*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
April 16, 2014, 02:29:38 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 66 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: [Best Friends] Hard Times in Loveless Gulch  (Read 5774 times)
Caesar_X
Member

Posts: 84


« on: August 30, 2007, 10:21:23 AM »

(cross-posted from S-G)

Last night Malcolm Craig visited EndGame in Oakland, and some folks sat down for a pick-up game of Best Friends. This was the first time for all of us besides Malcolm, and we played it GM-less. Conflicts were flying around like bullets at the OK and I tried to take notes but probably missed a few of the conflicts not involving Eugena (my character).

After a little discussion, we decided to set it in a cinematic version of the Old West in a tiny little town called 'Loveless Gulch'. We had:

Miriam Birch, who spent most of her time with horses and was a better shot then the men.
Eugena O'Flannery, who was married to the preacher and spit tobacco when he wasn't around.
Texas Lil, a jaded romantic madam who had an enormous library of books and couldn't read.
Veronica, a polygamist songstress who was on the run from the law.
Louise, the demure schoolmarm who was completely tone-deaf.

We needed a kicker to start the game off, so we decided that a murderer was going to be hanged that day, which gave the ladies (and I use that term loosely) a chance to congregate in the saloon half-owned by Texas Lil while the men-folk finished up the scaffolding outside.

Evidently Lil's saloon partner had been killed and Miriam's pa was on the noose. But Miriam didn't seem too put up about it, Veronica was clearly hiding from something, and Eugena was smitten with the deputy lawman who showed up in town to preside over the hangin'. When Eugena opened one button too many on her dress to dazzle the deputy, Veronica stepped in and played a sweet song on her guitar to impress the silver star. But Eugena took her flirting just far enough, and when the deputy opened his arms to embrace her, he swung back and smacked Veronica's guitar...breaking a string and knocking the poor songstress to the floor. While this potential adultery was a-going on, Lil got suspicious and tried to get the truth out of Miriam, who played it smart and got away from the subject. Louise went over to talk to the bruised Veronica and told her she knew what was up with Miriam. And turns out that Veronica's former husband had done some bad things, but everyone knew she was lying in her teeth about something. Still following?

Before we went to the hanging scene, everyone wanted a flashback scene to the funeral of Willie Makit (Lil saloon partner) a few days earlier. The preacher was giving his sermon about the evils in the town and how we need to repent and forgive, while the ladies gave furtive glances at their town sisters. Eugena noted with horror that her preacher husband was gesturing with *her* gilt-edged bible, which was actually hollowed out so she could keep her makeup case at the ready. She tried to get it back from him, and Veronica tried to intercede so the evil bible would be unveiled to all. But Veronica slipped and fell into the open grave while Eugena did a quick swap and got her "holy book" back.

Flashforward back to normal time and the ladies are walking outside to watch the hanging. The preacher is saying his solemn words up on the scaffolding with the deputy and the unfortunate Pa with the noose around his neck. Veronica just can't stop loving men, and she runs outside with a telegram from a high-priced lawyer back east to "Stop the hanging!" She runs up the scaffolding and presents the deputy with the telegram, who announces it as legit and puts the execution off for the day. Eugena runs out and yells, "Well if he didn't do it...who did?" And in the ensuing confusion, the ungraceful Veronica slips and falls off the scaffolding as the scene fades to black.

Next scene is at the "No One Got Hung" dance that night in the saloon. Veronica and the man were playing a festive tune, and she is singing brightly about the brave deputy. Eugena tries to stop her but fails this time, and Veronica falls off the stage and straight into the arms of the young lawman. Louise takes the ill-chosen opportunity to hop up on stage and sing with the band. She is tone-deaf and it's so bad the dogs run for cover while Eugena fumes.

The next day is Sunday, so all the folks are a-going to church. The preacher is talking about fire & brimstone and Veronica is flirting away with the deputy sitting next to her. Eugena tries one last attempt to get the deputy back by putting an expensive ring in the collection tray where he can see it. The scene fades with Veronica swinging alone on the treeswing outside while Eugena and the deputy share a scoop at the ice-cream social. The preacher is inside going through the collection tray and is taken aback to recognize the pricey ring in there.

It was getting late, so we decided to have one last scene in the saloon at night during a bad storm. Thunder shook the building and the shutters smacked loudly from the wind. By this time it had come out that Miriam had actually shot Texas Lil's partner, partially because she knew Lil would get full ownership of the saloon but mostly to get back at her good-for-nothin' father. Veronica and Eugena were still making tongues wag with their incessant lawman-chasing. But when the townsfolk found out that Louise the schoolmarm owned a pair of black lace undies...well that just couldn't stand. They forgot all about the murder and adultery and threatened to pull their kids out of the schoolhouse. That is, until they realized that Louise was a certified genius and everyone else was just too darned stupid to teach their kids anything.

It was the worst of times. But in the end, they were all still Best Friends.

==

The rules to the game were very clear and easy to follow. I liked the stat creation (I hate xx because she is smarter/prettier/etc. than me) and really like the currency trading to "push" stats in a scene. But most importantly, the rules didn't get in the way of telling a great story. I think the best rule that Malcolm noted was that "conflicts can be with another person or object or situation, but they *must* be opposed by someone at the table or they aren't a conflict". This led to the "spiderweb of petty hatreds" that we saw at the table.
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2007, 04:52:01 AM »

Hello,

GMing is often an interesting task in Best Friends. In our game, we diminished its central role by shifting scene-framing around the table (a bit of Drift). Did your game feature a more central GM, as in the rules? If so, what was that like?

Best, Ron
Logged
Caesar_X
Member

Posts: 84


« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2007, 10:02:02 AM »

Hi Ron,

We decided not to use a traditional GM,  but rather rotated the scene-framing around the table.  Which led the number of conflicts each character was in to be a little lopsided in favor of a few players who were perhaps either more social or more experienced with narrative-based games.  But hopefully not too bad.  As the "facilitator", Malcolm was doing a good job of keeping the players all invested in the story and asking for their input into scenes.

My own experience in GM-less games is that players tend to look towards the person who brings the game to fulfill some of the traditional GM roles.  Typically this is the only person to have actually read the rules, so the other players place a trust in the facilitator as the "rules bearer" and to add at least a little structure to the game.  But then again, I usually play with ad-hoc groups and play with new people a lot.  So the dynamic might be a lot different with regular gaming groups playing GM-less.

Chris
Logged
komradebob
Member

Posts: 462


« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2007, 04:16:19 PM »

I didn't even realize the game was GMed as standard...

That does explain a tiny bit of the weirdness with the scene structure and endgame bit, though.
Logged

Robert Earley-Clark

currently developing:The Village Game:Family storytelling with toys
Caesar_X
Member

Posts: 84


« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2007, 05:04:15 PM »

I didn't even realize the game was GMed as standard...

That does explain a tiny bit of the weirdness with the scene structure and endgame bit, though.
After having read the actual rules this past weekend, Gregor does note that the group should talk about an appropriate ending point for the game before it begins.  That might have helped.  But to be honest, I liked the way the story developed naturally on it's own.  It might have turned out differently had we said at the beginning "let's play until the hanging is over" or something similar.
Logged
komradebob
Member

Posts: 462


« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2007, 08:47:17 AM »

Well, I liked the organic development fine.

I just felt a bit embarassed that I tromped around on some other folks' spotlight time on a couple of occasions.

High-player input situations tend to bring out my (not-very) inner manic brainstormer...
Logged

Robert Earley-Clark

currently developing:The Village Game:Family storytelling with toys
Gregor Hutton
Member

Posts: 274


WWW
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2007, 09:21:02 AM »

Thanks for the post and feedback.

Having now read the rules, would you want to play it again? And, if so, what would you do differently?

I tend to like to play without a GM since I normally don't have enough players to, but at GenCon I played two games: both GMed. (Wow!)

The first, I GMed, and I was an interested observer, explaining the rules but letting the players get on with the playing. I also threw in some adversity in the form of some NPCs, but I was working off what the players were giving me, really. So for me it was low-work and entertaining to watch.

The second, I said "No way, I'm too tired to GM, but I'll play" and my good friend Brian Marshall who was up from Georgia GMed the game. Now a pal gently ribbed me that I ran that game too, but I didn't at all. I guess I was the one Brian looked to when needing a rule clarified or whatever for him. (I think that's more like when one of the players knows the system real well and the GM says "hey you, what the deal here?". I've seen that happen in loads of games before.) But Brian did GM the game: he played the NPCs and threw adversity our way, and made sure we put in our bit of fiction to go with our pushes. It was wild and I really just kicked back as a player. Oh, we did the "last pushed to friend" has to frame the scene thing too. It worked well with someone without a character driving us along.

So, I think it works well with a GM, as long as the GM is happy in that role (i.e. of having no chips and spending time organising play and throwing up/playing NPCs).

For smaller groups where you want to all "play" I say ditch the GMing and share it out.

Oh, and the how does it end discussion can throw up an answer as simple as "whenever it looks to be a good point to end, and we're all cool with flagging that up, right?"
Logged

komradebob
Member

Posts: 462


« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2007, 10:06:49 AM »

Oh, we did the "last pushed to friend" has to frame the scene thing too. It worked well with someone without a character driving us along.

Oh. Interesting. Did we do that one Chris?

Quote
For smaller groups where you want to all "play" I say ditch the GMing and share it out.

Quick question:
After I played this game with the crew, I thought things might have worked better if everyone had full, open access to all of the character sheets ( not like we were hiding them or anything). Do you have any thoughts on that Gregor?

Logged

Robert Earley-Clark

currently developing:The Village Game:Family storytelling with toys
Gregor Hutton
Member

Posts: 274


WWW
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2007, 10:32:33 AM »

After I played this game with the crew, I thought things might have worked better if everyone had full, open access to all of the character sheets ( not like we were hiding them or anything). Do you have any thoughts on that Gregor?

Oh, hell yeah!

All the characters are Best Friends, right? They're not Casual Acquaintances or Vague Pals.

As players you should know all the stuff on everyone's sheet. Well, that's the way I play. I, as a player, can then choose what my Best Friend, as a character, knows of that stuff.

So, say my boyfriend once slept with one of my Best Friends then my character might know about, or maybe not. But that's something I choose as a player, and I can choose to "find out" or to "not find out" in game with a push. In fact, that might be the source of a really nice twist in the tale. If I don't know that stuff how can I even go there?

Think of your own best friends, I bet you know a load of stuff on them.

The only bit I keep secret is the allocating Hatreds at the very start, just so no one gets all whiney and changes the Hatreds because they saw what you think of them, y'know? And note that the Hatreds get revealed once they're done, with much sniggering.
Logged

Caesar_X
Member

Posts: 84


« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2007, 04:37:22 PM »

Quote
Having now read the rules, would you want to play it again? And, if so, what would you do differently?

I definitely want to play it again, and in fact am trying to schedule a game with my non-gamer wife and a few of our friends.

I don't think I would do a lot differently.  I read the rules the other day and saw the GMs info about adding adversity and NPC stats and such.  And maybe it was just our group, but we didn't seem to need direct conflicts with anyone but ourselves.  And that was really a lot of fun.

I would certainly make sure everyone could see all the character cards and encourage them to play off of those.
Logged
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!