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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Cold City] Gen Con After Hours Game  (Read 20198 times)
Rob MacDougall
Member

Posts: 160


« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2006, 02:06:15 PM »

Hi, everybody. My name's Rob MacDougall (note spelling - Mac, two Ls - if you google that spelling you'll see my weird history weblog and more actual references to me, although I am not "one of Canada's most recognized sports artists"). I occasionally post here, at Story Games, and at the 20x20 Room, I post a fair bit of gaming stuff on my LiveJournal, and I lurk a lot, although I've been without a regular gaming group since I left Boston last year (anybody reading this in Southwestern Ontario?) I wish I'd been at GenCon, and I wish I'd been in this game, but alas I was not.

I now return you to your regular Actual Play post.

Rob MacDougall
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Malcolm Craig
Member

Posts: 263


WWW
« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2006, 02:07:15 PM »

What I like most is that the top hits are this thread, where we're calling you by the wrong name.

Yeah, Malcolm, I'd really like to thank you for stepping up for what could have been a difficult conflict between us as friends. I think we came out as better ones, though.

Delighted. It was a very challenging but ultimately rewarding gaming experience which has caused me to think deeply about the advice given in the game and how to use this experience and translate it for others. As the game progressed, I was genuinely concerned about the subject matter we were dealing with, but everyone handled very well, something I am very thankful for. I'm also very thankful for your words after the game, which allayed much of my concern about the language and subjects used and for which I am very grateful.

Cheers
Malcolm
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Malcolm Craig
Contested Ground Studios
www.contestedground.co.uk

Part of the Indie Press Revolution
Malcolm Craig
Member

Posts: 263


WWW
« Reply #17 on: August 31, 2006, 02:10:25 PM »

Hi, everybody. My name's Rob MacDougall (note spelling - Mac, two Ls - if you google that spelling you'll see my weird history weblog and more actual references to me, although I am not "one of Canada's most recognized sports artists"). I occasionally post here, at Story Games, and at the 20x20 Room, I post a fair bit of gaming stuff on my LiveJournal, and I lurk a lot, although I've been without a regular gaming group since I left Boston last year (anybody reading this in Southwestern Ontario?) I wish I'd been at GenCon, and I wish I'd been in this game, but alas I was not.

I now return you to your regular Actual Play post.

Rob MacDougall

Now there is a coincidence! Thanks for pitching in, Rob. I have no idea why I thought that Robs' second name was McDougal (or any other spelling of same). Hope this hasn't caused any confusion! If you're at Gen Con next year, you'll need to joing in a game so I can do an AP thread "Featuring the REAL Rob MacDougall!" Or run a game with yourself, Rob Donoghue and Rob Bowell (formerly known as McDougal). An all Rob gaming session.

Thanks
Malcolm
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Malcolm Craig
Contested Ground Studios
www.contestedground.co.uk

Part of the Indie Press Revolution
Joshua A.C. Newman
Member

Posts: 1144

the glyphpress


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« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2006, 03:14:03 PM »

As the game progressed, I was genuinely concerned about the subject matter we were dealing with, but everyone handled very well, something I am very thankful for. I'm also very thankful for your words after the game, which allayed much of my concern about the language and subjects used and for which I am very grateful.

I'm not sure silly accents count as a "language"....

What were your specific concerns? I'm totally cool with talking about this here; I wasn't at all uncomfortable during the game.
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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.
Malcolm Craig
Member

Posts: 263


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« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2006, 06:12:29 AM »

As the game progressed, I was genuinely concerned about the subject matter we were dealing with, but everyone handled very well, something I am very thankful for. I'm also very thankful for your words after the game, which allayed much of my concern about the language and subjects used and for which I am very grateful.

I'm not sure silly accents count as a "language"....

What were your specific concerns? I'm totally cool with talking about this here; I wasn't at all uncomfortable during the game.

Apologies for taking so long in my reply to this.

As far as language goes, I did have momentary concern over some things I said during the encounter with Gruber, specifically the "final solution" remark. However, this momentary concern was allayed by the reaction of the players. My main concern here was taking the game from being intense and dealing with things in a mature manner, to veering into simple exploitation. That was not my intention, but it was my concern at points.

Cheers
Malcolm
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Malcolm Craig
Contested Ground Studios
www.contestedground.co.uk

Part of the Indie Press Revolution
Robert Bohl
Member

Posts: 525


WWW
« Reply #20 on: September 05, 2006, 06:17:00 AM »

I can see that concern, and I think it speaks well of you that you were even worried about it.  That said, you weren't playing it as a mustache-twirling villain spouting puns about the Holocaust, you were playing it as cold, vicious political doubletalk.  So instead of laughter, it was fucking chilling.  Which it should have been.  That line really stuck with me (obviously).
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Game:
Misspent Youth: Ocean's 11 + Avatar: The Last Airbender + Snow Crash
Shows:
Oo! Let's Make a Game!: Joshua A.C. Newman and I make a transhumanist RPG
GB Steve
Member

Posts: 429


WWW
« Reply #21 on: September 05, 2006, 06:29:23 AM »

I'ad agree with that. I think if we're playing post-Nazi monster hunters then we should probably expect references to the Nazis. I think by only portraying them as comedy Indiana Jones villains that we'd doing the game and each other a disservice.

One other thing that did strike me during the game is the very different level at which players set their stakes, from the "I'll ask the police to investigate" to the "I'll wipe him from existence". It seems to me that Josh and I weren't exactly playing on the same scale.

Was this a problem for you Malc as the GM?
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Robert Bohl
Member

Posts: 525


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« Reply #22 on: September 05, 2006, 06:36:21 AM »

Well to be fair the "wipe him from existence" weren't the stakes.  The stakes were just to hide evidence of the murder.  It was the extreme success that had him narrate wiping him from people's memories.
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Game:
Misspent Youth: Ocean's 11 + Avatar: The Last Airbender + Snow Crash
Shows:
Oo! Let's Make a Game!: Joshua A.C. Newman and I make a transhumanist RPG
Malcolm Craig
Member

Posts: 263


WWW
« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2006, 06:40:57 AM »

I'ad agree with that. I think if we're playing post-Nazi monster hunters then we should probably expect references to the Nazis. I think by only portraying them as comedy Indiana Jones villains that we'd doing the game and each other a disservice.

One other thing that did strike me during the game is the very different level at which players set their stakes, from the "I'll ask the police to investigate" to the "I'll wipe him from existence". It seems to me that Josh and I weren't exactly playing on the same scale.

Was this a problem for you Malc as the GM?

Firstly, I appreciate your comments, Rob and Steve, on the issue of the use of certain terms within the game. It was my intention to play Gruber and a cold man with no sense of remorse about his despicable actions, something of a counterpoint to Baum who, in some way, wished to acheive some sort of resolution and peace.

I think the stakes themselves were on pretty much the same level, it was the outcome of the conflict that raised the level. For example (and this is purely from my recollection), when Josh wanted to have Baum get rid of the American agent in the library, the stakes were fairly simple. However, with a roll of 5 successes, this allowed him to go beyond his initial stakes and enact his "removal from memory" ritual. In fairness, this did fit in with the character as a whole. As a GM, this didn't bother me in this instance, as the actions taken and the 'upping' of the stakes through the highest level of success was appropriate to the tone and atmosphere.

However, if it were the case that a player or players were continually changing stakes outwith the strictures of the superlative success mechanic, then this would concern me and I would take it in hand during the game. This having been said, if, even within the confines of the mechanics, such actions are a source of annoyance for other players, then I would of course take that into account as well.

Cheers
Malcolm
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Malcolm Craig
Contested Ground Studios
www.contestedground.co.uk

Part of the Indie Press Revolution
GB Steve
Member

Posts: 429


WWW
« Reply #24 on: September 05, 2006, 07:10:05 AM »

However, if it were the case that a player or players were continually changing stakes outwith the strictures of the superlative success mechanic, then this would concern me and I would take it in hand during the game. This having been said, if, even within the confines of the mechanics, such actions are a source of annoyance for other players, then I would of course take that into account as well.
Is "outwith" Scots for "beyond"?

Are for "taking it into account", how would you propose to do that given the narrative freedom that the game implies?

This sounds similar to the McGuffin problem that I encountered where for about 4 contests in a row the players introduced new things into the game. I found that to preserve some kind of narrative sanity and avoid bloat I started to limit the extent of narrative freedom to things more directly related to the contest at hand and its participants. This went down OK with the players who were, to a certain extent, exploring the limits of their freedom in the context of the playtest.
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Malcolm Craig
Member

Posts: 263


WWW
« Reply #25 on: September 06, 2006, 01:05:19 AM »

Quote
Are for "taking it into account", how would you propose to do that given the narrative freedom that the game implies?

This sounds similar to the McGuffin problem that I encountered where for about 4 contests in a row the players introduced new things into the game. I found that to preserve some kind of narrative sanity and avoid bloat I started to limit the extent of narrative freedom to things more directly related to the contest at hand and its participants. This went down OK with the players who were, to a certain extent, exploring the limits of their freedom in the context of the playtest.

I think you hit the nail on the head right there, Steve. If the narrative exploration of the limits of the game is giving rise to 'bloat', then a communal appreciation of this and discussion as to how to limit it is necessary. It should, in my mind, be limited to the arena of the conflict at hand and what has been set out in the stakes. The intention of this part of the game was to allow partcipants the chance to embellish their narrative in light of a particularly stunning success. Obviously, however, it can lead to issues within the game, whereby the narrative freedom is utilised to whisk things off in directions that may not be desireable.

Cheers
Malcolm
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Malcolm Craig
Contested Ground Studios
www.contestedground.co.uk

Part of the Indie Press Revolution
GB Steve
Member

Posts: 429


WWW
« Reply #26 on: September 06, 2006, 04:01:59 AM »

This all seems rather related to the discussions going on here (Just A Cool Dogs scene) and on Storygames (which is blocked for me at work) about the scope of pre-stake narratives, stake setting and such things.

CC is a game where going beyond the original stakes is expressly permitted, in fact encouraged so there's always a need for some kind of either concensus view or GM veto - something that Brennan talks about in Mortal Coil rulebook (although I can't remember what he calls it). I don't think it's rocket science though.
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