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Independent Game Forums => Robert Bohl Games => Topic started by: HiQKid on December 30, 2008, 10:08:25 PM

Title: [Misspent Youth] Con Advice?
Post by: HiQKid on December 30, 2008, 10:08:25 PM
I'm considering running this game at a con, after I run it for my normal playgroup to get a good feel for it. Has anyone run it at a con before, and does anyone have any advice on doing so?

Thanks a lot for any advice!

Title: Re: [Misspent Youth] Con Advice?
Post by: Robert Bohl on December 31, 2008, 08:23:59 AM
Hey Alex!

I've run this game a couple dozen times at cons so I do have some advice, as it turns out!

First, I would recommend not skipping the Authority- and character-creation phases of the game, despite the fact that it might be tempting to do so. I feel like without those, the players won't nearly be as invested in the game, and they'll lose the experience of one of the most-fun parts of the game. That said, you need to keep this phase moving along quickly. Ordinarily lots of asides and time taken to make sure everyone is rabidly enthusiastic is warranted, but at a con you probably want to cut that shit shorter. Ideally you want this step to take no more than an hour of a four-hour slot but I've never been able to make that happen. I usually accept an hour and a half to two hours. I know it seems like a long time but the session itself can blaze forward after that in my experience.

Next, I'd ditch interstitial scenes and focus just on the plot scenes. Furthermore, I'd largely go from conflict to conflict. That ensures that the game gets to completion during the session. I think it's important to go from Exposition to Denouement to give people an idea of how the game runs. Make it clear that in a real session you'd usually have more time to explore, and let them know that you're dropping interstitial scenes.

I want to clarify, though. You don't literally ONLY want to go from one set of rolls to the next, but if you find yourself doing so, if it feels natural, I say embrace it. Give people time to do some free roleplaying if that's what it needs, but also feel free to jump from one conflict to the next. This is particularly useful if free roleplay isn't moving forward. Does that make sense?

Title: Re: [Misspent Youth] Con Advice?
Post by: HiQKid on December 31, 2008, 08:05:16 PM
So... in a summed up form, to make sure I'm getting it, use aggressive scene (or, more specifically, conflict) framing... but do not cut skip any scenes (except interstitials). Do not skip the Authority and Character creation, but do keep it moving. If free roleplay is stalling, push conflict.

Am I right on these points?

If so, I've got another few questions...

Would you still recommend doing the "End of the Line" section? I think it's a good idea, but I do see one side-effect and one potential problem from running a short game.

Side-Effect: More YOs would have "hopeful" endings, I think, as they wouldn't have had as many chances to sell out.
Potential Problem: Since motifs are created at the end of each session, the world ending is guaranteed to go in the Authority's favor.

So, in regards to the second one, would you recommend creating Motifs after each conflict instead of each session (only for short-form games like this)?

And, if you see the side-effect as a problem, what would the solution be? My gut instinct is to say that selling out only prevents defeat, it does not give a win. This would create an increase in sold traits.

Anyhow, I'm not sure either of these are really problems, but they occurred to me and I figured I'd put them up here.

Title: Re: [Misspent Youth] Con Advice?
Post by: Robert Bohl on January 01, 2009, 12:53:08 AM
You are right on those points, yes.

I prefer to do the start-out session where things are fun and open. Point out to people that they COULD sell out every conflict, but to try to play like this wasn't the only session they were going to play in. Keep pointing out the primacy of the group creating a story together. Plenty of times I've had someone considering selling out just to win and I've said something like, "Well, is a win at the expense of your soul what's really going to work well at this point in the story?" It tends to work pretty well.

Also, there's something that Daniel Levine said that is definitely going in the final version. I paraphrase: "If you sell out, you should narrate your character doing something that makes you feel terribly for him." It's got to make you fucking CRINGE. And I'd push that. "Really? Are you cringing from kicking ass and looking like a bad-ass? Shouldn't you be douchier, like The Authority would be?"

Title: Re: [Misspent Youth] Con Advice?
Post by: wrshamilton on August 17, 2009, 11:23:35 AM
Caught a game of this that Robert ran at Games on Demand over the weekend. This conversation in particular is interesting to me because I regretted selling out a trait so quickly, though it felt important at the time to get the Yo's moving towards their goals. I think this is in part because I then fell flat at the narration, but also in part because I hadn't played that trait in its non-sold-out-form yet, so that I ended up feeling like just kind of a bad, not-so-interesting person, instead of a tragedy. I wonder if it might be worth looking into not letting a trait be sold out until it has been "opened," in some sense - had a number written in on its line on the character sheet, maybe.

I really enjoyed the game, though, and am only not going into what I liked and had questions about in more detail in case the notes Robert was taking were for use somewhere.

Title: Re: [Misspent Youth] Con Advice?
Post by: Adam Dray on August 17, 2009, 11:29:35 AM
I ran a 40-minute, single-conflict demo of Misspent Youth and managed to get two or three players to each sell out one traitconvictions in that time. Ha!

As if it were a midpoint, I claimed 4 and 6. When I took their sheets and "redacted" their old convictions with dark, heavy pencil scribbling, everyone at the table moaned and held their heads and such. Then I'd tell them what their conviction had become and they'd start the groaning and head-holding anew. It was awesome. I even repeatedly punctured the paper over one conviction and handed it back. I told them that if I had an X-acto knife, I'd have used that to excise any trace of their childhood, one conviction at a time. They loved it.

Title: Re: [Misspent Youth] Con Advice?
Post by: Robert Bohl on August 17, 2009, 12:18:25 PM
Dude, Adam, that xacto knife thing is fucking awesome!

Wrs: what game were you in and who did you play? I can certainly see the concern about selling out before you use a conviction. I am thinking. I'd write more but I'm typing from my phone.

Please do say what you thought. Either here, or on the playtest forum. I intend to write APs, but if someone else starts one, I can just add to it.

Title: Re: [Misspent Youth] Con Advice?
Post by: wrshamilton on August 17, 2009, 01:27:44 PM
Robert, I played Lillian Terant aka Lil Tyrant, on-camera personality who was about to be indoctrinated, in the Saturday 10-2 game. If I get my thoughts together before you have the time I'll go ahead and start a thread in the Playtesting section, then.

Title: Re: [Misspent Youth] Con Advice?
Post by: Robert Bohl on August 17, 2009, 02:00:26 PM
That's awesome, wrs. We should connect on Facebook so I'm sure to inform you when the game comes out for good. I'm Robert Bohl ( there.