I got over a mental block and managed to say “this game’s done!” in design terms at least, so it was time to introduce Cosmic Zap to some intrigued people at Spelens Hus.
I’ve decided to collect the characters used in playtest so far, made up by me or by others, as well as a couple more by me, as pick-up-and-play for the game. Original character design is an option for later in the text. That’s not because people can’t do it – to the contrary, the player-authored characters are generally spectacular – but because I’m trying to cut down on the learning and prep curve drastically for this game especially, and I’ve observed players to adopt pre-generated characters for it unusually quickly.
So in this case, I brought nine player-character sheets for them to choose from, some of which were altered slightly from forms you’ve seen already, such as Sweet Jane, Azimuth, and Blue Streak. We began with three players in addition to me, but then Peter joined us. Unfortunately we’d already staged the camera, and due to certain hassles couldn’t re-do it, so he’s only partly in-shot throughout.
The learning curve was really steady for this group, beginning with almost complete uncertainty (but willingness) and proceeding to user-interface with each new rules option, because I intentionally introduced them step by step. You can see that we wear out almost entirely near the end, taking a brief break but pretty tapped out, but the system itself was in full blast.
A couple of my mistakes are significant. I mis-handled the ties in the first couple of exchanges, giving the marginal victory to the wrong person.The order of player roles is set up so that no one can be both Featured and Interesting before everyone gets to be Featured, but I screwed it up. I don’t know how I managed to think that the Featured Player role proceeds to the left in turn, like a card game, instead of the right way, but that’s why William ended up having to wait to long before taking that part. The other errors are minor (if annoying to me), like forgetting that augmented abilities aren’t eligible for increases.
The player dialogue was very good, some of which I cut out because it was too mixed up with snacks and other topics to include. People immediately grasped that they could be adverse as the Interesting Player without griefing, and they liked the notion that anyone could choose to play a genuinely adversarial player-character role if they felt like it, but also that no one had to if no one wanted to. I thought their collective grasp of the aesthetic and potential themes was fantastic; it really was like the OMG open for some of the better comics and animated films of this kind.
I’d really like to continue with this group, but my current scattershot, even bonkers play-this-play-that practice isn’t helping. It might be time to settle into something for a while as a dedicated group, and this game with these folks would be a top choice.