Bennies

I'm in the middle of a great Hillfolk game. All the players really like the setup and the game is going in amazing directions. However, the one thing they don't like is the voting system at the end of a session. They say it's "a very American idea" and as reserved British folk refuse to vote.

So what are the alternatives? I'm currently using the two players with the least Drama points - but am not sure this works.

Any help appreciated.

Comments

  • edited March 2013
    +1!

    As long as it goes, I played only 2 sessions so far with 2 different group of people. The voting system caused hatred in the first group ("we refuse to evaluate each other roleplaying quality, because it is like pointing fingers on bad people"). Since, I got a little shy about using it. [Edit : I just played with a 3rd group. This time, they asked for the vote to occur. Not sure about why.] Any alternative that can fullfil the following is very welcome :
    - having bennies back in game
    - involve players into looking for greater game sessions

    I may also ask the following : why do you think bennies are important ? Why do you think voting at the end of a hillfolk session is important ?
  • edited September 2013
    Here is an alternative to the voting system I tried today. It went very well.

    I started the first episode of a "Battlestar Galactica" DramaSystem game.

    I replaced the vote by a "ticket" system. Here it is :
    - When a caller introduces a new crisis in his scene, he earns a ticket.
    - At the end of the episode
    1) Any player with a ticket is eligible for the bennie.
    2) The one who has the more Drama Tokens earns the Bennie.
    3) All tickets are removed.

    The effect of this was quiet great : players where striving to introduce SOMETHING I wanted in this episode. (I wanted players to start crisis to spice up the game, and they did).

    Ticket is a great tool if you want something to happen in a recurring way through your session.
  • Our alternatives:

    1. Secret ballot vote tallied by the GM.

    2. Each player has two votes (one for each hand). At the end of session all players (not GM) simultaneously point at the 2 people who they would have ranked #1 and #2 by the regular method. Players then tally the votes pointed at them, adding also their drama tokens as .5 a vote each.

    Example:
    Player A has 3 votes coming at them and 2 drama tokens (2 + .5*2 = 3)
    Player B has 2 votes coming at them and 3 drama tokens (2 + .5*3 = 3.5)
    Player C has 2 votes coming at them and 1 drama token (2 + .5*1 = 2.5)
    Player D has 1 vote coming at them and 0 drama tokens (1 + .5*0 = 1)
    Players A and B earn bennies.
  • I don't like the voting either. You could reward the player who has exchanged the most tokens, or even the one whose PC has suffered the most.
  • I quite like the way voting absolves the GM of having to pick a favourite, but I wonder if it could be simplified.

    E.g. vote for who you think suffered the most (as per Simon's suggestion).
    Or get each player to nominate the thing they liked most in the episode done or said by another PC (and preferably fitting the theme, desire or dramatic poles) and vote based on those.
  • Posted By: Joe_SixpackOur alternatives:

    1. Secret ballot vote tallied by the GM.
    Huh. In the playtest version of the rule, I'm fairly sure it specifically said that the votes were written down. I hadn't noticed until now that wasn't mentioned in the final book. I've never had much issue with the rule, but I agree that it would be uncomfortable to do publicly. It would be one thing to cast a vote for the best player, but having to rank someone last out loud would be awkward. I'll continue to go with the playtest option.

    I see one problem with all of these alternatives. None of them address the mechanical purpose of giving bennies. Bennies aren't there to reward the best roleplayer, or the one that got kicked around the most. They are meant to reward the players that addressed the theme of the episode using their dramatic poles most effectively. It encourages players to build a thematically strong episode, as opposed to an episode merely consisting of the stuff that happened this week.

    The players making their pitches at the end is also not just to win votes. It lets everyone see their actions in a new light, maybe picking up on nuances that were missed. It's rather like playing the commentary track for the episode.

    Getting ridding of voting isn't an instant deal breaker, but removing the effect of the theme weakens the game. Getting to call the theme is a rare opportunity that comes up less than once a month. I'd like to be certain that it has a tangible effect on the session. Addressing the theme tangibly improves the quality of the episode, so it deserves a reward.

    I don't like any of the versions based on drama tokens. The player already got awarded a drama token. You don't need to reward the player that got the most rewards already.
  • edited November 2013
    (@Baulderstone) Your insight in mind, what do you think of this :

    A) At the end of each scene, you try to get the consensus with the group :
    1) If the description of the scene clearly bringed the theme then the caller write "Theme" on the caller sheet.
    2) If any involved character cleartly bringed ONLY ONE of his poles in the scene, then write a mark on this pole on the character sheet.

    B) At the end of the game :
    1) Each player who have the Theme and both Poles marked on their sheet earn a bennie.
  • edited November 2013
    So, you could rapidly have a lot of bennies in game. I propose the following optional rule : spend 2 bennies to call a free scene right now.
  • edited November 2013
    Posted By: Nevrose(@Baulderstone) Your insight in mind, what do you think of this :

    A) And the end of each scene, you try to get the consensus with the group :
    1) If the description of the scene clearly bringed the theme then the caller write "Theme" on the caller sheet.
    2) If any involved character cleartly bringed ONLY ONE of his poles in the scene, then write a mark on this pole on the character sheet.

    B) And the end of the game :
    1) Each player who have the Theme and both Poles marked on their sheet earn a bennie.
    You already mentioned the risk of bennie proliferation, so I will leave that one alone. That seems to be the biggest issue with this system.

    I like A.1. That encourages every player to touch on the theme at least once an episode, but not so much that it will make them beat it to death. I'm less sure about A.2. Part of the purpose of poles in a game it to allow a petitioner to have the option of switching tactics. If appealing to pole A isn't working, they can work on pole B. I worry that this variant could lead a situation where a petitioner makes a beautifully played jump from one pole to another, and the grantor stonewalls them because they are trying to get their reward for bringing one pole to a scene. I think players should always be on the lookout for a good reason to pivot.

    I hate to be relentlessly negative in this thread, as I get how some people would hate voting. It's a conversation worth having. It's just hard to come up with an easy fix. Deciding who best approached the theme is such an artistic decision that it is hard to measure with a purely mechanical approach.

    Anyway, I need to stop goofing around on RPG forums and get some real work done, so I can be free to play some Hillfolk tonight. I'm going to keep mulling this over in the back of my mind though.
  • edited November 2013
    Hmm, rewarding someone trying to convince a target when he tries to appeal on both poles of his target could be added as another (A3) challenge during a scene.

    Many additionnal challenges may prove hard to handle in a succession of scenes, but could reduce the flow of bennies, if many bennies is really a bad thing (something else to think about, though ...)
  • edited November 2013
    Posted By: NevroseHmm, rewarding someone trying to convince a target when he tries to appeal on both poles of his target could be added as another (A3) challenge during a scene.

    Many additionnal challenges may prove hard to handle in a succession of scenes, but could reduce the flow of bennies, if many bennies is really a bad thing (something else to think about, though ...)
    That would be one possible solution. I worry that is might constrain the looseness of the game. If every player is working on Bennie Bingo, trying to complete the checklist, it could be a problem. Then again, some groups would like the additional mechanical structure.
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