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Author Topic: Prime Time Adventures: Moose in the City  (Read 41263 times)
b_bankhead
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Posts: 259


« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2004, 12:40:52 AM »

Wow! I am simply in awe of the story you guys are creating with PTA.   I am rooting for Moose from the bottom of my heart, I really am, for me the poingnace of the story comes through more than the comedy but I'm sure it must be hilarious to experience.  This story sounds like something that would actually make a wonderful chidren's book. I'm actually sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to what happens to Moose...
Three cheers for your roleplaying group and three cheers for PTA I've had my eye on this game for some months now and it sounds like it's turned into a real winner.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2004, 07:25:18 AM »

Hiya,

There is one phrase that gets repeated by players of PTA over and over. I said it myself about both the games I played in, I heard others say it as we played, and I heard others say it about games that I wasn't in.

It is:
"I would watch this show."

Think about how much TV is crappy and how much everybody really would like to be able, week by week, to watch at least one excellent show. Think about how fast word spreads through our culture when such a show appears.

Every game of PTA apparently has the same effect on the folks involved in play.

Best,
Ron
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Meguey
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« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2004, 10:14:07 AM »

Hi, all. Our kids were totally entranced by the story of the Moose in the city, and wanted to know what happened next. It sounds like it was a lot of fun.

Ron asked for other observations, and anonymouse asked if everyone expected this level of emotional intensity in gaming. Thatís what Iím doing here.

Moose in the City observations:
I think perhaps part of the reason for such deep emotional connection, not only with the story but between the players, has to do with it being a childrenís story/show.  Each player brought to the game his (they were all male, right?) own wounds/issues/baggage from childhood, and was able to address that issue in a safe, supportive and constructive way, because he could also maintain adult consciousness and awareness of how things ought to go, both for literary purposes and for emotional well-being.  Childrenís stories (the better ones at least) address things that are very deep (fitting in, being able to communicate and connect, feeling loved and cared for and heard, being able and competent and free from attack or abuse) in ways that are very accessible to our subconscious.

When we play adult characters in adult situations, we are not as vulnerable because of our years of practice guarding ourselves, and our subconscious comes out in other ways. When we play children (or play for children, as Moose and Susan would be), our subconscious is right there and we are much more open and vulnerable, which would naturally lead to greater connection and emotional weaving between players. Kids make very strong emotional connections and associations very quickly; Iíve had kids cry in real sorrow when  someone they didnít know two hours ago has to leave the playground, because that person was such a good friend. Yes, they may forget that child entirely in two weeks, but still, they are that open, and when we play children, we put ourselves back in that open place. (Itís one of the challenges of parenthood, to keep adult emotional space, because itís so easy to sink back into the familiar emotional space oneís children inhabit, and react to them in that space.)

I would expect the adult mind to have better retention of connection, so Iím not surprised by the emotional impact of the game. Iíd like to know whether other PTA games have had the same effect Ė if so, then most of my theory is obviously wrong.

Emotional depth in gaming:
I look for this level of emotionally meaningful gaming about ľ or more of the time Ė if itís less than that, Iím probably not feeling very committed to the game. Some games are just goofy fun, like what Iíve played of  InSpectres; some are very cool but not as deeply compelling, like what Iíve played of Universalis (although I clearly see where it could be!); some bring up entirely other emotional responses, like My Life with Master and KPFS; some seem to hit every time, like Dogs in the Vineyard or our home-brew of Ars Magica . I have to say, though, if you want more emotionally fulfilling gaming, keep poking at the games available and at your gaming group, because the right combination of the two can be found.

Looking forward to playing PTA as well as serving on the PTA~
Meguey
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2004, 04:23:01 PM »

Hello,

In addition to agreeing fully with Meg, I'll highlight this point:

Quote
Childrenís stories (the better ones at least) address things that are very deep


We mentioned this right away in deciding on a series premise before playing - as I recall, more than one person stated up-front that a good kids' show was about serious issues. We also tuned into the whole idea of "guy trying to deal with city hassles" would be a good premise for such a show.

To finish up the discussion of our play-experience, the episode ended with a couple of short scenes. Moose and Susan checked in with each other in a nice interaction, in which each was making sure that the other one's crisis, whatever it may have been, had worked out OK. I got the idea as a viewer that either would have helped the other a lot, if it hadn't been for the bad timing of both having a crisis at once.

The whole thing ended with the kids, Susan, and Moose eating popcorn at his place as the credits rolled.

Right after we finished, we all went into the other room of the hotel suite, where a bunch of folks were played a lively game of Pagoda, and I supposed I surprised Matt by just coming up and embracing him for what must have seemed like no reason.

Best,
Ron
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Caldis
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Posts: 359


« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2004, 06:57:38 PM »

Quote from: Meguey

When we play adult characters in adult situations, we are not as vulnerable because of our years of practice guarding ourselves, and our subconscious comes out in other ways. When we play children (or play for children, as Moose and Susan would be), our subconscious is right there and we are much more open and vulnerable, which would naturally lead to greater connection and emotional weaving between players.


I'll agree with this and I think that humor acts in a similar manner.  At least in my experience the best games I've ever been in didn't involve people sitting around seriously trying to roleplay they came about through friends laughing having a good time who just happen to role play.  Heck a lot of the time we werent even really planning on role playing just hanging out and someone suggested hey lets role play.  We were already in a state of kidding around having a good time and humor lets us drop our guard and go for it in a way that I havent seen in more serious fare.
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John Harper
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« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2004, 10:34:02 PM »

What an amazing Actual Play report. I gotta say, I'm not surprised. PTA just seems to have some special mojo that brings these sorts of experiences out of people.

All of my PTA games, both as player and Producer, have resulted in a kind of giddy, bouncing-in-your-chair kind of reaction from everyone as we grin after a good scene and say "Oh man... I want to watch this show!"

Thanks for sharing the Moose with the rest of us.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #21 on: September 01, 2004, 01:07:32 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Every game of PTA apparently has the same effect on the folks involved in play.
Yep. We had some problems with some of how things worked when playing (Matt has ironed out these wrinkles since). But even with the problems, we still said exactly the same thing. Not just "I'd watch this show," but "God, how I wish this show existed so I could watch it."

If nothing else, every TV exec needs to own a copy of this game. :-)

Mike
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John Harper
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« Reply #22 on: September 01, 2004, 01:58:02 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
If nothing else, every TV exec needs to own a copy of this game. :-)


My boss, a two-time Emmy award winning writer for television, said exactly the same thing. :)
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Joshua A.C. Newman
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« Reply #23 on: September 12, 2004, 02:46:11 PM »

This is hot. I've just read the first page here and I see why V. is so into this now.

This kind of experience is exactly the kind of thing I'm often working toward when I play, GM, or design a game. When I play, it often happens, as long as my fellow players and GM are on the same side. When I GM, almost never (or maybe it's just because I know what's going on too much to be too worried for the PCs), and when I design, well, I think I've got an inkling, but it's borken right now.

V., get me a copy of this game. I suspect that's already in the works, but ye gods, man, this seems really fun. And plagiarizable. Did I write that out loud?

Edit, 5 minutes later:
Meg, this is one of the reasons I started to build Under The Bed. The criticisms of the game (which I just mistyped as "mage"...) that don't have to do with the end of the game (or lack thereof) tend to be the "I feel so vulnerable and worried" type. You made a bad face when we played and you realized that our child was not well. That's partly because the game is deliberately tragic, but also because there's not enough potential for collapse toward a particular direction of growth. The child is so torn and dysfunctional that sHe kinda winds up staying the same.

It sounds like Moose In The City is actually a similar type thing (I think it's awesome that there's so much discussion of the content of a session, by the way. Very, very encouraging): it has to do with the metaphorical growth and change we go through, but it sounds like the structure of the game is so good that it solves every issue I have with every RPG I've played, ever. Well, except for Dogs, actually. That is, it helps you figure out what the story's about, what everyone does in the story to illustrate that theme, and what the characters do when they figure out what it's about.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #24 on: September 12, 2004, 04:25:02 PM »

Hi Nikola,

There are a lot of games that are built on this principle, among them:

Dust Devils, The Riddle of Steel, Sorcerer, Prince Valiant, Zero, The Mountain Witch, Robots & Rapiers, My Life with Master, le mon mouri, InSpectres, Legends of Alyria, Trollbabe, Nine Worlds, and HeroQuest

I can say with extreme confidence and much experience that all of these games stand with Primetime Adventures and Dogs in the Vineyard for structurally and procedurally reinforcing what you describe:

Quote
It helps you figure out what the story's about, what everyone does in the story to illustrate that theme, and what the characters do when they figure out what it's about.


By "figure out," I'm confident that you are talking about a proactive and judgmental process on the part of all the participants, rather than a telepathic or guessing-based one regarding what another person (the GM) has in mind. If I'm right about that, because that's how PTA works, then again, I suggest that all of the above games are rather shockingly suited to this very thing, each in a different way.

Best,
Ron
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Lisa Padol
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Posts: 365


« Reply #25 on: September 15, 2004, 08:21:49 AM »

Wow. Yes, I'd watch that show.

How does one get into these games at GenCon? They're not on the schedule, and they're not demos. The demos run short and sweet, which is only fair, as the idea is to introduce as many folks as possible to these games so that they'll buy them and play them. I enjoyed the PTA demo I got into, though I was very sleep depped. I'm not entirely sure if we created a show I would want to watch -- it was a Buffy/Angel rip off -- but we were really in Demo Mode. You know, disassemble the watch, look at the cool gears, put it together, rush to next game. I really want to see this, MLWM, Nine Worlds, Dogs in the Vineyard, and With Great Power in play for more than just 5 minutes. We're starting with MLWM this Saturday.

The thing I'm trying to grok is how much space there is in these games for, well, roleplaying. So much stuff seems far more mechanics dependent than I'm used to. Then again, the Pendragon game I played in at Origins taught me how much fun fumbling a Courtesy roll could be.

-Lisa
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #26 on: September 15, 2004, 08:55:02 AM »

Hi Lisa,

When you say, "how much role-playing goes on," I really have no idea what you mean. Maybe my comments in RP'ing and acting are relevant, I'm not sure.

As the GM in Moose in the City, I consider us to have been role-playing throughout every moment of the session, even when we were addressing one another completely as ourselves, not as the characters. We were imaginatively engaged throughout, as authors and audience and often in combination.

Acting came into it occasionally, mainly through voice work most of the time, and in some cases (especially Calder) it was brilliant. I modestly claim my hairdresser wasn't too shabby, as acting.

But the point is that these acting moments were Ephemeral bits being introduced to drive home whatever role-playing they were part of. We were role-playing the whole time.

To answer your first question, the way to get involved with these games after-hours is to maintain a social connection with the Forge folks and make plans to join us at dinner. Usually people broke up into dinner-bunches, with planned get-togethers at various hotel rooms.

A big part of being able to do this, though, means getting away from a sleep-deprived existence. Most of the time, we'd meet at about 8:00 and get to bed between 11:00 and midnight. Some folks took it longer than that, but not many. Hitting the sack and being ready for the next day is important at GenCon.

Best,
Ron
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Lisa Padol
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Posts: 365


« Reply #27 on: September 15, 2004, 12:32:15 PM »

Mm, yes, sleep deprivation is an issue.

Not that I would have done it any other way -this- time. Josh and I finally made Iron Ref a reality, and we got to play in 2 Deliria games. (9pm-1am, and a by-popular-demand part 2, 8pm-2am) We touched base with Kat Miller, who runs great Everway games. At 8am.

Next time, I may try something saner. Of course, that won't be next year -- we have the Glasgow World Science Fiction Convention that year, and it's not practical to do both that and GenCon. Josh is trying to convince me that Origins is still practical, but I dunno.

As for what I mean about roleplaying, I need to think about that myself. And to play the games!

-Lisa
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Lisa Padol
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Posts: 365


« Reply #28 on: September 15, 2004, 08:35:39 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
When you say, "how much role-playing goes on," I really have no idea what you mean. Maybe my comments in RP'ing and acting are relevant, I'm not sure.


It is. I think I prefer a more acting-heavy style than you do.  Without enough of that (and I'm not sure what "enough" is), the game starts to look more like a parlor game / odd kind of strategy game.  Or a storytelling game that isn't an rpg. This is why I need to see the games in action -- until then, I'm just scratching my head, saying, "I don't see how this works."

Fortunately, these games are small. I can pack MLWM, PTA, and Dogs without straining anything.

-Lisa
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