2 playtest sessions

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2 playtest sessions
« on: October 04, 2011, 08:51:14 PM »
I ran two games! I was the GM both times, I was mostly amused and my player was mostly frustrated. I would say most issues in the game were based on the social context as opposed to the rules text.

PLAYERS:

Eeyore! is a player that can really be into the fiddly bits of a game, sometimes to the exclusion of any meaningful color. He's really into burning wheel and can enjoy using the Fight! rules without a lot of color added to it. I think he tends to become more focused on the fiddly bits when frustration or competition becomes a part of the game, which tends to lead to the color being pushed into the background.
  But when that doesn't happen, he's usually a generator of some really cool color and we get along super well.

Sean (me) is a person who's really, really into color. Like I was all 'fuck yeah' when the whole 'color first' discussions broke out. One of my favorite bits of the AW game I'm running was when one of my players was like 'And my brainer girl has a penis'. I tend to have a love/hate relationship with fiddly bits. I think the play I run into that is most unsatisfying to me is when the color fades out and people are just sort of pushing a long a mechanical procedure, which happens sometimes when I am low on energy on other players get fixated on some fiddly bits.

SOCIAL CONTEXT
I kind of felt the game was doomed from the start, because I really wasn't in the mood to wig myself out. I just saw Blindness the other night, and while I enjoyed the film a lot, I also felt myself very satiated on being wigged out. During the before game set up, I thought 'What would wig myself out?' And I thought 'Rape camp'. And 'What do I not want to talk about right now?' 'Rape camp'. So instead I thought of vague and spooky-i-guess but not really scary stuff about junkies and mutilation and a birthday cake!

1st game
This game felt pretty solid to me, if not particularly inspired. One of the big mistakes I made was that the player digged in the rooms a couple of time, and I was thinking 'he's looking for the solution' and I said 'There isn't any Shadowgate* bullshit going on, for your information.' When what I should have been thinking of would have been 'These are opportunities to Reveal new Evidence! That's the best kind of Shadowgate bullshit imaginable and it should be happening.'

The player went back and forth between two rooms, trying to interact with the ghost, so there wasn't a whole lot of momentum towards escape, and eventually the ghost was all 'you need barbed wire eyes. For your health.' and he busted, end of game.

It clocked in at 27 minutes.

Second game

I ran the game with the same ghosts and thematic set up as the first game, since I didn't really explore them very much in the first game.

The game ran for an hour, but notably the second half was after fudging a death result. (The player was very frustrated, really wanted to see more of the game, I was down) For this reason you might consider the second half of the game not particularly applicable for playtesting purposes. This very moment the part you that is interested in receiving feedback for the rules as you've-written-them might be slapping your forehead going 'Fucking roleplayers.'

Toward the second half, color kind of faded from the fiction, and the game was basically "Spooky tortured thing tries to stab you" "I run", as the player became mostly invested in pursuing a narrowly-defined strategy and I mostly ran out of creative juice.

Eeyore described himself as frustrated. Occasinially 'RAR fuck this' frustrated, but mostly tolerable 'frickin' Boardwalk with motels' frustrated. It was the sort of expierience that afterward, he really wanted me to run it for other people, in a sort of 'I want to see them suffer as I have' sort of way.

Issues in both games

I hardly followed the 'Reveal new evidence of violence' directions past the initial room, even though it happened on the fiction a couple of times, and moreso had plenty of good opportunities to happen on the fiction. I was more concerned with the other rules of the game. This is too bad because I think it provided a nice creative springboard at the start.

We were confused about 'Tell the GM X personal information', whether it meant the player or the character. We played it player the first time, and character the second time. (Player was more interesting)

There were a small handful of instances where I'd flip 3 of my pages without having to say anything, and I thought 'this is a lot of flipping and not a lot of engaging with the other player'

Conversely, there were some pages (10?) Were there were a fuck lot of things that could be happening, and caused me to reread a couple of times to check whether one of those things could be happening.

Towards my future involvement with the game

I would definitely like to look more into it. I'm thinking of trying to run it with my brother next week when I'm feeling more hungry for the wigs, and hopefully playing it with somebody.

I think the game could be a really nice date game, in a similar slot as watching horror movies together. I think its better than Breaking the Ice etc etc in that regard because its less consciously about romance.

* Shadowgate is a point and click puzzle game that epitomizes the 'look around in crates until something kills you or you find the dongle' design of some heavily prepped rpgs. But at the same time, it had some particularly invocative examples of presenting-evidence-of-violence.

Re: 2 playtest sessions
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2011, 09:15:13 PM »
Here's a rules question that came up:

My ghost, Frank, was like 'Shoot up these gross drugs to put the edge off.'(as part of an expectation). Billy, the PC was like 'Okay' and goes into a bathroom stall to pretend to shoot up the crank, but not really.

Does that mean he's 'Hiding'? I wasn't sure if hiding meant 'Prevent the ghost from being aware that you're in the room' or 'Get away from the ghost's sight.'

Also, related, if the player is faking that he's fuffilling expectations, is it up to us the players to decide if he tricks the ghost without any input from the system? Or did I miss something?

*

lumpley

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Re: 2 playtest sessions
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2011, 09:21:28 PM »
Excellent, thank you, Sean!

I've played it once where every time the PC died, we rewound and did over until the PC escaped. I dug it, I'd recommend it as a fun variant to anyone. So no head-slapping on that account. (I'm not sure I'd recommend it in combination with a narrow player strategy, though.)

Your rules question has me just about as boggled as if you'd asked me the same about a game of Clue. So that's interesting!

Re: 2 playtest sessions
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2011, 12:05:18 AM »
On the rules question, is that a 'I have no idea what you're talking about' mind boggling or a 'I'm not sure what the best answer' type of mind boggling?

What was happening mechanicly in the game was that we were on page 10, interacting with the ghost, and I wasn't sure if we met the conditions for "Is the other player trying to hide?' which results in the player turning to page 12.