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Avery Alder Jul 8
Replying to @lackingceremony
In Sentinels of the Multiverse, you're a team of heroes, fighting a supervillain, in an interesting environment. Each hero is a deck of cards. So is the villain. So is the environment. You go around in a circle, playing cards, using superpowers, suffering devastating blows.
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Avery Alder Jul 8
Replying to @lackingceremony
The reason that Sentinels of the Multiverse is a game worth studying is that each hero has a unique deck, and each deck has an internal logic. Some characters are all about assembling an array of equipment. Others are about healing damage in order to do damage. Others just punch.
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Avery Alder Jul 8
Replying to @lackingceremony
But here's what makes the game fundamentally replayable, beyond simply having endless combinations of heroes+villain+environment: each hero deck is a unique engine, that uses a certain set of mechanical possibilities as its fuel, and delivers a specific kind of payoff in play.
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Avery Alder Jul 8
Replying to @lackingceremony
The cards aren't just thematically coherent. They're a self-reinforcing engine, one that can teach you its play style and combos experientially, one that keys to and chains off of different triggers in the mechanical milieu, even compared to archetypically-similar decks.
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Avery Alder Jul 8
Replying to @lackingceremony
When you design a PBTA/FITD playbook-y game, each playbook is layered on top of the game's basic economy and engine: the basic moves, the harm track, whatever. Give each playbook its own particular economy and engine too, one that interacts with but also transcends the core one.
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Avery Alder Jul 8
Replying to @lackingceremony
Looking at Monsterhearts 2 for an example, you can see how each Skin has its own economy and engine: The Fae: Turns People On in order to establish intimacy, which enables Promises. Promises are a currency which lead to Strings, doubling the impact of that newfound intimacy.
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Avery Alder Jul 8
Replying to @lackingceremony
The Ghost uses Conditions to manipulate intimacy. You can give yourself a Condition that projects different Conditions onto others. You reward people for resolving yr Conditions. You reward yourself for resolving others' Conditions. Conditions are a manipulative intimacy tether.
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Avery Alder Jul 8
Replying to @lackingceremony
The Witch has Sympathetic Tokens, which are a resource that fuels Hex-Casting, and which double as Strings. Strings are now something that can be taken on someone when they're off-screen, by stealing their stuff. The Witch can therefore both gain and use power remotely.
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Avery Alder Jul 8
Replying to @lackingceremony
So, give each playbook its unique economy and engine. Make sure it interacts with the core economies and engines of the game, ideally by taking existing mechanical trackers/triggers/processes and layering new meaning on them.
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Avery Alder Jul 8
Replying to @lackingceremony
And finally, you know how a lot of playbooks have a default starting move, maybe even two? Those should establish a functional barebones version of the playbook's economy and engine, with additional moves adding new combos, boosts, and extensions for it.
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Avery Alder
Anyway. Go play Sentinels of the Multiverse tons and you'll learn those lessons. You'll also learn how exhausting it is to have too many redundant/parallel economies in play at once, because you'll have like 17 things to track at any given time. Learn something from that, too.
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Avery Alder Jul 8
Replying to @lackingceremony
And also go play Monsterhearts 2, because honestly (abandoning all modesty) it is a very good demonstration of how to use the PBTA engine in a streamlined, consistently-templated, relationally-oriented, narratively-explosive way with robust economies.
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Avery Alder Jul 8
Replying to @Dadinista
I'm considering breaking my "never again buying a steam game" rule for it, that is an exceptional deal.
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michaela Jul 8
Replying to @lackingceremony
SotM was a game we got early on. We got lost in it - couldn't find a groove and after reading your description these last several posts, makes me wish we would've held onto it a bit longer until we could maybe get back into it again (now or at a later time.) Ty for your insight!
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