gets grittier.  

2. The horror of war doesn't seem to be explicitly supported by the mechanics.  I think we could do more with what we have - I had a horrific moment where my officer, after calling down smoke on some machinegun nests in bocage was forced to lead the unit in a headlong assault through the smoke to avoid a mortar bombardment, and in the smoke accidentally ended up shooting one of his own men.  That was horrible.  

But the mechanics don't suggest that the soldiers accumulate physical and psychic scars, which makes it really easy to play Rambo or Inglorious Basterds.  At our table, we might not be applying incidental fire as rigorously as we might... But with Grit and Tough, our Soldier managed to prove utterly immune to enemy fire.

And it's up to the players to make the choice of how the character reacts to warfare.  It's entirely possible to go stress and wound critical, and then recover and not have changed.  And while that's not a bad thing necessarily, I feel like the game seems to be about trying to live long enough to get home, and what prices must be paid to accomplish that, and I could use more guidance, myself.

If it is about the costs of war, it might be neat to see that reflected on the sheet.  We were talking about how it would be really cool to be able to tell the stories of our battered veterans after they come back to 'the world', and to have those stories supported by the game.  Maybe carry the characters over into a heist game, a la original Ocean's 11.  Even something as simple as a Fiasco aftermath chart.

When you go home, roll + times you went critical over the campaign.  On a 10+, pick 3.  On a 7-9, pick 2.  On a 6-, you are unscarred.  Why?
-You suffer from substance abuse
-You become an adrenaline junkie
-You're in and out of prison
-You're physically maimed

I think the letters home are a good start at dealing with that.  But Tim made a neat point that tying XP to mission objectives makes it feel wargamey.


3. One of the most valuable things I think is the battleplan tool.  I think it might also be valuable to include some heuristics so players who don't know much about combat have a sort of best practices list of doctrines that they can refer to.  But that might be a bit more than can be asked of such a tight, short game.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2013, 01:44:03 AM by countercheck »

Re: 2.1 meets 2.5 Feedback
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2013, 02:57:20 AM »
Yes, I totally agree! These are the issues I'm deailng with in the revision right now. Thanks for playtesting and for the great feedback!

Re: 2.1 meets 2.5 Feedback
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2013, 02:47:47 PM »
Yeah, sorry for the delay. The new version took longer than I thought it would. I got some feedback and am working on wrapping it up as soon as possible. Hopefully tonight, but we'll see.

How's the next version coming along?
Looking forward to it, and this time I'm actually going to test it instead of just read it.