Dread [Dread] Jenga beat up my dice! My results from the indie horror RPG. - Page 6




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  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Epidiah Ravachol
    That is in the works, but not in my hands, so I can't give you an accurate prediction on when it will be available. I'll look into it.
    Cool, I'll keep an eye out for it.
    Thanks
    Still running a great game

 

  • #52
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    Well, Eppy answered most of the questions before i even discovered this thread existed, so i'm just doing a bit of cleanup.

    Quote Originally Posted by WayneLigon
    It sounds great, but the Jenga tower thing kinda kills it dead for me.[snip] I might have to actually play it a few times to appreciate it, but I really, really suck at things like Jenga. I don't like having my own inadequacies translated into inadequacies for my character; it's one of the reasons I play RPGs. It would be kinda like 'OK, to succeed at this task, get up and run around the block in less than x amount of time'.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kafkonia
    It sounds fascinating. I could never, ever play it -- I almost had anxiety attacks just trying to thread a needle in home ec back in junior high, and my fine motor control is such that I would never have a chance to succeed more than a couple of pulls into the game. But for the right market, it could be perfect.
    In our experience, this is much less of an issue than most people think it will be. First of all, plenty of people at convention games over the years have had a perfectly enjoyable time without making a single pull during the entire game. Depending on your character, the scenario, and your personality, it might be more enjoyable to avoid the tower (fine motor skill issues aside).

    Secondly, we've had at least one person who had diagnosed hand tremors, and said after the game that he had a blast--and, yes, he did pull several times, and he didn't think his handicap really affected the game in a negative way (I know Eppy, the GM, was really worried it would).

    Thirdly, and this is probably the most salient point: for the vast majority of people, skill at Jenga and skill at Dread are only very loosely related, at best. That is, having your character on the line changes it immeasurably, so the "Jenga masters" really aren't that much better than the complete beginners, who aren't much better than the klutzes. It sorta levels the field a bit--which, combined with the fact that you can (1) choose not to pull and (2) often choose to avoid situations where pulls are even needed in the first place, seems to minimize the issue. Due to years of playtesting, and then convention running, we've gotten inordinately good at Jenga, yet I can still have a blast playing a game of Dread, and don't feel particularly better at the pulling than the other players.

    To be clear, motor skills disparity certainly could be an issue that would impact the game, but, in our experience, it takes a much greater disparity than people anticipate, before it has a significant impact on the game. People who don't want to get into the right mood are a much bigger problem for the game. So i'd recommend giving it a try before writing it off--there's everything you need to run a game on our website for free download.

    Quote Originally Posted by Whizbang Dustyboots
    I'm tempted to buy Jenga just to be able to play Dread.
    Funny story, there: that's exactly what happened to us. That is, the core mechanic that evolved into Dread predated any of us having ever played Jenga, much less owning a set. So we had to put off actually trying it out for a week while i tried every store in town until i found one that had Jenga in stock (everybody just happened to be out at the time).

    And, putting on my marketer hat, a Jenga set is only ~$12, maybe less, and provides all you need for an entire group to play. You can't even get two sets of dice for that much money, and most people want a separate set of dice for each player in most RPGs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiew
    Sounds extremely cool. Do you think it would be a good system for introducing new role-players to the idea of a role-playing game? I have literary type friends who'd probably get bored a few minutes into me describing the rules of D&D, but who might get into the interactive story thing.
    Quote Originally Posted by FunkBGR
    I've had Dread sitting on my shelf, and I just can't seem to find the gamers for it. Sounds awesome Piratecat - here's hoping I"ll get my chance someday soon.
    As Eppy said, Dread has suckered several people that we know of into RPGs, who had previously rejected them. And, IME, it, if anything, goes better for the complete novice than for experienced RPers. So, if your current group won't go for it, maybe don't look for other gamers to play it--round up a bunch of your non-gamer friends for an evening.

    Also, for those of you looking to try the game: we'll be running a whole bunch of sessions at Origins and GenCon this year, as usual, and should have extra GMs with free time to run pick-up games at GenCon, in case of significant overflow. And as much as we love seeing familiar faces at con games, we love seeing new faces even more.

    Quote Originally Posted by greuh
    The "13" scenario found on the website, which I used at the second game is, IMHO, not as good as the ones found in the book : it needs development and some rearrangement of the scenes. I will reuse this scenario at the genconFr, rearranging some elements : the little girl won't be one of the first thing encountered, the catlike thing will be found beforehand, and I'll try to be more subtle. Because my players found out the whole thing at the beginning, and one of my players was too much of a bully.
    Yeah, we've heavily re-structured that the last couple times we've run it at a convention, for many of the exact reasons you've identified. It still uses most of the same pieces as the version posted on the website, but has been, as you say, rearranged and restructured.

    Quote Originally Posted by BryonD
    Any chance these products will ever be available as PDFs?
    Yes. RSN(tm). I'm re-doing the layout to be home-printer-friendly, while still capturing essentially the same style as the printed version. Which means completely redoing the layout pretty much from scratch, due to how it is built. And i've just not gotten around to finishing it up. As soon as i do, it'll be up on RPGNow, or somesuch. Maybe this month? And, we've tossed the idea of PDF scenarios for a few bucks back and forth a number of times, and mostly just haven't gotten around to figuring out exactly how we'd want to do it, and then doing it.

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatLemur
    I bet there are multi-colored Jenga set out there you could use to build color-coded towers...
    Yep. There's Truth or Dare Jenga, which is, IIRC, 3 colors; Jenga Extreme, which is 3 colors, 2 finishes, and parallelogram-cross-section blocks; there's UNO Stacko, which is a 4-color knock-off; and there are any number of multi-colored knock-offs. One thing about the knock-offs: most of them don't stack quite the same: the length is greater than 3x the width, so the layers stack with gaps. No real impact on play, but it does make re-setting the tower a bit more fiddly, and thus time-consuming.
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  • #53
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    Re: people who like the concept, but fear the skill effects of Jenga:

    I wonder if this could be solved by using a random draw mechanic. What I'm thinking is you have an opaque bag, white marbles or disks or tokens or whatever, and black marbles. The bag starts off with, say, 50 white marbles in it. When you "pull", you draw a marble. White is equivalent to a successful pull, black = tower falling. You always replace a white marble drawn with a black one. So you get the same basic pattern, of a safe or almost safe zone at the beginning, meaningful danger in the middle, building up to almost sure doom at the end. (Of course, after a black marble is drawn you need to reset the bag.)

    My guess is that this would produce much the same effect as the Jenga tower, with a reduction in the vividness of the risk and the task (and the total loss of the focusing "don't touch the table lest the tower fall" aspect), in exchange for making it entirely luck based.

    Thoughts?

    (I should note that I have yet to play Dread and haven't gotten my copy yet. This is based just on this thread and other online comments.)
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  • #54
    That's Kirk's player knocking the tower over while reaching for a bag of Cheetos.
    And this right here perfectly expresses why I don't like Dread. Despite the brilliant writing, despite the amazing mechanic of the questionaires, despite the tension it builds, that right up there kills it for me, stone cold. The idea that a player's actions, even something as random as bumping the table, causes them to waste the work they put into their character, wastes the time the GM took to prep the questionaire, and could very well bring the plot to a screeching halt just doesn't sit well with me.

    I understand the desire to ramp up the tension. I ran a horror-conspiracy game for 12 years, and was constantly looking for ways to up the stakes. Player investiture in the characters and the world is a huge part of that. And that's where the blocks yank me out of it, pardon the pun - your work on a character doesn't mean jack, because you could bump the table, and you're out, removing you from the session. That's anti-immersion for me.

    I'd be very interested in seeing some sort of alternate resolution mechanic for this that keeps the stakes, keeps the investitutre that rises from the questionaires, but loses the (IMO) far too random element.
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  • #55
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    But with Jenga/Dread you have a little bit of choice as to how much risk you are willing to take. It might be safer to pull from the right side of the tower than the left.

    With the black bag proposal, it's just flat out riskier and I would suspect more would back out of even trying to pull once it became too odds unfavored.
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  • #56
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    It's been a long time since I've played Jenga, and I've never played Dread. But I don't recall ever facing a choice of how difficult a pull to take in a Jenga game. Sure, there are easier and harder pulls, but usually you identify what you think is the easiest pull and then take it, right? There's skill involved in figuring out which pull will be easiest, but that just gets back to "Jenga introduces player skill (unrelated to character choices) into the resolution mechanic."

    One of the interesting things about either mechanic is that most of the time you won't get to the point where the odds are heavily stacked against you. Once the tower (or bag) gets to a point where the odds of death are, say, 1 in 4, a relatively small number of pulls makes a death very likely. At 1 in 4, the cumulative risks of death are 1/4, 7/16, 37/64, 175/256, 784/1024, if I've done the math right. So 5 pulls at 1 in 4 odds of death kills somebody better than 3/4ths of the time. (Obviously, by the time you get up to a 50/50 chance of death, the cumulative odds of death become very steep (1/2, 3/4, 7/8, 15/16, etc.).) So what that means is that most deaths are going to happen not when they are almost inevitable, but when there is a substantial but much less than half chance on each pull. That means that, either way, you spend most of the game at the sweet spot where pulling is significantly risky, but you'll probably live.

    Perhaps 50 marbles isn't the right number; after all, I pulled that out of the air. But my guess is that with a little judicious twiddling you could get an effect that is fairly similar to the Dread mechanic but is independent of skill at Jenga. Personally, I'm all for trying Dread using the Jenga mechanic, but I'm not convinced that the basic insight of the mechanic can't be retained while addressing the concerns of people like Jim Hague, WayneLigon, and Kafkonia.
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  • #57
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    Sounds like a fascinating game. I'll definitely be getting it for a one-shot.

    Which brings me to my question: This sounds like a one-shot game, maybe multiple one-shots, but still not an ongoing thing. How well does Dread lend itself to a campaign?

  • #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hague
    I understand the desire to ramp up the tension. I ran a horror-conspiracy game for 12 years, and was constantly looking for ways to up the stakes.
    I think you are missing the point if you are comparing a 12 year game to a system intended for one shots.
    I'm not insterested in new RPGs right now.
    But this strikes me as an excellent merger between an RPG and a party game. I'll certainly be picking it up.
    The more unexpected the death the more I think it would be remembered five years later.
    It isn't a bug, it is a MAJOR feature!!!!!
    But you need to look at it differently than you would a campaign.
    Still running a great game

  • #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mercule
    Sounds like a fascinating game. I'll definitely be getting it for a one-shot.

    Which brings me to my question: This sounds like a one-shot game, maybe multiple one-shots, but still not an ongoing thing. How well does Dread lend itself to a campaign?
    You might be able to do something episodic -- a Night Stalker type thing, maybe, or X-Files-ish. Failure wouldn't necessarily mean death, maybe just knocked out for the session, with a chance for something more permanent depending on circumstance.

  • #60
    Quote Originally Posted by BryonD
    I think you are missing the point if you are comparing a 12 year game to a system intended for one shots.
    I'm not insterested in new RPGs right now.
    But this strikes me as an excellent merger between an RPG and a party game. I'll certainly be picking it up.
    The more unexpected the death the more I think it would be remembered five years later.
    It isn't a bug, it is a MAJOR feature!!!!!
    But you need to look at it differently than you would a campaign.
    Sure, but the basic principles remain the same - investiture, immersion and ramping up the stakes. I want to like Dread, but the resolution mechanic would, pardon the pun, leave me in fear for my life from my players. Plus, I wouldn't want someone getting knocked out of a 4-6 hour game, one shot or no, because they bumped the table; that's no fun at all.

    So the question remains - what other resolution mechanics could be used and maintain the principle of the game?
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