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A Tale in The Desert Newsletter E-mail
Monday, 20 November 2006
The latest ATITD newletter talks about the lessons learned while organizing and managing the Halloween event and how to make this experience useful for the next ones.
It also list the newest content introduced lately, including the Alchemy system which has gone live this week end.
If you don't have the newsletter in your mailbox you can read it here at OGRank.com and signup at the official ATITD website to receive the next ones.

 



 

Citizens of Egypt,

I've been reflecting on our Halloween event, and whether we can use lessons learned from it to broaden the group of players that enjoy ATITD.

I'll assume that everyone is familiar with the game Werewolf by now - if not, head to http://www.atitd.com and read the rules in Newsletter #5.
Although over 400 people participated in the event (an ATITD record), only the minority designated as Werewolves and Seers reported that the event was fun. Most normal Villagers said that the event was boring because they had nothing to do. At least a dozen people told me that "all you can do is hope that a seer contacts you."

I re-ran the event a few days later, making some changes to the percentages of Werewolves and Seers, and restructuring the prize pool, but with largely the same result. It really bothered me - this seemed like it should be such a fun event, and I usually have a pretty good instinct about
such things.

So I decided that I would run the event one final time, and I'd participate myself. I publicly stated that I would let the dice roll, so to speak, about whether I'd be a Villager, Seer, or Werewolf. In fact I rigged it so that I would be a Villager. Before this final run I conducted a chat in the ENN channel talking about the need to take risks playing this event.
I restructured the prize pool to further encourage that, making it so that Villagers needed to participate in Werewolf lynchings to win prizes. While waiting around as a Villager, hoping a Seer makes contact may seem like a safe strategy, a careful analysis indicates that it may not be any safer than initiating contact with random people. And, I proposed, it's not nearly as much fun.

I spent about 5 hours playing Werewolf as a Villager, taking risks at every turn. It was great! I felt like a contestant on Survivor! My full account can be found in the ENN logs (http://atitd.net/log?channel=enn), but the quick summary was that this "risky" play style was a blast.

But there's something more important - everyone I contacted as part of my game, also had a great time. We were searching for Werewolves, recruiting people into our Lynch Mob, coming up with strategies for expanding our influence. The play style spread like a virus, as did the excitement. The numbers of Werewolves and Villagers killed (IOW, the real participation rate) dwarfed either of the two previous runs. And while I can still think of ways to make it an even better event, this final run was by any measure, a great success. I'll remember it among the greatest game experiences I've ever had.


So I've been thinking, how does this apply to ATITD as a whole? So many people have told me that ATITD itself is among their greatest game experiences. Yet we're still a very small community. But, I have the same intuition about ATITD as I did the Werewolf event within ATITD: If only we (you guys, and me!) can communicate *how* to approach ATITD, we would see our ranks grow. This newsletter goes out to over 40,000 people - let me hear your best ideas.

I've got several new things planned for this weekend. First off, wine enthusiasts will be interested to explore the recently released Oenophile Wine Notebook. This notebook is the first to challenge Vintners to craft specific flavors in their wines, including "Confluence" wines that require two specific flavors. Rumors of a 4th notebook have circulated as well.

Those honoring the lost Discipline of Conflict will have a chance to hone their skills in our first Kanivan Tak tournament. This game is best described as Analog Checkers. In Checkers, all moves are made at 45 degree angles. In Kanivan Tak, that restriction is removed, making the game as much about geometry as pure strategy and tactics.

But the biggest news this weekend is that Egypt will see the beginning of a powerful and mysterious system known as Alchemy. Expect an announcement on Saturday from scientists at our Great Universities of Thought, explaining how you can help unlock this wondrous new technology.

Cooperation will be essential.


On the Nile,
Teppy (Pharaoh)

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