Page 1 of 1

Paranoia Primer for convention game

Posted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:11 pm
by Cranky Dog
Hello all,

I've been yearning to run a one shot game during a convention, but even though many players have heard of Paranoia, few have actually ever played it, or at the very least not the current edition.

Considering the 3-4 hour window I'll have to run the game, what would be the best tools for new players to jump right in and get a good feel of the setting and the rules?

I know I can probably write up a handout, but am still curious to know if someone already came up with something similar.

Re: Paranoia Primer for convention game

Posted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 9:18 pm
by tbug
Which edition will you be using?

I don't have a handout, but I could dredge up my outline for explaining the setting. I found it takes about three minutes to talk about everything. Would that be useful, or are you definitely looking for a handout?

Re: Paranoia Primer for convention game

Posted: Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:17 pm
by Cranky Dog
I'll be using the latest Kickstarter edition. The one with the cards and small boxes.

I know the information doesn't need to be deep or anything, but I don't want to miss some essential key concepts either. Rules wise or setting wise.

Re: Paranoia Primer for convention game

Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2019 5:27 am
by Zarathud
I run Paranoia each year at Origins Game Fair, which has taught me a few things.

A. Players LOVE Character Creation, even at Conventions. It's 30 minutes well spent exploring the character sheets and sparking feuds. I usually assign each Character a +1 and -1 and +2 and -2 beforehand then use that to explain that their Friend Computer has created the "perfectly optimized party" where every weakness is offset by another character's strength. Then I say it will then be the Character's fault if the mission fails because their party is so perfectly optimized. And if it's not the fault of their Character, then another Troubleshooter must be a Terrorist traitor who has failed to offset their weakness. If that doesn't stimulate pre-emptory blame, they will quickly get the point by choosing new Skills and giving other Characters a -3. The -4s and -5s complete the picture. With a table of 6, someone will get it quickly enough to screw over someone else by their choice of a -4 Skill. If not, it WILL happen once the -5s come around. Encourage it, and point out who just caused the ridiculousness of the Equipment Guy having a -5 in Mechanics.

B. Players in Convention Games want to have fun, and that encourages a Zap! style of play. I use the example of Minions from Despicable Me because they're an easy pop culture reference that's both light-hearted and incompetent.

C. I hand out a slip of paper with these rules on one side (I still enjoy blaming Commies as much as Terrorists), at the start of the session, but tell they'll have time to read it later. Emphasize that all Other Rules are Above their Security Clearance, and will be explained as Necessary. I use Yellow Cards to track Treason Stars (hopefully a future expansion deck).
1) Characters are created during Party Creation. Treat your character similar to the Minions in Despicable Me.
2) Knowing the Rules in Paranoia is Treason, so don't worry about that. Worry about Commies, Mutants and Traitors.
3) You are a Citizen of Alpha Complex. Alpha Complex is run by the benevolent Friend Computer through various bureaucratic and direct means. Alpha Complex is a utopia because the Computer says so. Nobody wants to tell it otherwise, despite all the malfunctions. That's the fault of Traitors and Terrorists.
4) Citizens are ranked by their Security Clearance on the rainbow -- low INFRAREDs to highest ULTRAVIOLET.
5) Friend Computer implanted upgrade security systems into your skull -- a Cerebral Coretech. Think a combination of Siri, Google Glass and Orwell's security cameras. When you make a skill check, you roll an EXTRA die called the COMPUTER DIE. A roll of 1 to 5 is normal, but a COMPUTER means your data is currently monitored -- or something terrible (fun) happens if unmonitored -- AND LOSE 1 MOXIE (aka Sanity).
6) You earn XP incentives from Friend Computer or special Achievements. XP is currency used for bonuses, equipment, skill increases and higher Security Clearances. Life in Alpha Complex is "game-ified."
7) You have SIX Clone lives. Someone will be accused of Treason and/or Terrorism. Obvious Treason results in visible Stars -- a TREASON RATING from 0 (Loyal) to 5 (Terrorist). Yellow cards show this status.
8 ) Treason is often committed by Secret Societies -- who ask and grant favors in dangerous Alpha Complex.
9) You are a Troubleshooter. Your job is to find trouble, and shoot it. Trust no one! Keep your laser handy!
10) Your Mandatory Bonus Duty is your team role. The hierarchy tree shows reporting responsibilities. Everyone must follow Friend Computer, and then non-treasonous directives of a higher clearance citizen.
11) You may have a secret Mutant Power. Unregistered mutants have a short life expectancy.
12) Role play or die. Make the table laugh and play along in good fun, and you may succeed and receive XP.
For fun, put other character and mission notes on the other side and give it a big "TREASONOUS SIDE" header.

D. Before starting, encourage the Players to ask their final questions about the rules. After 3 questions, I slowly start role playing the Computer from "That Rule is Above Your Security Clearance, Citizen" to "Further Questions are Treason." I have had to terminate only one player in the last 8 years for Treasonously Failing to Get the Hint. When someone has an obvious "Oh, I get it" moment, or everyone starts looking nervously at each other, then smile, take a bow, and warmly say "Welcome to Paranoia, Citizens." Then start the Mission Introduction.

E. With the Kickstarter version, I rarely have to roll dice. That's glorious, and permits me to poke the table after interpreting a roll/card by saying: "Well, that wasn't me that caused the Terrible Thing. What are you going to do about it, Troubleshooter DANGE-R-OUS?"

Good luck, have fun, and Let Them Terminate Many Clones.

Re: Paranoia Primer for convention game

Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2019 6:46 pm
by Cranky Dog
That is *GOOD* advice! :D

I always wondered if character creation should be a part of convention games as it's time taken away from being a proper commie mutant traitor.

The one thing I'll prepare in advance will be little envelopes with their secret society cards, secret mission, extra goals, etc.

Now to find enough Computer dice (or acceptable substitutes) for everyone .

Re: Paranoia Primer for convention game

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:03 am
by Zarathud
Include in the packet an extra Equipment Card. When they use it, ask how their character obtained Equipment Not Issued by the Computer.

Or mark the Envelopes -- TREASONOUS MATERIAL -- RUMORS AND SECRETS. Most Players will open the Envelopes without thinking. Anyone who doesn't open the Envelopes has played Paranoia before, and deserves your special attention if the table is full of newbies. Then at some point in the session, hand out treason points for Opening the Envelopes. The Troubleshooters who declare their loyalty for Not Opening the Envelopes probably haven't thought of turning it over to Friend Computer. Possession of Treasonous Material is Still Treason, Citizen.

Paranoia is about encouraging the players to step in it, then realize they're screwed. At a convention, the Troubleshooters will inevitably create chaos or miracles trying to escape the situation. As long as it's memorable, you've got a great session.