Cold City Play Test Two

Cold City/Hot war creator Malcolm Craig is playtesting the upcoming new edition. Here’s his report of the second session with his new play test group:

Play Session 1

Content Warning: Self harm

If you’ve read the first blog post about playesting the revised version of Cold City, you’ll know how things are starting. If you’ve not read it, then follow the link!

For this session Harvey was sadly absent because of unforeseen circumstances. However, Connor and Amy decided to press on regardless (incorporating the absence of Harvey’s character Edward Richthofen into the story. Nice work).

We got through six significant scenes before the act’s conclusion. We open with a chase by Amy’s character Dr Julia Whitely into the U-Bahn and the capture of a mysterious man (who had a stolen document that gave them some insights into who they might be looking for – a mysterious, though-to-be-dead-in-1945 Nazi scientist called Karl Geissler). Then we had a flashback scene to how the chase started and Connor’s character Kyril Kantarin being left in an apartment with a dead body.

After this we had an even deeper flashback to the briefing with Justine ‘The Cadaver’ Cavre, their immediate superior at ISLAC. Then flash forward (phew!) to Whiteley and Kantarin in a battered Volkswagen Beetle with the mysterious man, who commits suicide in a particularly gruesome manner. Thereafter we visit Zum Wilden Hirsch, a kneipe where the locals are very suspicious (and Amy starts to establish that Julia perhaps has a small alcohol problem). Finally, we had a concluding scene in the U-Bahn where Whiteley and Kantarin are attacked by a strange creature (and they run away, very wisely). Amy and Connor were really great and very much got into the spirit of things.

I must also commend them for their contributions in our post-game discussion (the scenes noted above took about 75 mins to play through). They suggested having a means via consequences for players to reduce Control’s die groups even further, if the players win a conflict. We also discussed the size of Control die groups and all felt that they were just a little under-powered. So, I’m going to try this formula for opening die groups: each starts at [Number of Participants x2]+2 dice placed by each participant in groups of their choice. 

We also talked about escalating Control die groups as Acts progress. We thought about replicating the initial process, with each participant allowed to add two dice to a group of their choice at the act’s beginning. This would make the opposition more powerful as the Acts progress (but what if you don’t want a three Act structure?). Speaking of that, here’s a sneak peek at some of the new guidance on structuring your games:

In running the session, I based everything around what the players wrote on the situation sheet: tunnels, traps, mystery, betrayal, smoky pubs, etc. That made it pretty easy to come up with opening scenes. What didn’t come in were Hidden Agendas. We’re playing a closed game, which I think is the harder way to play it.

Anyway, how will things progress for Whiteley and Kantarin when Richthofen rejoins them in the next session? Where has he been? And how will they follow up on the leads they have discovered? Is Geissler still alive? Who’s behind all this? What on earth is going on?

Read more about Cold City/Hot War here.
Download the Cold City Hot War Reports here.

Cold City and Hot War will be coming to crowdfunding later this year.