dejabrew: (I cast "frustrate GM")
Bolton White ([personal profile] dejabrew) wrote in [community profile] notasstrange 2017-04-24 02:37 am (UTC)


Ri and Lynny here. We weren't really close observers of the mock trial, but we are veterans of running murdergames and we wanted to kind of give you our opinion on some of the things that we noticed, especially in your FAQ.

Firstly, we know that having a trial not go according to plan can be incredibly frustrating, so the first thing we suggest is to take a step back and think about what you can change versus what you can't for the future. While it may seem now like you had to have done something wrong to get this outcome, there's not much you can do to make people be active.

However, one major thing that we noticed:

At around 1 am, I decided that I'd make the first rule change, since I thought people weren't taking the time limit stuff seriously for the Investigation and I wanted to emphasize that, in a main round, there were consequences for doing that. That change is still on the FAQs, that evidence not found before a hard Investigation deadline is lost forever.

I also added the hard deadline for what would happen if a vote isn't called by a specific time, that being the game automatically Bad Ends.

This is the kind of change that is borne of frustration, and we understand that, but it wasn't fair to the players to immediately implement this change as law after posting it in what is, for some, the middle of the night, without even directing the players to the change in the post. A better plan would have been to make a note of it as something to change for the round proper, and then include that announcement in the wrap-up.

Ultimately what we see is the players who were active being effectively punished for the inactivity of others. Whether or not this was the intent, this exact kind of scenario (and the reverse) is why the games that we run (Dangan Roleplay and now Airlocked) have a two-pronged win-lose system for trials. While we definitely try to steer the trial toward the tag-in and comment count minimum, once the culprit has been revealed and the vote has been called that IC completion what becomes more important.

Conversely, while we understand that the goal of 15 Strangers is to be a shorter murdergame experience (and we're not saying that this is what happened here at all), having a blanket rule that failing to call a vote = automatic bad end doesn't take into account the possibility that it's the fault of the case planners for making an unsolvable case. While you always hope that a case is as solvable as it seems, sometimes it happens that the pieces don't fall quite as you want, and in this case bad ending the game would be unfair to the players.

Overall, modding a murdergame is a balancing act, and sometimes it gets frustrating when the social contract between players and mod feels violated and it feels like all the plates you're spinning are going to fall. However, when this happens, what you need to do is take a step back, scream into the void a little, and then come back and see what you can do to fix the problem (this is much easier when you have a co-mod - we would not have been able to do this for so long without being blessed with each other and with our various co-mods over the years who have put up with our shit).

If you want to hear our opinion on how this case could have gone better, you can get hold of us on plurk. We hope that the launch of the real round goes more smoothly for you.

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