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I've finally tried Paranoia, and I love it!!

Wicht

Adventurer
As I recall, differences between the editions are more fiddly than anything else, mostly corrections and revisions. Until you get to the Mongoose (?) edition, which also shows you how to run it as a straight grim dystopian game.

Which is nice and all, but kinda misses the point. (And anyway, all the best jokes are for the GM.)

Wikipedia has a nice summary of the various editions.

It is worth noting that the 2004 XP edition, which introduced the possibility of running it straight, was done with full approval of the original designers who viewed the later West End editions to be too cartoony in their presentation of the satire. The first edition was a much darker, less humorous take on the world than second edition. I would guess though that for most of us who like Paranoia, the feel of second edition is what we tend to remember. 2nd edition was certainly the system I played back in the day.

The latest edition by Mongoose is a bigger departure from the original rules than most of the preceeding editions in that it introduces card combat and a d6 dice pool mechanic.
 

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Wicht

Adventurer
So, were the other editions less about rolling dice?
Rolling dice gives the illusion of agency. One always wants the clones to feel like they have a chance.

IIRC, the 2nd edition used a d20 mechanic. Straight dice rolls are simply different than dice pools.
 

Bird Of Play

Explorer
Rolling dice gives the illusion of agency. One always wants the clones to feel like they have a chance.

IIRC, the 2nd edition used a d20 mechanic. Straight dice rolls are simply different than dice pools.

Were the dice rolls still pretty much limited to some events where you use one of your stats?

I felt Paranoia isn't as roll-heavy as D&D.
 

Wicht

Adventurer
Were the dice rolls still pretty much limited to some events where you use one of your stats?

I felt Paranoia isn't as roll-heavy as D&D.
I would hazards that your Paranoia experience is going to change somewhat from Table to Table, and Group to Group; but I would also guess that on average, most Groups are going to run it slightly less roll-heavy.

Personally, as I said, dice give the illusion of agency, and when running it, I myself would not hesitate to let players roll plenty of times to try various things. You want them to feel like there might be a chance. And you want, when bad things happen, to allow them to blame the dice instead of you.
 


Hand of Evil

Adventurer
What I always found fun was relating it to my job, I was Help Desk and Data Processing at the time and we had sayings we used in the Data Center.
  • PINIC - Problem In Chair, Not In Computer. Would get calls asking why systems were unavailable and provide the answers to the caller, after working with them, you would find out it was on their end.
  • You run what you brung (spelling is correct in this case), meaning programmers were accountable for the code they provided. There are good and there are bad programmers but once they did their part, they walked away from their code.
  • No food or liquid in the Data Center.
  • Disaster Recovery Test is performed at least once a year. A true test would be where the primary contact for a system was considered dead and the secondary would have to have to travel to the backup site and have the system up and active within 24 hours based on the recovery documentation. You can see this could be great for Paranoia.
  • Fire Suppression and alarm test performed twice a year. Our Data Center was small, 3000 Square Feet but during the test, temp went from 60 degrees to 115 in twenty minutes. It was best to have it done before a disaster is created, systems would start failing between 15 and 120.
Great fun. Now I am going to have to look into running a game.
 

My record as the Computer: 24 dead clones in under an hour. We were playing 1st edition adventure Clones in Space. All the clones are activated and sent to outerspace. One player herded his clones into the airlock and then hit the blinking read button (opening the outer door). The others tried to wield a piece of metal over a small crack with a plasma gun (blowing out the side of the ship). Sad thing on that was that I told them that the crack was not losing enough air to be a concern.

One of my very few TPKs, and I got no blame whatsoever from the players.
 


the Jester

Legend
My record as the Computer: 24 dead clones in under an hour. We were playing 1st edition adventure Clones in Space. All the clones are activated and sent to outerspace. One player herded his clones into the airlock and then hit the blinking read button (opening the outer door). The others tried to wield a piece of metal over a small crack with a plasma gun (blowing out the side of the ship). Sad thing on that was that I told them that the crack was not losing enough air to be a concern.

One of my very few TPKs, and I got no blame whatsoever from the players.
I cannot even begin to tell you how many Paranoia games I have played or run that wiped the pcs before they even got to the mission... and once or twice, even before we got to the briefing.
 

the Jester

Legend
Wikipedia has a nice summary of the various editions.

It is worth noting that the 2004 XP edition, which introduced the possibility of running it straight, was done with full approval of the original designers who viewed the later West End editions to be too cartoony in their presentation of the satire. The first edition was a much darker, less humorous take on the world than second edition.
I... I don't know whether I agree with this or not. 1e was very humorous. Yes, it's grim humor, but it's a hilarious game from the very beginning.
 

Wicht

Adventurer
I... I don't know whether I agree with this or not. 1e was very humorous. Yes, it's grim humor, but it's a hilarious game from the very beginning.
I never played first edition, so I will defer to your expertise. I was taking others at their word that the 1st edition rules were darker and more straight and that it was the supplements which helped introduce the more slapstick humor leading into 2nd edition, which is the edition I started with.
 

Galandris

Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
I hope I won't break the no politics rules but isn't one of the points of Paranoia is to be political satire? It was published in 1984 when a significant part of the population really feared a nucular attack by the political forces mentionned in the game and a significant party in a large country had a representative who garnered a strong reputation (worldwide) for his radical stance against said other political group that is satirized in the game by being adopted by the Computer.

Wouldn't a 2021 Paranoia game be true to the original spirit if it indeed made fun of said populous country political party's leaning satirized to an extreme view instead of making fun of a 50 years old stance of a party from said country ? I am pretty sure the jokes about the enemies of the Computer don't ring the samz now than they did in 1984 and many more societal concerns could be represented into secret societies that didn't simply exist nack then.
 
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the Jester

Legend
I never played first edition, so I will defer to your expertise. I was taking others at their word that the 1st edition rules were darker and more straight and that it was the supplements which helped introduce the more slapstick humor leading into 2nd edition, which is the edition I started with.
Oh God, was 1e slapstick and dark humor from the start. Oh yes it was. The original box had, I think, three books in it- a GM's book, a Player's book, and an Adventure book. The player's book really set the tone, with a strong emphasis on 'you don't get to know that' when you ask about... well... anything. Rules, setting info beyond the basics, etc. The answer was pretty much always, "What's your security clearance, citizen?"

Anyone who read or played the 1e game, even if they only read the player's book (which was 12 or 16 pages, and that's all you get to see as a pc), could not possibly miss the satirical nature of it. I'm pretty sure anyone who says that either never actually read or played 1e, or else they are conflating it with a far more serious game or something. From the very first, there was no doubt about the tone Paranoia was going for.
 

the Jester

Legend
I hope I won't break the no politics rules but isn't one of the points of Paranoia is to be political satire? It was published in 1984 when a significant part of the population really feared a nucular attack by the political forces mentionned in the game and a significant party in a large country had a representative who garnered a strong reputation (worldwide) for his radical stance against said other political group that is satirized in the game by being adopted by the Computer.

Wouldn't a 2021 Paranoia game be true to the original spirit if it indeed made fun of said populous country political party's leaning satirized to an extreme view instead of making fun of a 50 years old stance of a party from said country ? I am pretty sure the jokes about the enemies of the Computer don't ring the samz now than they did in 1984 and many more societal concerns could be represented into secret societies that didn't simply exist nack then.
Well, a friend just got me the newest Paranoia edition a few weeks back, and one of the major changes is that instead of Commies being the big boogeyman, it's Terrorists.
 

My record as the Computer: 24 dead clones in under an hour. We were playing 1st edition adventure Clones in Space. All the clones are activated and sent to outerspace. One player herded his clones into the airlock and then hit the blinking read button (opening the outer door). The others tried to wield a piece of metal over a small crack with a plasma gun (blowing out the side of the ship). Sad thing on that was that I told them that the crack was not losing enough air to be a concern.

One of my very few TPKs, and I got no blame whatsoever from the players.
Last time I ran Paranoia, all players ran out of clones in the end of the second scene... the one where the door opens... (Into the outdoors with Gun and Camera).
 

Bird Of Play

Explorer
I've only played one session of Paranoia so far, but it seemed clear it's social satire. This is why I made comparisons with Monty Python and their absurdist humor, as well as 2000 AD and their surreal cynism.

That one session I played definitely felt like the British sci-fi satire of the '70s-'80s.

I guess that's one of the reasons I liked it so much. I'm always into social commentary expressed through humour.

On a side note, there's a game called "Starmancer". It seems to be a lot like "Paranoia, but played as a serious game".
 

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