Game Play Gimmicks

Some optional rules that change Turn Order or Game Flow.

Open Scene Framing

Submitted by Ralph Mazza

In the Core rules there is only 1 active scene at a time. Other scenes may remain unresolved and waiting for completion, but before players can return to them, the current scene must be formally declared ended by the Framing Player and a new scene started which returns to that previous one. In between, players Bid for Scene to determine who has the privilege of Framing that new scene.  Mini scenes allow for small, short, scenes to be inserted into the main scene.  This add-on allows several full scenes to be going on simultaneously.

The Bidding for scene procedure was written to keep the flow of the game very structured and progressing in a clearly delineated way.  This is especially valuable for introducing new players to the concepts of total player control. The Open Scene Framing Add-on is an advanced technique that does away with all of the above mentioned structure.

When using this Add-on there is no Bidding for Scene Framing. Two new options are added to the player’s turn. “Frame New Scene” and “Switch Between Scenes” either of which costs 1 Coin.

To Frame a New Scene a player on his own turn pays the 1 Coin and then proceeds to frame the scene exactly as described in Chapter Five. After he Establishes a Location, Sets the Time, and Introduces Components, he continues with his turn normally.

Judgment, Challenge Variant

Submitted by Kirt Dankmyer

This Gimmick replaces the normal Challenge Variant.  It offers the opportunity to bring a more GM like influence to the game.

If players disagree about the legality of a move or the interpretation or application of a Gimmick or Fact, then the player who spent Coins before the current player’s turn is to is to be the Judge and decide the question. Disagreement for the purposes of this rule may be created by the insistence of any player. This process is called invoking Judgment.

When Judgment has been invoked, no one may Interrupt or pass the turn without the consent of a majority of the other players.

The Judge’s Judgment may be overruled only by a unanimous vote of the other players taken before the next Coin is spent. If a Judge’s Judgment is overruled, then a player chosen at random from those remaining (i.e. not the one of the previous Judges or the player on whom Judgment had been called) becomes the new Judge for the question, and so on. If all Judges are overruled, well, then, the player on whom Judgment was called can continue without further Judgments regarding that action.

New Judges are not bound by the decisions of old Judges. New Judges may, however, settle only those questions on which the players currently disagree and that effect the completion of the turn in which Judgment was invoked. All decisions by Judges shall be in accordance with all the Facts and Gimmicks then in effect; but when Tenets and Facts are silent, inconsistent, or unclear on the point at issue, then the Judge shall consider game-custom and the spirit of the story before applying other standards.

At any time a player can on his turn pay 1 Coin to switch from the current scene to another of the currently active scenes to continue the action there where it was left off. He, or some other player who Interrupts him, can then pay a Coin to switch back again. The Framing Player for a given scene can at any time on his turn close the scene by paying the 1 Coin to Fade to Black. Once closed the scene can no longer be switched to.

This technique is fairly advanced and demands good organization to keep all of the separate scenes straight. It is not recommended that more than 2 or 3 Scenes be active at any one time.

Alternate Reality Variant

Submitted by Kirt Dankmyer

This variant requires very careful record keeping with regards to scenes.  Scenes should be arranged on a chronological number line.

At the end of any scene, you can split off a “mirror scene”.  This puts a fork in the number line immediately prior to the just finished scene and adds the mirror scene.  This mirror scene starts the same way (time, location, and introduced Components) with no additional framing cost.  At that point the group plays the same scene again, likely with different events and outcomes.

There are now two alternate realities.  The first where the events proceeded according to the original scene, and the second where the events proceeded according to the mirror scene.  There can be many branches formed in this way.  The same scene can be mirrored multiple times and each branch may then branch out itself.  Only the very first scene of the game, the starting point, cannot be forked.

The cost for creating a mirror scene in this way is 1 Coin per fork (including the newly created one) between the mirror scene and the original first scene of the game.

Each Branch needs to be labeled and each Component must be identified with the branch it belongs to.  A component is part of each successive branch after it is Created, but if it is altered subsequently, it is only altered for that current branch (and subsequent ones) and so a duplicate Component must be made specific to that branch.  Whoever splits off a new branch, should be appointed record keeper for that branch.

Friendly Control

Submitted by Kirt Dankmyer

Whoever Controls a component can cede Control at any time to another player, at no cost to anyone

VARIANT:  Anyone can take Control of any Component on their turn for no cost.  The current owner can Challenge this with the weight of Fact behind him to prevent it.

Free Dialog

Submitted by Bob McNamee

This Gimmick eliminates the rule that says 1 Coin is required to enter into dialog between characters.  Players are free to enter into unlimited dialog for free.

Using Challenge Bids

Submitted by Mike Holmes

In the Core rules all Coins bid in a Challenge are considered spent and returned to the Bank regardless of who wins.  This rule is in play to counter the “puffing” strategy common in auction games where a player who doesn’t really want to win the bidding bids up the price for another player who does.

However, some groups have found that since you stand to lose both the Challenge and a sizeable number of Coins you may be less likely to back down. This can lead to unnecessary bidding wars once both parties have too much invested to afford to lose. With this Gimmick you allow one party to concede and recover their bid making them more likely to back out rather than fight to the bitter end.

Losing Challenge Bids

Submitted by Ralph Mazza

If the acting player loses a Challenge, this Gimmick allows him to use any Coins that he bid on the Challenge (that would normally be lost to the Bank) to pay for whatever changes the Challenger required. Any surplus Coins are lost to the Bank as normal.

Using Cards as Coins

Submitted by Jonathan Nichol [Presented with some modification]

Instead of coins, each player gets a deck of cards from which the face cards have been removed to use as the Bank. Shuffle the deck and whenever the rules call for the player to gain Coins, draw a number of cards from the deck instead. Keep these cards in a face down pile to be your Wealth. Instead of spending Coins, spend the top card from your Wealth by discarding it next to the Bank. When the Bank is empty reshuffle the discards and start a new Bank.

In a Complication, when Coins are spent to add dice to a pool take the cards from the Wealth pile but leave them face down. When Traits are called on to add dice, take the cards from the Bank and add them to the pool face down. To resolve the Complication each player takes the face down cards that have been added to their pools and counts Aces (one) through 5 as a Success treating the face value exactly as a number rolled on a d10. If Coins earned in the Complication are to be added to a player’s Wealth, discard the cards from the pool and draw new face down cards from the Bank accordingly.

Variant: Don’t remove the face cards but instead create a Gimmick for what they represent when spent. For instance a revealed Jack could mean the person to the right spends the Coin, a Queen, the person to the left, and a King the person across. In a Complication each Jack in the Pool could cancel a Success while each King could count as an extra Success (for purposes of determining the winner but not effecting any Coins earned). A Queen could give you a free Coin but not count as a Success.

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