We played Geiger Counter
this weekend: Six players, me inclusive, in my summer house. We played for something like 3 hours (or 4 before we stopped talking about the game and let other topics enter the conversation). All of us experienced gamers wrt. scene framing and shared narration rights.
Three of us had read the text prior to the game. I pitched the game and directed the setup. I had made no preplay prep (other than reading the text and taping size sheets of blank paper together). I actually forgot to print character sheets and had one player hand copy some. I used the variant of coming up with characters collaberatively before each player had a pick from the list.This was great:
This gave us a bit of trouble:
- Drawing the map. It gave such a great focus both during the setup brain storm and later during the game.
- Hitting the scenes from the trailer. In PTA "Next time on..." is great to invent but hard to hit with dramatic punch. In this game we had an all time high when our heli pilot sat in the rescue vehicle 30 meters above sea level on the burning oil rig and said his quote: "I'll get this fish to fly!"
- Controlling the Menace. At first we had a fair amount of scenes without the menace, just introducing characters and setting the stage for conflicts. Then we had almost too much focus on the menace. And then when we started fighting back, it had two unlucky rolls and was suddenly down to 6 dice fighting three joined characters with advantage dice for a very easy kill (and just two dead protagonists).
- Defining the menace. We had let it open just agreeing on cthulhuoid but with inuit shamanism words. First it was a shadow, then it had horns, then they were many, then they had oily skin and could be burned by fire. It did make it a bit fuzzy about how it was a threat.
- Coming up with good conditions - especially in protagonist vs. protagonist conflicts. Early in the game there was a fairly unviolent pvp conflict that ended with one being "Alone". It seemed a bit drastic to have a social conflict have fairly big consequences - but maybe that is actually more a feature than a flaw.
- Sometimes outcomes of scenes were more brainstormed than narrated. When scenes were framed more as a group effort (brain storm) than from a single director then when it came to narrating outcomes, I sometimes found it noisy and fuzzy with too many contributions from eager players.
The map was such an effective gimmick that I reused it for our dogs session the day after (Twin Bridges - a town with two stewards).
Thanks to Jonathan for a very effective game.