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Simplified Sanctioning

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Malrubius View Drop Down
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Jonas Bailey

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Malrubius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Simplified Sanctioning
    Posted: 30 September 2013 at 12:37pm
In the "What leads to chapter success thread" I seen some mention of sanctioning being a stumbling block to running games. Certainly in my time on the DB SC there were more games submitted that made it a round or two in to the process and then died on the vine.

So...why should it be hard? Or what makes it so?


Factors I can see:
Arguing over ratings, because they effect treasure
Arguing over fight balancing
Plot holes
Local chapter plot conflicts
"Quality" of games

So, quickly, in order

1: What if Risk (as a rating) is eliminated, everybody gets 300 gold/hour, and "High Risk" is more of a qualifier/binary for certain hardcore games entirely for the purpose of allowing people to avoid those games if they so choose?

2: I keep thinking there must be a systemic way to calculate this in a rough fashion. Which is the best we'll ever really get anyway. A team with big treasure, a good class mix, and required levels can still fail spectacularly if they are terrible fighters or terrible working as a team. There's no real way (that I know of, besides a personalized sliding team risk scale, but never mind that) to account for PCs making terrible decisions. But particularly for beginning designers\writers this seems like the trickiest part. What is a "solid" fight for a team of 5 at levels 3-5? And how many of those can you put in a game before the total combat load pushes the later fights in to "potentially team killing" due to SAS\point depletion?

3: This seems like the best aspect of sanctioning committees to me. The ability to have experienced folks look at your game and give their opinion of if it will be enjoyable or not and meet it's stated goal or not. Also the most subjective part, but if the majority of sanctioning was just this part I think it would go faster. Yes\no?

4: Probably best to have some control over what events occur in the shared world of the local chapter. Ultimately probably not super important. If your team of high level PCs kill the King in one game and the next weekend your team of low level PCs are accepting a quest from the guy that died last weekend....who cares? Won't really effect the game as written. BUT...surely we'd all like to have some consistency and not have everything be a semi-closed world with non-congruent plot threads. Or...would we?

5: And the great intangible, "Qwality". One presumes we'd like to spare our chapter members from playing in terrible unfun games. Again, seems pretty subjective, but also not a big time sink. Not sure how often it's an issue in any case. I can't recall a lot of games being pushed through by the GW despite SC input that the game will suck; most GWs seem pretty interested in critical feedback that will improve the reception of the game (ie, no God Encounters, etc, etc)

To me the Risk\Combat thing *seems* like the thing to work on. Particularly for new GWs wouldn't it be nice to have some guidelines for how to design and balance combats for a given level range?
At least as a starting point?





Hobbes: "What kind of nut would *care* about all this?"Calvin: "*EVERYONE!* This is hard data! It lets you quantify your enjoyment!"
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Malrubius View Drop Down
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Jonas Bailey

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Malrubius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 September 2013 at 12:45pm
In particular for Risk rating I think there are probably only really 3 levels.

Minimal: Nothing bad will happen to your PC unless you actively engage in trying to make this happen.
For example: Attacking the King\Royal Court during a Kings Tourney type bar\room game.

Normal: Bad things will happen if you fail.
This seems standard. If you fail ANY fight in ANY "Normal" Risk game....that's kinda gonna suck. That's...how it's supposed to work, right?

Hardcore: Bad things WILL happen, unless you get everything right.
Having some division between various levels of "Oh, bad stuff MIGHT maybe happen depending..." seems to have pretty low utility value.

Then the other ratings essentially inform team composition. High Fighting game? Maybe bring a team good at fighting, or at least a team that enjoys it. High Mental game? Bring your smart friends\PCs. And so on.


Hobbes: "What kind of nut would *care* about all this?"Calvin: "*EVERYONE!* This is hard data! It lets you quantify your enjoyment!"
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William Haddon

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Post Options Post Options   Quote whaddon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 September 2013 at 1:25pm
Arguing about Risk is just never a factor.  I've gotten a LOT of games sanctioned and argued about Risk twice.  And I'm not sure its ever been for more treasure.

So... you can pretty much let that go.
If IFGS could just get rid of the games so it could focus on sustaining its own bureaucracy... we would finally be living the Dream.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Cedric Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 September 2013 at 2:27pm
Other things that make games hard to get through sanctioning:

1.  Using a poor game format and thus makes it hard to read/adjudicate vs other games.
2.  Bad grammer/organization.  
3.  When a writer updates one part, he/she forgets to update that same info in other parts of the game copy.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Spencer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 October 2013 at 9:35am
Originally posted by Cedric

Other things that make games hard to get through sanctioning:

1.  Using a poor game format and thus makes it hard to read/adjudicate vs other games.
2.  Bad grammer/organization.  
3.  When a writer updates one part, he/she forgets to update that same info in other parts of the game copy.


The other things are:
Magic item savvy write-ups
Magic item value calculation
Combat balance
GW breaking rules
Spencer Corbin Lawson - PNW Member"It looks like they used the tried and true combat tactic of hiding behind the MU." Camille Graves
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Malrubius View Drop Down
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Jonas Bailey

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Malrubius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 October 2013 at 12:24pm
So some sort of integrated IFGS game app, then?

Even a standardized encounter format template and integrated pricing engine seems like it would address a lot of these issues.


But, mostly, it's combat balance, right? That's always seemed like the trickiest part to figure out to me.


Hobbes: "What kind of nut would *care* about all this?"Calvin: "*EVERYONE!* This is hard data! It lets you quantify your enjoyment!"
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Cedric Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 October 2013 at 1:17pm
Eh, I personally don't really have a problem with combat balance myself.  It's so swingy anyway depending on the player and toys.  Usually I write it sort of in the middle and give some guidance in the encounter on how hard I want the NPCs to fight.  When I sanction a game I just make up some teams in my head (players, level, class) and go through how I think they would do in the fight against it.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Spencer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 October 2013 at 1:32pm
Originally posted by Cedric

Eh, I personally don't really have a problem with combat balance myself.  It's so swingy anyway depending on the player and toys.  Usually I write it sort of in the middle and give some guidance in the encounter on how hard I want the NPCs to fight.  When I sanction a game I just make up some teams in my head (players, level, class) and go through how I think they would do in the fight against it.


That is how I do it too, but we have a very good idea of what it takes to write or sanction a balanced encounter.  Other people do not work that way or have the experience to easily figure it out.

The real hard part is learning when a writer breaks too many rules in their game. The writer can break any rule they feel like but when they go overboard the game suffers. A newer sanctioner often has a problem feeling they are competent enough to tell a writer no.
Spencer Corbin Lawson - PNW Member"It looks like they used the tried and true combat tactic of hiding behind the MU." Camille Graves
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William Haddon

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Post Options Post Options   Quote whaddon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 October 2013 at 1:36pm
That might be a function of experience though, right?  If you weren't good at writing combat balance, the SC would have a lot more work to do and it would be a much bigger part of sanctioning.  I would guess that most games there is some significant work and thought that goes into balance of that kind, especially since I don't see "combat intent" on most games like I do on yours.  Even on games you've written there have been a few games where the SC has requested adjustments. 

Obviously BB calculations are by far the hardest and most time consuming part about sanctioning.  A famulus type calculator would make this a much much easier prospect.  After BB, though... what IS the next hardest, most time consuming, most controversial part?  It might be combat balance?  What do you think?
If IFGS could just get rid of the games so it could focus on sustaining its own bureaucracy... we would finally be living the Dream.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JeffL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 October 2013 at 2:35pm
I think clarity of the written encounter is often very time consuming. So many times I have seen an encounter interpreted one way by NPCs another way by the GP and another way by each GM. Ironing out those interpretation issues ahead of time can be very time-consuming.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Cedric Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 October 2013 at 2:59pm
What about a writer (esp. a newer writer) having an idea or a gimmick for an encounter that is way out in left field?  I think we see this every so often when a writer wants to do something COOL.  That COOLNESS often times needs to be wrangled in and also has the downside that you as a sanctioner may have to tell a writer no on something.
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Michelle Lonsinger

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Michelle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 October 2013 at 6:59pm
The thing I've seen often, particularly from newer writers, is games/encounters that are impossible to produce. Often goes hand-in-hand with the COOLNESS factor Mike describes, imho.
Michelle Lonsinger
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