Game Restarts



  • How would you handle restarting a game? How would you set up a game in order to make this work? What's your best game-restart experience?



  • I think it would depend on how it's being worked into the plot/theme.

    Is it part of the storyline/setting? Like is it 'baked in' for it to happen? Are we talking time-travel shenanigans?

    Or are we talking a simple 'okay guys, we're going to move everything five years into the future on the same timeline'?

    Or are we talking 'okay, we're taking all of our characters and doing a wholly new, completely different storyline'?

    The methodology used completely changes depending on what's being done, I think. It also changes as to whether this is something intentional from the game's start or something being done, say, a few years along to breathe new life into a dying game.


  • Admin

    @thenomain Can you define 'restart' in this context? Are we talking bringing back an old game from no longer running? Same or different staff or theme... or is any of this negotiable?

    At some point, given enough changes, 'restarting' could mean a new game with an old name, for example.


  • Pitcrew

    Well, for starters, I think you would need enough of a first stint first, so you could do a good post mortem to figure out what worked and what didn't.

    Second, I would design a game for the players I had. It is very hard to know game culture when the game is new. In a restart? You know what is going to go down. We all know the "Reach/Fallcoast Tropes" because they are real. You can design a game around Reach-isms, and improve the experience. This includes adjusting the grid, removing factions if you had too many with too few players in them, etc. This includes designing new systems, removing Spheres, etc.It is very important you are honest with yourself in figuring out what was crap in your game to begin with, or what didn't interest players. Sometimes you have some good feature, but players are just not interested in it. SOmetimes you can even have a good game, and no players interested in it.

    Redo the wiki. This is the most important. Wiking is always the most important aspect, always.



  • I've always wanted to see a post apocalyptic game with restarts like this. Say, a zombie apocalypse (just as an example). The game progresses, the characters struggle, but eventually there will be more zombies than they can handle or people will die during random outings whatnot.

    It does need to be built into theme though that character loss is going to happen and replacements made sufficiently easy.



  • I think restarts are very rarely successful because they face more challenges than would be immediately evident. They inherit the negatives connected with to a project without any of the positive inertia they maintained before, and need more work than a fresh start would. I think it can be done but I think it's significantly harder when most people are probably expecting to say, 'Open, come on back' and I just don't think it works like that at all.

    Eta- reading 'restart' in this context as 'relaunching a game that's been dead for a while'



  • @arkandel said in Game Restarts:

    @thenomain Can you define 'restart' in this context?

    Nope. Provide your own!



  • I've always wondered about ways of doing this without dislodging / upsetting the playerbase too much, though more in mind toward time-skip. Of course, a sufficient time skip is basically a reset.

    I figure the easiest-to-swallow version is doing it the smallest amount. A 6-month or 1-year skip at the end of a plot arc, giving time for the event's conclusions / ramifications to play out and create a new scenario, but not so long that anyone's player becomes unplayable. If you do this regularly, it could become normal (it might also be an alternative to a time ratio). A maybe-relevant real example here is Pendragon, where at least system-wise, you skip (and just roll some results) for Winter. Though the game I played fell apart before we actually hit Winter to see how it would go.


  • Pitcrew

    @lithium With that to avoid the hassle of consistently recreating characters that you can reroll 3 different types of preset stat sheets or refresh the stat sheet to jump back into the game. Or you pick from a small list of physical traits and it spits out a sheet for you.

    That might be interesting.

    If games are going through a restart have civilization crash and now they need to build it up again. Tada.



  • @thenomain said in Game Restarts:

    What's your best game-restart experience?

    TGG. It's famous (infamous?) for the "blink and you die" PC turnover during the first WWI campaign, but that actually toned down in later iterations (with PCs essentially having multiple "lives"). What really defined the game for me wasn't the deaths but the fixed-length campaigns with a restart in-between. You maintained the (admittedly small) core playerbase, but it didn't get stale because there was always a new setting and a new mix of characters and relationships. I was one of those who grumbled about having to start with a new character every time, but even I sucked it up and had fun. Like - you can't do Guadalcanal forever. It's cool, but it gets old eventually. I think most MUs suffer that problem even if they don't want to admit it.

    I don't consider a timeskip to be a restart, but I think it's another way to shake things up. We did it successfully on Battlestar Pacifica because the game was ending and we had a specific finale in mind that would have felt forced if done in the IC present. So we mirrored the show and did a "one year later" timeskip. There was some grumbling, of course, but most folks did pretty well with it. It gave them the chance for some big character changes (marriages, babies, promotions, job shifts) while still maintaining the core of existing relationships. And it set us up for a pretty cool finale.

    I tried the one-year-later timeskip again on Sweetwater towards the end of the game's tenure in an effort to rejuvenate a stale setting. I thought going through a boomtown sort of thing would bring new life. Didn't work, but I think that was more to do with player apathy than player anger about the timeskip.

    Battlestar Unification went through several mini theme-resets as the crew shifted from being crew on the Galactica, to being part of a special operations force on a smaller carrier, to being part of a base cadre, to being guerrillas stuck behind the lines. While I don't consider these restarts, I do think that this sort of shakeup helps to keep a game from getting stale.


  • Pitcrew

    1. Reboot any and every game into a game of Pugmire
    2. Profit


  • @kanye-qwest said in Game Restarts:

    1. Reboot any and every game into a game of Pugmire
    2. Profit

    Where's Parxmire?



  • @auspice said in Game Restarts:

    @kanye-qwest said in Game Restarts:

    1. Reboot any and every game into a game of Pugmire
    2. Profit

    Where's Parxmire?

    Hopefully waiting for the cat expansion.



  • Pugmire is one of those things that sounds really fun and cool until you realize that what you would most likely end up with is FurryMUCK II: Electric Boogaloo.



  • I would very much like to see scheduled soft-restarts. They could be as innocuous as 'but in THIS timeline, THIS happened'. Or as harsh as, 'Game over. Reset. You remember things from the game over situation...why?'


  • Pitcrew

    @rnmissionrun It seems like the perfect game to play with your non furry friends who all love and have dogs, though.



  • @kanye-qwest said in Game Restarts:

    @rnmissionrun It seems like the perfect game to play with your non furry friends who all love and have dogs, though.

    Maybe!

    Let me know when your Arx-style Pugmire game opens so I can check it out :)



  • @thenomain I had a project that was a bit like this I considered for roughly a week, but I've considered it a few times since. It was pretty heavy on the navel-gazing, enigmas, and thinky-action/mystery-solving rather than being anything remotely like superheros with fangs or fur, though, so I already accepted that it wouldn't go anywhere.

    It didn't involve hard resets where everyone starts afresh, but smaller changes to the world would have occurred based on character actions that would have a ripple effect of sorts. The entire setting, also, was essentially frozen in time, in a realistic-enough-to-pass-for-a-real-place shared Limbo of sorts, repeating one week somewhere in the vicinity of mid-October as a continuous timeline. People would remain where they were where they left off, doing what they were doing -- it didn't involve a timeskip backward formally in that sense -- but it was always 'the halloween festival is next week', etc. and to the local/townie population, this was absolutely normal and none of them ever realize anything strange about it. It was, essentially, a rolling mystery for players to resolve, and the way they'd go about it would tend toward being fairly personal. (It was also very timey-wimey weird in certain other ways.)



  • @rnmissionrun said in Game Restarts:

    @kanye-qwest said in Game Restarts:

    @rnmissionrun It seems like the perfect game to play with your non furry friends who all love and have dogs, though.

    Maybe!

    Let me know when your Arx-style Pugmire game opens so I can check it out :)

    I need the cats. Armello makes me wanna play some sort of royal spy cat.



  • @auspice If there is ever a cat game, I need two characters. Smug-as-fuck Ancient Cat clone, and Tesla, the Disney Princess of Cats clone. Because yes.

    If Ancient Cat had a human voice, she would have sounded like Maggie Smith. I know this. Complete with that magnificent way she has re: sounding utterly polite while clearly demonstrating epic levels of disdain or pained suffering at the stupidity being witnessed at any given time.


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