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  #1  
Ulæst Mon, 25 May 2009, 16:00
Steffen Jørgensen Steffen Jørgensen er offline
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Tilmeldingsdato: Jan 2008
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Standard Evaluation and thanks after Vaterland

I have regained most of my sleep and will try to put together my thoughts of the scenario here.

In general I think it was a succes, so I'll try to point out those things I think was less succesfull.

Time vs. enough to do?
I think the scenario was either too long or there was too little to do through the scenario.
I would have liked the scenario to last no more than 12-14 hours with the amount of things that happened or I would have liked more things to happen in the amount of time the LARP lasted. Fx. a second raid on the Germans, more clues to look after or something to do in the night.
So, more time pressure please.

The setting
The setting was the most awesome I have experienced, but was not put enough to use in my opinion. More time in the bunker(on a second raid?), use of the outpost and more looking in the corners after clues would have made my experience better.

Equipment
I had expected more of the equipment given to us.
I missed water bottles, bigger uniforms(for some of the others), flashlights that looked ‘1970’s russian’, more scientific stuff, cups for drinking, simple tools and better headgear. The equipment in general seemed a bit too scarce for me.

Military discipline
This did not work at all and I think it was a mistake that the organisers so clearly said that they only wanted the 'fun' military stuff.
The ‘military-system’ was in chaos and because of the message from the organisers it seemed that no one knew what to do about this or cared enough.
I would have liked the 'how to play a solider'-text to include some few points on how the military system will work and how to do it. Just simple points as how/who to salute, a clear order of rank, how to stand at attention etc.
This would have helped on keeping the soldiers reminded of their position and it would have been some points where we could have kept a strict eye on the prisoners.

Age limit
I think the age limit was suitable. Though I don't dislike those who had gotten the dispensation I think it was clear that they 'stuck out' and I believe you should keep to the age limit next time.

The dreams
Didn't really work and seemed very much out of place. I would have kept it at the poisoning and the scene with the death of the former expedition.

And after all the comments I want to put some thanks out there…

Thanks to my comrade players for being really great, well prepared and stay in game all of the time.
Thanks to Claus, Andreas and Michael for putting this scenario together. Really well done!
Thanks for letting me play the character I did. Claus told me it was a gamble from the organisers to let me play this character. I really enjoyed it, and hope I did good enough :-)
Thanks to the part-time-participants for doing a great work and making it fun for the rest of us.
Thanks to the helpers; Berner, Søren, Flemming and more who did great jobs during the LARP for our benefit.

I really hope you'll keep doing this kind of scenarios and if you can use my help or inputs for anything just say so.

Cheers!
- Steffen Jørgensen, Sergeant Lebedev, Team D

Sidst redigeret af Steffen Jørgensen : Mon, 25 May 2009 kl. 20:27
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  #2  
Ulæst Mon, 25 May 2009, 20:23
Steven Poulsen Steven Poulsen er offline
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I played a scientist, so all my positive and negative comments are from that perspective.
I agree with Steffen, but would like to add some points:

The Negative:

Soldier/Prisoner differentiation
From my point of view the only difference between them were the star on the hat, which translates to being no difference at all. They shouldn't have been handed guns, and they shouldn't have been given the same outfits as everyone else.

Activity
The researchers had one puzzle for the entire period. There were two planned, but the flower-puzzle were solved very fast by some soldiers. But even if the soldiers had left the flower-puzzle to the scientists (which they of course shouldn't, when they found it so interesting), it would still had left too little for the scientists to work with.
There should have been at least some “sub-puzzles”, which would clearly have been less important for the main story, but would have been fun and interesting to occupy oneself with. Examples could be:
  • Strange mine-like device found outside. Engineer needed to go out and disarm/secure it.
  • German formulas could be found for manipulating the human body or mind for the biologist to fool around with. Experiments on prisoners etc.
  • Strange disease the doctors had to find a cure or solution to
  • More German experimental machinery
  • Locals coming and begging for help (medically and mentally). To add some excitement, they could have become more and more ill, until they turned into something evil and assaulted the base from within.

Relations
It seemed to me, that no work had gone into creating relations between characters. Emails were received four days before the game started on ones team members, but no information about each were sent along. Thus you had four days to find out stuff about each other and set up relations, and then only amongst your own team.

Information
As scientists we knew nothing about anything.
Only after we arrived did we find out, that equipment would arrive later.
We did not have any guidelines on how to scientifically interact with anything. How real did the stuff we did need to be? As an example: At some point we got an actual real-life piece of equipment for measuring radioactivity, but there was no battery in it. As we had no clue to the designers thoughts on how realistic things needed to be, we didn't know if we should just pretend or if we should start a search for a battery. To be on the safe side, I decided on the last. The same goes for the mystical machine for producing the anti-rad pills. We could assemble it, so that it made lights and counted down, but there were still loose ends in the box. Was that important or just the off-game creator that that the extra wiring would be cool? It was quite frustrating. I felt bogged down by the “fear” of making game/story-ruining decisions (such as if I had decided that the radioactivity measuring equipment had worked fine, but the game designers actually needed us to look for a battery).
The Positive:

Location
Even though I already said I agreed with Steffen, I still want to applaud on the finding and acquisition of the location. The bunker experience will forever be remembered.

None without influence
It seemed to me, that you had dodged a recurring problem in LARPs, which is the plot revolving around some few people and the rest being sort of filler. Well done.

Ending
Another new but very positive experience: A LARP with a good an not so awkward ending. Usually LARPs end with the word of “game-stop” spreads while you are in the middle of roleplaying, and thus is rather tame. But Vaterland had a good clear ending.

Combat Rules
They were simple and they worked. It seemed to me that people were very fair about getting shot and making scenes and experiences out of it. So this is also a thumbs-up for the players. They were handed a good deal of responsibility and they handled it very well.

The Events
Being rushed into a dark bus and driven to a secret location was a great experience.
Waking up to a brand new chaotic situation put new energy into the game (the dream-stuff should just have been done differently).
The attacks on the camp and sneaking around outside looked for Germans seemed to be great fun for the soldiers.
Hope you can use the comments.

Thanks for a good LARP
- Steven (in-game Physicist)
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  #3  
Ulæst Mon, 25 May 2009, 20:33
Claus Raasteds avatar
Claus Raasted Claus Raasted er offline
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Tilmeldingsdato: Feb 2006
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Thanks a lot for taking the time to give us feedback - we'll wait a bit before giving all the "this didn't work because of this reason" and "we did that for that reason". First we want some unbiased comments.

So share, write, comment. Especially if you do it with suggestions that are not simply "just do it better". Steven's activity suggestions (which are great and can be used be anybody - not neccesarily us - doing something similar) and Steffen's "the text would have benefited from a few points on military behavior" are prime examples of good, well-founded criticism that can be used for future projects.

But most importantly. Write.

- Claus
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Sidst redigeret af Claus Raasted : Mon, 25 May 2009 kl. 23:11
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  #4  
Ulæst Mon, 25 May 2009, 23:27
Theis Jensen Theis Jensen er offline
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Hey Claus
Do you want a review from your helpers and PTP's as well? Or do you wish to wait with that?
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I'm working on something big...
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  #5  
Ulæst Tue, 26 May 2009, 10:12
Claus Raasteds avatar
Claus Raasted Claus Raasted er offline
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Reviews from helpers and PTPs would be excellent, but I think they should be sent by mail instead - because the PTPs and helpers all had very individual cases (some signed up/were asked to help months before, others just days - some had responsibility, others just were extra hands)

But of course we want to hear from you guys!

- Claus
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  #6  
Ulæst Tue, 26 May 2009, 19:11
Kristoffer Kowalski Kristoffer Kowalski er offline
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Tilmeldingsdato: Feb 2009
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Standard Review

First of all thank you very much for an entertaining weekend

I played the nice political officer which actually survived. For my behalf I had a great scenario being involved in both the action sequences (being first in the bunker), the intrigue (being a deserting officer) and the puzzle solving (finding several of the key leads). So by the fact that I was lucky I had a very good experience. However, I believe that had I played another part - e.g. a radio technician without a radio - it would probably had been a less satisfying experience.

Going through the different points:

Up front information
I believe that there were several lacks regarding information necessary.
• For my part some further information on the story setting would have been good. What are key happenings in Soviet Union for last years
• What are
• relations to other characters and what is the place in the hierarchy. There was very little information about what e.g. the relationship was between the different types of officers, as well as between officers, soldiers, scientists and prisoners. More general information of military hierarchy would have been very good.
• Roles etc. should have been out in better time
• Practical information was received at the very last, and it was not obvious what extra stuff you should bring along. Knowing that we were going in the water simple information as "bring extra socks as you may get wet" would have been priceless
• 30 minutes or one hour should have been spent on military training prior to game start so everyone could solute etc.
So generally the information was in my opinion lacking several things. But for my part my character was very well written as well as the other information received.

Gear

In my opinion this is were there were the most failures
• Clothes were in odd sizes and there should definitely have been much more difference between soldiers and prisoners, as without the hat you had no idea if you were talking to a prisoner or a soldier. Let the prisoners were boiler suits or the like so there is a very clear difference.
• Also identical uniforms for political officers etc. so soldiers could see difference. I honestly don't thin most soldiers knew the difference between the lieutenants and the political officers
• Radio technicians did not have radio's and that really sucked - most for them naturally but it was also just plainly weird that we had no radio contact
• Riflemen had pistols
• We had absolutely no gear which made us anything but regular footpads with pistols feeling pretty inferior to the Germans having machineguns and the like

Generally some of these are OK but altogether I think there were so many things missing that it became a flaw in the fiction. Also having no idea about where the bus and extraction vehicles were seemed weird. Why did no of the officers know anything about how they were supposed to get back out. A simple - ahh the Germans blew up the bus would have worked

Story

I liked the general story and the background setting as such, but the storyline seemed somewhat thin. For me I had no down-time but I believe that several players experienced down time in a scenario which in my opinion was too short. Different points:
• It did in my experience work well with the tight hierarchy first, to be replaced by chaos upon the treachery of the commandant. Stand offs between players always makes it nice although a few to many officers did get shot pretty quickly
• There could definitely have been more fights with the Germans and scavengers. possibly giving the Russians the opportunity to ambush the Germans
• There should have been more puzzle solving for the scientists
• Complicate the treasure hunt a bit - it was rather find "A" which will tell you where to find "B" which again tells you where to find "C"
• The dream failed utterly. The concept was in my opinion good. To use a dream to tell players about certain story related items, and possibly giving them a good experience at another location as i understand also was the original intent. The way it worked out, it was more or less just a 1.5 hour break from the game where most were off-game. I had been in-game until that point! I think the hints given in the scenes could have been given in regular game play and they were either to difficult to make something out off for the unknowing players or to obvious for the knowing players. So generally a good idea and good experiment, but generally little was achieved which could not have been provided in game
• Insanity and radiation scores failed completely. I am not sure whether anyone ever got insane. I think that the scenario actually was a little to short for the gradual increase of sickness to work. The idea was definitely good but game length made it difficult for all characters to be checked after each tour out
• There should have been more explanation and actual story about how come there was no transportation out of there, how come the stupid Russians only brought enough food for one day etc.
• NPC’s put in the game should have meaning and contribute to the story. When NPC’s mention a operational but etc. players will assume that this is part of the story. So a point would also be to brief any NPC’s better, as the ones put in the game primarily resulted in confusion about possibilities. E.g. I really thought that the reason that an Englishman showed up had something to do with the officers purporting to defect to the British just to see the NPC’ disappear after having started to plan our escape.
• It would have been good with alternative exits for different characters. I liked the fact that not all could make it out alive, but an English boat would have been cool, allowing some of the players to defect in order to save their lives.

Setting
Bunker was very nice! I think the gaming area was also very nice. It would have been nice if there had been some "cubical" or the like the scientists could have set up, and officers mess etc. to make it a little less open. Other than that it was all good. Also the forward position was nice.

Eating shitting sleeping
Eating was good. There was enough and it was good. Some would say that it could have been more timely but for my part it was perfect. Only a bucket of apples and some snack fruit and veggies (carrots etc) to eat in between would have been a plus. I think it was great that players did not have to think about this at all so that was a nice service!

Shitting – only did it once at the fashionable shit hole at the forward position which was perfect. I understand that especially the female participants would have to go out of the gaming area which was crappy. To help this out there should have been a toilet in the gaming area.

Sleeping was not good enough as several players got crappy sleeping bags and were not able to keep warm at night. I froze my ass off in a much too thin and to small sleeping bag. Otherwise field beds were fine and very in-game.

Other points
• Fighting worked well and it was very good to have a limit on ammo. Ammo did seem very scarce at first but to plentiful later. A balance would have been good but probably very hard to find. I think a mission to retrieve ammo drop would have been a very good mission for soldiers as well. Letting them run with ammo cases from the beach while under German fire.
• I think the game as mentioned earlier should have been longer. It could easily have ended at 4-6 hours later, but naturally the story should have supported this. I just think that it would not have cost more than extra plot to increase the length of the game, but it would give the players 25% more. My character could easily have spent more gaming time
• It seems that there was an unbalance between what the different groups had to do. It generally seemed like the scientists did not have that much to do compared to soldiers and especially the officers

Wrapping it up


So all in all many points which could have been better. Especially a lot of missing information and missing equipment and a storyline/investigation part which seemed a little thin brought the experience down. As said I did however enjoy both action intrigue and investigation and was in the midst of the game at all times so I had a very good experience assumable opposed to some other players. If to grade it in the old fashion 13 scale it would for my behalf be a 10 as I truly did enjoy myself. For any of you foreign men and dames which have little experience with the 13 scale it would equal a solid 7-8 on a 1-10 scale.

All small issues set aside we are thankful that you took up the difficult task to entertain us
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  #7  
Ulæst Tue, 26 May 2009, 20:54
Martina Martina er offline
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Tilmeldingsdato: Mar 2008
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I can honestly say that I enjoyed myself very much at Vaterland. Most of my points have already been mentioned, so I guess I can be quite short about them...


Things I liked

- The psychiatrists: I thought it was a wonderful idea to have those psychiatrists/psychologists. For me it worked out great to have someone to tell my background story to and it helped a lot to develop my character (and her insanity). Usually, you just don't get the opportunity to share so much of your story with someone, and I think it worked very much as a catalyst for my character development.
The insanity points worked well for me, although I ended up "awarding" them to me myself when I couldn't find my psychologist.

- Beginning and end: I really liked the starting in the bus and also the clear end by getting shot - although I would have liked one or two hours more to play, as I probably would have shot myself then, instead of letting the Germans do the job

- The bunker: was really very cool, and there's nothing to get your adrenaline level up as fast as "prisoners, charge that machine gun!" (except maybe a KGB interview...). I was very jealous of the lucky ones who went in by boat...

- the post-officer-killing chaos: Although I was really quite shocked about the way things turned out after the dreams, the ensuing chaos was a nice little shove towards insanity for my character, and it was so much fun to play the little lost girl whose world was just breaking into pieces around her...


Things that could have been better

- pre-game information: most of it has already been mentioned, I just want to add that I think it should have been made clear what parts of the background story (from Motherland and what happened afterwards) was common knowledge. Did everyone know that Hitler was shot with a "special" bullet and so taken over? On the bus to the location I overheard a conversation, where someone said that very likely no survivors would be found in Germany as the bombs had exploded so many years ago...but wasn't it just months? So, it would have been nice to get a summary of what everyone really knew about the story (and its occult parts).

- military drill: I guess that the lack of military drill resulted from complaints from the Motherland and possibly the Emperor game - still, I think that some basics would have been quite useful, just one or two simple commands that everyone knew how to react to (like standing at attention or at ease) would have been fine. This might also have helped to better distinguish the different groups. As it was, it felt quite strange that officers mingled with soldiers and even prisoners so much, and overlooked a lot of unpatriotic remarks. I don't think officers should be that nice...;-)

- night action: I think there would easily have been enough space (and enthusiasm) for more night action. I really don't need to sleep for eight hours on a larp like this. Another German attack or some more plot hunting would have fitted in quite nicely.

- radiation: that did not work out for me at all. I was only confronted with it when a Doctor made another little line in my file, but I never knew what that meant for me or whether I was supposed to play any effects or if maybe the doctor needed to tell me about them first. And the fact that the doors were kept quite open all the time kind of destroyed the atmosphere of "do not go out or you will die a horrible death from radiation". I guess the doctors should have been given more information about radiation so that they could have enforced a stricter handling of the matter.


That's about it for the moment. As I said, I had a lot of fun, liked it very much and would certainly come back for Daugher-/Brother-/Grandmotherland...

Thank you all!

Martina
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  #8  
Ulæst Wed, 27 May 2009, 23:23
Nath Nath er offline
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Tilmeldingsdato: Apr 2009
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Personally I had a great time.

As a soldier / field medic, I had plenty to do, but then medics are normally busy in larp. There was loads of plot I missed, but I was too busy with social interaction to go chasing plot.

The production standards were great. What we needed was a more clear statement of 'you might like to bring extras such as torches, larp knives, . . .' Then again, that also added a certain edge to the event - not having enough torches to go round when assaulting a bunker, etc.

I enjoyed playing the insanity I started with, to the hilt. I didn't gain many more personally, but that made internal sense.

I got a lot of radiation, and almost died from it (I got told to see an organiser after getting too much, who then decided to override the rules and change it). I think that needed to be thought out more. It also wasn't clear if it was meant to be real radiation or strange fantasy radiation (I'm not sure radiation sickness actually happens within a day). The problem with the radiation was it actively encouraged people to stay inside and not be proactive. I'd suggest radiation should have happened more from encounter with special objects, and not from just wandering around.

I felt we should either have had basic military drill done as a pre-game exercise, or either be written as random conscripts. The discipline didn't really come across.

The pollitical officiers (being in black to mark them as seperate) worked really well, and the interrogation scene was really good. Some of the players could have handled them being more physically 'hardcore.'

The time out to the larp and dream sequence really really bad. It completely broke the flow. I'm not sure it was needed at all - the commander could have just sneaked off during lunch and left the recording behind. It was also theatre, with little opportunity to interact (beside killing the Baroness for being an upper class oppressor of the workers).

What I had been expecting was we'd discover a nazi occult research project (trying to use the spear of destiny or ark of the covenant, ressurect the ancient german vampire, create blonde aryan werewolves, etc.). Religious occult stuff would have been really interesting to deal with (given most of us were playing atheist characters).

I felt we needed a bit more background material (2 pages would have). A lot of people have a very weak grasp of history. Having the psychologists was great - it allowed us to talk about our backstories, but it also exposed different perspectives on the setting.

I felt the military should have used the drill order 'atheists, about face' (which was used historically) to give characters a chance to show their moral objection to the priestly peddling the opium of the masses.

The post-dream thing was a different kind of larp, and did have a lot of opportunity to explore different ideas (the role of the army is to defend it's political system, not to practice it). It's a shame we lost so many character so early, but it was quite likely with hindsight - possibly it needed to be staged later in the larp.

I felt more could have been made of the Motherland concept actually being heresy in the eyes of true communists (i.e. the international revolution), and the paradox of trying to uphold two opposite ideals.

Ammo was an complex issue. Many players early on seemed to have a lot more ammunation in the bunker raid than they did. I'mn not sure what the solution to this is. Some where also moving around a lot very soon despite taking multiple gun hits. Possibly medics should have been able to tell people how bad their injuries were (like psychologists). We also had problems on saturday with some part-time characters ignoring the fact we had doped them up on morphine to stop them causing trouble.

I didn't get involved with the treasure hunt myself, but from what I gathered making it riddle based feels very 'gamey' and artificial.

We needed more time to sort out intergroup relations - a few weeks of intersquad discussion would have helped. Setting up a private forum for each group to discuss ideas would have been good, so we could discuss hand signals, establish marching order for tunnel fighting, etc. A few more pre-established character relations would not have been a bad thing.

Playing more the internal russian differences more may have been interesting - urban vs. rural, different regions and different ethnic people within the USSR (e.g. cossacks are going to be very different to russian jews).

I felt there was plenty of combat, and certainly didn't need more. It's a shame we couldn't use the bunker more.

I didn't have any issues at all with the young participants, and couldn't pick them out personally.

I'd certainly come to an event three in the series if one happens.
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