Autore Topic: [Actual Play] Tactical Ops #05  (Letto 1959 volte)

Alessandro Piroddi (Hasimir)

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[Actual Play] Tactical Ops #05
« il: 2012-07-03 00:54:43 »
Last night me, Triex and Serenello experimented using hangout-play to run a Tactical Ops mission.
I was quite skeptical about the viability of it, and it turns out I was not wrong.

I would say that the game went pretty bad, but the playtest went very good.
Here are the facts...

We played from about 21:30 to 24:00.
Usually char-gen takes about 1h and then the game progresses pretty fast, ending a full Quickye mission (5vp) in about 3 hours.
This time we spend an abundant 90 minutes to complete char-gen, and then we only played 2 scenes, accruing in the process just 1vp.

Tactical Ops is not a complicated game, but it is quite complex.
Some comments from last night made me visualize it as a piece of cloackwork ... it works and it is not difficult to use, but it has a lot of interwined parts, all in simultaneous motion.
Describing it sounds much worse than just playing it, but on first impact it can feel a bit overwelming.
I knew this before, as all playtester reported it upon first contact ... but usually by the time the table gets to face the 2nd Obstacle everybody has grasped the basics, and the game rolls easily.
This time it all felt much less smooth.

At the table the use of physical dice, and the handy Game Summary Sheet, and the clear & simple Char-Sheet ... it all makes the game run very smooth.
On hangout?
Using the DRyH dice-roller was the next best thing after physical dice... but DAMN if it is uncomfortable and clunky!
Also, skipping from a tab to another to visualize CharSheet, GSS, rulebook, shared notepad (where we kept annotations on the Mission and its Obstacles ... which is usually done with simple post-its) was sooooo less than ideal.

Also, TOps is a very interactive game.
Players are supposed to constantly talk, describe, call out mechanical effects ... and in generale give contributions to the fiction at hand.
The hangout somehow rised communication walls between us.
I noticed this in all the games I've done by hangout, but usually it just slows a bit the game-peace and sometimes it actually helps give order to the talking.
Here, it was like swimming into jelly :\

So TOps by Hangout is POSSIBLE but, as of now, it is not really ADVISABLE.
Maybe if all (or most) of the players know something about how the game works, instead of starting from zero...
Maybe using pre-gen characters or performing char-gen by forum or mail...
Maybe with a dedicated dice roller...

But, on the other hand, it gave me oh so preciousssss feedback.

In no particular order:
- the Pitfall effect is broken and needs fixing.
- allowing Drawbacks should be an option at char-gen too.
- adding even a short 1st Session Pitch Guide is a definite must.
- the Extra Info option in the INTEL phase should be explained before everything else.
- it should be clearer that, during INTEL, the described steps are meant as an exact and exclusive "how to" and not just a list of things that should somehow be mentioned.

A problem not related to the hangout medium was brought to light by Serenello.
He felt that when you roll dice and don't obtain a success, the fiction becomes irrelevant... thus leaving the player in front of an uncomfortable blank slate.
Also, you may attempt to position your PC in a place of advantage even though you actually failed the roll.

This is not entirely true, nor entirely a problem.
You DO know that your action succeded (instead of failing), and you DO know that for example you scored 4 Hits out of the 5 you needed (or whatever), so you DO have a pretty good measure of how bad/good your action went.
And it is not a problem in the same way it is not a problem describing your own failed rolls in Trollbabe ... not to mention that in TOps the concept of "tactical narration" is openly encouraged :P

None the less it would be cool if the game provided some kind of "soft" fictional consequence (as opposed to "hard" consequences offered by Opposition Cards) when you roll dice and don't Succeede nor Fail ... helping move the action forward and giving some hooks for the players to narrate the roll's outcome.
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