[Misspent Youth]Impressions

edited August 2008 in Story Games
I couldn't get a playtest game of Misspent Youth going last night.
So here are my own impressions of the game.

-p.10: Rather than being "darker", should sold-out Traits be "more conforming"? The cycle of frustration and aggression comes out well in the Mistreatments, but the Motivations (plus the Means Brutal and Perverse) don't seem like they would follow from "selling out".

-p.13: Why is it Perverse when Lukaq kisses Pakku? It was already established that they were interested in each other.

-p.14: Make a decision on whether planning should be done in or out of character, or don't mention the issue at all.

-p.16: Oh no, it's the cybered bat-kraken! It's about to...suck them up into cages in its body? Doesn't quite do it for me. Scenes Five and Six need to have some YO death or other consequence dire enough to *force* a sell-out. Scene seven, on the other hand, will never be important enough to sell out, and I don't care for the example where intra-party feelings are arbitrated by the die roll.

-p.17: Laying out the scene structure at the beginning will probably work and create some good stories.

-p.18: The resolution mechanics look like they will be exciting. The YOs start out at a disadvantage (unless they roll a 7) and improve with every roll. Like craps, there are no choices to make that will affect the outcome.

-p.21: "Clique number" is undefined, or I missed it. I infer it to be a number that the YOs have claimed.

-p.24: Opening closed traits: should it be "Why do you.." rather than "Why don't you..."?

-p.24: Setting Hack: Note that setting Misspent Youth in the past will give the players a setting rather than having them create one.

-So basically, each character has 5 hero points and no progression, only degeneration. OK. But winning has no upside and losing has no downside. The story progresses whether they succeed or not. It's likely that player's will sell out to move the campaign towards its ending.

-Need to adjust the ecology of sell-out according to the number of players. Let's say that the YOs will lose three conflicts per game. If the players enjoy their failures, sellouts drop to one or even zero. So there is almost no risk that a YO will sell out their Glitch and end the campaign on the first night. If there are six players, then the campaign will last much longer and people may lose interest before someone sells out their Glitch. You mentioned that a campaign has never ended. Consider adjusting the number of closed Traits according to the number of players. May also need to cut one from the default, from 5 to 4.

Hope this is helpful.



  • Grant, if I ever design a game, please make sure I send it to you!!!
  • Hey, this is exactly why ashcans exist!

    I'd love to see how your impressions change after playing it. I think some of your thoughts are spot-on, though. I'm very curious to see how MY works as a longer-form game, if at all. Also, in short-form play (one 4-6-hour session), having so many Traits to sell out might be excessive. What if you had only two, or even only one?

    All errors in editing the text are mine. <=)

    I expect Rob will be getting back from GenCon; he should see this soon and I know he'll respond.
  • I can speak to a couple of things (having played Lukaq in the playtest that was turned into the example of play). I don't mean to come off as just "nuh-uh, MY is awesome!" - just to give my impression of a couple issues you raise.

    - This may not be clear from the text, but the reason why it was "perverse" was that offering to kiss Pakku represented a shift in Lukaq's use of sex - from a genuine "sex is nice and pleasure is good for you," attitude to "if you have scruples about any sexual relationship, you're just not cool enough for me" vibe - a lot of it had to do with the fact that Lukaq *knew* that Pakku wanted more than a sexual connection, and was willing to taunt him with the kiss and make him feel bad about his feelings. There's a lot of nuance that got built into that that may be hard to explain but was obvious at the table. For my money, that stuff getting built up, especially through the friend questions, is what I found can make MY really sing, but it's maybe not easy to put into a play example.

    - I don't think it's quite true that there's no upside to winning or downside to losing - it's just that the upsides/downsides are entirely in-fiction. There will always be a progression through climax, nadir, etc. but how those play out in the fiction can be very different. I think a lot of how well the game works depends on how invested the players are in their triumphs and failures in the fiction. For instance, in the playtest I was in, we all cared a *lot* about how we were received by the village when we returned, and we (the players) would have been pretty bummed out to have our triumph soured by losing - hence the motivation for Julia to sell-out. I ran a playtest where some of the players were much less interested and, yeah, that led to a few moments of, "well, this is a one-shot, so let's sell something out to win." In my view, which may or may not be Rob's intent, what's really going on in the conflict system is just a mechanism for getting you to a point where you decide which would be cooler - losing or selling out (I once proposed to Rob that the YOs *always* lose unless they sell out)? If you don't care just for the sake of caring about what each means in the fiction, there's very little in the mechanics that will make you care - which, I suppose, might be a weakness for some folks.
  • I'm giving the kind of feedback I would like on my own ashcan.

    It may be a long time before I can get the guys to playtest Misspent Youth. They chose Panty Explosion - even though I wasn't offering it - because I had been "lobbying for months" and they wanted me to shut up about it.

  • edited August 2008
    I just found a nice blurb about it


    Spoke too soon

    Awesome pic of the front cover and setup


    Great work Rob
  • Posted By: tadkSpoke too soon
    How so?
  • I had posted the first link, then found the second one so I edited my post was all.
    Side note, in the Cool Thing at Gencon Video I get to see what Rob looks like
  • Oh! I thought "spoke too soon" meant that it wasn't a nice blurb after all. That's why I was confused.
  • Hey Grant,

    Thanks for the commentary. It's going to be extremely helpful in creating the final version of the game. I hope you do get to play it with your group, and I'd like to see how that changes your expectations from the text.

    I won't belabor all of your points, however I figure there are a few areas where it's appropriate for me to respond:

    Daniel hit the nail on the head on why that was perverse. I'll have to go back and see how I've failed to make that clear. Thanks.

    I need to write about character death. I first have to think about it a bit more.

    In my opinion, in no game should failure to succeed in a conflict result in a stopped progression of the story. That's just an unfun game, to me. However, the Authority ought to be setting stakes such that it would outrage the players emotionally to lose. One of the areas I need to write more about in the final version is the funny sub-game of stakes-setting. For example, you can't set them so hard that the YO players will definitely sell out, otherwise there's no suspense about that.

    I've never completed a series of Misspent Youth because--due to life-concerns--I've never been able to play more than 2 games of a series. The one with Phil and Rachel Walton and Jeremy W. was about to complete in our third session, probably.

    Once again, thanks very much for the feedback.

    PS: Grant, I wasn't able to demo your game at Gen Con. Do you have a copy of the demo I could look at?
  • Thanks, Tad. I'll check out that post. I met Zachary at the show and he was awesome.
  • Glad to help.
  • Necromancing this thread to re-thank Grant. I am now collating thoughts and feedback toward making a final edition of the game, and this thread has been very helpful.
  • My pleasure. That's what ashcans are about, right?

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