Saturday, December 18, 2010

Alternate Gameplay: Varying Agendas for Renegade

Over at Board Game Geek, there was a post discussing how a Renegade could have a random goal assigned to him at the beginning of each game for him to accomplish. The brain child behind this idea described it thus:

At the start of the game a die is rolled to determine the objective of the renegade.

1 and 2-Normal renagade objective
3-be the first player to die if not roll for a new objective
4-bootlegger: try and get 3 beer cards in your hand
5-murderer: kill 3 players
6-Normal Renagade.

He specified also that the Renegade is not the person who rolled the die; it declares the objective for the Renegade and everyone knows that that is the Renegade's goal.

Some general comments: Why bring a dice role into the game? Just "draw!" and use the playing card values in the bottom left corner to determine his role, or the suits. Scraps the need for dice. Second, I don't think the alternate agenda will work for 2-3 player games; I would say it only counts for 4+. And how about these alternate agendas? I think we can universally agree that (3) is stupid. Be the first player to die? It is dumb for the game to end so soon if he does die, and since it is so easy to avoid (3) being the outcome, does the Renegade automatically lose if (3) is not accomplished? I would scrap it. In fact, many of these might have that problem. As a murderer, I have lost if other players have killed others over X (whatever my specified amount is); what is my incentive to keep playing? It might be helpful if I had 2 victory conditions instead (normal renegade conditions OR being a murderer), that way if the 1 condition becomes eliminated the Renegade can change to achieve the regular victory condition. The fact that he can always default back on this helps him serve as the buffer for the Sheriff like he should.

(4) is a little fascinating, but it will be brutal to accomplish this when all the other players know that that is the Renegade's goal. This probably should scale with different amounts of players, as chances of getting beer in 7-player are not high. You can imagine that in General Stores everyone will be grabbing to keep away the beer from the Renegade. On the flip side, he has a high chance of collecting beer when he plays the General Store. The game will probably last longer, giving him more time to collect on beers. I know I would be brutal on whoever collected the beer on a General Store. I would simply make that person my target, shooting at them until they used the Beer. Since I haven't play tested it, it may also be too easy of a win. It could be made much more difficult if he had to get the Beer, Whiskey, and Tequila cards.

(5) is interesting, but simply specifying 3 is not going to work. I would rather call this alternate condition "Headhunter" and say he has to personally eliminate a certain number of players depending on how many there are:
4-5 player: Kill 2 other players.
6-8 player: Kill 3 other players. You might put 4 for 8-player, but with too many other bullets whizzing around, I doubt he could do it.

It might be more interesting if the Renegade's alternative victory condition was not public. His alternative victory condition could be determined by the first card that he draws for the game: use its suit/value to specify that condition. Then part of the intrigue of the game could be discovering what that other condition is by seeing how he behaves. I would simplify the alternate conditions by having the first card draw's value determinations be:
2-7: Normal Renegade
8-10: Bootlegger (However best to determine this alternate role) + Normal Victory Condition
J-A: Headhunter + Normal Victory Condition.

I made 2-7 Normal because the higher value cards are more common in BANG, so a greater range had to be used to offset that. I think it is fun that you can be a Normal Renegade and yet have to convince other players that you do not have another conditions for winning. Or have 1 condition, and convince them that you have another. Anyway, I think this idea still needs a lot of work, but it has some potential.

The only thing that makes me laugh is that the Renegade is an interesting role already... this only increases his fun. What can we do with the Deputy to make him more interesting, and not have his role be revealed?

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