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Re: The ALPHA PDF - questions, comments, errata

Sun 25 Dec 2016, 01:02

Impressions after my first game yesterday: 
- Rules: I have never played as a GM and I have only played on game of DnD 20 years ago. That being said, the setting was well-written (fun to read!) and the rules were simple enough such that I was able to play my first game with friends less than one hour after receiving the PDF. The mechanics are simple enough to learn quickly, and less tedious than DnD calculations-yet potentially even deeper in terms of all the different consequences that might result. (I wished the book had more examples of what things can happen with bonus successes or failures. I often didn't know what to offer them as a bonus sometimes, but they were all very excited when they rolled any additional 6's. I need more ideas!)
- Character Creation: I had the PDF up on my TV and everyone had lots of fun discussing their characters. Choosing an Iconic Item, Anchor, Problem and Drive was really fun-and not overly complex (no compendiums or tables to lookup). 

- Character Sheets: Strongly suggest printing them out vs. using blank paper. It really helps to see what Skill choices are available actions. Playing with friends who have never played an RPG before led to many situations where they kept asking "what are my choices? what can I do?".

- Scenario: Summer Break and Killer Birds. I printed out the scenario and had only about 5 minutes to prep before the game started. Even still, it was manageable. I would read ahead while the group was figuring out decisions or sometimes learn something only when they learned it themselves. I do wish there were more action/consequences and description texts for each location/room. I would have really helped a first time GM like myself if there was more text for me to read aloud or more sample choices. Lastly, I felt the conclusion of the story was a little anti-climactic-what impact did the kids have in the end? 

- Trouble: The overall difficulty level seems too low. Since you can't die, it's hard to raise the stakes-especially with all the different options for re-rolls: Luck, Push Yourself, Pride. With 4+ players, how can you raise the stakes/difficulty level? (Also, how can you roll for a "team" action? I did things like when lifting a heavy bar, they needed 3 successes as a team to get it off. The players really enjoyed rolling together like that.)

- Awarding XP: I'm confused by how to award XP fairly and how quickly characters should level up. So, after the game, I asked everyone what things they achieved they felt they should get an XP for. They went around the table complimenting each other ("remember when Sussy threw that meatball perfectly to stun the bird? lol She saved the day!") and recounting their favorite moments in the game. They LOVED this part.

- Everyday Life - This was problematic for us. Everyday Life wasn't that interesting for the players and they weren't interested in exploring it after the Mystery. Perhaps with some deep preparation, we could come up with a prologue and epilogue in everyday life that would be interesting, but it would really help if the Mystery had some sample everyday life stories to explore. Everyday life wasn't interesting to our players compared to the Mystery itself. I could see after multiple games, unless there is a very strong reason so, our players would want to continue to skip these phases. 

- Transportation: Similarly, while fun the first couple of times, it became tedious for the kids to have to figure out transportation from location to location. They spent more time figuring out how to change locations than in the actual locations/showdown itself. 

Overall: Considering I had less than 1 hour to skim the PDF and only 5 minutes to prepare the Mystery, we had a GREAT time! We started with 2 players and then 2 more joined mid-game. We were able to create new characters and backstories within minutes and continue onward without a hitch. Having it on the TV really helped as we were also able to Google sample imagery (ex. goshawk) or show the magnetrine ship from the PDF. It would be awesome to have a "digital reference guide" just of imagery to print out or put on a large screen. The game is really fun-even with people who have never played before. My biggest request would be that Mysteries have more description text and pre-written choice/consequences (as a newbie, I need more hand-holding)-and an actual conclusion or epilogue/return to everyday life. It just kind of...ended without a fight, just someone running away.

Lastly, without spoilers, one of the biggest highlights was when they had to figure out how to get to Mat's house. The Popular Kid got on the Troublemaker's back, who then got on her skateboard and grabbed the back of a logging truck and skated all the way there. First roll was to sneak up behind the truck. And then a 3 difficulty level of actually holding onto it, something a 12 year old would find near impossible...and she rolled 6 sixes! 
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Re: The ALPHA PDF - questions, comments, errata

Sun 25 Dec 2016, 01:11

Awesome! Thanks for that report, extremely useful for us at this stage.

Regarding the ending, it's meant to be a climactic final showdown agaist Gunnar and the Goshawk - perhaps that needs to be fleshed out more.

Feel free to send the names of you all to, and we'll make sure to credit you as playtesters. :)
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Re: The ALPHA PDF - questions, comments, errata

Sun 25 Dec 2016, 09:37

Sweet, thanks! Yeah, I think it's just too easy in a showdown for a group of 4 players to cash in all their remaining Luck and Pride to force a win. If final showdowns had 2-3+ phases, it could be interesting. Maybe the first successful attack on the bird makes it stronger--its microchip starts to learn from us! 

I was also thinking the conclusion/everyday life epilogue should be tied to the Mystery. Perhaps we all go back to our hideout to celebrate, when a pigeon flies in with a final message for us... :D 

PS. Now that I've played and seen how the rules work, I realized that the orange dice are now a MUST HAVE. This game isn't based on numbers, but 'successes'. Our little group of non-gamers were literally shouting "yeah!!" when they saw 6s.
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Re: The ALPHA PDF - questions, comments, errata

Sun 25 Dec 2016, 13:41

Have you considered giving us a google drive link where we could make comments and corrections in the actual text sometime before the text is finalized? Also I'd like an opportunity to read through the draft for the swedish version before it is printed.
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Re: The ALPHA PDF - questions, comments, errata

Sun 25 Dec 2016, 15:10

Some comments on page 27-28: post them here while they're fresh in mind

P 27 instead of 'least settled' I would propose 'least built up'

 'royal estate' rather than 'Kungsgård (King's estate)'

Hovgården wasn't made world heritage until 92

Do we need this much about the (admittedly fascinating) Viking heritage of Adelsö? Would kids be interested? 

Ansgar not Ansgard and I think normally given in its Latin when referred to in English-  I.e. Vita Ansgarii

Kungshögarna can be retained if a proper name, but should be translated royal mounds

The ', who rest here' after the names of the three kings is redundant

For the following sentence I would propose

'These may have been the first kings to receive christian missionaries in Sweden, and probably resided at Hovgården.'

P 28

'Close to' or 'outside' instead of 'outside' of'

'Strange foreigners'  sounds a bit off 'foreign-sounding strangers'
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Re: The ALPHA PDF - questions, comments, errata

Sun 25 Dec 2016, 17:34

On page 12, section "Everyday life is dull and unforgiving", there is a sentence "Sure, sometimes a problems is solved and you enjoy a nice moment, but it only lasts a short while, then it’s the same as before."

You better use "a problem is solved" or "problems are solved".
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Re: The ALPHA PDF - questions, comments, errata

Sun 25 Dec 2016, 18:22

On page 44, the rules say you may use an item to get the bonus only once per session. This is not clearly repeated on page 52 (under Items and Pride), but I think it is a good balancing measure. However, it would therefore be good to include a checkbox in the Item entries and the Iconic item entry on the Character sheet, like it is in the Pride entry.
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Re: The ALPHA PDF - questions, comments, errata

Sun 25 Dec 2016, 18:30

Firstly, amazing Alpha PDF - looks superb and littered with fantastic ideas and has a real unique feel to it. Love the focus on narrative and creative gameplay over pure mechanical gameplay. Especially like the idea of anchors and hideouts "healing" conditions narratively and indeed conditions themselves. Feels really unique and the emphasise on a collaborative story telling experience over "winning" a campaign is clear, and I really like that, it has a real organic feel and although not played a game yet, I imagine there is no downtime at all in looking up rules which is what I like in a session. The mix of Troubles and Everyday life is great, and the concept of focusing on Kids stories and experience is very apparent, and feels really "meaty" for want of a better word! The examples given are great in illustrating the focus on narrative interactions over mechanical issues, but I feel there does need to be examples of the mechanics of the die rolls too (both in character creation and die rolls themselves), but overall, great stuff! Even like that the maps for the Mysteries are on graph paper, very nice nostalgic touch!

There are a few things I think could really add to the experience to turn this into truly an extraordinary book (and a few typos came across so far...) (read everything up to the GM only section so far so apologies if I miss things in that bit - my thinking was that things I've said below i felt should be info available to all players not just GM though so figured they would be best featured in that half of the book anyway....!)

The world building - I love the concept and setting, but could read tons more about it. Fleshing out the universe would be invaluable, especially on the tech side - I know the stories aren't focused on tech but to be immersed I feel the surrounding have to make sense. For example, why are they some tech advances and not others? Why do we have robots and flying vehicles but still VHS and C64s? What is the Magnetine Effect (feels like it is effectively a unique energy source but is this right?) What does it do? What are the robots? Some examples or common place models would be brilliant (guessing in part that's what on P79-82? Might be nice to have that in the section about the Loop rather than the mystery). If they're considered almost free thinking then are they left to their own devices or are they still owned by people. Is there a history of this? Was there a point people realised they thought for themselves? The unique setting is the reason I backed this Kickstarter and I want to know all about it!

The Kid types - could benefit from being more differentiated, either mechanically or narratively. Perhaps each one could have a unique mechanical effect or each part of the character could be expanded upon narratively on the page to really draw attention to how unique each Kid could be, maybe with fully fleshed out examples for each?

Examples would really help in the Kid creation, especially assigning points to attributes and skills. There's only a single sentence to clarify how to add points into skills and this could really use fleshing out to clarify just how attribute scores compliment points you can put into skills. (Adding attribute score to skill for dies rolls but limiting the skill to 3 - makes sense after a few reads but could be written a little bit clearer I feel)

Perhaps clarify the effect of conditions on die rolls - I'm assuming they mean you roll 1 less die rather than take -1 off the result but could do with clarifying perhaps

On the skills index may be worth reiterating / referencing how buying effects works - also clarifying this mechanics, specifically "giving another Kid a success" - does this mean a success for the same task you've just done, a success for a task they will do or a success they can bank for later on on the same skill check?

Similarly regarding helping another Kid - when can this be declared? Do you have to say you are helping before a roll or can you declare it after a failed roll? Also do the success you roll as a helper simply give the first Kid an extra die to roll on their check and not an automatic success? It's not expressly clear and agin would really benefit from examples.

Some typos...

P34 - "characters the game" - missing "in"
P46 - "don't not" - needs to be either do not or don't
P47 - "additional condition" - needs S at end of condition
P48 - paragraph containing "answer as honestly as they can" - pronoun shifts half way through sentence, needs to be all "you" or all "they"
P52 - in insert bit, last "GamesMaster" word needs to be in bold like the other
P63 - the Stephen King book is called "Christine" not "Christina"
P55 - typical complications box - at the bottom "bout what seems plausible" is just left there without context, guessing the rest of the sentence was deleted!

But all said and done, this is a superb piece of work, feels very unique and cannot wait to get to grips more with it!!!

Merry Xmas!!!
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Re: The ALPHA PDF - questions, comments, errata

Sun 25 Dec 2016, 18:39

Great feedback, thanks all! :)
Fria Ligan
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Re: The ALPHA PDF - questions, comments, errata

Mon 26 Dec 2016, 07:26


Still digging in but I love the setting and strong RP founding in character creation.

A lot of typos already reported, not sure if this one was yet:

Page 40 rocker key attribute heart - font error the last t is lower case

Keep up the great work!

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