We played God-King

edited October 2012 in Actual Play
Six of us got on google hangouts last night and played God-King using the anywhereboardgame app.
That provides a deck of playing cards, to which I added two jokers.
One of the players also made us some neat screens so each player could hide their hand of cards.

Troubles with the set-up:
--+Background noise: Only two of us were wearing headsets, so we had barking dogs, strange fan humming, singing dryers, and echoes all over the place.
--+Small table: The size of the desktop made it virtually impossible for us to put more than ten cards face up at any given time (and still have space for players to hide their cards.)
This affected the game, usually making one character face a test and that's that. It would have been very difficult to have all five players draw and build hands of cards to face off against a threat.
--+Distractions: Google hangouts provides people with the option of using a web-cam, and then gives people the option of making sound effects, or floating various masks and images on their web-cam image. Also, the boardgame app lets people import images to the play space. All of these things interfere with gaming.

I say all of that up front to say this:
--+ The game went okay. We had a full party, and everyone (coincidentally) drew different Truths. They all revealed their Truths to me secretly, so we can build to them later.
--+ The actual conflict resolution was pretty vanilla. We did see a few moments where something really important happened, where someone who was "Trusted" saved a player by taking a Joker in to their hand, but that immediately led to "I don't want to trust you... you have a Joker and can screw me over."
--+ Dividing things up into a "round" structure was near impossible. When players wanted to do different things, we didn't have the space to resolve those actions separately, or the time, to be honest. The app is nice, but still slow to respond and clunky. A quick button to "deal 4 cards" would have been nice... or a "cascade" option for the cards. (As it stands you can only "stack" or drag each one individually...)
--+ It was easy for me to make all of the characters necessary. When one was inactive, or separated, I put a heavy penalty on the others. When the Navigator charged in to battle without the Warrior, it was harder on him. When the Scholar wasn't with the party, the language barrier came up hard. When the Mystic wasn't actively trying to detect and banish spells, the party suffered the effects of Otugari. Etc. That part was pretty fun.
--+ The Truths didn't work themselves in organically. Without the ability to "introduce events or NPCS" the players are finding it difficult to work those things in. There is subtlety in their performance that I notice, but it's because I know what their Truths are. I think the game would benefit from OPEN secrets. But again, I think the Truths will become far more important after (insert spoiler here.)
--+ I feel a little handcuffed to the rails with the story. The section of the book that details "The Journey" gives me the impression that there is an underlying script to this game, and that I have to push towards (insert same spoiler.) I confessed that at the end of the session, and that started a discussion on what kind of replayability the game has. To be fair, I'm weaving a lot of stuff around the script, adding things here and there, and trying to respond to the player's input, but there are times when I want what they are doing to take the lead, but somehow feel that letting them lead will bring us too far off the rails.

--- --- We are only on Otugari now, having encountered our first natives, and almost to a supposed meeting with Princess Yoru --- ---
Please no spoilers for my current players. We haven't reached (insert spoiler here) moment yet.

I'm going to link them here so maybe they can weigh in. And you can too? Have you played it? What was it like?


  • image
    Shows what the desk looked like. As you can see, our "Scholar" can see the two cards she has in her hand, but cannot see any of the other cards held by the other players...
  • I didn't think the noise was any more a problem than when you sit down at a table with people. Life interferes, period. Human beings mostly can't focus on one exclusive thing for hours at a time. It's too exhaustive. And I think some of the distractions were "ooh, new and shiny" - at least for those of us who had never been in Hangouts before. Once the features become old hat, the pictures could add nicely, I think, for a little flavor.

    The card space is problematic. The only alternative I can think of would be for the dealer to deal cards under a shield, PM the cards to the players, then stack them separate from the deck face down to keep them out of the shuffle. However, there are so many downsides to this that it's not a real solution. Also, the obvious lack of randomization is difficult - if it's a physical challenge after the end of the deck, we know the players lose since the Ace of Spades always comes up. Lamerz.

    I think overall it went pretty well. I like the mythic feel of the storytelling. I don't mind feeling railroaded because (1) the game is not intended to be a campaign and (2) the theme of the game makes it okay.

    Replayability seems possible, maybe even likely, but it's hard to say having not seen the SPOILER EVENT yet. There's enough flexibility in the approach to problems that, even if you know roughly where the train is going, the journey could be quite different every time.
  • I'm just gonna jump in here real quick to say that I had a good time and I thought that the Hangout App we used was great... until I read this and realized that the multiple-player check mechanic wasn't even possible because of it. I wonder if that would have made a difference. Putting down pictures of Admiral Gorgon and other objects hazily related to the story was kind of fun, though.

    As for the game itself, the system felt like it was a little intrusive on the game. We'd do things, perform a test that would take us out of the game for a bit, and then we'd hear what happened and how the story moved forward. I had fun, but I guess I was expecting something with a little more player agency. Midway through i changed my expectation of the game and found I was more into it.

    I'm looking forward to the game and seeing what the SPOILER is.
  • It's one of the things I'm struggling with: the lack of player agency. It's not my style, and I hope it's not leading to a bad play experience for the players.
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