Author Topic: Hostage Negotiator  (Read 289 times)

Offline Decar

  • Global Moderator
  • Chatelain Officier
  • *
  • Posts: 5295
  • Merit: 237
  • Shut up and take my money!
    • View Profile
    • tehill.net
Hostage Negotiator
« on: April 27, 2019, 08:10:08 AM »
A new Hostage Negotiator kickstarter begins on the 30th April introducing a career mode that you play over several games.

I've not had much chance to player frequently, but Van Ryder Games are teasing the new campaign so I thought I'd take the opportunity to give it a go.

I've signed up as the rookie Officer Decar, and it's first day on the job.  C:-)
I wont post any spoilers, but the new content seems to have you make decisions, in a choose your own adventure style, where you adjust stats and events throughout the course of the campaign's progress.

Here's my wrap sheet:


My first game starts with the terrorist Arkayne, who is holding 7 hostages captive in a warehouse in Down Town.
Activists from his group were arrested a few days before and he wants them released!
Little does he know Officer Decar doesn't negotiate with terrorists.  No wait! That's exactly the whole point of the game.

If you're not familiar with Hostage Negotiator, your job is to save the hostages and capture an abductor over a limited number of rounds.
Each turn sees you plan your negotiation tactic, by playing a series of cards.  You must roll to see the outcome of each negotiation card you play.
When successful the cards allow you to lower the treat level (talking the captor down), or increase your rapour allowing you to access better cards.
When you're unsuccessful the threat level increases and the conversation may end abruptly; and if the threat level increases too much, the abductor starts to kill your hostages.
At the end of each turn a terror card comes out that usually impacts the game or the next turn.
Your job is to save the hostages and capture (or eliminate) the terrorist before the deck of terror cards run out!

Arkayne is a relatively easy character to start the game.  Our general strategy is to keep the threat level low, keep him calm and when possible build up my rapour to access good cards.

In the first turn, thanks to some good dice roll, I was able to attempt an early extraction, to manipulate my odds, I also got a card allowing me to treat partial success (a roll of 4) as success if I discard two cards instead of play them.  Thankfully, I saved 2 re-rolls from the previous round.

So I play the mitigation card first but only roll blanks!  What a total waste of a card!
I've got no back up now. It's time for my first Minor Extraction.... and I roll blanks again!  Gah!
I use my first re-roll....but I get ANOTHER BLANK!
My months at the academy aren't helping now....breath.....I have to make this last re-roll count:
"No that's not what I meant", I gingerly snap down the telephone.
I roll a partial success, I discard 2 Small Talk cards to claim my first victory.
Arkayne's mad, the threat level increases, but we've saved our first hostage!



No sooner than we draw breath, the terror card comes out and Arkayne takes his chance nabbing 2 additional hostages!  :o



Over the next few rounds, I struggle to acquire any powerful cards, but I manged to reduce the threat level right down and persuade Arkayne to let 2 hostages go.

I mange to wrack up 11 points to spend on cards, so the next round is likely to be make or break!


Over the next round or so, we successfully keep Arkayne cool, and rescue 3 more hostages.
But then, a terror card simply accelerates the game, towards the penultimate 2 rounds:



But, I should focus on the positives, Arkayne was calm, only 3 hostages to go and most importantly, no one had been killed...yet.

I was prepared for the penultimate round, essentially a replay of my first extraction.
Mitigate the dice and execute a minor extraction:


Officer Decar is clearly improving—all hostages saved, but only one round remains!

The pivotal terror card removed one of my negotiation dice!
After the last round the terror level had left me with only 2!
I was down to only one die!

I have to lower the threat level to gain an extra die, it's the only way I'll manage to eliminate the abductor.
I play a Keep Cool, but it fails.
I play my last Keep Cool: "Stay calm Arkayne, it'll all be over soon, the hostages are safe.", I stumble and use a re-roll: "No, no you don't understand..."—Success.

Officer Decar, pulls the mic away from his sweating brow....."Sniper, take the shot..."
"Damn it Jenkins! Execute Plan B!", my last re-roll; one die roll stands between the abductor's escape or elimination:


....
....
....
"Arkayne is down, repeat:  Arkayne is down."

Pretty intense for a first day on the job!
I'm not quite sure how I feel about shooting terrorists, I didn't seem to have an option to capture him, so it was only going to end in one of two ways.
But at least the public is safe.

There are at least two more scenarios to play in the campaign during the kickstarter, so if I have time, I'll be keeping you posted!

Officer Decar chalks down the events on his crib sheet:




EDIT: I realize now that in order to capture the abductor, all I needed to do was successfully rescue another hostage.  I hope taking that sniper's shot doesn't reflect badly on Officer Decar's permanent record :(

Linkback: http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=4281.0
« Last Edit: April 28, 2019, 05:42:54 AM by Decar »

Offline Decar

  • Global Moderator
  • Chatelain Officier
  • *
  • Posts: 5295
  • Merit: 237
  • Shut up and take my money!
    • View Profile
    • tehill.net
Re: Hostage Negotiator
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2019, 08:10:21 AM »
Year 2

The Kickstarter campaign has started: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/vanrydergames/hostage-negotiator-career/

Also, the next part of the teaser campaign is released.  I won't spoil anything, but it went ok:


I reduced Personal Stress and received a Merit for my first mission.

I received a recognition card too:



It's been a year since my negotiation with Arkayne; I've been now the rank of Officer.

I've been called to a local fast food joint (McBozos), where a local down-and-out, Lijah Ramone, has taken 8 diners hostage.

I kept my cool and talked Lijah down, she explained that she was going through a difficult time and had hit the bottle before getting behind the wheel the night before.  She never saw the officer and pedestrian she hit.  I heard her demands, then I told her A bold lie, allowing us to saves our first two hostages, but with every hostage saved, more demands came out, and it was clear the threat level was ramping up!



I spent the next few minutes calming her back down, and thought I'd try my luck at another bold lie.  Damn, she saw right through me, and though I told her I meant something else, it was no good.  She was fuming!



Over the next hour, I successfully talked Lijah into releasing another two hostages, and with that more demands!  I tried to hear them, but instead I just annoyed her more.  The situation was worsening and now I was running out of time.



By all accounts, I only had two more exchanges before a pivotal event saw the end of this traumatic negotiation.  With 4 hostages still in the building, I couldn't see how I could save everyone, the conversation become dire and Lijah snapped.  She murdered a hostage in cold blood.  With seconds remaining, we had to try a minor extraction, I told her to keep her cool but we only saved one.  There were was silence.

The team entered the building but Lijah had Vanished into Thin Air.  Three bodies remained.  During the debrief, it was clear I hadn't listened to Lijah's demands fast enough, and was unable to mitigate how quickly she'd escalate the situation.  I don't think I'll be eating at McBozos any time soon.



The impact of this negotiation will mean I don't make Detective grade this year.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2019, 09:21:00 AM by Decar »

Offline Decar

  • Global Moderator
  • Chatelain Officier
  • *
  • Posts: 5295
  • Merit: 237
  • Shut up and take my money!
    • View Profile
    • tehill.net
Re: Hostage Negotiator
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2019, 08:10:30 AM »
Year 3:

With no Stressors in my deck, I'm called to take part in the After Action Review of a fallen colleague.

Again don't want to spoil anything in the story, but I got +1 Merit, but still not enough to make Detective.

I receive a call... Lijah Ramone has been seen at SFC with another 8 hostages....

With no time to waste, I carefully began to lower the threat level, and learning from my mistakes the last time we met, I kept an opportunity to reveal demand available.

Last year we didn't know how Lijah got away, but I had a feeling she'd try and pull the same trick again.

With the Threat Level at the lowest, I spent some time building up my conversation points to deploy "A Bold Lie" and "Keep Calm" giving me an opportunity to rescue 5 of the hostages in a single turn.

When the terror card popped out: I had a difficult choice to make.  With success inevitable, I decided to discard the next two terror cards.



But my bold lie, hit blanks....all blanks...

3 years on the job and you'd think I'd have learned by now that I should be taking my time executing these bold moves, or at least come with some contingency to control the conversation.

The next terror card simply drew another terror card.  So we were beginning to run out of time.  Within a single phase 4 terror cards had been drawn (the deck has 11).

I had to do something drastic...Something bold...but we already knew what Lijah was capable of:

"All Units Get in there now!"


We stormed and managed to save 3 hostages.

On the next turn, I built on our broken rapport, I made the decision to concede a minor demand, allowing me to call in an old favour and use another play:

"Sniper, take the shot":



This eliminates Lijah, but wasn't as successful as I hoped.  There were still 5 hostages inside, and time was slipping away.  Lijah's accomplice stepped up, and they weren't in the mood for small talk!

The next terror cards raised the threat level, so the life of a hostage was also taken.

I pinned my hopes on the final event, somehow giving me the opportunity to acquire a card, or reduce the threat a little. But out options were depleted, we were stuck.

My last conversation: "keep cool" didn't achieve very much at all:


Last time i confronted Lijah, we rescued 5 hostages, but 3 were lost.  This time it was the other way around. I could only console knowing at least her reign of terror had ended.



With year 3 over, I head back to the station.  I decide to take a punt on my personal event, given my personal stress level is at the minimum. I thought it was worth the risk:  It wasn't and my stress levels increases by 2.

The result of the failed negotiation means my Career stress increases, and I end the campaign as follows:



So that's the end of the teaser campaign!

I'll summarize my feelings on Hostage Negotiator: Career below!
« Last Edit: May 28, 2019, 10:30:02 AM by Decar »

Offline danisthirty

  • (well, 38 actually)
  • Administrator
  • Chatelain Grand Officier
  • *
  • Posts: 6390
  • Merit: 238
  • "First to 4 points wins?"
    • View Profile
Re: Hostage Negotiator
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2019, 03:51:45 AM »
Arkayne was my brother. Be seeing you real soon Rookie Officer Decar...

EDIT: In all seriousness, I really enjoyed reading this little account of your game. The theme of negotiating with terrorists isn't something that immediately grabbed me as I have an 8 y/o daughter so I'm used to it. But I liked the sound of the mechanics as you described them, and the way the campaigns and challenges of each scenario play out. Thanks for your great review Decar! Looking forward to hearing more! :(y)
« Last Edit: April 29, 2019, 03:56:06 AM by danisthirty »
Heroically snatching defeat from the jaws of victory since 2018

Offline Decar

  • Global Moderator
  • Chatelain Officier
  • *
  • Posts: 5295
  • Merit: 237
  • Shut up and take my money!
    • View Profile
    • tehill.net
Re: Hostage Negotiator
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2019, 09:33:51 AM »
Thanks Dan, I guess I should get this negotiation practice in now!

I've just posted year 2

Offline Decar

  • Global Moderator
  • Chatelain Officier
  • *
  • Posts: 5295
  • Merit: 237
  • Shut up and take my money!
    • View Profile
    • tehill.net
Re: Hostage Negotiator
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2019, 12:16:50 PM »
Just posted an update on Year 3—completing the teaser campaign that was part of the kickstarter.

I thought I'd take a moment to share my feelings on the latest expansion:

  • Not really related to the game, but I love how I've been able to try the latest expansion as part of the Kickstarter.  It's a great way of knowing if I'd appreciate what it adds.
  • I already like Hostage Negotiator, and though I've not reviewed it, I like the fast setup, fast gameplay cycle and the push-your-luck with mitigation that constitutes the game.
  • I'm beginning to like these sorts of narrative games, where you can tell a story while the events unfold. Much like Lost Expedition, I find myself embodying the characters.

In terms of the career mode:
  • I like the premise of linking the isolated games together in hostage negotiator. It adds more weight to decisions made before, during and after games. This seems like a great way of adding more narrative, and becoming more attached to the character you play.
  • I think generally, the campaign is going to be quite challenging.  The nature of the digital KS made it a bit harder to get to grips with, literally.  I found it hard to understand what the risks and rewards associated with events would be before making a decision.  This is a common issue for a lot of adventure games. However, I think the individual phases (personal and career), mean you can start to spot themes appearing over and over again. Just like the base games of Hostage Negotiator, the career mode is about taking a risk and trying to mitigate the negative effects.
  • I'm slightly worried that doing well during the campaign makes the campaign progressively easier, or that doing badly results in making progress very hard.  I wouldn't want to spend hours playing and failing at the end simply because of a poor decision I made a few hours earlier.  But I'm not sure this will be the case here, the later missions are much more challenging, you're going to need to be an experienced Hostage Negotiator in order to win them with any 'ease'. So a long lasting challenge is good, and there seems to be a lot opportunity to replay the campaign, even ignoring the outcomes of each negotiation phase.
  • There seems to be quite a few stories and random events and paths available to chose between, the KS has unlocked several already.
  • During my play through, I didn't take many risks, I played the 'good cop' and that seemed to give me any stress; so I missed out on several possible event outcomes.  If I get chance I'll probably play 'bad cop' to see if there are any advantages taking on board more risky events.
  • I also like that some events need you to roll dice - it means it's almost impossible to simply chose the same option, or remember the outcome during the campaign.

So there we have it, I've completed the campaign available during the Kickstarter.  I'll have to wait a few months to see what happens to officer Decar.
I also like that Van Ryder Games has made all the promos and expansions available in this kickstarter too, so I was able to pick up a couple of exra promos I was missing.
If you're interested in Hostage Negotiator, or the career mode, the Late Pledge option is still available.


Share via delicious Share via digg Share via facebook Share via furl Share via linkedin Share via myspace Share via reddit Share via stumble Share via technorati Share via twitter