Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Played that game of Shelter In Place ...

Current feelings about the game: Inconclusive

I ended up running Shelter In Place, by J.R. Blackwell published by Galileo Games, for The Boy's 15th birthday and ... I dunno. I think I need probably two more sessions to iron out what I think I did wrong to form an opinion on it.

What mistakes did I make, you ask? That's a very good question, let me explain.

1. Size
We went to the park down the street to play the game. We staked out the shelter, the had a door and a window and then we hid things almost all over the park. When I went over the rules I vacillated between bigger space so it was harder to find things, or smaller space because it would have been more intense.

The Larger Space was a huge mistake if you don't mind the pun. The shambling zombies couldn't catch the humans who had fields to run in and they very easily found everything they needed to find with very little pressure from the shambling zombies. One time they found everything in five minutes and it was kind of a let down.

Lesson Learned: Too small is hard, too big is worse because it's boring.

2. Explanation
When playing with kids, I know I've talked about how they set their own rules and how they will play to the story. Well, sometimes it's all about winning and when you have people on opposite sides of a team it becomes all about my group is going to beat yours. Part of what gives the zombies some sort of chance in Act I is the fact that each player has conflicting goals. They all want to do something to get their extra bonus at the end and many of the goals don't mesh with each other.

I believe that I should have really pushed that fact, you have a goal and instead of just you get a bonus but the only way you can win is to succeed at your goal.

Lesson Learned: Really push the fact that you have a role, and it's not just humans vs. zombies ... because it never is.

3. Other People
I might also say that maybe no matter what I said they were going to just be humans vs. zombies regardless. Again, it goes back to that "Oh, we're on different teams ... my team wins." Not to say that there wasn't any backstabbing, one kid made sure that he left another one of the players to get eaten, but I think they were all going to work together regardless.

Maybe not, but still I'd like to try it with other people and see how that turns out.

Lesson Learned: No lesson here really, just an observation before I say anything. Though my book got covered in mud, which gives it an authentic end of the world look but makes me not want to touch it ... still.

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