So, all of a sudden I found these on the internet. Wahey!
Mil años bajo el sol (A Thousand Years Under the Sun)
Hasta Hundirnos (Until We Sink)
Translated by Samuel Martínez. Thanks, Samuel!
Fiction is a collaborative, improvisational freeform game for a flexible amount of players.
It’s designed to provide a tool for both inexperienced and experienced players to lean on when improvising a game from scratch.
These are two games with the same title. (Which I got from Jackson Tegu!)
1. First, the easy game. This is a short game for 4 players, which will take 5-15 minutes depending on your mood.
Two players will be the Commuters. They will be silent for the entire duration of the game. They will communicate with eye contact and facial expressions. As the game progresses, they may choose to become more physical, possibly touching.
Two players will be the Human Dream. They will do the talking, describing the inner life and soul of the Commuters – possibly a form of shared subconscious or dream. Sometimes, they will briefly announce stops and portray other passengers.
The game ends when one of the Commuters gets off at a stop.
The game goes like this:
- The Commuters sit facing each other on chairs. They both look down. Perhaps they have phones they’re playing with or papers they’re reading.
- At some point, their roaming eyes meet and lock. This signals the beginning of the game.
- One of the Human Dreams starts talking. They describe some image or thought that arises from the Commuters. Do NOT specify which Commuter; this might come from any of them, or both of them together. – The other Human Dream continues. This goes back and forth.
- Meanwhile, the Commuters can, if they choose, do little physical things. Put down phones, or scratch, or smile, or make facial expressions. Sometimes there are stops:
- After a while, one of the Human Dreams can announce a STOP. This means the train or bus or whatever stops and lets new passengers on. Say the name of the stop, and talk in that loud abrasive loudspeaker voice that all commuters know.
- The other Human Dream very briefly portrays one or more other passengers, saying a few words or lines that commuters might say when getting on the bus/train.
- At this point, any of the Commuters may choose to end the game by getting up and leaving. If not, the game continues, with the Human Dreams talking.
2. Then, the hard game. This is very simple, but also hugely challenging, and there’s no saying what it will lead to.
When commuting, try to find someone friendly-looking to sit next to.
Think back on your childhood, on what you used to do when you were on the bus or train.
Then start a conversation with this line: “I remember when I was a kid and rode the (bus/train), I used to…”
See what happens.
A while ago, there were all these comments on Twitter about the different stretch goals for James Wallis’ “Alas Vegas” kickstarter. On a random impulse (both because I love James Wallis & his games, and because I like to make fun of all these Kickstarter campaigns that are everywhere), I wrote:
“If the KS for
@JamesWallis‘ ALAS VEGAS reaches £20K, I write a completely unrelated mini game just for the hell of it and put it on the net.”
And it did.
So I did.
Oh no… you went and did it again. You’re sitting there reading the comments. The news article itself was actually pretty interesting… so why the hell didn’t you just leave it? Why did you enter this realm of trolling, strawmen, false dichotomies, badly concealed agendas, and ideological sewage?
It’s too late now. You feel yourself being drawn into it. Into the comment itself. That one, on the screen, there.
It’s not just somebody’s warped, malicious, imbecilic and ignorant idea anymore.
Now it’s reality. And you’re inside it.
Luckily, you brought your friends.
I’ve got a virus, and spring is coming, so here goes the head.
The title of this game is because I tried writing something atmospheric, but it ended up being pretentious and clichéd, which would prevent people from understanding what the game was about.
The idea is simple. Do this:
- Go outside with two friends. Be sure to dress right for the climate; you need to be comfortable.
- At some point, one of you will guide one of the others in an encounter with the supernatural.
- Then go to a new place. A new person will be the guide; the previous guide will have an encounter.
Okay. So what’s an encounter?
An encounter means that you get into a headspace where you, for a while, believe in something that isn’t there. You imagine a forest creature, for instance. You talk to it. You feel its presence. As you touch the bark on the tree, you feel how it manifests itself.
At the same time, it lives inside you, because everything we see is made from something we carry within us. We’re part of a big channel of energies and modes of being, and here, you allow the expression of one of them through your imagination and interaction.
Your guide will mostly ask you questions, and encourage you to see and open up.
What’s the supernatural?
This will be some form of natural spirit or force, for instance: a water nymph, a stone spirit, Crow or Coyote, a huldre, etc.
Any more tips?
Play slow, and take it as it comes. Don’t expect anything huge or mind-blowing. You’re just letting some stuff out, some stuff in, breathing. Let the mood guide you.
José Carlos de Diego Guerrero has written a scenario using Archipelago. My Spanish isn’t very good, but the game seems to have an interesting take on scenario setup, with several decks of cards describing characters (Ada Lovelace, Robur el Conquistador), elements (the Babbage machine, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), locations (Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace), connections, motivations and destinies.
This looks like a very fun and interesting setup – check it out here!
Jason Morningstar contacted me a while back with the idea of revising Archipelago II. He’s done some great work on it, and we’ve tweaked it a little, removing stuff we didn’t use and adding things we liked.
Øivind Stengrundet, designer of “Wanderer” (it’s in the Nørwegian Style book), has gone forth and designed this game – “L.A.R.S.”
L.A.R.S. is a universal roleplaying system designed to be fast and easy to use. The rules are few and flexible, making them perfect if you’re just out to play a quick adventure. But, they can also be used for campaigning, and examples are given on how to adapt the system to your own setting.
You all know about role-playing poems, right? They’re tiny games made to be played in about 15 minutes, often to explore a specific concept, emotion or atmosphere. They’re an excellent vehicle for experimental design – and for design that helps players experiment.
At Solmukohta 2012, I ran a small series of identity poems. These games don’t use fictional characters; they use you, the player. Your history, your identity – these are the playing grounds.
I’ll give a short description of them here. For several of the games, this is the first time I even write down the rules.
3 of me
Based on a previous design, this game is about how we construct the narratives of our own identity; we tell ourselves the stories of our lives, as if we had only one such story and only one identity that was always present or destined to emerge.
Each player gets a challenge from another player, for example: “Tell us how you’ve always been such a weirdo!”, “Tell us how you lost contact with your true self”, “Tell us how you were always a success at what you did”. The player then selects three real events from their life that support this identity, and narrates them. Play passes on to the next player. Ideally played in small groups, so each player can get several challenges; for a group of 3, set aside 20-30 minutes.
About living with labels. You play yourself, exactly as you are. Somehow, you’ve acquired a label – a psychiatric diagnosis. Another player decides on a diagnosis, and sets a scene for play (for example “In the grocery store”, “At the library” etc). A third player plays out the expectations you feel, be it from yourself or the world around you; they follow you around and whisper in your ear. “Hey, you know autists would have a lot of trouble with this disorderly behavior!” “Paranoiacs would certainly see significance in that the number 23 came up again right now.”
This game was very uncomfortable and frustrating – which is great, it only lasts 15 minutes and is made to illustrate a point. When playing, I got really angry at my label, and having to fight it the whole time.
A mellow, strong and potentially fruitful game. Pick two players to play out real people in your life – family, friends, colleagues. Play out a realistic scene, perhaps instructing them as you go along – “my dad would say this and this”, “my girlfriend tends to be more so and so”.
Then, play out two more scenes – 10 and 20 years in the future. The same people are in it; however, you or the group may decide to remove one of them.
After you’re done with your life, it’s someone else’s turn.
This is not a short game, as it turned out. Set aside at least one hour, probably two. Also, it might be interesting to play more than just three scenes, and to discuss between each scene what had happened or could happen. The game wasn’t strong as in “emotionally wrenching”, but more in the sense of “makes you stop and look inside yourself and think for a while”.
Play out a scene from your past – a fight with your mom, the first time you met your boyfriend, whatever. Instruct other players to be the other people present. Then, replay it, and let the other players give you traits, attitudes, tell you what to do. See what happens.
We didn’t get to play this, too little time. It might be intense, I don’t know!
This is a previous design, not tried out before. I wasn’t present while people played, and didn’t get to talk to them afterwards, so I have no idea how it went!
This is a game – or a sandbox – about the rise and fall of tribes, civilizations, creatures and phenomena on the open steppes of an imaginary geography. It’s easily playable in an evening, possibly several times.
Expect play to start out slowly. The setting will grow before your eyes, under your hands. As time passes, interactions and connections tend to develop – organically, because they’re interesting.
There’s a useful thread about the game at Story Games Seattle here: http://www.meetup.com/Story-Games-Seattle/messages/boards/thread/40339592/