Too Much Tactical Analysis

Rocketeer
Posts: 113
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2017 2:18 am

Too Much Tactical Analysis

Postby Rocketeer » Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:35 am

A couple of my players are complaining that Torg Eternity has too much tactical analysis; that is, it is too much like a strategy game, such as Star Wars Destiny or the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. They feel that this is distracting from the role playing aspects of the game. This isn’t a matter of just getting used to the game system, as we have played for over a year and their characters are well past Beta Clearance level.

With the cards and Possibilities, Torg has always been a tactical game. However, TorgE seems to have ratcheted that aspect of game up quite a bit. With the Transparency rule, players routinely know the DN, and therefore exactly what is needed to achieve a desired result. The stepwise nature of action results in TorgE is also a major factor in this. Successes levels are defined at 0, 5, and 10 result points, and the Damage Results Table increments by 5. So, the goal becomes determining the most efficient way to reach the next incremental step.

Considering all the options and weighing them against each other can actually take a bit of time. Also, the more assertive players can start to take control of the game, telling other players what cards to trade, what cards to play, and when to use Possibilities (similar to problems that can arise in certain cooperative strategy games). If all the player’s enjoy this kind of tactical play and are involved in the process, then there’s no problem. However, this style of roleplaying isn’t for everyone.

I tried reducing the amount of information available via the Transparency rule, but that had little effect, as players can quickly determine, at least to a very close approximation, what the DNs are. I have read through the topic, "Eliminating the Cards", looking for some ideas, but I don’t really want to eliminate the cards, just lessen the time spent on analysis.

Any other suggestions?

Brandon_C
Posts: 67
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2018 4:10 pm

Re: Too Much Tactical Analysis

Postby Brandon_C » Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:08 am

One simple solution is to limit the amount of time a player has to determine his actions for his turn. Ten seconds seems appropriate. This may need to be shorter or longer for some groups.

Istrian
Posts: 184
Joined: Wed May 01, 2019 7:18 am
Location: Cyberpapacy (Paris)

Re: Too Much Tactical Analysis

Postby Istrian » Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:27 am

I haven't had the issue in my TorgE games so far, but I did see it in other games. Usually it's not a system issue, it's a behaviour issue.

As a GM I've tried to always make combat challenging (or "balanced" as systems would call it). Unfortunately this makes every fight a life-or-death issue and has encouraged players to optimize their actions because each action counts. I've actually stopped forcing them into "balanced" fights and just present a coherent situation to players and let them deal with it however they want. First let them deal with it strategically (i.e. out of combat decisions) and then if they decide to fight, go down to tactics. Of course tell your players that you're not going to run each fight like a life-or-death issue otherwise they'll keep that mentality.

In the end I met only one or two players who natually wanted to overanalyze everything to make the optimal move. Asking them politely to not do that because that's not what the game is about usually worked.

In my experience trying to resolve that issue using the system (changing systems, imposing a time limit on turns, rewards for combat roleplay, etc) only makes players resentful at being punished for playing the way the GM (unwittingly) forces them into.

agarrett
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2017 8:05 am

Re: Too Much Tactical Analysis

Postby agarrett » Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:31 am

I'll just say it's probably the group rather than the system, because my own experience has been almost the exact opposite of yours. I have a group that includes several D&D players who usually do play tactically as you describe. In Torg, they're a lot more free-form and willing to try to just go for the gold. I think a big part of that is the possibilities and cards, so that they know they can usually pull off a success even when trying something big, and they can mitigate failures by soaking or, if it comes to it, defeat rolls (that hasn't come up much.) The +5/+10 stuff also works out well, since if someone is close there's always a quick look through card pools for a supporter or to see if they can trade for an action card or the equivalent. Winds up being very fun, but also very seat-of-the-pants, rather than huge tactical plans.

Not that this solves your problem, unfortunately, just that I don't think it's the system causing it.

paln
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri May 04, 2018 5:26 am

Re: Too Much Tactical Analysis

Postby paln » Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:35 am

I know the problem, my players naturally try to min-max everything. ;) Fortunately, TE is a very fluid system and a single session was enough for them to get the hang of it and they're able to decide quickly what they're going to do.

I wouldn't force a timer on the players' decision process, as I know I'd hate this as a player. I would, however, be clear with them that the bar will be set according to their taste. Of course it's a matter of opinion, but I think that the GM is here to make a good story, not to strictly apply rules. So I'll bend rules here and there to accommodate for that goal.

If they start to over-analyse everything, then I'll be stricter with the rules but I'll raise the difficulty to match. If they don't forget about the flow of the action, then I'll be more permissive and won't hesitate to cheat a little behind the GM screen to help bold actions succeed.

The only important point is to be transparent about it. If players know that they don't need to over-analyse to have fun and succeed, they may be less tempted to do so. As Istrian said, it's a behavior issue, so it won't be solved just within the rules.

User avatar
Kuildeous
Posts: 1505
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 1:41 pm

Re: Too Much Tactical Analysis

Postby Kuildeous » Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:43 am

I also will speak out against imposing a timer because that's an able-ist move, and not all gamers process information the same way. The group initiative does allow me to skip a ponderous player and ask someone else, "What do you do?" Then go back to the ponderous player. As long as you don't have that Living Land card that forces everyone to go in order around the table, that should speed things up a bit.

I don't do this always, but I'm trying to start with interaction attacks, then ask for ranged attacks, and then move on to melee attacks. Mostly I do this in demos to let new players know that a) they can help their team with an interaction and b) that shooting something before it's engaged in melee is a good thing. By announcing those stages, you might get some players committing a bit earlier.

If the group stops role-playing because they're focusing on cards instead, then add a requirement that they must role-play the card play. Give a short, rousing speech when playing Leadership. Give encouraging words when playing Supporter on someone. Describe how you fuel your magic from memories of your mentor when you play Willpower.

The alpha gamer is a tough one because the player just wants to help, and he can probably see things a lot sooner than the other players. I have that tendency myself, and I have to make an effort not to blurt out what I think is the best course of action. If you have that problem at your table, a discussion must be had. Let the player know what he's doing because he might not even realize it. Assure that player that you're not going to screw over the whole group just for not being super-effective in their tasks. It may drive that player nuts a little bit, but it's better than ruining everyone else's fun with his alpha gamer.
The Boneyard – Friends and foes within Tharkold's Blasted Land

Infiniverse Exchange Word template – Infiniverse Exchange template for MS Word users

fougerec
Posts: 878
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:27 am

Re: Too Much Tactical Analysis

Postby fougerec » Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:58 am

I 100% agree that it's a player issue more than a game thing. I have one player who will over analyze everything to make the absolute optimal choice but it's in every single game. I know it's tied to their anxiety issues so I don't make a big deal of it. I have noticed improvements over time so there is that :)

A good first step is in talking to the players as they may not be aware that this is even an issue. Be clear as to what you perceive the issue to be, find out what their thoughts are and find a compromise.

User avatar
Greymarch2000
Posts: 583
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:48 pm

Re: Too Much Tactical Analysis

Postby Greymarch2000 » Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:06 am

I think it's pretty inherent in the system and there's not going to be too much you can do about it. There's a significant amount of fiddling with DN adjustments and interaction attacks add another level to it compared to most games. The system actively encourages squeezing every last drop of bonus you can in combats (and I too have found this becomes even more prominent in upper Beta - when things have Toughness 30 you really need all you can get).

If the complaint is that RP is falling by the wayside however one thing to add as has been mentioned is enforce the use of roleplay in any card play or interaction attack. A player just can't say "I use maneuever", they need to say what they're actually doing and describe it to the group. I don't religiously enforce this in my game because as people has said, different players have different needs and many don't like having to be creative every single combat. But if that is what the players are asking for, it's kind of the bare minimum IMO.

Also there's the advice in the Beta GM Primer that's worth listening to. If a fight is just going to turn into a bunch of analysis and back and forth rolls for an hour you are will within your rights to speed it up and have each character make a different skill test and assuming they all succeed the Storm Knights just win the battle. Or even just narrate the end of a battle that's halfway finished instead of playing out the nitty-gritty.

User avatar
Atama
Posts: 1173
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:30 am
Location: Auburn, WA

Re: Too Much Tactical Analysis

Postby Atama » Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:31 am

Yeah after the first couple of sessions we found the game to be pretty smooth. The strategizing is a real thing but it usually doesn’t take too much. And yes, we RP everything out. I’m not just using Melee Weapons, I’m leaping in the air before smashing my club into his head. She’s not just using Trick, she’s throwing a water bottle and yelling “Grenade, get down!”. Combat isn’t a break in role-playing, it’s a part of it.

In fact, there are many times that I let my character’s personality, fears, misunderstandings, and quirks to determine my action, regardless of tactical advantage. Sure, Defend might be favored this round and the Big Bad is aiming his rail gun at me so I should take an Active Defense but he just hurt my friend and I’m pissed off so I’m going to wait for my turn and do an All-Out Attack. If your players aren’t doing this, they are complaining about the lack of role-playing while choosing not to engage in it as much as they can.
“You are a bad person, and should feel bad.”
-TorgHacker (being tongue-in-cheek :D)

Padre
Posts: 131
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:30 pm

Re: Too Much Tactical Analysis

Postby Padre » Fri Jul 05, 2019 2:33 pm

As was noted above, this is a group issue. I won't beat a dead horse here, but remember that there are players who _enjoy_ the tactical side of roleplaying. They actually enjoy working out each fight scene as a tactical problem and coming up with novel solutions. One of my semi-regular groups is a group of current and retired military and they tend towards that part of the hobby.

Padre


Return to “Tangents and Miscellany (TORG)”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests