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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 54 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: George's Children  (Read 3086 times)
jim pinto
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« on: September 05, 2007, 02:47:52 PM »

Players: Aaron, James, Joel, Jim, jim, and Richard

I ran a 6-player session of GC last night for players who are usually enjoying D&D Iron Heroes or Mutants and Masterminds. The session, for all it's hic-cups, was pretty good and one of the players offered a lot more than expected. It was interesting to see them wrapping their heads around the idea of no GM and competing for "attention" (which is essentially what complications are).

Aaron opened the story with 12-year old Mike (who hated being called Mikey). He lived in an old subway bathroom and ventured out for food every morning. A lone six-year old had fallen through the dilapidated ceiling a pack of three dogs were circling him like food. Mike grabbed a massive rock to smash one of the dogs with, but a fourth dog approached and scared Mike. Thinking the situation a distraction, the six-year old fled down the tunnel and the pack of dogs chased, mauling and feeding on the child. Mikey failed to get food.

Morris (11-year old played by Richard), slept in a catwalk above the tracks, miraculously spared from the collapse of the ceiling. Morris worked his way down and sneaked away from from the chaos to get a ho-ho out of a vending machine hidden deep in the subway. His shoes were worn and Richard spent a lot of time describing the environment around him. Morris was able to get the last ho-ho out of the machine without it closing on his hand.

Jim played a 10-year old named Johnny who woke that morning from inside the trunk of a parked car. He walked the streets, looking for food, uneventfully. He would prove to be a huge thorn in Morris' side all game long.

Joel played a 9-year old (named Zeb) with a simple desire to stand out from the group and eat ice cream, which he never discovered. He was a pampered child who lived inside his parent's home, even though the parents were long gone. He fell during breakfast trying to get to the last box of cereal at the top of shelf of the kitchen.

I played an 8-year old (something I hadn't done before) named Tommy who wanted to kiss a girl, but suffered from delusions. He lived in an orphanage and escaped into the city wearing a labcoat from the orphanage.

James played Cletus, a 7-year old boy with a penchant for fun.

Highlights of the game include:
Morris was an absolute bully to all the kids.
James grabbed a fistful of quarters from the ashtray of a parked car and some big kids chased us off. James later used those quarters to ride the helicopter ride outside the Wal-Store.
Finally finding a shoe store that only had women's shoes.
The realization that Tommy wasn't from an orphanage but a mental ward. He fell asleep on the ground next to a dead dog at the end of the story.
Jim broke the social contract and had Richard's character die.
The strengths written on the character sheets were extremely creative.

This one a really strong demonstration of the game, overall, but the play style was VERY VERY different from what everyone was used to. Jim expressed interest in playing again sometime and Aaron and I had fun, as always, playing the game.

The size of the group did limit our ability to play to five glory (we stopped at three) in a short amount of time and I'm sure a second playing of the game might change everyone's ability to relate to a game that is so different from the standard non-indie paradigm.
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jim pinto
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2007, 09:55:57 AM »

Hi Jim,

I've been following the development of George's Children from the beginning, and bought a copy a couple of months ago. I've had an odd time with the text: first, I was excited (even watching the old Star Trek episode "Miri" over again out of that excitement), then I was kind of bummed because the design seemed too much like parlor narration to me, and then, in the last week, pulling it out again and saying "how do these narration rules work out, anyway," and determining to try the game. So your post is well-timed for me.

One thing that kind of puzzled me a bit in the text was the emphasis on hard-line action: attacking wolves, attacking gangs, and that kind of thing. My own tastes run more toward kid-level conflicts, even in a shattered world. My favorite example from your game is the kid trying to get the cereal box down. The emphasis in the examples and some of the situations in your game seem to contradict one of my favorite bits from the game's introduction: "In George's Children, the standard tropes of Mad Max do not apply."

What do you mean by Jim breaking the social contract? Is that the same as killing the other player's character, or different? I'm trying to figure out how the other character was killed, by the rules - in Chapter Five, the rules are absolutely clear that it cannot be done. So how did that happen?

Finally, did the question "who was George" get answered in your game?

Best, Ron

P.S. Great freaking cover art. I just look at it and look at it.

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jim pinto
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Posts: 42

purple monkey dishwasher


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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2007, 05:35:01 PM »

Ron,

Thanks for the good and bad comments.

And yes, the art is amazing.

As for your concerns, you are not the first person to disagree with the "writing." It is a little parlor-ish, I admit, but the ability to "interrupt" and add to the story changes that. And in the end, it does, at every step, feel like children telling stories. I've recognized that once people have played it, they get a better sense of how it works, so more of these kinds of posts would certainly help to examine what I've done with it.

Certainly kid-level conflicts should exist in the game, but the majority of people who play it for the first time focus on what they know about post-apocalyptic stories. No food. No shelter. Etc.

Jim and Richard play a great deal together and while I had made it clear that killing other characters was a no-no, he narrated Richard's death anyway during Bedtime.

It wasn't worth arguing about.

And no. We didn't address who George was. But that is certainly among one of the best ACT II discussions the children can have... ala bloody mary and other child-oriented urban legends.

If you do play it, I'd love to see an AP.

Peace
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jim pinto
savant this!
longbowx@juno.com
greatcleave.blogspot.com
jim pinto
Member

Posts: 42

purple monkey dishwasher


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« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2007, 12:03:50 AM »

Also note, that the game plays best with three or four people.
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jim pinto
savant this!
longbowx@juno.com
greatcleave.blogspot.com
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2007, 04:23:45 AM »

Hi Jim,

One lesson I've learned the hard way, over and over again, is that my reading of a game is only one step in understanding it. I've been amazed at how well some games play, when I'd thought they'd be broken or annoying, and I've been amazed at how poorly others played, when I thought they'd be wonderful and logical. My current take on George's Children, therefore, is profound curiosity, especially since rules that rely on structured narration are, by definition, ambitious.

Best, Ron
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