Q & A with Cynthia Celeste Miller, President of Spectrum Games and Designer of Urban Manhunt

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11 Feb 2019 00:56 #292057 by ubarose
Cynthia's new game, Urban Manhunt is a tabletop mini game...

Cynthia Celeste Miller, game designer, role playing game author and President of Spectrum Games will be joining us today to answer your questions about her new game, Urban Manhunt, as well as any other questions you might have regarding her work.

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11 Feb 2019 04:08 #292058 by san il defanso
Kind of related to Uba's question, but I'm curious how your experience writing RPGs informed the design process for Urban Manhunt.

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11 Feb 2019 09:08 #292066 by Jackwraith
Two questions occur right off the bat:

Given that the theme is very Judge Dredd/Escape from New York/Robocop, were there any concerns at Spectrum about changing perspectives on crime and punishment in the modern era? Was the intent to go more toward the "this is obviously wacky" milieu of 2000 AD?

I noticed that you emphasize the storytelling nature of the game via the Event deck. In testing, were there any points where you felt like you had to sacrifice either depth of play or ease of play? I know in many games those kinds of storytelling decks can either seem repetitive after a few plays or, conversely, can seem like you're jumping through more hoops than the base system should require.

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11 Feb 2019 09:23 #292068 by hotseatgames
I'd like to know what kind of player interaction is in the game, since it's not PvP.

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11 Feb 2019 13:37 #292084 by CynthiaCM
Thank you. To answer the article author's question, while I love roleplaying games with a passion, my primary gaming love is that of tabletop miniatures game. Given that Spectrum has come to focus on faithfully emulating genres with our games, I felt it was important to remain with that theme. Once it dawned on me that the setting I originally intended to be a card game would make for a great miniatures game that emulated the "dark future" films of the late 1970s and 1980s (like The Warriors, Escape from New York and The Running Man), I took that opportunity. I was nervous leading up to Urban manhunt's release, though, as I wasn't sure how well a non-RPG from us would be received. So far, so good.
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11 Feb 2019 13:45 #292087 by CynthiaCM

san il defanso wrote: Kind of related to Uba's question, but I'm curious how your experience writing RPGs informed the design process for Urban Manhunt.


For one thing, it has helped me know how to organize rules so that they are easily understood. In fact, I obsess about it. Having done it a lot with RPGs helped me know what should go where in a rulebook.

Another thing my RPG experience has taught me is the absolute importance of thorough playtesting. I'm a stickler about that. It's even more important, I've found, in miniatures game design, as there's no fiat of the Game Master being able to hand-wave unbalanced rules.
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11 Feb 2019 13:58 #292090 by CynthiaCM

Jackwraith wrote: Two questions occur right off the bat:

Given that the theme is very Judge Dredd/Escape from New York/Robocop, were there any concerns at Spectrum about changing perspectives on crime and punishment in the modern era? Was the intent to go more toward the "this is obviously wacky" milieu of 2000 AD?

I noticed that you emphasize the storytelling nature of the game via the Event deck. In testing, were there any points where you felt like you had to sacrifice either depth of play or ease of play? I know in many games those kinds of storytelling decks can either seem repetitive after a few plays or, conversely, can seem like you're jumping through more hoops than the base system should require.


No thought was given to changing perspectives on crime and punishment. If anything, the game is a satirical look at society's lust for violence and reality-type television. It was a tough tightrope to walk. If we made it too dark, it would have lost the overblown, overproduced aspects I was aiming for... and if we made it too gonzo, it would lose the dark and gritty vibe. The game had to be both, but not too much of either, if that makes sense.

One of my goals regarding the implementation of the Event Deck was to focus on things that might happen often in such a sport. This was how I devised some of the cards being "Keeper" cards (i.e., cards that, when drawn, are placed in the players hand for later use). This generalization helps cut down on the cards feeling repetitive. For example, one card allows a hunter who eliminates a crim while near a terrain feature to gain extra points for creatively using that terrain feature in the elimination. This is something that would probably happen quite a lot in the setting.
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11 Feb 2019 14:04 - 11 Feb 2019 14:13 #292091 by CynthiaCM

hotseatgames wrote: I'd like to know what kind of player interaction is in the game, since it's not PvP.


Much of the interaction comes from the use of Event Cards. Players with "Keeper" cards can target the other hunters to hinder them in some manner. You can really make your opponent have a bad day if you play the right card at just the right moment. As an example, one card can be played on a hunter that is close to the edge of the table (which is, in the game setting, supposed to be a tall wall with guards on top). The guards mistake the hunter for a crim trying to escape and shoots at them.

Also, it's pretty common for hunters to snipe each other's eliminations, since only the hunter that kills the crim receives points for it.
Last edit: 11 Feb 2019 14:13 by CynthiaCM.
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11 Feb 2019 14:43 #292095 by ubarose
How can I purchase a copy of Manos Cards of Fate? I really must have a copy of this game.
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11 Feb 2019 15:28 #292100 by CynthiaCM

ubarose wrote: How can I purchase a copy of Manos Cards of Fate? I really must have a copy of this game.


Unfortunately, it's not released yet, but I'm hoping to have it ready to roll this summer. I've obtained permission to use the restored version of the film for screen caps, but I've had some issues with retaining the quality of the images. It's been a slow process. In the end, the Master will approve of the final product (R.I.P., Tom Neyman).
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11 Feb 2019 17:43 #292102 by ubarose

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11 Feb 2019 17:51 #292103 by Dutch
Hi. I've been trying to find a good RPG system for handling the Wild West. Can you give me a brief description of Wild West Cinema? I've played loads of different RPGs, but no Spectrum games, I'm afraid.

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11 Feb 2019 18:20 #292105 by CynthiaCM

ubarose wrote: Let us know when you have a release date.


I definitely will.

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11 Feb 2019 18:22 #292106 by CynthiaCM

Dutch wrote: Hi. I've been trying to find a good RPG system for handling the Wild West. Can you give me a brief description of Wild West Cinema? I've played loads of different RPGs, but no Spectrum games, I'm afraid.


Like all our games, WWC is all about faithfully emulating the genre in question. In this case, it's spaghetti westerns. The system is fast and loose but with enough structure to keep things interesting. Every rule was designed with the idea of bringing to life the feel of those old movies rather than being historically accurate.
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11 Feb 2019 19:50 #292108 by Dutch

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