Monday, July 28, 2014

First Playtest for High Strung

So last night I ran my first alpha playtest of High Strung. We had a great time, but there were problems with the Hope mechanic. After the game we sat around and analyzed what was going wrong and threw out ideas to fix it. There were small problems which compounded to throw off the balance of the Hope mechanic.  Other than that, we all thought the game was a blast.

What happened was that in releasing their demo tape after only two gigs,  the PCs A: threw large amounts of Hope into the song to generate large dice pools after B: generating very high Target Numbers because they  were C: so super skilled, which resulted in ultra high scores on the Demo release chart.

We decided on several fixes:

A: Instead of allowing characters to gain 1 die per Hope invested, we decided to ramp up the Hope cost of dice. Up to three dice, the cost is 1 Hope per die. Then the cost escalates rapidly by one Hope per die, so the fourth die costs two Hope, the fifth costs three Hope, the sixth costs four Hope, etc.

B: We decided to prorate the TN generated by the status of the band. A band at Fledgeling Status would have its TN multiplied by 0.25. A band at Struggling Status would have its TN multiplied by 0.50, etc. This simulates the beneficial effect of experience and emphasizes the importance of gigging.

C: Skills for PCs would be capped at three ranks for characters under 24. This prevents young characters from egregiously loading up on performance skills at the expense of other skills important to other aspects of the game.

We think these tweaks will result in a game sustainable for longer periods, better simulating the experience.


  1. Sounds like some good tweaks. Good to hear about your playtesting.

  2. Hi Bon-bon! :D

    This is what alpha testing is all about! Finding the holes in the rules, or the places where they break down. :D