Multiple Session Gimmicks

For games of Universalis that are intended to go for more than a single session, players may want to set up a set of Tenets for continuing play. Below are a set of standard Tenets that can be adopted by the group via social contract before play, or paid for with a single Coin after play has begun. They are very standard and intuitive, and most people playing adopt something very similar even if the specifics are unspoken.

Standard Intersession Rules

  • The first scene framed in the subsequent session is considered concurrent with, or immediately following the end of the last scene of the previous session, unless Coins are spent to set the time differently.
  • Scenes that are open at the end of the last session are still considered open, and can be continued as normal.
  • All players begin the next session with the same number of Coins that they had at the end of the previous session.  at the end of the last session.

*      At this point play continues as if there had been no interruption.

Submitted by Mike Holmes

Universalis works fantastically well as a game where the number of players changes each session.  New player can join or previous players drop out (temporarily or for good) without breaking play.  The group should agree on standards for who is playing the next session.

  • Will you choose not to play if  not everyone is available or will you you choose to play with “whoever can make it”?
  • Will you allow new players to join a game in progress, or will you begin a new game to play with those players?
  • How will you bring new players up to speed on what has happened so far?
  • How many Coins will new players receive?
  • Where will they sit in the turn order?
  • Will you attempt to preserve the turn order from previous sessions or just let the players sit wherever?

Revisit Game Tenets

Submitted by Mike Holmes

At the start of the subsequent session, a new Game Preparation phase occurs wherein players can discuss and modify current Tenets. When this is finished begin with a new scene.  This gimmick is intended to address any concerns players may have over the direction the story is going, and to make sure everyone is on the same page to start the new session (players satisfied with the current direction of play may just pass in this phase in order to get directly to the first scene).

Coins for New Players

Submitted by Mike Holmes

How many Coins will newly introduced players start with?

  • The standard starting Wealth (normally 25 Coins)?
  • The same number of Coins as the player with the most Coins?
  • The same number as the player the least Coins?
  • An average number of Coins?

(One can also see here the possibility of using similar player-adding gimmicks to allow new players mid session. The author highly recommends this.)

Reset Wealth Gimmick

Submitted by Mike Holmes

Some players may wish to allow for the level of Coins to be adjusted to a normalized level between sessions. This can take many forms:

  • Reset everyone to the normal Starting Wealth (typically 25 Coins).  This has the advantage of meaning you don’t have to track player Wealth between sessions, but it can introduce a “use it or lose it” mentality and a rush to spend all Coins towards the end of a session.
  • Reset everyone to the number of Coins possessed by the Wealthiest player.  This avoids the spending rush, although the lead player may be motivated to reduce their lead, but can lead to Coin inflation.

As always, any adjustment of Coin availability will affect the pacing of the game; potentially dramatically. Players can conceive of other methods of moderating the number of Coins available, and should consider the potential effects before putting them into play (or allowing them into play unchallenged).

Create Components Between Sessions

Submitted by Mike Holmes

Gimmicks can be established to allow players to flex their creative muscles between sessions.

Allow for a limited amount of Coins to be spent between sessions on creating things. Potentially players may be given a pool of Coins for just such a purpose that are used or lost between sessions. The results of such creativity can be presented at the time of the Game Preparation phase at the start of the following session, each player presenting one Component on his turn, at which time they can be challenged.

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