Making sometimes cards worth action points?

I am making a school based game and wanted to use detention notes to trigger cards to pop up in the sometimes deck calling the player to detention. The user would then have to resolve it or have it take up a slot in their hand in the meantime. I was going to have it take actions in order to simulate actual detention. Although it gives me the option to set actions each branch takes in the storynexus interface, it does not translate into actual action cost in game. Is this idea just not supported with storynexus or should this be possible?

@Whitney: you can’t currently set action costs on Sometimes cards.


  • Each Sometimes card effectively costs 0.33 actions. You could be content with that!
  • Each detention card could increase a Sent To Detention Quality that, if it gets too high, sends the player to a detention Area and Setting (a la Fallen London and Zero Summer Menaces).
  • Detention cards could also instead reduce one of the player’s stats by a small amount, thereby creating a net action cost (equal to the cost of playing an action to raise the stat in the first place).

Also, more broadly: cluttering up somebody’s hand with Menace cards is good design practice, but docking them actions really isn’t. The only real way to reward players in a StoryNexus game is to give them more plot.

Consider: do you want detention cards to punish your players, or do you want them to create an opportunity for negative/dangerous/repercussive stories?

If the latter: the Menace state thing is a great way to do it. So is having the detention cards get increasingly interesting text on them, or opening up additional stories. Pairing that with a small stat decrease is a great way to mechanically discourage picking up detention cards while effectively encouraging them to explore the game. You’re saying: go ahead and screw up! Awesome stuff happens there!

Well, that is disappointing. Thanks for offering suggestions. I’ll now go and ponder how to make things work for my setting.

Indeed. I wanted detention to be rare, and annoying, but also interesting and intriguing. I wanted them to be unique to the teacher, which I can still do but it will be different. I wanted to give the user a bit more flexibility on when they dealt with it instead of transporting them with a must or setting shift because I find that mechanic personally frustrating as a player. But one must work within the confines of one’s tools so I’m sure I’ll figure something out.

Whitney: I hear you. I think you might find that the 0.33 action cost inherent to the Sometimes card, plus the fact of it cluttering up their hand, is enough to make it Menacey. Worth trying anyway!

An idea: Make detention a setting. Give it it’s own sometimes deck. When the player gets enough menace for detention, send them there. All they can do is draw from the detention deck. Fill the deck with some cards that waste actions “The clock ticks…” “The teacher’s chair creaks.” “You hear ‘Heart and Soul’ played endlessly down the hall in the music room…” (but these may include hints or triggers for other side quests or plot) along with a slightly lesser number of “Finally, ten minutes have gone by…” which increments the clock before the player is let out of detention. When the clock gets down, they are released from the detention setting. That will waste a random number of actions while the player tries to get out.

Unique to teacher … just make several settings: Biology Detention. English Detention with it’s own deck.

A slightly different approach: Make a “Detention with…” quality with values like “Mr. Englishteacher” and “Ms. Biologyteacher.” Then make one Detention deck where some of the cards require a certain value of “Detention with…” (e.g., “Mr. Englishteacher stares at you glumly”) and some don’t (e.g., “The clock ticks”). With the right balance, you could give each teacher’s detention its own feel while saving yourself some work. (cf. Road With Many Faces - Storychoices )

Thanks, Matt…you just saved me a lot of work with that suggestion that knocked something loose in my head to make me go duh. I have a bunch of cards that apply anywhere and I was all set to make duplicates for different settings which I was planning to use to confine groups of areas…now I just have one “normal” setting with most of the cards, and I limit them by area or by my location setting. I have no idea why I didn’t figure this out before!