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Esoterrorist 30 minute demos

Ths won't mean much to most but if anyone reading this played in my 30 minute Esoterrorist demos at Dragonmeet this weekend, I'd be grateful for feedback. I've not done this kind of thing before so would welcome any criticism.

The kind of things I'm interested in are:
- did you understand the game?
- did you understand the background?
- was the demo fun?
- what went well?
- what could have been done better?

If you like you can say whether the demo influenced your decision to buy the game or not, but don't feel obliged.



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 3rd, 2006 09:08 pm (UTC)
Hi Steve. I'd say I got a decent working understanding of the game and background, and enjoyed the scene we played through, which is good going for 30 min. I also intended to buy it, but the buggers sold them all while I was away. (BTW, do you know when Pelgrane will put it on sale at their site/elsewhere?)

What it could have used was a bit of talking about what a full game would be like, either at the start or the end. Beginnings, denouements, how character abilities change in the longer term over one story and multiple stories, etc. Maybe a little prelude like "Your characters have already encountered X in Y and C in D" - fictitious past missions as setting cues. That particular scenario could use just a little bit about what surviving characters gain to take forward - I didn't get the sense that we'd bottomed the plot (no why with the what) or gained a further signpost.
Dec. 3rd, 2006 09:37 pm (UTC)
Well I understood it (which is good going for me with a new system) managed to cotton on to how to play PDQ, had fun, and I and rather liked it. While it was a tad too short to get an in depth feel for things, I thought it had pace, and was easy to follow. Not sure how much of that was the Gming and how much the game, and besides, I'm a rules lite person anyway as you know, but thumbs up from me!

pengshui_master had already bought it, but I might now use it as well.
Dec. 3rd, 2006 09:39 pm (UTC)
- yes
- yes
- within the parameters, yes. The main distraction for me was the inconvenient and noisy location (I'd like to hear clearly what everybody's saying) but that's nothing to do with the game
- the demonstration of the general rules system, including collaboration. I also went away with the impression that it's a game in which you should avoid combat if possible as it can get nasty very quickly (I reckon average hit points were about 6 or so which seemed just above of the average damage roll).
- As I mentioned earlier, I missed a scene involving more clue finding and we had mostly physical actions and combat

If I hadn't planned not buy any new RPGs, I would have bought it regardless of the demo because the premise is intriguing enough and you usually can't go wrong with Robin D Laws, anyway.
Dec. 3rd, 2006 09:43 pm (UTC)
I thought the demos were a little short.

While they gave you a feel for the in-game mechanics it wasn't really long enough to show how they flowed for investiagtion.

Which is a particular shme as that is the focus for hthe gumshoe system.

On the other hand, as a GM I think you did the a good job of explaining the system and taking through the single scene of the demo, I think an hour long rather than 1/2 hour demons would have been much more appropriate.

Having read through the rules post demo I have feel you may need two to three scenes to allow the players to get a feeling for the way the mechanics interact with investigation.

I'll be posting a review of the system later based on my reading of the rules and your demo, which is I think is enough to get a good feel.

However I wouldn't necessarily buy the product based on that short a demo alone - to really sell it you need a couple of scenes to show the way investigative 'spends' work, and indeed show they way they (may) build tension.
Dec. 3rd, 2006 10:44 pm (UTC)
I was happy enough with it (I think I have issues with the rulebook scenario itself, but not with the little section of it we played through).

I think, though, that more of an emphasis on investigation would have been preferable. Any game can handle the PCs sneaking into an enemy base, shooting guards and getting eaten by zombies. A clue-filled scene where we puzzle stuff out would have showcased the game better, I think.
Dec. 3rd, 2006 11:50 pm (UTC)
*nods* I would have preferred playing through the scene uncovering the information that would lead the characters to Cuba rather than the infiltration in Cuba.
It was a scene for the physical characters/gunbunnies while my character's special skills (research, cryptography) weren't needed.
Dec. 4th, 2006 02:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks all for the feedback, very useful.

I realise that we need to think much more carefully about the scenario and possibly about how much of the ruleset we expose players to. Although GUMSHOE is pretty light, the character sheets were probably too much for a short demo.

I think I learned a lot from Matt's Covenant demo in cutting down character sheets to highlight the essentials and focussing on what makes this game special.

Now we need to come up with a situation that highlights the key points of the system without overdoing the action but still keeping it interesting and fun.

I hadn't actually run the game before but these short demos did show me that it was fairly easy to do.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )