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Opinions wanted: Game within the game

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  • Opinions wanted: Game within the game

    tl;dr: Run a sports contest as a round-by-round combat or a quick encounter?
    I have a game I'd like to run within my adventure on Saturday. Basically the players are a ragtag group of kids in a "Lost in Space"/"Battlestar Galactica" type situation and a rival gang of kids from another ship will challenge them to a sporting contest.
    It's essentially an American football/basketball hybrid where they have to get a ball into a goal in the middle of a bullseye painted on the floor. I've invented a few rules and strategies for passing, running, blocking etc. but it occurred to me that it might be more FFF to have it be a quick encounter (maybe with a -2 penalty for being outmatched by the older, tougher kids). OTOH most of the players are fairly new to SWADE and I thought running it round by round with combat rules could offer me a chance to show off some mechanics (tests, push, defend, etc.) against them in a non-lethal setting (and thus encourage them to use tactics in the future).
    I realize this is a hard question to answer for someone else's game, but if you were a player in this situation, what would you find more fun and interesting?
    Thanks as always!

  • #2
    I think that it would work best as a Dramatic Task. Each person playing would be able to add tokens.


    • #3
      A Quick Encounter seems like a great idea to me, unless you want to be playing this for an hour.
      The big advantage of a QE is that the players dictate their actions and some of their outcomes. Generally fantastic for getting the players engaged with the scene and characters.
      You might even want to run this as a Staged Encounter, with two halves and a chance for a stirring half-time speech.

      A -2 is probably too much. A -1 would probably be enough to make it clear that the other team is made of larger and stronger kids. If the other team also is better trained or has a much deeper bench of replacement players then increasing the penalty to a -2 would make sense, or -3 for both.
      I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.


      • #4
        Thanks for the replies so far! You hit on what I was concerned with: Running it as a standard combat is going to be time-intensive and IDK if the pros of game mechanics tutorial outweigh the cons.

        A THIRD thing that occurred to me poking around in the book was it could be run as a mass battle, with one player acting as the coach and maybe a common knowledge roll in place of a Knowledge: Battle roll. The morale aspect of mass battles would play well in this scene I think.


        • ValhallaGH
          ValhallaGH commented
          Editing a comment
          Also a great idea. Mass Battles are a lot of fun, when you make sure the player's "hero actions" are appropriately glorious.

      • #5
        The Quick Encounter is vert immersive, however this assume that they will win the eventually. If you want to crank tension up, you can do something similar to a Social Conflict - have three rounds, in each round a different player would roll an appropriate trait (probably athletics) with the other players supporting. If you wish, you can have the other team to oppose with their athletics instead of using the standard TN of 4. At the end of the thirds round consult the Social Conflict table to see whether and by how much the player team won. 1-3 success means that they didn't win, 4-5 means that they won by a small different, 6+ means a crushing victory.
        For narration purposes you can assume that each round the opposing team is getting points in the game equivalent to 1 success (you DON'T count success' for the enemy teams in this system though). So in a round where the players got a single success you can narrate the game as coming to a stale, or maybe the players scored but their opponents scored too


        • ValhallaGH
          ValhallaGH commented
          Editing a comment
          PCs can lose Quick Encounters. If they get fewer total successes than there are player characters then they lose. See the second paragraph under Success & Failure on page 135.
          QE does assume the players will likely win, but that isn't a bad thing, especially for a sports story.

      • #6
        I have been running the Saga of the Goblin Horde, which you can get off Drive Thru RPG. It has many games within a game. There is an adventure that I was preparing to run called Kick Off that has the goblins playing what they call Kickball, but we would call it Football or Soccer. It could give you some ideas.


        • #7
          Thanks everyone! What I ended up doing was running it using the mass battle rules, giving the players an option to prepare (which they crushed) for bonuses.

          I started the opposing team with more victory tokens since they had a deeper roster, but the +4 bonus along with the heroic actions the individuals took each round gave them a solid win. Players really seemed to enjoy the structure and I might adapt that again for other conflicts that seem more involved / opposed than a straight quick encounter.

          This approach DID make it longer than a quick encounter or dramatic task (probably 45 minutes total), but the players seemed to be having fun so I let it roll. I kept in my back pocket the option of resolving with a quick encounter if folks weren't enjoying what I was laying down.
          Last edited by Dr_Mega; 06-07-2020, 07:54 PM.