Archive for the ‘Actual Play’ Category

The 101 – Playtest Report

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

Hey ho, 🙂

At long last, this is my playtest report of The 101, the game I sketchily laid out in my last post.

This report is going to be sketchy as well. Mainly, that’s because almost everything important that needs to be said about playing it, I’ve already said it, in person, to the game author, at the sessions.

Still, I think the game works rather nicely and is worth the buzz, so there. 🙂

Context: Recall that the playtest occurred during my June Retreat. (Yeah, this report is kinda late.) Players were myself and my wife Ana, Rogerio, the house owner, and Rui, the game author.

We played exactly three sessions of it. The first two were run by Rui and the last one was run by Rogerio, as Rui wanted to see what the game looked like from the other end.


A World For Torchbearer

Monday, July 17th, 2006

Hello, all, 🙂

First off, this has been a long time coming. What follows is a description of a fictional world, or part of it, that was used to playtest Shreyas Sampat’s new game Torchbearer.

Secondly, this is really just a placeholder. You’ll note that the text doesn’t make many comments on the game itself. That is by design. It was agreed between Shreyas and me that the playtest comments would be submitted directly to him for his review, before being posted publicly.

Nonetheless, in my opinion, the game world we developed for the playtest is way too cool to keep to myself, so I’m posting it here.


June Retreat – Game Report

Tuesday, June 20th, 2006

Ahey, all, 🙂

I’m back!

It was an awesome, awesome week, and now, it’s over and I’m back. I can’t say I wish it had been longer, but then again, I can’t say I wish it had been shorter, either. Seems to me it was just the right amount of time for what we wanted to do!

We played:

  • Shadow of Yesterday – a seven-session story arc that we forced to converge at the end
  • The 101 – test play of a game being developed here in Lisbon
  • Torchbearer – playtesting the concept of generating mythology through play
  • My Life With Master – started, but we ran out of inner fuel to keep going

Over the next few days, I plan to write up extensive Actual Play reports, both here and at The Forge, and maybe even at Story Games. I’ll get started just as soon as I get my notes together.


Coherence at the game table

Monday, June 5th, 2006

Hello, all, 🙂

Yesterday, I had another excellent session of Shadow of Yesterday. While the game is proving to be consistent uncompromising fun, lessons to be learned as regards the nature of role-playing itself are naturally becoming fewer and fewer as our grasp of the mechanics and the game mode increases.

Still, I learned a valuable lesson about coherence at the table, not only from the sessions themselves but also from pre- and post-play talk about what had happened in the previous session and what happened in this one.


Experience Is Bad For You?

Saturday, May 27th, 2006

Hey, all, 🙂

The Shadow Of Yesterday continues to shine for us. After a rather bland start, an awesome third session and a rather bumpy fourth session, last week, we had one of the best RPG sessions I remember ever having in my role-playing career. Ever!

We stopped playing at about 2:00AM. We lingered about for a while, then Ana and I drove home, and because we live far from where we played and we’re responsible for distributing everyone, we didn’t get home till about 3:30.

At 7:30 AM, I still felt like the session had just ended, and I just could bring myself down enough to even think about falling asleep!


Dogs in the Vineyard

Saturday, May 13th, 2006

Hello, 🙂

Yeah, finally, I’ve wanted to try this one out ever since I met the rest of the crazy indie dudes in Lisbon. (Especially Ricardo, who buys indie games in bulk, I suspect…)


Ancient History

Saturday, May 13th, 2006

Hi, 🙂

If I had had a blog, back then, I’m pretty sure all this stuff would have been in here:

  1. First time with GNS: Once upon a time, I read about GNS and I found it interesting, but I didn’t really know what it meant in terms of Actual Play. Here’s me suddenly grasping it.
  2. First time with Sorcerer: Here’s me finally getting to meet some indie fans in Lisbon, and us getting together to play the indie flagship that is Sorcerer. Unfortunately, we never did get the chance to get it to work.
  3. First time with PtA: The first time I actually had an incredibly succesful and fun RPG session. It didn’t begin well, but in the end, it finally fell into place.
  4. First attempt at creating jargon: It failed miserably, but I still think the Shared Gijsbers Space is a worthy concept.
  5. First serious attempt at game design: Here’s the thread that started it all. Power Plays, as it is now called, is an ongoing project, which is currently undergoing the first complete actual rules draft. This project will see the light of day. Of particular significance is the first playtest session.
  6. First complete minigame: Well, microgame, actually. No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You To Die.
  7. First time with TSoY: Well, technically, not the first, as this was our fourth session, including chargen. Nonetheless, this is my wife totally making the game for me.
  8. First time with Capes: Each time I try a new indie game, I get farther and farther from traditional. As usual, there were lots of problems with this one as well. Fortunately, they all got sorted out. I definitely want to play more of this.
  9. First time I was actually surprised by theory: Surprised being the operative word. I’ve learned a lot from a lot of folks a lot smarter than me, but this is by far the weirdest thing I ever did see. The right kind of weird, of course.
  10. First time with Death Stakes: This game is so weird. It’s not supposed to be fun, but it is. Here’s me winning it, and here’s me GMing it. Apparently, there’s two ways to win. If your GM is blown away by your description, you win. If your GM can’t decide between typing and laughing, you win.

That’s it for now. There’s a bunch of definitional blog entries out there that I should have linked to, but since it’s not within my grasp to recall them all, well, hopefully, I’ll just remember to at least refer to them if and when I decide to talk about their respective issues.