A Game Of Two Phases

Another core idea behind Bad Time Games is that they are always two phase games. In one Phase, you act in some fashion. In the other, you are reacting. Essentially, what happens in one phase is the instigator of whatever action you take in the second phase. Cause and Effect. Passive and Active. In End of the Line, the first Phase is more Passive in that various Survivors are simply attempting to navigate their lives, finding themselves met by possible death at every turn. The second Phase is your Active Phase where you get shit done, which means your players can finally take matters into their own hands by attaining goals necessary in order to win.

Your two phases should feel distinct enough that players and GMs are able to determine when the transition is appropriate while also being narratively tied together. You could have an active investigation, followed by a debriefing. You could have preparations for an event followed by the conducting of the event proper. You can have a momentous catastrophe, followed by recovery from its conditions. Each should feed into the other, so that you have a stable game loop for players to progress through.

Of course, the two phase structure is more of a recommendation. You could easily smash the phases together and create one mega-phase, or parcel the game out into several different phases, or avoid this back and forth altogether by creating points in time where your Bad Time Mod is reset. But the important thing is to keep that Third Law in mind.

What Third Law?

Why, the one that states that for every ACTION, there is an equal and opposite REACTION.


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