Braunsteins: Methods for keeping things moving?

Braunsteins: More open-ended, multiplayer ( 7+), everyone with their own semi-competing goals, one-shot, miniatures/maps using games.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Wesely

Okay, there's the link if the term is new to you.

Once again I've been thinking about B-steins and their design.

Right now, all I'm looking for are suggestions on keeping one of these types of games chugging along, when you have 7 or more players, and they are not generally working together.

A lot of this is about ideas for initiative, but all things that relate to moving things along are appreciated.

Any obvious ( or non-obvious) problems with the situation that you feel are worth pointing out ...go for it.

For this exercise, assume most players won't have many physical miniatures to move, 1-5 being normal. This isn't like a big, battle miniatures game with a huge army for each player.

Alrighty, have at it.

Comments

  • Stack the deck and give the characters goals that require interaction / cooperation.
  • Oh, I meant literally. Like, how do you keep things going quickly when you have 7+ players taking turns?
  • I know the old kriegspiels had multiple refs, I think like one main ref and two sub-refs.
  • edited August 2015
    I will tell you that when I played with Major Wesely, it was fascinating that the ref (him) was not at the center of the action at all. He was in the hallway talking to individual players but everyone else was in the "city" scheming and cutting deals with each other. His info was actually several steps behind.
  • How were turns/movement handled, especially in the case of conflict?
  • edited August 2015
    Categorize all Actions into three lists:
    - Immediate Actions (like firing a loaded weapon)
    - Prepared Actions (like casting a spell)
    - Complex Actions (like setting a trap)

    Put a pile of tokens on the table. Go around the table as fast as possible. If I want to do an Immediate Action, I just do it. If I want to do a Prepared Action, I say so and take a token. Complex Action, say so and take 2 tokens. Keep going around the table. On my turn, if I have any tokens, I toss one into the pile. If it's my last token, I get to complete the Action I said I was doing. Ref rules on action types if an uncertainty arises.

  • I would describe it as organic chaos. I think if you had a genuine conflict that the players couldn't resolve you'd bring it to the ref, just like what happened in the original game when the characters decided they wanted to duel.
  • Hmm. A ref team and a sorta Dungeon World approach to initiative maybe?

    Basically, empower the refs to call initiative as they see fit based on whatever area they're reffing for?
  • I will tell you that when I played with Major Wesely, it was fascinating that the ref (him) was not at the center of the action at all. He was in the hallway talking to individual players but everyone else was in the "city" scheming and cutting deals with each other. His info was actually several steps behind.
    Did he use any breaks in play?

    Diplomacy ( which was apparently a big influence on early B-steins) has the negotiation period, followed by the comparison of the orders and their effects on the map.

    Was there something like that?

    Were there any official breaks in play at all. Bathroom breaks? Snack breaks?

    BTW, I'm also trying to work some general concepts/schemes for interaction matrices so that factions are pointed at one another from the jump off.

    This main question of the thread is part of a greater project to start nailing down some key methods for running these types of games. Not necessarily things that are one single system, but stuff that can be part of a body of ideas to put together like building blocks.

    Asif's suggestion is a bit like that. A building block mechanic/method that could be used by someone building one of these things.

  • As a gift back for Asif's Building Block for an initiative/action method, here's one that I've been working on for setting up an initial interaction web among the factions.

    A basic, general purpose interaction web scheme:

    Assume seven factions: A, B, C, D, E, F, G

    Each faction starts with three relationships to other factions, one of each of these, in order.

    1)[Faction] is rivals/enemies with [Faction], but shares an important interest with them.
    2)[Faction] is allies with [faction], but there is a problem with the alliance.
    3)[Faction] wants a resource held by [Faction] but doesn't have what that faction wants.

    So in organizing this thing to start, begin with your faction, skip down two, and begin writing in the relationship. Skip two more for relationship 2, and again two fro relationship 3.

    So, faction A's relationships would look like this:
    1)A is rivals/enemies with C, but shares an important interest with them.
    2)A is allies with E, but there is a problem with the alliance.
    3)A wants a resource held by G but doesn't have what that faction wants.

    Faction B's web then is:
    1)B is rivals/enemies with D, but shares an important interest with them.
    2)B is allies with F, but there is a problem with the alliance.
    3)B wants a resource held by A but doesn't have what that faction wants.

    Like I said, kinda basic as a tool, but gives an easy, broadly useful tool to start with that should give some direction to interactions right away.


  • (That's nice, komradebob. Simple and effective.)
  • In fairness, I stole the core idea from Shab il-Hiri Roach .
  • edited August 2015
    I and others have run a hybrid larp/boardgame thing I wrote, a bunch of times. It has up to 21 players and one facilitator, and it keeps forward momentum through a combination of carefully timed turns and tightly bound characters and factions. Each player has intra-faction goals, and each faction has larger goals that rely on resources individuals in the faction bring to bear that also force interaction with other factions. 6 factions of 3 players each, plus three small 1-person splinter groups.

    The facilitator keeps track of time and makes sure everyone knows when something important happens, like a car bomb going off. Otherwise they are just a resource and, in a pinch, adjudicator. Point people in a direction, give them motivation and goals along with clear rules, and stand back.
  • Yeah, I think looking to modern LARPs is much more fruitful than trying to imitate what was basically a complete experiment 40+ years ago. Also, each of the four "original" Braunsteins followed different rules as the thing kept adapting to previous failures & successes. And what happened in the room didn't necessarily follow the planned rules at all (hence Dave Arneson's stunning coup).
  • I'm definitely looking at LARPs at least a little bit for ideas.

    The bit about the rules changing from game to game?
    I'm starting to think that's a feature to be worked with, not a bug.
  • I and others have run a hybrid larp/boardgame thing I wrote, a bunch of times. It has up to 21 players and one facilitator, and it keeps forward momentum through a combination of carefully timed turns and tightly bound characters and factions.
    What is a carefully timed turn in this case?
    Is that an individual player's turn or some larger measure of time?

    Right now, I was thinking of something a bit messier, with play in 1 hour chunks(representing an arbitrary amount of fictional time, say 1 day) and breaks between them. I'm still not truly sure how I want to work with time/turn on the player scale.
    Each player has intra-faction goals, and each faction has larger goals that rely on resources individuals in the faction bring to bear that also force interaction with other factions. 6 factions of 3 players each, plus three small 1-person splinter groups.
    I'm just beginning to poke at concepts, so I've been trying to start with small-but-expandable, depending upon how many players are actually present, and who shows up later or drops out during play.

    That widget a couple of posts back was starting with 7 players+3 refs. Right now I'm thinking each faction has two characters to choose from. Pick one at the beginning of the game for your faction and get full blown stats, while the other becomes a useful henchman. If you have enough people, the second characters are also played and get full blown stats, but they are "booby trapped", in that even within factions there are differences of opinion or goals. And henchmen characters can get the upgrade if a main faction character drops dead/leaves scenario.

    So, potentially up to 14 characters there.

    After that, there are some wild card/rogue characters or factions lying around. Not part of the main circle of dead and mostly there for refs to use if things slow up, but could easily be bumped up to full character status, kind of like your splinter factions. Enough that Refs could easily spin them off.
    The facilitator keeps track of time and makes sure everyone knows when something important happens, like a car bomb going off. Otherwise they are just a resource and, in a pinch, adjudicator. Point people in a direction, give them motivation and goals along with clear rules, and stand back.
    In what way did you convey the info? Was it all table side or did you use some website pregame or pregame info packs or...

  • edited August 2015
    In _Sirai_ turns are five minutes long, which is a day in game time. A game typically lasts for 15 days.

    There's a "news broadcast" between each turn, and if something really pivotal happens the facilitator just stands on a chair and says "A suicide bomber just detonated himself inside Klomjak temple."

    (I just sent you a copy, Komrade)
  • edited August 2015
    Dayum...those are a lot faster (in real time) turns than I'd imagined.

    I'd been thinking almost more like doing rolling play, with an hour being a day.

    The facilitator/newscaster/town crier thing was similar to what I was thinking, however.
  • Gotta keep the pressure on, it is a diplomatic game so if you give them an hour to decide something they will take an hour. The timing is social engineering.
  • Now that is definitely true...

    I used to play Diplomacy with a 45-minute or 1-hour turn, and people could never quite make it in time for the deadline.

    Does every player "do" something each turn, or do just a handful come to you and announce some kind of action (like a suicide bomber)?
  • It's a larp; they are wheeling and dealing within their own factions and scheming and negotiating with other factions. Everybody is generally quite active - even if your character isn't personally engaged, your faction needs to check in with allies, cement alliances, manage resources, etc. It's based on the Lebanese civil war n the early 1980s.
  • edited August 2015
    Jason,

    I understand that part. But what about actual "game moves" - stuff which changes the situation, stuff you might have to interact with the GM for, and so on. (Presumably the kind of stuff which would need to be announced by the GM at the start of the new turn.)

    How often does that happen?

    (Of course, maybe I'm just imagining this game completely wrong, given the brief description...)
  • The game resources are engineered to make something noteworthy likely to happen about once per turn. Less early, more later.
  • Having looked a bit more closely at Jason's game now, I can see more clearly one of the problems I'm having with the way I've been conceiving of this.

    I'm looking at these things as being a miniatures using spectacle*, and am trying to design towards that. So part of my issue is figuring out the right balance of trade/diplomacy play by the players and on-table maneuver/combat play by the players, and also how to get workable interactions with both of those things going on.


    *For my purposes, suggestions amounting to "Well then, don't use miniatures, ya big dummy" are non-starters.
  • Another topic related to B-steins:

    How do you all feel about post-game wrap up and Peer Review Win Methods?

    I've played in a LARP and a multiplayer minis game before where at the end of it, there was a sort of officialized group debrief/bragging period and a "win by peer assent " method involved.

    In each case, there was a Winner-Winner ( who actually accomplished the bulk of their faction/character goals) and an additional "MVP" award ( for all of those "soft" factors- who was most fun to game with essentially, regardless of win or loss by their faction/character).

    Does anyone else have any experience with these kind of post game rituals/methods? Any thoughts about what works and what doesn't? At what point should GMs/Refs introduce these ideas ( pre-game or just spring them at the end during natural wrap up?)

    They seem like methods that only really make sense in something like a unique, one-shot LARP or B-Stein type game.
  • The debrief is a pretty standard safety tool in larp (at least parlor larp, but even weekend boffer games usually end with a shared meal and war stories, which is an unintentional debrief). In intense games it gives you a chance to de-role and in all games it gives you a chance to check in and make sure all the real people are doing OK. Even light, funny games can provoke surprisingly strong emotional reactions sometimes.

    Question your assumption about the necessity of declaring a winner.

  • Question your assumption about the necessity of declaring a winner.
    I already pretty strongly question it.

    I'm really less concerned in some ways about a winner being declared ( therefore two win categories), than I am in recognition, especially peer recognition, among the players.

    I think it's a nice thing in itself. Yay warm Fuzzies!

    But I'm also interested in it as a tool for me to help identify players who play well with others in methods beyond competition. I want to suss out the people who get into character portrayal whether they're winning or losing in-fiction, and who just generally add to the overall game play. The people who, well...grok it.

    In particular, I'm looking for ways to identify those players who play supporting, comedic, and villainous characters well, because those people are gems and I'm going to want them for future games.

  • I guess I'm feeling contrary, but why do you need a tool to identify fun players? Play with people and you will easily be able to identify the fun ones, because they will be fun to play with.
  • It speeds up the process, especially if, as game presenter, I don't see everything that happens.

    That's the hope anyway.

    Also, for a bigger multiplayer game, should I ever actually end up organizing on (sigh), there's a really high likelihood that I'll be meeting a fair number of the people for the first time. this hopefully will be a feedback tool for me to use in choosing who to contact and invite to later gaming events to stack the deck a bit.
Sign In or Register to comment.