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Author Topic: it was a double shot of my baby's love  (Read 5150 times)
Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« on: May 27, 2003, 11:57:48 AM »

Hey everyone,

So, Sunday we had a double-feature with a common theme, one game of Vincent's http://www.septemberquestion.org/lumpley/match.html">Matchmaker, and one of http://evilbobdayjob.tripod.com/ml4u/index.html">My Love for You Is Way Out of Line.

Matchmaker

Okay, we used the rules as they appear on the Lumpley Games website, except we added the http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=943">original victory objectives back in. So instead of a multiple-GMs/one-player game, where the one-player was Cupid, what we had was a competition between Cupid and Everyone Else, with the lovers providing the adversity and determining who won.

And it was quite possibly the most frenetic RPG I've ever played. I was Cupid. Danielle was Everybody Else. And Matt and Tom were the destined lovers. We had five scenes in about an hour, and I think I would have collapsed if we'd had to do two more. I was absolutely crazy shouting suggestions for what to say to Tom and Matt.

That, and the scene framing, totally wrings you out.

Here's how it breaks down:

The destined lovers are the adversity. They hint at the thing they have in common, which if revealed will make them fall in love forever. For our game, this was that they both loved show tunes. They also do red herring hints, potentially leading Cupid to suggest one of them say something that will turn the other off the relationship forever, or giving that ammunition to Everybody Else.

Basically, Everybody Else wins if she can figure out the thing the destined lovers have in common before Cupid does, or if she provokes one of the lovers to say something that will turn the other off the relationship. She lacks the power of scene framing, but she makes up for it with the additional victory condition. Strategy-wise though, it's important for the destined lovers to make use of her, to bring NPCs into scenes, because Cupid's victory strategy is to use scene framing and cutting to keep the destined lovers alone together, and his constant barrage of suggestions to work over topics and eventually get them to discover what they have in common.

And the destined lovers are the judge of who wins. In our game, I had Matt tell Tom that he'd been told what a wonderful singer that his character Chris was, and that was pretty much enough to get the two characters talking about how much they loved show tunes.

Strangely, for the subject matter, it's very much a "guy" game in play. All the shouting and talking over each other from Cupid...it doesn't make for a very polite game. Sure he's cute and all, but he can be a real loudmouth shit.

Suggestions and questions for Vincent:

1. Put the victory conditions back in. The competition aspect is way cooler than the multiple-GMs/one-player thing. Of course, then you're limited to exactly four players. Them's the breaks.

2. Advise the destined lovers to make use of Everybody Else as a source of adversity for Cupid. It's too easy for an aggressive Cupid to cut from scenes where Everybody Else is participating to scenes where the destined lovers happened to run into each other.

3. Regarding the "some way to introduce yourself" requirement for the destined lovers, is this supposed to be revealed prior to Cupid framing the first scene? In our game, Matt was Terry, an administrative assistant, and Tom was Chris, a photocopy repair person. We did the introduction part prior to the framing of the first scene, but the intentional choosing of gender-inconclusive character names by Matt and Tom still created some chaos for us. I figured that without gender being specified, I got to pick. So I framed the scene in the hallway of a wedding reception, and had Cupid suggest to Chris that he ask Terry to go into the men's room and see if something might have happened to Chris' boyfriend, Richard. Tom and Matt didn't think I got to assume gender like that. So they proceeded as the gay male couple they'd envisioned, which made my suggestion seem real weird.

4. Consider giving some additional power to Everybody Else. Perhaps she can resort to the conflict resolution system to bring a character into a scene, or to continue a scene when Cupid might want to cut from it.

My Love for You Is Way Out of Line

First off, the setting/situation is fantastic, quirky, and fun. We all loved it.

And mechanically, it seems real tight. We actually produced the happiest of the endings...and going into it I never thought we would.

In play though, it's almost not even a game. I'm not sure what to call it...a diversion? Imelda's player does nothing during the game except tuck a slip of paper under her space on the board every turn. The player doesn't get to talk or anything. And because her actions are uninformed by anything that's going on result-wise, it's an entirely random choice. Gorm gets to comment on everything, which is pretty fun, but can't reveal Imelda's reactions to what Bob's doing, so it's a pretty one-sided litany.

My recommendation is to give Gorm and Imelda some real impact on the outcomes of Bob's efforts to connect with Imelda. I dunno, maybe Gorm can shout suggestions to Imelda like Cupid does in Matchmaker. There could be a three-dimensional matrix for interpreting the outcome, based on whether Imelda acts in accordance with Gorm's unconscious influence or not...and maybe the permutations of that would be complex enough that you could let Gorm narrate the actual outcome. As it stands, there's no story or anything happening in full view until Gorm describes at the end how Imelda responded to Bob's various efforts. During play, the characters are just firing their various actions off into the void, for later interpretation.

Or maybe someone has suggestions on how Gorm's role as "Greek Chorus" could be ramped up. I'd like to see some real commentary from Gorm during the game.

Anyway, we had a great time with both games. It's amazing how much in common they have, given their radically different systems. If you stick with the web version of the Matchmaker rules, you have a multiple-GMs/one-player game, just like My Love for You Is Way Out of Line. And I'm not sure I can name a single other game with that same construction.

Paul
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
lumpley
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« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2003, 01:15:32 PM »

Very, very cool.

But an hour?  Yikes!  When we played our games were 3-4 scenes in about 20 minutes, with long breaks between games so our ribs would stop aching.  An hour woulda killed us dead.

Quote from: Paul
1. Put the victory conditions back in. The competition aspect is way cooler than the multiple-GMs/one-player thing. Of course, then you're limited to exactly four players. Them's the breaks.

We've played it both with and without.  When we played it with, the pressure on the destined lovers to decide who wins made some of us uncomfy.  Since they decide basically by whim, we got into -- not a popularity contest, but fear of a popularity contest.

Playing with rotating cupids and no winning was funnier and definitely less wringing.

Quote
3. Regarding the "some way to introduce yourself" requirement for the destined lovers, is this supposed to be revealed prior to Cupid framing the first scene?

Yes.  Your gender confusion prob makes me chuckle.  You shoulda invoked the mechanics.  (Cupid writes "Robin's parents had to pick a name before her birth, for reasons related to their unconventional religious convictions." Robin's player writes "I'm a MAN, dammit!")

Quote
4. Consider giving some additional power to Everybody Else. Perhaps she can resort to the conflict resolution system ... to continue a scene when Cupid might want to cut from it.

She can, although I didn't mention it specifically.  Just:
Quote from: Matchmaker
It's worth pointing out that you can call on the mechanics if Cupid says something controversial, too.


-Vincent
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deidzoeb
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« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2003, 01:57:38 PM »

Thanks for emailing me about this discussion, Paul. At some point, I had decided that it might be better leaving My Love For You as an amusing parody of a game than to make it into a functioning game and end up less funny. But maybe I'll keep tinkering with it.

I still need to add a disclaimer to some of the pages. Someone emailed me asking for information about building a steel underground shelter, after reading the Meggido Homes page! I had to apologize and explain that it was a joke.
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