The Bookish Games: Feedback

We would love your feedback in regards to The Bookish Games went and what you would like to see in the future. Please let us know what you think regarding the following points (and anything else!) using the feedback form provided.

My current thoughts and concerns in relation to each section of the feedback form can be found below.

Twitter Account

The Bookish Games Twitter account was created early 2016, but I didn’t actively use it until the Vicious edition. During the game I used the Twitter account to provide voting updates, remind players of deadlines, nudge inactive players to meet the comment minimum, and highlight shifts in discussion.

I personally felt like the Twitter account was a beneficial tool in keeping players engaged. Unless a player is signed up for email notifications, they may not be aware when sudden shifts occur within the game so regular tweets help players keep track of voting patterns and changes in discussion. I also personally liked that I could use Twitter to send out information regarding player inactivity and Night player actions, as I find DMs a lot easier to manage than emails.

Of course, there have been some flaws with the Twitter account. I originally stated that responses to the account’s tweets were fine as long as they were general or vague in nature. Unfortunately I do believe that at times these responses, usually in GIF-form, were a bit too specific to gameplay. It was hard for players not to interpret those GIFs as possible indicators of a player’s alliance one way or another and that extra information doesn’t seem fair for those players who did not have access to or regularly visit Twitter. As a result, I am considering enforcing a “no comment” rule in regards to the Twitter account if a player is alive in the game, but would love to hear your thoughts.

I also wondered if players would like me to promote their posts while the game is going on. I did create a Twitter list for players who were signed up to the Vicious edition of The Bookish Games which anyone could follow and use to keep in touch, but I didn’t actively attempt to promote any posts. Would that be something you would be interested in as a player of the Games? Or would you like the account to be limited to game updates?

Alias Option

The alias option was discussed quite a bit in the spectator chat (so no worries if those who participated do not want to repeat themselves in the feedback), but in case you missed it: I’m considering giving players the option of using an alias when playing future editions of The Bookish Games. It will not be required, but there as an option for those interested.

There are a couple of reasons why I like the option for players to use an alias. For one, I think players are almost always impacted by previous editions of The Bookish Games. For example, let’s take Greg. He played great as a mafia member during the Vicious edition, escaping almost all suspicion until the end. When the next game starts, if Greg decides to join, it is almost guaranteed that no one will trust him. He may not get voted out right away, but everything he does will likely be scrutinized moreso than ever. And sure, that is part of the game so some may just think “you made your bed, lie in it”, but you’ll all really regret having that built-in bias if he turns out to be your Town’s only Cop or something like that.

Pretty much any player who has played a previous edition of the Game is facing an uphill battle from the start. Sure, newbies do get their fair amount of suspicion, but usually this revolves around inactivity moreso than anything else. For veterans, it’s anything and everything. So I feel like allowing the options for aliases would allow veterans to enter the games with a clean slate.

Of course, the other reason why I think aliases would be a good idea is because I find it so exhausting when players try to use “What Would Asti Do?” when playing the game. They look at what I’ve assigned players in the past, try to determine just how many newbies I would actually put on the mafia team, and so on and so forth when making their arguments for who to vote for. And don’t get me wrong, those are all valid strategies to figuring things out. I don’t blame you for using them. But sometimes it takes a little bit out of the fun for me? Because then it’s less about players playing the game and trying to figure each other out, and more about the players using what they know of me and how I set up the game to “crack the code”. (I then also feel bad when players get eliminated as result of this logic as in the end it reflects more on me than them.)

So yes, I am thinking of including the option for aliases in future editions of The Bookish Games and would love to know your thoughts. So far the consensus seems to be that it may be helpful for those who use it, but those who don’t may find themselves in even more of a sticky situation as there’ll be less vets in the open to analyse.

Oh, and it would also require more work as each player would have to remember to comment under their aliases, and who knows just how long it would take before someone inevitably messes that up.

Inactive Players

I always struggle when it comes to inactive players. It’s rare that such a player actually reaches out to me to be replaced. Usually they wait until disqualification is inevitable, and then they toss me a half-hearted apology and that’s that. And I don’t hold that against them, I understand The Bookish Games requires a lot of commitment and things happen, but I wish there was a way I could deter inactivity from being such an issue.

I’ve been brainstorming a couple of things I could try to do to help limit this issue with inactive players, but the only things I could think of are adding a time disclaimer to the sign-ups and possibly increasing the comment minimum.

When it comes to the time disclaimer, I thought maybe I could warn players in big bold writing when signing up that The Bookish Games would require at least a hour of their time each week in order to play effectively? Obviously some players spend much more time than that reading through everything, analysing  comments, and typing out their thoughts, but I feel like stating a time minimum such as a hour might be a better indicator for players to gauge just how much of a commitment the Games can be versus two measly comments.

The other option is to increase the comment minimum. I’m not sure what I would increase it to (four comments? five?) and I’m not sure how much it would change anything (as players may just pop in and post five generic comments not contributing anything and that’d be that), but it would at least provide a little more to work with that the current two-comment minimum.

So yes, I would love if you could share your thoughts on this. There may be another solution that I’m just not thinking of that could make a load of difference. Any feedback you have would be appreciated.

Replacment Players

To go along with the inactive player problem, I also wanted to ask your opinion on replacement players. When a player is disqualified, I put out a couple of tweets asking if anyone would like to join the Games as a replacement player and that’s that. Unfortunately, I usually don’t get much of a response as the Games can be quite overwhelming to come into once they’ve already started and usually since I can’t confirm disqualifications until the last minute I have a small time frame to find them.

I am curious what players think should be allowed when it comes to replacement players. Do you care if a player has had access to the Spectator Chat prior to joining The Bookish Games? What do you think about a player returning to the game after previously being eliminated?

Obviously players who are following along in the Spectator Chat are the best option for replacing an inactive player. They’ve showed active interest in following the Games and as such it wouldn’t be as big of an ask to have them join in since they already know what’s going on. The only issue I have here is the fact that those in the Spectator Chat may be influenced by what is being discussed prior to joining the game. No confirmation of any roles or actions is provided in the Spectator Chat so everything they have access to prior to joining in is pure speculation, but it’s still things that might not have been discussed within the game itself. Does that bother people? Or no?

The other option for replacements is players who were previously eliminated in the game. (I know Jeann would’ve jumped right in when Kait was disqualified, if given the chance.) Of course, not only would the issue above still exist with eliminated players, we’d also have to consider which eliminated players would be allowed to return and how. I don’t think players with active special powers should be allowed to return to the game as those player would have extra knowledge influencing their decisions that others wouldn’t (how their Night actions were impacted by others each Night). I also feel like since players were eliminated for a specific reason, bringing them back might be… an insult to players still in the game?

I guess if we were to go the eliminated players as replacement route, my ideal would be to limit to Townies who had no special powers or information, offer it in chronological order (so offer it to Day/Night One eliminated players, then if they’re not interested Day/Night Two eliminated players, etc.), and require players who return as alias. Thoughts?

Smaller Games

One option that might help with the replacement player problem is setting up games with a smaller player size. Would you still be interested in playing the game if there were only ten spots available to sign up?

There’d be less going on within the game set-up due to the limited player size (less special abilities, less twists, etc.) and it would mean games would not take as long with only ten players to sort through and limited people available to contribute to discussion, but the basics would all still be there. It would also mean that we’d have a lot more people sitting out or following along in the spectator chat, available to jump in if/when a disqualification occurs.

My main concerns with a smaller game size, apart from the fact that we wouldn’t be able to add as many fun twists, are that it may be harder for new players to sign up and the Day/Night lengths may need to be shortened quite a bit (maybe cut in half so 2.5 days in a Day and 1 day for the Night?).

Day/Night Lengths

Speaking of Day/Night lengths, if we keep the larger player size are you happy with how the Day/Nights are currently split up? Sometimes I wonder if the Day portions are too long since all the action mainly happens during the last 48 hours anyways, but I feel like as people are busy different days/times of the week it’s better to have those days there when needed.

I wouldn’t mind shifting the Day/Night phases to cover different days of the week (so making the Day phase last Monday through Friday and the Night phase Saturday and Sunday, or something like that), but again that is up to you. My main concern is ensuring that I am available to update things for whatever deadline we choose as a lot has to happen behind the scenes during each transition from Day to Night and Night to Day, but as long as I think I can make the time work I am open to suggestions for change.

The Next Edition

Lastly, the feedback ends with thoughts on the next edition(s) of The Bookish Games.

I am currently reading Jay Kristoff’s Nevernight thanks to Inge’s encouragement, so once completed we will probably start discussions for possible set-ups in relation to it. (I mean, it revolves around a school of assassins. How is that not perfect for The Bookish Games?) I’ve teased the possible idea here and there online and there has been some excitement in response, so I’m excited to see what we can come up with.

I did have another thought for a possible edition of The Bookish Games: Bring Your Own Character. If we were to go this route, each player who signs up for The Bookish Games would be allowed to submit two or three character/power combinations they would be interested in playing pulling characters from any book they so desire and powers from those listed on the Roles page. Once submitted, I would do my best to divide all the players into teams and assign them character/powers from the preferences provided to create as close to a balanced game as possible. (This would be a Role Madness version of the game though with almost everyone likely having special powers so balance would be near impossible to ensure.) Then the game would continue on as normal, with teams working to eliminate their threats through votes and Night kills.

I think this edition could be fun because it’d give players a chance to involve themselves in the set-up by choosing roles they’re interested in playing and would remove the requirement to know about a book to understand possible twists and turns, but it could also be quite chaotic and unpredictable with so many power roles involved.

So yes, please let us know which edition you would like to see next! And if you have your own idea for other editions you’d like to see in the future, there’s an option for that too. Inge and I will likely be set in doing one of the two (if not both) options above, so it may be a little while before we get to your suggestion. But I’m looking forward to seeing what ideas you have and possibly working with you to set-up an edition in the future.

That’s it! Feel free to submit all your thoughts in regards to The Bookish Games in the feedback form and share any others you may have in the comments below. I’m excited to read your responses and work with you on making this silly little game the best it can be. 

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6 thoughts on “The Bookish Games: Feedback”

  1. If the game was played with fewer players, would the ratio of Mafia members go down as well? I would think so if only because then the game would be over in a snap if what happened in Vicious happened again (all those Townie deaths). It would be hard to get a majority after the first day or two.

    I haven’t read Nevernight yet, but I like the idea. I also think The Hunger Games might be a possibility, or The Darkest Minds? Maybe The Young Elites too, come to think of it. OH! Or Warcross/Wildcard.

    As far as disqualified players…as long as they didn’t have access to the Dead Players chat, I think I would be okay with spectators filling in. If formerly eliminated players returned, perhaps they could do so under the condition that their power was nullified, similar to how a resurrected person in Vicious came back but without their ability.

    A Bring Your Own Character game sounds awesome. 😀

  2. I definitely liked the Twitter updates! As for the alias option, that may be a good idea! It’s funny, I hadn’t even thought of that, but yes the next time I play I probably will be an immediate suspect lol! Great point…

    I also definitely think a time disclaimer may be a good idea. I think maybe newer players sorta know going in that there’s a time commitment, but don’t realize just how MUCH of a commitment it is until they play. I’m sure I definitely spent more time reading and thinking than I thought I would…

    Nevernight sounds fun- now I need to read it. 🙂 And I’m all for the BYOC option- -yay more madness haha. Oh and I think an Orphan Black game (I know it’s a show, not a book, but still) would be awesome!

  3. @Shannon You hit the nail on the head for me, too. 😀

    @Greg Come on, now, you know the first rule about Clone Club. 😉

    I like the chaos that a BYOC option would bring, but honestly I’m up for anything. And very down with the aliases option, although that would die a fiery death if you also linked our Twitter accounts during game Twitter posts. :/

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