[Cold City] Love

edited April 2008 in Story Games
Ran/played my first Cold City game last night as a one-shot for two of my friends. It totally rocked!

I've been having a crappy week with back pain, being oncall at work (I had been paged at 2:15 am and didn't get back to sleep) and all of us were new to the rules... but in spite of all this the game really came together. We did the intro adventure from the book and the two other players took the French and the Soviet sample characters. There was action, influence, trust, and sweet, sweet betrayal. I left the session totally recharged after all this week's crap.

I just love the setting of this game, and frankly you could replace the system with rock, paper, scissors, and Cold City would still be a blast to play. That being said I think the mechanics of the game are really cool, and helped me with getting over the gm-as-entertainer habits I have and really let the players take part in directing the story and conflicts.

Next week one of the other players is buying the book, and running one-shot for us other two plus one more. The meme spreads!


  • So what did you run?
    Prisoner #6?

    Its a great game, the trust mechanics really make it shine over a small serie.

    It really is a amzing how you can go from stereotypical veiws to absolute hatred between the characters with the players being able to handle the change easily and without any animosity towards each other as its a totally in game thing.
  • Yeah, I ran Prisoner #8.
  • Hey John,

    I'm glad you had a good time with Cold City, it's always great to hear about people having fun times with the game. And especially so if it pepped you up after a bad week.

    So, could you tell us any more about how Prisoner No.8 went for you? What kind of characters did people come up with and so forth? Also, whisper me your email address and I'll fire you over a PDF copy of the Cold City Companion if you don't have it already. You might find even more interesting background stuff in there to use in your games.

  • Cool! I'm interested how it went too, having written the scenario.
  • Howdy Malcom and all...

    John turned me onto this wonderful (that's probably the wrong word to describe it!) game. I played our Russian comrade in his little story.
    The setting is brilliant and vibrant. Our game was short, so it naturally left me wanting more. I immediately purchased the PDFs of the core book, the companion and the dossier. I plan to run the game for the (slightly bigger) group next Thursday. We played with only two (myself, the Frog and John GMing) so we missed much of the actual rules for Trust, etc... but I thought our bringing life to the concept behind it was spot on. I eagerly await running next week and will be delving into the rules and backstory later this weekend.
    If you (anyone) has any suggestions on any parts of the setting or rules I should specifically pay attention to (to get the flavor and/or the rule style down) please point me to it (page/book if you don't mind).

    In the meantime - could you hold off on giving John the Companion? I'd like to have some "secrets" left to drop possibly... hehehe... :)

    As for this first game itself...
    We went somewhat quickly through the investigation and such, I'd have liked more time with it... but overall I think we used the rules well and quite a good amount, unlike some of the other actual play notes I've since read (such a the Durham 3)... I immediately got the premise behind the idea of Trust in the cold war environment and about halfway through "Prisoner 8" realized (after signing the NDA) that should we come to a point that we had a chance to capture "8" I'd have to "request" my comrade not be privy to how I handled the end game... meaning... in the final (brilliant) end scene of the episode we used a two punch combo to pull down "8". Since my Russian wasn't skilled at action, I often aided the Frenchie as we crept down the tunnels all Scully/Mulder like. As he fired at "8" (and I shot poorly) the Russian came to an idea and used the camera (he'd liberated from Roth and Sons) to "flash" it... using his Reason attribute and quick thinking merit to roll a much bigger die pool (like the Frog was rolling with his high action and want to kill monsters merit). My thinking was that the flash would stun it... I rolled a 5 die success and John let me narrate! (awesome indy style mechanic, BTW)
    We flashed the thing, while Frenchie ripped it from the service tunnel (it was hiding in above us) down onto the 3rd rail... he plugged it with his pistol and the Russian kept it on the ropes with a flash of the camera (aiding to his die pool) watching it going down... This is when the Russian's National Agenda came in... With the Frenchie describing his SUPERB success about to kill the thing, I asked if I could roll my Influence... I did and surprisingly BEAT the Frenchie's large success by one!!
    Frenchie heard at the side of his head...
    "Give us de gun comrade... pick up de camera... take de ting's picher... take de picture... TAKE DE PICTURE!!!"

    Russian duty (influence) won out over the Frog's action... He just shouldn't have trusted the Red... :)

    more to come...
    I'd love to hear any thoughts, suggestions, advice, etc... on any of this.
    thanks again

  • continued...

    We narrated the stand-off as the end-scene with the "camera" spinning around us, the beastie trying to pull itself from the rails to run... me yelling "TAKE DE PICTURE!!" (now switching to my reason score, one die higher) thinking that the camera would "capture" a part of it (to return to the Motherland) then afterward he'd have the Frog finish killing it... then either barter a deal (to let his comrade live) or take him out... it made no difference to the Ruskie...
    Spinning around the standoff, we cut scene and rolled credits!

    I'm picking up (to GM) following this scene. I haven't come up with the full plot yet, but if anyone has any ideas I'd love to hear them. I can answer more if needed about our story, but as far as I can tell it was pretty strait forward by the module from having since read actual play notes from others (though I haven't read through it yet). If so - PLEASE either email me privately or post here with a BIG "spoiler alert" so John won't read. heheh...

    So ... to end that note... My intention in playing the Russian wasn't always (or entirely) to screw over my fellow player (and in-game comrade) from the beginning but as we played I transitioned to that idea (as did my character) seeing this as "information" to be brought for the Motherland's use. I however wasn't planning on killing the Frenchie outright or even becoming enemies (after the doublecross) because I didn't look at it as needing to go there, I like the idea that in this sort of genre, one can be enemies without going to that FINAL step alot more than standard RPGs. In fact, if the Frenchie wanted to live enough I'd be making a deal with him of some sort so that we could work together again in the future... albeit our Trust scores bottoming out (or at least his trust for the Russian... hehe).

    Finally... I will say that while I LOVE me some Hellboy (original comic fan from day one) I'm not so much wanting to bring in the "high supernatural" style of the actiony-weird stuff as much as pushing the mystery-thriller of the spy genre with the supernatural as an overlay. I'm so much more interested in the cold war aspect of the game, but also love the supernatural and nazi fun - so I'm interested in absorbing more of the rule book's suggestions on "how to" run the games and such... That may change my opinion... thoughts?

    Finally finally... Music... I'm a big fan of music... I've seen some of you folks post about music for the game. Am I the only one that's more interested in non-lyric/contemporary based stuff? I slammed together a playlist of various tracks to game by as we prepped for the game that included some of my many soundtracky type stuff like: the Bourne Series, Batman Begins, Da Vinci Code, War of the Worlds, Run Lola Run, Lair (game), Warhawk (game), and some Russian scores... I don't so much get into tracks with music that takes me out of theme or more appropriately period.
    However, that said I'd love to hear/get some of the tracks I've heard Malcom talk of to see if it fits my approach. I like to begin ANY game I run with an "intro" sort of "reading" thing (think like how Buffy tVS opens with "Unto each generation a slayer is born....") to set the stage and flavor as a "credits title" for the game opening. So I'm thinking on HOW I'll open this game.

    Finally finally finally (I'm just really jazzed about this game) sadly I don't think we'll be playing alot though... We'd already planned to begin a different campaign that I'm running as of the following week, this was just a test/filler to get us until our entire group could gather for the new campaign. But now I'd starting to wish that we could play THIS as a campaign instead. Though to be fair my energy level for GMing is high and active, so I'm sure I'll be able to switch back to the other campaign plan in a week or so (its supers in WWII), but hopefully we'll have this little gem of a game to come back to in the future.

  • Maybe Prisoner #8 will make an appearance in our WWII supers game as well...
  • Hey guys, thanks for the further thoughts on the game. Sorry for the tardiness of my reply, I'm currently backpacking around the east coast of Australia, so my internet access is quite a variable thing at the moment.

    As regards music, I've always kind of had it in my head that chronologically inappropriate music is good for CC. In the confines of my own head, I imagined stuff like DJ Shadow or Fingathing as a theme tune, with bands like Nouvelle Vague playing in the background of seedy clubs and bars. The combination (in the case of Shadow and Fingathing) of turntablist stuff that uses a lot of old vinyl or traditional instrumentation (such as the double bass) in new an interesting ways fits well.

    Or maybe I'm talking nonsense.

    But, I'm extremely glad you've been enjoying the game and I hope that any future games of it will be equally enjoyable.

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