Category Archives: Style of Play

Crossroads Valley – Setup

When rolling the families for the challenge, I kept it entirely random with a hand d6.  I was surprised to get 6 families on my roll.  6 Families!  Yikes.  It was definitely going to be interesting!

Using the following chart I determined what race they were to be.  I kept humans pretty rare because, really, what fun is playing a majority of humans and only a few weirdo fantasy people?

1D6
1 – Human
2 – High Elf
3 – Orc
4 – Red Elf
5 – High Elf
6 – Orc

For the six families I came up with 2 high elf families, 2 orc families, 1 red elf family and a group of humans.  All other random things were determined by the random creation rules for Prosperity challenges which can be found HERE (among many other places about the internet.)  As you’ll see, I rolled quite a few elders.  I’m not sure how it will play out but that’s all part of the fun, right?

I currently only have Pets and Seasons installed for my game and so used one of the blank neighborhoods available.  For houses, I opted for the last four cheapest ones in the game and decided the fifth least expensive house from the end would be given out on a 5 or a 6.  (It could technically break a family funds-wise but I wanted to add it to the random mix. )  With things decided I started rolling for houses and getting families built per the rules random charts.  It took a bit longer than expected!  I decided on no pets at first for any of the families.  I figured I’d have enough on my plate without worrying about pets at first.

(FYI – had I wanted pets I would have simply turned to the dice and set up something quick like – On a 5 or a 6 a family will have a pet.   If a pet is rolled then 1-2 = Cat, 3-4 = Dog, 5 – 6 = Other.  Another roll could be made to see how many pets, etc.)

Finally, I was all done and Crossroads Valley looked like this at start-up.

I decided to start with the Gurtok family and from there the order will be as follows; Gurtok, Zylanius, Qin Halshani, Bloodtusk, Penderson and then the Tulroz family.

And so, with notepad, pen, dice and a cool beverage at hand,  I loaded the Gurtok family and kicked everything off!

What is Crossroads Valley?

Crossroads Valley is my new Prosperity Challenge I’ve started and this particular Prosp. Challenge has a twist!  I’ve decided that my kind of fun is to play with the classic racial antagonism of elves and orcs.  During my down time I had the thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun to build a Prosperity Challenge that featured two sets of opposed factions that REALLY didn’t like each other?”  What sort of things might happen? How would it work?  So, once I got the new laptop, I set out to poke it with a stick and build it.

There are four distinct races in Crossroads Valley; humans, high elves, red elves and orcs.  Humans are, uh, well-known and will make up a few playable families and, of course, all the townies.  High elves are your typical fair skinned, long eared fancy types.  Red elves have red skin, long ears and are a bit more, uhm, drastic in the way they handle conflicts.  Orcs are those green-skinned types that everyone loves.

I’ve decided not to spend a lot of time making or finding new clothes, content etc.  I want to get in and start playing!  Instead I’ve gone with downloaded skin colors and the idea that the Sim world is something akin to the old Shadowpunk roleplaying game.  In that world, elves, orcs and other fantasy races lived in a modern 21st style century world just like you and me.  This makes it much easier and let’s me get to playing instead of futzing.  (There’s nothing wrong with futzing mind you…)

As far as politics, I decided it goes something like this – Humans are the neutral race and can take any alliance they want.  High Elves may only initially align with other elven races and humans with the caveat that red elves and high elves merely tolerate each other and do not really get along well.  Orcs may only ally, at first, with other orcs and humans.  That is their initial temperament but it can change during game play.  How does it change?  Well, this is based on not so much hard and fast rules or points but along the lines of the Matrix system I’ve mentioned previously in my other gameplay post. Basically, I’m going to see what happens in the game and then make a few dice rolls that will answer any questions I might have.  If wanted, I can make some of the posts more thorough and make sure I give examples of how it all works.  (And, yes, I’ll try to get some hard and fast rules put up sometime in the future.)

And, yes, just to be clear, we might get a few hostile deaths in there.  I want to simulate that well, in a valley full of elves and orcs things might not be very nicey nice.  To that effect, I’ll be making some matrix style arguments if conflict breaks out and we’ll see how it goes…

Each round spent with each family will be two days.  I may want to increase this but I’m happy with this time period for now.  I’m not a huge fan of 1 day = 1 year but I may shoot for something similiar to 1 day = 3 months or something similiar.  To be truthful, I’m not sure yet and may never actually designate this.  Why bother when I’m having fun without it?  On the blog I’ll record it in the title with the typical Round One and Family Name.

The Story – Several years ago, a conflict broke out between the elves and the orcs.  During that conflict, the red elves who normally like to keep themselves, ended up getting caught into the conflict as well.  Those battles are now over due to a shaky peace accord agreed upon by all parties a few years ago.  In order to try and bridge that seperation, a valley was designated as Crossroads Valley and families were allowed to move there, free of charge, with the only stipulation being they would have to share land with other races.  Even after it’s opening, it sat vacant for a long time except for the humans who, of course, are willing to go and move and build pretty much anywhere!

Eventually, a few families signed on and began moving into the Valley.  No one knew what was to come next and whether the experiment would be a success or failure.

Stay tuned for more!

Generation Three

Brendon had been spending more and more time out of the house.  If he was not working at his new job at the newspaper, he was running the downtown with Crystal.  The two of them had become quite inseparable.   On top of that, both of them appeared to be an odd mix of daredevil and trouble-maker.

One evening while dining out at their favorite bar, Brendon gave Crystal a smirk and suggested they try something new.

Crystal laughed and didn’t seem to mind the idea at all.  A few moments later the two of them were headed over to the phone booth in the corner of the bar.  Needless to say, you can guess what happened next.

Crystal has this odd habit of calling everyone crazy.  She does it to just about anyone that walks by her and seems to get a real kick out of it.  Obviously, she thinks she is the only sane one.  So, it was with a bit of hilarity she did the following after leaving the photobooth her and Brendon had just whoo-hoo’d in.

Flush with success and feeling pretty good, the two of them went around the bar making fun of the other patrons.  With Crystal’s crazy finger and Brendon’s point-laugh combo they stood on the dance floor for a long time entertaining themselves.

This had become just a regular night for them.

Back at the Harrison household, Calder was studying up for his next step up the Medical ladder while pregnant Kaylynn proceeded to eat everything and anything she could get her hands on.

Then, one evening, Calder was startled by hearing Kaylynn yelling from the bedroom.  The new baby was on the way!  Calder stood and cheered her on as Kaylynn went through labor as only a Sim can…

With that, the third generation of Harrison’s, Jake Harrison, was born.   The excited couple held their son and took turns holding him.  The first thing they noticed was how much Jake had Kaylynn’s bright green eyes.

Even though the split between the two brothers was getting worse and worse, Brendon seemed to take a particular interest in his new nephew.

Which was good because with Calder away more and more at work, Kaylynn was having a bit of a time learning the ins and outs of proper motherhood.

((And with the birth of Generation Three of the Harrisons, I’ll be moving to a slightly different style of posting here on Roundabout.  Here’s what will happen – As the story widens and more characters are introduced to Roundabout Corners, I desperately need to play certain ones more regularly.  I knew this would eventually happen so my plan is to move towards playing in rounds as other Legacy players do.  Basically, play a few days in one family and then move to the other.  The exception will be T-Dog as I get him up to speed.  This also means the posts may get to be a bit more streamlined.  Of course, I always say this and then it never happens.  Something to do with my verbose ways, I imagine.  This, I think, is a good thing, right?))

((Been a bit behind on things due to my grandmother passing on.  As I posted on the Twitter, “Death is much easier in Sims. A suitcase,hula girls. 1 thing stays the same, lots of crying.”))

My Style of Play

Before I move forward with the insanity that is Calder Harrison, I thought I’d take a small break to explain a little about my style of play.  I mentioned this in the early days of the blog and have been meaning to go through the subject since then.  Now seems as good a time as any.  I’ve not seen anyone else use this kind of system before so I’m excited to see what many of you think about it.

I’ve noticed that with Sims 2 you can’t REALLY  let the Sims run by themselves.  You can but, well, not a lot happens.  I love randomness.  I don’t want to coach my sim through every little thing and prefer to watch how they grow and change on their own.  I did  just install ACR so I  imagine things might change a bit.  Up until now it didn’t make much of a story for the sims to simply take care of their daily needs day in and day out.  I also noticed they didn’t take a lot of chances.   I knew I wanted to work with the randomness of the wants and fears system so I took some of my previous knowledge and carved something out.

I’m an old school RPG gamer.  I grew up with the stuff and even wrote up my own game rules a while ago.  My play style borrows very heavily from a homebrew game system called the Engle Matrix game.  No, it has nothing to do with the movie or Neo.  This was out WAY before those movies ever existed and it was actually used by the British Military once upon a time for training exercises.  The whole idea of the Matrix game is about telling a shared story not so much running from dungeon to dungeon and monster to monster.  It works around what is called “arguments” or statements that you, as a player, would like to see happen.  Here is how it works on a very basic level.  Everyone around the table makes a statement, a judge rules how likely that statement is to happen based on the game world and what we’ve seen occur so far, and the dice are rolled to see the result.

You can use a basic d6, which can be found in any Monopoly game, or you can get fancy with percentile dice (otherwise known as 2 d10s.)  If you’re hard up for odd and weird dice there are tons of online die rollers out there you can find to use very easily.

A statement is ranked accordingly;  Very Strong, Strong, Average, Weak, Very Weak.  You could also call it Very Likely, Likely, Average, Unlikely, Rare or Very Unlikely.  The chart below gives you the number you have to roll with  a d6.

Very Strong = 2+
Strong = 3+
Average = 4+
Weak = 5+
Very Weak = 6

(Percentile dice work similiarly.  Rankings give you a percentage of how much it MIGHT happen.  Average is 50%, Strong is 75%, Weak is 30%, etc…)

If you hit your target number then your statement occurs for sure in the game.

Let’s say you’re playing a detective game.  There is a murder victim, a setting to work in (let’s say downtown Chicago), and a large cast of characters that the players can move and make statements for once per turn.   From previous rounds we know the body was found in the alley behind a pizza place.  One player makes the statement, “The first detective on the scene finds a bloody knife under a dumpster.”  The judge ranks it as a strong argument.  The player rolls, gets a success, and now there is a bloody knife.  The second player says, “Witnesses say a tall redheaded woman was seen running from the alley.”  The judge also ranks this and the player rolls, etc.

Since using this with Sims is a solo variation, I won’t get into what happens if two players come up with two statements that conflict.  Like in cowboys and indians when one player says, “I shot you” and the other one says, of course, “No, I shot you first.”   (I recommend you head over to the Engle Matrix Game website and look at the basic rules he has up there.  He’s added some new levels of complexity but the core rules are still there.)

Then, how does this apply to how I play with the Sims?  Easy.  I use a combination of the rolled wants and game situations to make up statements of what might happen.  I rank them and then I let the dice tell me what the character wants to do.  For instance, Dale is working on a painting and notices that a townie has walked by his house and stopped.  If I’m unsure how to proceed I do the following.  I pause the game, grab my d6, and go through the following question and roll session.  Big note of advice, always make your questions yes or no style questions!

“Does Dale see the townie outside?”  Ranking: Strong.  I rolled a 5 so it’s a success.   Yes, he does.

“Does Dale decide to go out and meet that person and invite them in?”  Ranking: Average.  I need to roll a 4+ for Dale to do this.  I roll a 6 which means he does.  I unpause the game and start moving forward.

A special note here, if Dale had the want “Meet someone new” that previous statement would have been ranked Very Strong.

The idea is to NOT do this not every single moment of play time but to use it to help you make quick decisions.  A lot of time I use it for story ideas when I see a verbal image balloon go up.   Other times I do it when I’m simply sitting around thinking of possible storylines in the future.

Example: I see Brendon, who is talking to a school buddy, throw out an image balloon of a criminal.  I ask, “Is Brendon talking about his father?”  I rank it as Average.  I roll a 3.  Nope.   He’s talking about something else.  “Is he talking about a cool crime show he watched on TV?”  I rank it as Average and roll a 5.  Yhup, he’s talking about TV.   That’s good because if it had been his father it might make for a wrinkle or more plot.

You can take this combination of yes/no question, combine with what you know of the character, situations, image balloons, and rolled wants to help you come up with questions as well as come up with rankings.  Sometimes, you might just want to add a crazy question in the mix to spice things up.

Example: Calder and Zen are out on the town and Calder really hits it off with a townie.  Matter of fact, he gets a lightning bolt on her.  Zen is right there but I want to ask if Calder would do something that might get him in trouble.  “Does Calder flirt with the new woman?”  I rank it Average instead of Weak because of the lightning bolt, need a 4 or better and roll a 3.  Nope, he stays safe.

Maybe Calder and the woman continue to talk and things are getting interesting though nothing has happened.  I might ask, “Does this woman simply become a good close friend of Calder’s?”  Then, I rank it and roll it.

Again, it’s not intended to take the place of gameplay but it does add a nice minor dimension to things.  It also gives a small dose of randomness for when I want a bit of background or story detail.  Especially when the dice roll weird and give you a success on something you had ranked as Very Weak.  The key with that?  You have to follow through cause, you know, you asked the question in the first place.

Let me know what you think or if you have questions.  Enjoy!

Kicking It Off

So, I’m coming way late to the party. Hopefully, there are a few folks hanging around the food table who don’t mind a late straggler! Ultimately, none of this is my fault. I blame my wife who said it was ok to spend some extra cash on Sims 2 Double Deluxe and a dear friend who handed down a speedy computer that could take the place of my 6 year old system that coughed and spit smoke on start-up. It’s not my fault, any of it. Really.

You see, I’m an old Sims 1 gamer. I devoted A LOT of time to playing it and loved it. Eventually, my interest did wane but not entirely. I continued to load the game up from time to time and it was on my hard drive till the day it died. Of course, when it died I had loaned my copy of my game to a friend who, of course, lost it. This combined with real life and a growing love of MMO’s and that little thing called Second Life caused the game to drift beyond the horizon for me. I saw that Sims 2 was out but I had other things going at that point. Was I ever stupid about that!

This was until the details I mentioned above which, again, were not my fault in any way, and I started playing again. I also want to mention that it was not my fault I just “happened” to stumble on this little thing called a legacy challenge, prosperity neighborhood challenges, and other devious ways to play the game. I was floored at the vast amount of material and stories out there. From that point on, I was hooked. I wasted no time taking my first experimental sim and proclaiming him my Founder for my first legacy challenge. And away I went!

One of the big mistakes I made the last time around was taking up so much time cruising web sites, modding, and playing with custom material that I forgot to play the game itself. This time around I don’t want to make that mistake. I’m not interested, at this point, in too much excess material. I was also torn about starting this blog. With children of my own and other projects I didn’t want to get bogged down again. I made an agreement with myself. As long as I could keep the posts light hearted, small, and fun then I can continue with this wackiness. The minute I start getting too serious or spending more time doing this than actually playing, this would be the first to go! So, you’ve been forewarned!

I want to thank everyone that’s come before me and the awesome material I find around every internet corner. You’ve inspired me to do my own thing with the game! I understand that as folks move on to Sims 3, I’m a little late. Who knows, maybe the best was saved for last?