Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: V&V Post-Mortem Discussion

  1. #1
    The Count of Bohemia Senior Member Cecil XIX's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Neo-Richmond
    Posts
    2,429
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default V&V Post-Mortem Discussion

    In this thread I would like to discuss what went wrong and what went right with V&V.

    Speaking from my perspective, I think the overarching problem with V&V was that it was overly ambitious. Many interesting ideas where added, but the core concept of individual finances was radical enough that it should have been tested by itself. A particularly good example of this is the Civil War that opened the game. The idea behind it was that it would make it easier for PvP to occur later in the game, as no one would have to face the stigma of starting the first Civil War. But regardless of whether or not that would have worked, it's clear in this type of scenario, where the game continues after the war is over, people need a reason to fight and take the risks that fighting entails. If a reason is not provided by the game, or the one given isn't strong enough, then the player will need to come up with a reason himself. Later in the game, when factions have formed and RPing has led to friendships and rivalries, find a reason is much easier. But in early scenarios like this, where everything is new and bonds which make or break of game are still weak, it makes sense to worry first and foremost about survival, as that is necessary in order to participate in the aforementioned RP. This is my explanation for why there were no PvP battles during the Civil War, and why many rebels joined the Kaiser, and I would like to hear any thought by the players.

    Another problem is that the role of GM required more direct involvement then I would have liked. It seems that when I wrote the rules, I took it for granted how things would be done and didn't codify things as much as a should have. This led to some confusion, and also required the kind of judgements that could have looked questionable were the GM to play a character in the game. In this case the solution is to insert into the rules further clarifications on how things work, and especially on what to do when someone makes a mistake, so that the GM has to make fewer decisions which would be either intentionally or unintentionally affected by biases.

    I hope this does not sound like I am being critical of the players. As GM, I believe that the game exists for their enjoyment. And since people who play games will naturally do what's enjoyable to them, it's counter-productive to say that "They didn't play the game in a fun way." Rather, the problem should be phrased as "The players did not seem to have as much fun as was hoped, so there must be some flaw in the structure of the game that's getting in their way.

    That good news is that the fundamental mechanic of personal finances seemed to work fine. The comments I received from the players were all of a technical nature, so I'm hoping that means everyone understood it pretty well. For my part, figuring things out each turn was not hard, just time-consuming.

  2. #2
    Throne Room Caliph Senior Member phonicsmonkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Cometh the hour, Cometh the Caliph
    Posts
    4,859

    Default Re: V&V Post-Mortem Discussion

    Hey Cecil, great idea to start this discussion!

    I really enjoyed this game which was my first foray into forum-based RPGs. (enough fs for you?)

    I found a few things about it difficult but generally I thought from my perspective as a player that it worked well.

    I think the initial civil war was always likely to end diplomatically because at that stage no-one had a stake in the conflict. Contrast with the later clash between the Prinz and Zirn where both sides had personal history and were invested in the outcome. Even that didn't result in a PvP in the end but I thought we didn't lack for drama nonetheless!

    My take on why the game didn't 'take off' in the way you wanted it to?

    - We suffered from a combination of too few players and too few avatars. At one point we had three people on the waiting list that we couldn't accomodate. As time went by they drifted away..I wasn't in KotR but I guess from its scale that it could accomodate a waiting list like that and not suffer as it had plenty of active players. With so few players (and most of them in the same Duchy which was headed by the son of the Kaiser) there was by definition less potential for discord.

    - Turns took too long, for a couple of reasons which I think were too much in combination.

    1) The personal finances were what attracted me to the game in the first place and I loved being able to make those decisions. You may have noticed that my character was (perhaps unduly) driven by the motivation of personal profit. I decided early on to play him that way. However it was clearly taking a lot of your time to put that spreadsheet together. If there were some way to automate this it might work better. Maybe a macro driven off the save game file (converted into text format) could work? Another way to implement it might be to mod the game so that the different duchies are actually different in-game factions. Like what Quirl was proposing to do with his Black March game. Of course then you have permanent Duchies and no ability to create new ones or take them away, which would be a shame too.

    2) The hotseat function, which presents so many exciting options in terms of manually controlling neighbouring factions, managing their diplomacy, recruitment, buildings etc. is also of course extremely time-consuming.

    - The early game was really hard! We completely underestimated how hard it would be and shot off in all directions starting wars with everyone around us. Of course we then quickly realised that controlled by you, these factions were not going to make stupid AI decisions but were actually going to attack us in a strategically reasonable manner. This was nearly the death of us! And by the end of the game we were really only just beginning to restore the position we had at the start. I think to a large extent we got exactly what we deserved, but this also contributed to a 'siege' mentality that meant that, for survival's sake alone, we weren't able to turn on each other like we might have if we were more externally secure. But I wouldn't change this aspect, it made the game a real challenge! I lurked a bit during KotF and it looked like a cake-walk to me against the AI, one of the reasons I never joined that game.

    Having said all that, while we didn't have any PvP battles which seems to be a disappointment to you, I honestly don't think we lacked for intrigue and in-character conflict.

    We had some lovely dramas in the Diet, starting with Hummel and the Prinz falling out over Hamburg, continuing with the ongoing strife between Herden and the Margrave which soon took in everyone and led to the highly entertaining political skulduggery of the third Diet (the Reichsmarschall!) and then we had the nice conflict between the Prinz and Zirn.

    So all in all, considering how few players we had and how few turns we actually got through I think we did well!

    In my view the game was a success and I'd play it again.
    Last edited by phonicsmonkey; 08-23-2011 at 00:46.
    frogbeastegg's TWS2 guide....it's here!

    Come to the Throne Room to play multiplayer hotseat campaigns and RPGs in M2TW.

  3. #3
    Mmmm, Antares is tasty! Senior Member Alien Attack Champion Nightbringer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Your Dreams
    Posts
    2,783

    Default Re: V&V Post-Mortem Discussion

    I liked the structure of the game a lot, and found it quite understandable once I started actually doing it. I must say it was very intimidating when I was just starting though. I really enjoyed the game and would play one like it again anytime.

    That said, I think the main problem is simply the amount of work you put on yourself Civic Cecil. What with calculating finances, controlling the ai factions, and arbitrating, you had more to do than could be reasonably expected, which slowed the game down. I think it would help if you had put the responsibility of keeping track of money on the players. A report of income, expenditure, unit locations, and total funds left each turn by the player. It would be easier to track only the things you control than the gm doing it all, and would make situations like an army disappearing/turning rebel be dealt with by the player rather than having to run it through the gm.

    If this was done, you wouldn't need to worry about exactly what the players were doing, just controlling enemies and arbitrating any rules disputes.
    Last edited by Nightbringer; 08-23-2011 at 02:42.
    Moderator of The Throne Room
    “Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead.” ― Kurt Vonnegut
    "Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge." ― Mark Twain
    "Imagination is a quality given a man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is." ― Oscar Wilde
    “While money can't buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.” ― Groucho Marx

  4. #4
    Throne Room Caliph Senior Member phonicsmonkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Cometh the hour, Cometh the Caliph
    Posts
    4,859

    Default Re: V&V Post-Mortem Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightbringer View Post
    Civic.
    Ahem...Cecil, you mean?
    frogbeastegg's TWS2 guide....it's here!

    Come to the Throne Room to play multiplayer hotseat campaigns and RPGs in M2TW.

  5. #5
    Mmmm, Antares is tasty! Senior Member Alien Attack Champion Nightbringer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Your Dreams
    Posts
    2,783

    Default Re: V&V Post-Mortem Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by phonicsmonkey View Post
    Ahem...Cecil, you mean?
    ugh, yes. Sorry Cecil.

    I constantly combine/switch/confuse those two names. Frankly it is amazing I have gone this long without doing it. I hope you do not take offense Cecil, I certainly know who you are, and that it is in fact you, NOT Civiv, who hosted this game.
    Moderator of The Throne Room
    “Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead.” ― Kurt Vonnegut
    "Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge." ― Mark Twain
    "Imagination is a quality given a man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is." ― Oscar Wilde
    “While money can't buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.” ― Groucho Marx

  6. #6
    Throne Room Caliph Senior Member phonicsmonkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Cometh the hour, Cometh the Caliph
    Posts
    4,859

    Default Re: V&V Post-Mortem Discussion

    Zim will have feedback too but he's on vacation right now..
    frogbeastegg's TWS2 guide....it's here!

    Come to the Throne Room to play multiplayer hotseat campaigns and RPGs in M2TW.

  7. #7
    Involuntary Gaesatae Member The Celtic Viking's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    In the heart of Hyperborea
    Posts
    2,962

    Default Re: V&V Post-Mortem Discussion

    I might chip in late as well then, by shortly saying that there were many, many times that I came very close to starting PvPs. Something that worked against this quite strongly though was how uneven it would be no matter what I did. If I attacked the Kaiser, who was always the primary opponent, I would not only have had the Kaiser against me but also no doubt the Osterreich - and that's everyone else in the game. If I attacked someone in the Osterreich, I would've had the whole of Osterreich against me and possibly/probably the Kaiser as well, but even if not, that'd still be me against everyone else with the exception of one. Neither seems a fair fight, and that's the primary reason that discouraged me from really starting anything.

    The biggest exception to this was with Zirn. The Margrave always supported him, first only in mind and to himself but later also expressed in secret letters and through financial aid. Had Zirn been able to escape with the ships, or if his character had been kept in the game but as a captive in the Prinz's army, the Margrave would've entered the war on Zirn's side. As soon as I heard he was captured I made up my mind that I would try to free him through force, but alas! I never got the chance.

    From the Osterreich's side I suspect there were never much incentive to go to war against anyone in their own faction. What would they have to gain from that? Their Duke was the Prinz so they were already in line for a Kaiser that they could count on, and they had a strong command in the Diet as well. They had much more to gain from expanding their territory at other factions' cost.

    If there had been more intra-factions with a fairer power balance so that no one could dominate the other on their own it would've been much more conducive of civil war and scheming for power.

    (One can perhaps guess from what I've said already that while the initial civil war was all-in-all sort of a failure, it did have a large impact on the character known to us as the Margrave all throughout the game. In this regard it would have worked as intended, had the powers been more equally aligned.)
    Last edited by The Celtic Viking; 08-28-2011 at 21:27.

  8. #8
    Wandering Metsuke Senior Member Zim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    5,190

    Default Re: V&V Post-Mortem Discussion

    I'm back.

    I had a lot of fun with the game while it ran.

    In contrast to Phonics, I thought we initially we were fine as far as avatar numbers. With the extras created for the civil war we had enough for a strong core of players. There was a hiccup with the Civil War (which included me with some computer problems) but I thought the reboot went well and the time skip was a very interesting way to get back into things.

    Avatar problems started afterward, and not only in respect to numbers. We had a pretty good balance of duchies after the war. Then I ruined the postwar balance by going off and getting the Duke of Bavaria killed. Flanders fell shortly after with their duke dead. Austria was getting all of the new adoption offers. One large House wouldn't have been as big a deal with multiple duchies to get alarmed and oppose them (each with their own different interests), but with just the Margrave and the almost but not quite a rebel Zirn it limited interaction somewhat (with just two sides on most issues and not enough players to make that work). We still had some quite interesting conflicts and Diets, but I think more dividing interests would have helped. In that respect the game might have been quite different if the Dukes of Bavaria and Fladners had survived those battles.

    Pumping up the number of players could have helped but new avatars came up slowly. Part of this was a return to the pre recruitable general days, which had both good and bad points (I like that the new generals came into a "family" of sorts, for example). Part of it was also the immense amount of pressure put on the gm. Turns moved very slowly, and a two turn wait for an adoption offer could translate into 2 weeks at the worst and 1 when things were going faster. Previous games sometimes went at a clip of a turn a day and more frequently every two days or so. I think this is mostly up to the strain on the gm calculating everyone's income and often playing enemy turns as well. The Chancellor position was always much easier and still sometimes quite unpopular in the older games, and sometimes a would be Chancellor wouldn't even have an opponent. By contrast this game a single gm had to do much more work and could not sit out a term if he was tired or had a lot of real life stuff to attend to.

    I think a future game will have several challenges. We have a smaller player base now (and when V&V started) than previously. The Throne Room is pretty active but most of the guys who played in the different MTW2 rpgs are gone. There are also fewer MTW2 players around, making it harder to get new players. Ruleset is also an issue. I liked V&V's concept very much but wonder if it was too hard on the gm. That said, the MTW2 rpgs have always been my favorite part of the Throne Room. I enjoyed V&V very much, and would gladly join any future games.
    V&V RIP Helmut Becker, Duke of Bavaria.



    Come to the Throne Room for hotseats and TW rpgs!

    Kermit's made a TWS2 guide? Oh, the other frog....

  9. #9
    Illuminated Moderator Pogo Panic Champion, Graveyard Champion, Missle Attack Champion, Ninja Kid Champion, Pop-Up Killer Champion, Ratman Ralph Champion GeneralHankerchief's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    On a pirate ship
    Posts
    12,279
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: V&V Post-Mortem Discussion

    I quite liked the game; the Diet politics in my opinion were at the best they'd been since KotR, which is no mean feat. However, as TCV suggested, I think we were hampered somewhat by the fact that there was really no balance of power whatsoever to speak of. In this game the Kaiser was always able to stop tensions before they boiled over simply by threatening to unleash holy fury if everyone didn't shut up and play nice. With a very large and powerful Austria going up against the Margrave, with my character somewhere in between, these things usually had a predictable result. Had the balance been somewhat different (say, Brandenburg had been more powerful, or Bavaria and Austria had been present), the Margrave and/or Herden could have easily circumvented me and looked to other places for allies. Unfortunately, the House structure as it was was just the way the cards fell in this game, and there was nothing anybody really could do about it. I bet that if we played this game the exact same way starting tomorrow, we would have an entirely different structure.

    In terms of running the thing, Cecil put forth a Herculean effort for just around a year or so, something which absolutely boggles my mind. To the point that Zim alluded to in the post above, I would like to see the return of a strong Chancellor role in future games like we saw in the very old TW RPGs: the first part of KotR and even Will of the Senate. There's less player freedom, yes, but at the same time the turns move at a much faster clip and I think centralization allows for the empire to properly build so that when the internal politics inevitably hit the fan, there's actually things at stake.
    "I'm going to die anyway, and therefore have nothing more to do except deliberately annoy Lemur." -Orb, in the chat
    "Lemur. Even if he's innocent, he's a pain; so kill him." -Ignoramus
    "I'm going to need to collect all of the rants about the guilty lemur, and put them in a pretty box with ponies and pink bows. Then I'm going to sprinkle sparkly magic dust on the box, and kiss it." -Lemur
    Mafia: Promoting peace and love since June 2006

    Quote Originally Posted by TosaInu
    At times I read back my own posts [...]. It's not always clear at first glance.


  10. #10
    Wandering Metsuke Senior Member Zim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    5,190

    Default Re: V&V Post-Mortem Discussion

    As someone who joined KotR during the Cataclysm you'll have to refresh my memory. In the game's early days, the Chancellor did all of the movement? I recall reading about someone who ticked him off being put on "watchtower" duty.

    As far as chancellor positions go I always liked the system used in the second half KotR and later games, but I've never played under the older system.

    I've always wondered if something similar to KotF's rules set would have worked well if the gm (me in that game) didn't flake out and disappear due to loss of internet access, or if we now have too much of a taste for financial freedom.

    One thing I appreciated about V&V that hasn't been touched on yet was the setting. While in general I would have liked to see more rpgs outside of the Central Europe area I thought it worked very well in V&V. It had been just long enough since KotR to invoke nostalgia and I liked the little touches like the starting character names (and my character's sharing part of a name with each of two different characters from KOTR). The HRE also matched very well with the greater financial and political freedom of the Hosues in V&V.
    V&V RIP Helmut Becker, Duke of Bavaria.



    Come to the Throne Room for hotseats and TW rpgs!

    Kermit's made a TWS2 guide? Oh, the other frog....

  11. #11
    Throne Room Caliph Senior Member phonicsmonkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Cometh the hour, Cometh the Caliph
    Posts
    4,859

    Default Re: V&V Post-Mortem Discussion

    To GH's point, the Diet session where we quarrelled over the Reichsmarschall was my favourite part of the game. I really enjoy behind-the-scenes political skulduggery and this really hit the spot for me...

    I would also observe that it's a pity in some ways that the game ended where it did - because we were about to reinstate the two lost Duchies of Bavaria and Flanders, which would have enabled more politicking and power struggles further down the track. Eventually Leo would have succeeded Heinrich, weakening Austria further so it's likely that if we had carried on you would have seen the PvP conflict you were looking for.

    This is not to say we could have continued the game in its current form. I think it has been shown that it was too much work for you Cecil (and for anyone!)....but it demonstrates I think that the 'balance of power' issue was situational rather than structural...
    frogbeastegg's TWS2 guide....it's here!

    Come to the Throne Room to play multiplayer hotseat campaigns and RPGs in M2TW.

  12. #12
    The Count of Bohemia Senior Member Cecil XIX's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Neo-Richmond
    Posts
    2,429
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default Re: V&V Post-Mortem Discussion

    Everyone, thank you for replying. Looking at your comments, I'm seeing two common threads.

    The first is basically bad luck vis-a-vis the number of players/generals, as well as the structure of power regarding the Houses and the Kaiser. As has been said, this is basically the result of following the rules, so there was little to be done about it once the game had started. In regards to making improvements, I think something like the Patronage system in KotN does a great job at addressing my concerns with RGBs: They no longer start off less connected to others IC than family members. The power structure was just the result of in-game events, and not something that can really be fixed without being overly heavy-handed.

    The second is the amount of time it took to administer the game. My experience was that the time requirements never seemed that bad when I was actually working on things, it was only when the task was before me that it seemed overwhelming. I think the solution is to use the V&V system for short-term games or a less open-ended situation. A good example of the latter would be Civil Wars or events in regular TW RPGs. We've had rules for players to declare "independence" from the main faction and form their own Kingdom, and with the V&V system it would be very easy to separate the finances between two parties. Another idea would be to have separate finances for each House, rather than each player.

    In any case, I'm currently mulling over a few ideas I've had for new games. I fully intend to use the lessons we've learned here to make even better games, and for that I indebted to everyone for playing.

  13. #13
    The Search for Beefy Member TheFlax's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Montreal, Canada
    Posts
    2,012

    Default Re: V&V Post-Mortem Discussion

    Sorry for the very delayed replies, I've been off the Org for a while now.

    First off, I want to thank Cecil for the work he did. While I wasn't a very present player, being dead most of the time does that, I had fun for the parts I played.I can't comment much on the mechanics, since I never got to use them really, but I found them interesting and enjoyed the debates that came with that system. (Marshal position for example) I concur about what has been said about the initial civil war. I didn't even really know why I was fighting the Kaiser and had no real motivation to stick with my fellow rebels. So I decided to be opportunistic instead.

    I guess I don't have much to add, except cursing Zim for killing off my second character () and saying I appreciate the game and the effort Cecil put into it.

    Hope to see you guys in the next M2TW, if there is one.

    (P.S.: Maybe I'd die less if I stuck to my more traditional role )
    Quote Originally Posted by Sasaki Kojiro View Post
    TheFlax needs to die on principle. No townie should even be that scummy.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO