Tragedy Looper Redux

Tragedy Looper Redux

Took a second swing at Tragedy Looper with a mostly new crowd and it went a whole lot better.

Since one of my players had done the first training scenario, I moved ahead to the second “First Steps” scenario. Everyone at the table was smart as hell; no big deal getting them to understand the interplay of actions and deductions. 

Also I lost on the second loop. Because everyone was smart as hell. And because the scenario doesn’t spell out the smart plays like the first one did.

The big thing about being the Mastermind and actually having a shot at winning is bluffing. Lots and lots of bluffing. I barely bluffed at all because, frankly, it’s been several weeks and I was feeling kind of vague about leveraging the abilities of the various roles. So I’d just plow straight ahead into a solution that I knew would work, not really thinking about how to dress up my efforts so they looked like I could be playing toward more than one possible scenario.

The game’s biggest fan is also my group’s biggest Field Commander, and in a game like this I honestly can’t see playing it well without a lot of centralized control. We played the game with the table talk throttle wide open; apparently the other extreme is that you get, like, 5 minutes to sort your shit between loops and then play in silence. That seems uh…very difficult. Very very difficult. So the other two players, whether they had the Leader card that day or not, would not really do much more than propose a play and then my alpha nerd would vet it against the notes he was taking.

A board game that requires note taking! What a world.

Anyway, now that I’ve got a good population of folks trained up on the game, I’m looking forward to getting a lot more cutthroat about bluffing as we start exploring the “real” tragedies of the Basic Set. And I still have the Midnight Circle expansion sitting here, unopened. So many tragedies. 

All the games where a Field Commander’s presence is felt usually end up burning out my crowd, and I can’t really blame them. Tightening down the table talk rules probably helps that some, but it feels like an artificial fix. I guess it’s on par with strictly hiding your cards in Pandemic. 

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5 thoughts on “Tragedy Looper Redux”

  1. I can’t imagine playing this at open, unlimited table talk to be honest: the Field Commander problem is both way too large and way too profitable towards winning.

    The game really shines when you have people who understand the rules, and there’s all puzzling along and mostly working together as a silent team. Full table talk feels like a co-op logic puzzle from a puzzle book. There’s something kind of awesome about the rush of talk once a loop ends, and you all discuss your theories together.

    The intermediate table talk setting (useful for newbies) is “players can still ask questions about the rules”

    (It’s also worth noting that protagonists being able to perfectly coordinate their actions is a huge advantage, and is not part of the expected difficulty.)

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