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[Snow Day!] First actual play report - long

Started by hanschristianandersen, June 07, 2004, 06:28:29 AM

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I got a pleasant surprise in my email inbox this afternoon, when my brother sent me emails linking to some accounts of an actual game of Snow Day that his college friends played.  I've collected the threads and compiled them chronologically.

I've inlined a handful of comments in red, but mostly I don't have much to say except that I really enjoyed reading it, and I'm basking in the warm glow of knowing that a group of people whom I've never met played and enjoyed my game.  Mmm...

From Sarah's (one of the players) blog:

Fort Joey indeed did fall last night. Despite the fact that I could ill-afford the time, I am very, very glad that I played. It's a wonderful game about a bunch of kids trying to take a snow fort from another bunch of kids, involving one stat: age. Maria and I played identical twins who could (sometimes) telepath; we had all sorts of wonderful synergistic moments. Matt was our older brother, Mike and Lou were his good friends, and Kris and Aaron were their respective siblings. Mad props to Kris for playing a 5 year old girl. Anyhow, after a long and wonderful battle, the survivors of our little task force did, indeed, take Fort Joey; as it was me, Maria, and Kris, we renamed it Fort Girl and then wouldn't let any of the boys in. Because they had cooties. bwahahaha!Plus I was still mad at Aaron/William for putting snow down my pants earlier. :) But it was a very, very atmospheric game - GD [The GM] brought hot chocolate and left all the windows open so it got cold, and our character sheets were lined paper with Crayola marker on them. If something needed to be changed, you crossed out the old number and wrote a new one next to it. I wrote left-handed; my char sheet looks like an 8 year old wrote it. I hereby declare last night to be the Best One Shot Ever.


Came back, dreamed about Ft. Joey. That was something of a first.

From the Stanford Gaming Society's forum's "Stories and Quotations" page, by one one the players

"You're who they're talking about when they say you throw like a girl." - Aaron, to Kris (playing a 5-yr-old girl)
"Salt tastes like peepee!" - Kris
"There are many bodily excretions which contain salt." - Aaron
Sigh.  Trust college students to take my wonderfully nostalgic game of childhood and corrupt it with potty humor.  Ah well, who am I kidding - I *know* kids have conversations like that.
Then there was the time Sarah and I (we played identical twins) both tried to get something out of our dad' study while the other distracted him. I distracted him first by asking where babies come from. Five minutes later Sarah got caught in a "secret hiding spot" that happened to contain girlie magazines, which led to another very awkward conversation about where babies come from.

Sarah's reply to the SGS Forum Post

I would like to point out that it was Lizzy, the youngest of the group at age 5, who both a) was first to enter Fort Joey, b) led the final assault on the inner sanctum of the fort (although somewhat unwillingly), and c) was one of the last 2 standing when we took the fort. And she got 4 gold stars, whoop!

One of my fav. situations was Timmy's ice monster. Timmy (played by Lou) was 13 and thus kinda too old for fantasy things like ice monsters. Nonetheless, he tried to make a snow catapult from a 4'x4' and a kitchen funnel. His incantation went horribly wrong, Incantation?  Interesting take on Ice Monster creation however, and the catapult began to attack him. After both he and Lizzy tried to regain control of it (I failed by rolling a 1, gosh darn it), the twins Gina and Jenny confused it into being good by running around it with their identicalness. Soon after the twins and Timmy got in a fight over which gender had more cooties and after Jenny was taken out the twins lost control of the catapult, which then defaulted back to attacking Timmy. Eric the Red (Mike) had managed to craft a snow cannon from a leafblower and fortunately was able to use this to intimidate the catapult into behaving. Later, the catapult and cannon both participated in a frontal assault on the fort. Eric the Red was taken out by a giant whirling snow monster of smashy-smashy A giant whirling snow monster of smashy-smashy?  Sweet! and thus his snow cannon dissapated, again leaving the catapult masterless. It fought a one-on-one duel with the smash-monster until the smash-monster died, at which point it fired on Timmy, scared him away, and thus dissappated itself. Or something like that, it all got very complicated. The rules don't really say anything about Ice Monsters going out of control... however, and out-of-control Ice Monster is basically the same thing as an GM-declared Ice Monster Peril; Peril Rating and Ice Monster Power being mechanically near-identical.  I suppose that's just Currency in action.

My reply to Sarah's original blog post

Whoah, someone actually played my Snow Day!

I'm curious how the game worked in application, so I'm going to bug you with a whole bunch of questions.  What were some of the more interesting things that you used Fantasy Checks and Reality Checks for? What was the characters' mix of ages?
What Activities did you do, and in what order? Did you ever have to resolve consensus via Snowball Fight?
What kinds of Cunning Plans did you come up with? How heavily defended was the Fort?
How often did you go in for cocoa?
How many Gold Stars were earned, and did people make a big fuss about them?

Sarah's reply to my reply

We did indeed. It rocked. :) Let's see... age wise, we had a five year old, a six year old, the eight year old twins, two twelve year olds, and a thirteen year old. Fort Joey was defended by (I think) a fifteen year old, a fourteen year old, two twelve year olds, a ten year old, and an eight year old. They had four monsters between them. I think we had three... we were seriously outgunned, actually. Gold stars: a decent number were given out. And yes, we were excited by them. I'm glad to hear it.  They're mechanically useless, but they're supposed to be a "reward" anyway. GD [The GM] decided that having a gold star roll meant that something special would happen, so when Luke got one in his effort to distract the neighbor's dog, the dog decided that Luke was cool and followed him into battle.  I wonder if I should add that to the rules in time for the IGC book, or would that devalue the irony of Gold Stars' inherent uselessness?  Evidently not, according to this play report. For awhile. Then, a few were just given out for random REALLY COOL IDEAS. Like when my character's sister decided to keep our Dad busy by asking him where babies come from. :)  okay, this is *definitely* going into the rules.

Activities: I remember that we picked a random fight, went looking for secret tunnels, did some scouting/preliminary raiding, and then built snow monsters. We never actually had to resolve consensus with a snowball fight, but we did have one amongst the PCs anyway. William the 6 year old announced that girls had cooties, and therefore my twin sister and I had to beat up on him. Which would have worked great, except his 13 year old brother got involved. :)

We went in for cocoa twice, I think. Depended on which characters.

We actually didn't play a full game; we conquered the fort right at bedtime but discovered it was also bedtime OOC...That's just too perfect for words. it being finals week, there was no good time to finish Part II, so we halted there. Ergo, we only had one Cunning Plan, codenamed Operation Polar Scorpion (why? because it sounded cool!), which involved salting the spikes, because we knew that salt melted ice. We honestly should have failed; we had a string of REALLY lucky rolls, and we really almost didn't make it. I think we had 4 slush points left amongst the lot of us by the very end.

Various cool things that we Fantasy/Reality checked for... Gina and I, being twins, fantasy checked to be able to telepath at one point. William, the six year old, caused a bottomless pit to swallow a random bully - we were all rather in awe. There were a lot of other cool ones, too, but I can't remember them right off the top of my head.

Matthew's (another player) reply to my reply

Here's my info. As mentioned, I played as well.

Ages were 2 13s, 1 12 (me), 2 8s, 1 6, 1 5. Joey's side had 1 15, 1 14, 2 12, and 1 8.
Some of the more interesting fantasy checks: creating and throwing magical snowballs, creating bottomless pits, creating magical ice swords, creating a guardian snow angel.
Some of the more interesting reality checks: Convince a dog to become my friend, tackling enemies, sneaking into an ambush.

Activities, in order:
1) Snowball fight with some 1 11, 3 10, and 1 9 year old.
2) Searching for a tunnel to the fort and scouting the fort
3) Creating snow monsters.
4) Snowball fight over whether girls had more cooties than boys
5) Dinner (outside so we didn't waste our snowmonsters)/stealing salt for the attack on the ice spikes
6) Planning the raid (Operation Polar Scorpion, aka OPS) on Ft. Joey
7) Attacking and taking for Joey.

As mentioned, the only in-group snowball fight was about whether girls had more cooties than guys.

The monsters designed (with supplies and success or failure) were:
1) Ice Tank (Cardboard Box + Hammer, failure)
2) Ice Cannon (with Leafblower, success)
3) Fire-breathing Ice Wallcrawler (Firebreathing nun doll + nightcrawler doll, failure)
4) Ice Transport (Wheelbarrow, failure)
5) Ice Catapult (2x4 + Funnel, created and went berserk)
6) Ice Pegasus (Ice cubes + fairy costume wings, success)

Hmm... I was surprised to read about "failing" to make Ice Monsters, it's not something I had thought of.  In retrospect, the text does support that, because "Sculpting Ice Monsters to assist you" is one of the example uses of Fantasy Checks.

The cunning plan was to use salt to melt the snow spikes. One of the kids parents had mentioned needing salt to clear the ice at his house. Of course, being kids, we just used table salt....

In addition to the aforementioned 5 kids (Joey's side had 1 15, 1 14, 2 12, and 1 8), Joey's snow fort had 4 monsters for the final assault. An Ice Snake (taken out pretty early), an Ice Snowman who could hold/throw two snowballs, an Ice Bat (which could drop a buck of freezing water on someone for 5 slush points), and an Ice ball-and-chain. I think the Snake and Bat were the 8 year olds, the snowman was a 14 (?) and the ball and chain was a 12 (?).

As mentioned, Cocoa depended on the characters. Some people went in more often than others, although most people didn't go in more than 2 or 3 times (depending on if you count the requisite dinnertime or not).

Gold stars...gah...I ended with 2. Most people, if not everyone, had more than me. Was more a fun thing when you got gold stars. It became a problem with things like the twins telepathy getting a gold star (as they only needed 1 roll for that), so who gets the star? Still, that was easily solved by giving it to both of them.

All in all, it was really a fun game.
Hans Christian Andersen V.
Yes, that's my name.  No relation.

Mike Holmes

Too cool. Hans, if you want to get in a revision with the gold star rule, go for it. OTOH, maybe people will figure it out on their own, which might be better. Your choice.

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