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Old 05-16-2017, 11:33 AM
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Default Save the Girl Student, save the world - Let's play Tragedy Looper!


What a tragedy. Let's do it again!

Tragedy Looper is a deduction game for two to four players. One player is the evil mastermind, who has a plan that usually involves killing someone. The other players are time-traveling heroes who want to foil the mastermind's plot. It's awesome. I love this game. I think I forgot to vote for it on JBear's poll.

There's a short comic that explains the backstory. This is not required reading; in fact, it is so very not required that it doesn't come with the game. I didn't know it existed until I went to put this together. It's pretty cool, though.

How do I loop a tragedy?

I'm gonna level with you: the rulebook to this game is pretty poorly written. It's not the easiest thing to explain, either. Maybe those two are related, or maybe the translation could have been better. I'll do my best here.

The short version

The mastermind has a hidden objective to win the game. The protagonists have a list of possibilities for what that objective could be, but they'll have to narrow down the possibilities.



The board layout, pictured above, doesn't change from game to game, but each game has a different set of characters, such as the Police Officer, Office Worker, Boy Student, Girl Student, Shrine Girl, and so on. Each of those characters can have a secret role -- they might be the Key Person that the protagonists need to protect, or they might be a Killer or other role integral to the mastermind's plot. They can also be no one special -- again, it is up to the protagonists to figure this out over the course of the game.

The game is divided up into loops, and each loop consists of rounds called days. The protagonists win if they make it through so much as a single loop without losing. The mastermind wins if the protagonists fail all of their loops. (The number of days per loop and loops per game depends on the scenario.)

The protagonists will lose a few loops in the process of figuring out what's going on. The key to winning is never lose the same way twice. Use failure to narrow down the possibilities, or you'll never be able to prevent the tragedy from occurring.

The long version

The short version of the long version: The game is difficult to explain but not to play. If you want to learn how to play, you should sign up. It's okay if you don't read this section; I will walk you through the game.

The long version of the long version:
Each game has a "script" -- a list of characters, roles, plots, subplots, and incidents. The mastermind's script tells him everything, while the protagonist version just says how many days/loops and which incidents and characters are in the game. (The board game comes packed with ten premade scripts, but it's not hard to make your own -- you can replay the game as many times as you're willing to come up with a new scenario.)

Here's the structure of a game day. Don't worry if none of this makes sense yet; a more detailed explanation follows.
  1. Morning. Nothing happens in this phase except in certain scenarios.
  2. Mastermind cards. The mastermind plays a card face-down on three different targets.
  3. Protagonist cards. The protagonists each play a card on a different target (that is, different from each other -- they will often want to target one of the mastermind's targets). In a game with experienced players, protagonists place their cards face-down without discussion. We won't do this.
  4. Resolve cards. Flip everything face-up and resolve the cards that were played.
  5. Mastermind ability. The mastermind may use the activated abilities of any secret roles during this phase.
  6. Goodwill abilities. If the protagonists have accrued enough goodwill with any characters, they may attempt to use those characters' abilities.
  7. Incidents. If an incident is scheduled for this day and its culprit has enough paranoia, the incident occurs.
  8. Evening. Any "end of day" effects occur.

Mastermind and protagonist cards

Cards can be played on any character or location. Each protagonist has the same set of cards:
  • Move ↔ moves a character horizontally (e.g. from the Hospital to the Shrine or vice versa).
  • Move ↕ moves a character vertically (e.g. from the Hospital to the City or vice versa).
  • Paranoia +1 adds a point of Paranoia to a character (more on paranoia later). This is usually undesirable, but in some rare cases, you might want it.
  • Paranoia -1 (1/↻) removes a point of Paranoia from a character. This is usually very desirable, so each protagonist can only use this card once per loop.
  • Goodwill +1 adds a point of Goodwill to a character. Goodwill is required to use goodwill abilities -- more on those later.
  • Goodwill +2 (1/↻) adds two points of Goodwill to a character. That's so good that each protagonist can only use it once per loop.
  • Forbid Intrigue prevents Intrigue cards from working on a character or location. This is the only card that protagonists will ever want to play on a location. Really important: Only one protagonist may play Forbid Intrigue each day. If more than one Forbid Intrigue is played, they are all canceled!
  • Forbid Movement (1/↻) prevents Move cards from working. Again, once per loop.

The mastermind has a different set of cards:
  • Move ↔ and Move ↕ are unchanged.
  • Move ⤧ (1/↻) moves a character diagonally (e.g. from the Hospital to the School or vice versa). This can really screw with the protagonists, so it's once per loop.
  • Paranoia +1 does what you'd expect, and the mastermind has two copies.
  • Paranoia -1 is not usually useful for the mastermind, but the option is there.
  • Intrigue +1 adds a point of Intrigue to a character or location. Intrigue doesn't do anything on its own, but we'll get to that.
  • Intrigue +2 (1/↻), well, you know.
  • Forbid Goodwill prevents Goodwill +1 and Goodwill +2. Characters can never lose goodwill, so this is the mastermind's only way of keeping that in check.
  • Forbid Paranoia prevents Paranoia +1 and Paranoia -1.

Except for the once-per-loop cards, everything you play goes back to your hand, available to play again the next day.

A character can (and often will) have two cards on it: one from the mastermind and one from a protagonist. What happens if they're both movement?
  • The same movement card just does its thing normally, as if only one had been played. The character just moves.
  • ↔ + ↕ moves the character diagonally.
  • ⤧ + anything else flips the other move card. ⤧ + ↕ moves the character horizontally, and ⤧ + ↔ moves the character vertically. (That's why the card is so nasty!)

It's legal for the mastermind to play a card where it would have no effect -- for example, a Move card on a location. This can be used to deceive the protagonists. The protagonists can also play cards uselessly, but they have no incentive to do so.

Characters

Each character has the following information:
  • Name. Helps you figure out who's who.
  • Traits. The Shrine Maiden has the traits "Student" and "Girl," for example. These don't usually matter, but some effects check for them.
  • Starting location. The Doctor starts in the Hospital at the beginning of each loop.
  • Travel restrictions. The Office Worker can't go to the School -- that would be skeevy -- and the Patient can't leave the Hospital. If a movement effect would make a character end up in a location he can't visit, the movement is canceled entirely.
  • Paranoia limit. How much Paranoia a character needs for bad things to happen. More on this later. When a character has at least this much Paranoia, she is considered panicked.
  • Goodwill ability. Each character has one or two goodwill abilities. If he has two Goodwill, the Boy Student can remove 1 Paranoia from another Student at his location.

Goodwill abilities represent actions that characters are willing to take if they trust the protagonists. Protagonists can request one goodwill ability from each character each turn. Some goodwill abilities are once per loop.

If a character's secret role puts her on the side of evil, that character might refuse to use her goodwill ability (called "goodwill refusal"). For some roles, this is optional, left to the mastermind's discretion. Other roles force the mastermind to refuse goodwill.

Incidents

The protagonists' script tells them which incidents are scheduled to happen on which days. For example, they might know that the incident "Suicide" is scheduled to occur on day 3. That would mean that if a certain character (the incident's culprit) has reached her paranoia limit, that character will die. The mastermind's script indicates who the culprit is -- this won't change from loop to loop.

In the case of the "Suicide" incident, the culprit's identity is easy enough to figure out, but that's not always the case. The "Murder" incident causes another character at the culprit's location to die. If many characters are at their paranoia limit in the same location, then it becomes harder to figure out. If the culprit is alone or hasn't reached her paranoia limit, then nothing happens, and in any case, the mastermind never explains why something does or doesn't happen. It's up to the protagonists to deduce that.

It's not necessary for the protagonists to figure out the culprits behind each incident, but incidents are usually vital to the mastermind's success.

Losing the game

Certain roles have loss conditions -- for example, if the Key Person dies, the loop ends in a loss immediately.

Certain plots have loss conditions -- for example, "A Place to Protect" says that if the School has 2 Intrigue at the end of the loop, the protagonists lose.

Certain incidents have loss conditions -- for example, "Hospital Incident" says that if the Hospital has 2 Intrigue, the protagonists are killed. (In the case of incidents, the culprit needs to be at paranoia limit.)

When the protagonists lose, they are not informed why they lost. Figuring out why they lost is extremely vital to their success. When this happens, it's important to look at possible sources of loss. This can narrow down which plots, subplots, and roles are in play. One of the biggest clues as to the cause of defeat is when the loss occurred. The mastermind must be very specific as to when the protagonists lost -- if it happened immediately after a character died, for example, that character is likely the Key Person in this scenario.

It's important to note that anything that doesn't lose the scenario is acceptable. The best game of Tragedy Looper I ever played had us systematically killing everyone else in order to keep our Key Person alive. Because we're heroes.


The reference sheet

As a protagonist, you will live and die by the reference sheet. All of those plots, roles, incidents, and characters I mentioned are summarized here. I'll go over the incidents and characters that appear in our game, but you will need to become very familiar with the "Roles" and "Plots" sections, since they have the information you'll need to deduce the mastermind's plan.


You should sign up

I will be your mastermind today, so I have space for three players. Gerad has priority if he wants it, since he was waitlisted on Karuba, and I don't plan to run it a second time.

If you have played Tragedy Looper before, you are still welcome to participate. I will restrict the game to at most one experienced player, though, especially since we'll be playing a First Steps scenario (but not necessarily one of the pack-in scripts, so don't worry about having played it already).

If you have not played Tragedy Looper before, then you are in good company, and you shouldn't worry that you have no idea how to play. The game may be tough to explain, but it's not actually that hard to learn, and you're expected to fail a few times anyway.
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  #2  
Old 05-16-2017, 11:43 AM
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This sounds fun! Let's goooooooooo!
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aturtledoesbite View Post
This sounds fun! Let's goooooooooo!
That being said, I'm just coming off the last board game LP, and I don't want to steal someone's spot, so if there's someone else eager to play, just ask and I'll step aside.

ETA: Is it just me, or does this sound a lot like T.I.M.E. Stories, Animu Edition? I haven't played either game, but they sound pretty similar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
I love this game. I think I forgot to vote for it on JBear's poll.
You did, and you wouldn't have been the only voter if you had voted for it!
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:09 PM
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This seems rad but this image host is blocked at work and I don't want to make everyone wait til I get home. Good luck everyone.
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:11 PM
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I just looked at the reference sheet you linked and it looks like a reference table for Advanced Squad Leader. Do I have to make a morale check to see if my anime boy runs away and hides in the bushes?
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by JBear View Post
I just looked at the reference sheet you linked and it looks like a reference table for Advanced Squad Leader. Do I have to make a morale check to see if my anime boy runs away and hides in the bushes?
No, obviously that's an Intrigue check, get the terms right
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  #7  
Old 05-16-2017, 12:18 PM
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It occurs to me that, with this setting and these rules we're essentially playing an anime dating sim. Oh no, I ended up with the sporty girl when I wanted the glasses girl! Time to re-start and make different choices to end up on a different story path!
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:18 PM
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Me, me! I'll play!
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by JBear View Post
It occurs to me that, with this setting and these rules we're essentially playing an anime dating sim. Oh no, I ended up with the sporty girl when I wanted the glasses girl! Time to re-start and make different choices to end up on a different story path!
After reading Mogri's post, I ended up telling a friend of mine who I thought would like it about it.

My summation was "it's steins;gate"
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBear View Post
ETA: Is it just me, or does this sound a lot like T.I.M.E. Stories, Animu Edition? I haven't played either game, but they sound pretty similar.
I've played both, and yes, Looper is a little bit like TIME Stories. Mogri is not kidding - the rulebook is exceedingly terrible and even when we had an experienced player teaching us how to play it, it was pretty awful to learn.

I'm not sure that I liked it but lots of people really do.
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:22 PM
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BTW, has it been formally decided that board game let's plays go here now instead of in the LP forum? I don't really care either way, but I'm just curious since, IIRC, you posted your previous ones (aside from Kokomo) there.
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:27 PM
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I'll play if you still have an opening.
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBear View Post
ETA: Is it just me, or does this sound a lot like T.I.M.E. Stories, Animu Edition? I haven't played either game, but they sound pretty similar.
It's not very much like T.I.M.E Stories (there's no period after the E for some reason) aside from the time travel idea. If Tragedy Looper were a movie, it'd be 11:58; T.I.M.E Stories is basically Quantum Leap.

The reference sheet is very much the roughest part of the game. They could've done a lot better with it -- in fact, the version I linked is a fan's slightly improved version of the original, which is still much less complicated than the post-tutorial "Basic Tragedy" reference sheet (and that link is to a file that is a much cleaner version of both). It's kind of a necessary evil, though, and you can ignore most of the sheet once you're actually in the game.
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBear View Post
BTW, has it been formally decided that board game let's plays go here now instead of in the LP forum? I don't really care either way, but I'm just curious since, IIRC, you posted your previous ones (aside from Kokomo) there.
I did Hanabi here! I honestly don't know what the protocol is these days, though. If FL has a preference, I can relocate.

I'm going to give preference to people who aren't already in Karuba, so our player list so far is:
  1. Red Hedgehog
  2. Solitayre
  3. aturtledoesbite
  4. JBear

Gerad still has a reserved slot, but if he doesn't sign up, then it goes to the next non-Karuber to sign up. I will keep alternates in case of dropouts, and I will probably run a Basic Tragedy (i.e. not-tutorial) after this one, so if you are at all interested, you should still sign up.
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:39 PM
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I'll play! I'm sure I can figure it out as we go! Thanks for saving me a spot!
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:44 PM
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I've heard interesting things about this one.

Have fun stormin' the past!
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:53 PM
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these loss memes keep getting more and more abstract; not sure I'm following this one.

but, hey, why not. I guess I should put my name in here.
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Old 05-16-2017, 01:30 PM
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So, I lied. I'm going to do The First Script after all. If you decide to look up stuff about Tragedy Looper, avoid reading anything about The First Script.

The cast

(Paranoia Limit ☹☹☹)
Girl Student is a Girl and a Student. She enjoys poetry, soccer, and maybe murder who knows.

At ♥♥, she will remove 1 Paranoia from a nearby student. She'll start at School.

(Paranoia Limit ☹☹)
Boy Student is a Boy and a Student. He enjoys poetry, soccer, and maybe murder who knows.

At ♥♥, he will remove 1 Paranoia from a nearby student. He'll start at School.

(Paranoia Limit ☹☹)
Doctor is an Adult Man. He can often be found performing heartstopping surgeries. (Maybe literally?)

For ♥♥, he'll add or remove 1 Paranoia on another nearby character, but if he's the kind of guy who'd refuse to help you, then I can use that ability instead/too. He's in the Hospital.

(Paranoia Limit ☹☹☹)
Police Officer is an Adult Man. He works hard and carries a gun. Don't take that the wrong way -- all officers carry a gun. It's probably nothing.

For ♥♥♥♥, once per loop, he'll tell you who the culprit of an earlier incident was. (The incident must have actually occurred -- he's not that good.) For ♥♥♥♥♥, once per loop, he'll prevent a nearby death. Unlike other goodwill abilities, he prevents death as a reaction.

He runs the City beat.

(Paranoia Limit ☹☹)
Office Worker is an Adult Man. He works hard and carries a briefcase. The briefcase contains murder?

For ♥♥♥, he'll tell you his secret role. You can find him in the City, but he'll never go to the School.

(Paranoia Limit ☹☹)
Shrine Maiden is a Girl Student, not to be confused with Girl Student, who is a Girl Student. She enjoys praying and probably also death.

For ♥♥♥, she'll remove 1 Intrigue from the Shrine. For ♥♥♥♥♥, once per loop, she'll reveal a nearby character's role. She's naturally at home in the Shrine, but she refuses to visit the City for some reason.


The forecast

Days per loop: 4
Max loops: 3

Incidents
Day 2: Murder
Day 4: Suicide
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Old 05-16-2017, 01:34 PM
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I am now shipping boy student and girl student. They both like poetry, soccer, and maybe murder!
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Old 05-16-2017, 01:48 PM
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Girl Student and Shrine Maiden OTP.
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Old 05-16-2017, 01:54 PM
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Loop 1, Day 1



☹ 0/3 ♥ 0 ☹ 0/2 ♥ 0 ☹ 0/2 ♥ 0 ☹ 0/3 ♥ 0 ☹ 0/2 ♥ 0 ☹ 0/2 ♥ 0


Mastermind actions

I play three cards, targeting , , and .


Protagonist actions

Decide what cards you're playing and where. This is a good time to check out the Mastermind and protagonist cards section of the rules explanation up top.

"What should I play?" you ask. Well, out of the gate, you have no idea what cards I'm playing. Your best bet when you have no idea what to do is often to add goodwill to characters where it will be useful. You can worry about thwarting my evil plan when you have some idea of what my evil plan is.

Then again, I'm your opponent in this game... so do what you think is best.

(By the way, I should mention that the players are currently Gerad, Red Hedgehog, and Solitayre.)
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Old 05-16-2017, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
I play three cards, targeting , , and .
Looks like a classic love triangle to me! Will Girl Student end up with Shrine Maiden or Boy Student? The mastermind's secret plot is clearly that he's producing an anime. You folks must stop him at all costs.
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Old 05-16-2017, 02:05 PM
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Girl Student looks like the kind of person who might murder someone if it means she gets to be involved in a murder mystery. I've got my eye on her.
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Old 05-16-2017, 02:11 PM
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So to be clear, right now we can each play a card?

If so I would like to Grant to
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Old 05-16-2017, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solitayre View Post
So to be clear, right now we can each play a card?
Yes. While my plays were hidden, you three are a team. You can collaborate on what you want to do. I'll resolve everything once you've each played.

Once players get good at the game, the rules suggest that they only talk to each other at the start of each loop. I haven't tried playing that way yet; it would be a massive difficulty increase for the protagonists, and I've gotten my own copy to the table exactly once. If you were wondering how the game deals with the quarterback/alpha player problem, though, that's it.
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Old 05-16-2017, 02:51 PM
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I'm thinking give 1 Goodwill to Boy Student for me. I'm open to suggestions!
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Old 05-16-2017, 02:52 PM
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I will give ♥ to the Shrine Maiden. I'm pulling for her + Girl Student OTP (They are both Girls and Students!)
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Old 05-16-2017, 03:10 PM
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I played this at Talcon a couple years back. It was Nich's copy of the game.

I don't remember much about it but I enjoyed it!

Sorry for interrupting just wanted to say that you playing are in for a treat!
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Old 05-16-2017, 03:15 PM
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I'm thinking give 1 Goodwill to Boy Student for me. I'm open to suggestions!
This sounds okay to me!

Mogri, can the Boy student target himself with his remove paranoia ability?
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Old 05-16-2017, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
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Mogri, can the Boy student target himself with his remove paranoia ability?
The two students and doctor specifically target "another" character at their location. The Shrine Maiden can self-target with her 5♥ ability, though.

Loop 1, Day 1 actions

Intrigue +2
Girl Student gains ★★.
Move ⤧ Goodwill +1
Boy Student moves to Hospital and gains .
Move ↕ Goodwill +1
Shrine Maiden moves to School and gains .
Goodwill +1
Police Officer gains .



Mastermind abilities

Nothing happens.

Protagonist actions

No one has enough goodwill.

Incidents

No incident is scheduled for day 1.

End of day

The Girl Student dies. GAME OVER.

Loop 2, Day 1



☹ 0/3 ♥ 0 ☹ 0/2 ♥ 0 ☹ 0/2 ♥ 0 ☹ 0/3 ♥ 0 ☹ 0/2 ♥ 0 ☹ 0/2 ♥ 0


Mastermind actions

I play three cards, targeting , , and .


Protagonist actions

Say, what just happened? This is a great time to check the reference sheet.

In First Steps (the introductory mode), each game has one plot and one subplot. Together, they determine which roles are in the game. For example, if the plot is "Light of the Avenger" and the subplot is "An Unsettling Rumor," then the only roles in the game are Brain and Conspiracy Theorist. You should confer before you play and decide what roles and plots you can deduce. And remember, never lose the same way twice.

Peanut gallery: Unless the players say otherwise, you're welcome to pitch in as well.
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anime , board games , don't play anime , let's play , murder , persona 6: groundhog day

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