I wrote up an actual play post of our first session already. This is a more behind-the-curtain view. I played the encounters in the order I pre-generated them. Forest Fire, Hunters, Hungry mob, Soviet Patrol. In the last post I mentioned treating these as floating for our first session, I didn’t need to move them.
I figured this session, with two hours of play, would give everyone a chance at understanding and getting their hands on how the core mechanics work and how travel and time or shifts of the day work. There’s a puzzle to be solved about how far to travel when to camp, sleep and who sleeps when if we’re keeping watch. In session one (and also in Forbidden Lands) I help the players through this puzzle. After that, they are on their own! It was good to see character development happening as the players moved west across Poland figuring out what they’re good and bad at. They don’t have a real direction decided other than stay near the river, get boats, go north. That’s all about to change!!
Twilight: 2000 is more zen garden than sandbox, IMHO. Session one procedures we could just repeat until we’re ready to move on to another game. As humans, we’re hardwired to link, make patterns of these random encounters -tell ourselves a story about them. The curation mechanics in Twilight: 2000 are neat. Above encounters are factions. Factions are forces, organizations that are also in the ‘garden’. You can pick some of these encounters - say the soviet patrol and attach that to a faction, meaning that encounter is of that faction, not some random, unanchored event. The alpha rules come with a series of factions—but you can make your own too!
I plan to reuse the hunter’s encounter, Albin and Hubert, somewhere - not sure where. The players avoided the soviet patrol, but they’ll see them again and I’ll introduce the first faction of the game. Factions can be allies or enemies, they create a larger narrative for this zen garden than the random encounters.
There’s another type of zen garden content called the scenario site. There is one in the alpha rules based around a prison. Think a set-piece adventure. You can set these down on the map nearly anywhere.
I’m likely to get into Twilight 2000 combat and firefight mechanics next before scenario sites. I feel like I have a bunch of itchy trigger finger players who are playing a bunch of support or intel personnel!
Our squad using Role