Puppet Master: Caroline | Players: Michael, Lucy, Carina, Febri, Ana
Our group played four rounds of the “teaching team” version of Cruel 2B Kind. In the first round, we made only a small, mid-game mod – players only wait 5 (vs 30) seconds before moving on to attack another target. Since there were only 5 total players, 30 seconds felt excessive and led to unnecessary silence and waiting. I also noticed that with only 5 players, one player was always waiting during the first round of “attacks” since they were unable to pair off.
The game felt a bit awkward, especially in the earlier rounds, since it required lots of referencing and recall – no one could remember what exactly the acts of kindnesses were, or if a made-up holiday won against mistaken celebrities, etc. This led to a mod in a later round where instead of directly stating the compliment (“Happy Yellow Sweatshirt Day”), players stated “A, B or C,” and only after deciding who won, followed through with a compliment.
The acts of kindness did get me to notice and interact more with the players around me! But, the acts didn’t feel too genuine, since everyone knew it was part of the game, and compliments stayed surface level (how deep could they get if you just met one another?). Does this count, then, as entering the magic circle?
In the earlier rounds, I got frustrated by how delayed players’ actions were from all the referencing and recall, and how players took time to think and discuss about what weapon they were to deploy. So, for my puppet master round, I wanted to make a mod that emphasized speed – no potential cheating or thinking allowed! Players no longer had to participate in the attack together – a player could approach another player and immediately start being kind; if the player attacking finishes saying their compliment before the other player begins to respond with a compliment, the attacker automatically wins the round. If the player being attacked does start to respond before the attacker is finished, only then do you reference the rules to see who won (i.e. A beats C).
I noticed very fast talking (surprise!), and some confusion about what other players said – perhaps because of speaking pace. There needed to be a spokesperson for teams with multiple players, and though there was no running involved (unlike in previous rounds), I found some teams running away trying to “hide” from other players’ attacks. The round was super short (which makes sense, because this was all about speed).
I’d love to see how the dynamics change with a large group of people (500 vs 5).