Archive | November, 2013


27 Nov


So here is what’s going on here. Play Out Loud, the organization to which the Ready, Set, Game event belongs will be getting a website of it’s own soon, and this blog will be making the transition to that page. It’s still going to be a few weeks, but I’m spread really thin right now, and I can only juggle so many web and social media things. So this page will be phasing out as the new site phases in. I guess that’s already begun. Things will pick up then with LOTS of new content.

Anyway, sorry to leave you out in the cold these last weeks. You can read my play reports on my blog, The Act Apart, which will include reports on everything I play at RSG, along with a bunch of other stuff. Speaking of which, here is my play report of Itras By.

For the meanwhile: RSG 12/3: Becoming (recently Kickstarted!), Kingdom (also recently Kickstarted!), Cosmic Patrol, and Ghost/Echo. RSG 12/17: It’s not pinned down yet, but I’m going to figure out how to do a successful one-shot of Polaris and end the year with my favorite story game.

By the time the new year rolls around I hope to have POL’s new online home up and running. I’ll post about that when it’s ready.

See you on 12/3!


XP: Pulse

17 Nov

Pulse is an interesting game to me. On one hand I feel like it is what I wanted Microscope to be. On the other, it is a mixed experience. For the first half of the game I feel like the game isn’t delivering and by the end I love it. I’ve played it twice now, and that was my experience both times.

So, I’m going to complain a bit. The text is very unclear in some spots (well, the translation is, anyway), and I just don’t know if I’m understanding it or not. Some sentences are missing words – important ones, too. Turns out, after a brief exchange with the game’s designer, some of these mystifying clauses are left overs from earlier stages of the game’s development. The end product is actually a much simpler game, which I think is a very good thing. However, there is no guidance for various sections, and asking good questions in the Investigation Phases is super important. Expect to lean on your intuition for your first few playthroughs. The fiction you create is always unexpected and super interesting though. So it works, even if it feels like it may not be running smoothly.

I feel as though this game isn’t a story game (I guess, actually, it’s not billed as one, though I got that impression). I think it’s actually some kind of stealth freeform theater game. By the end you are acting out a peculiar tribunal, and you are invested in defending your interpretation of events. I honestly think it bears many marks of being pseudo-jeepform in style. At least, that was how it struck me. When I run it again I plan to emphasize those elements and see what happens.

A short XP, but I really don’t have much else to say. I am absurdly fond of Pulse, but it has it’s warts. I think the final version of the game – which is a later revision from the GameChef entry – addresses most of the speed bumps I’ve mentioned, if not all of them. I think a patient read (while making notes) and a little inspiration could make for some memorable experiences. Also, it’s a fairly slow game, and I found it very useful for playing when my mind feels thick. It warmed me up for the second day of Technicolor Dreams, and that was kind of a life-saver!

I know I’ve whined a lot here, but this is actually a very positive review. Pulse will be one of the games I use to introduce new players, right next to Fiasco and Archipelago.

Open Play and Recent Activity

3 Nov

This last month has been a particular challenge.

Technicolor Dreams probably took a year off my life, and left me totally wiped out. Play Out Loud will undergo some considerable changes, many of which will directly affect RSG. This will all be for the better, it’s just that things have been busy, and some things have fallen behind. You’ll hear more about all of that before long.

RSGpdx Open Play

6pm – 10pm

Tuesday, November 5th

Guardian Games

345 SE Taylor St.

This time we have an incredible line up of highly celebrated games. The center piece is the new playtest of the cult classic Feng Shui, a beloved action-movie style role-playing game. But we also have the recently kickstarted and highly anticipated Kingdom, the critically acclaimed and award winning 3:16 Carnage Among the Stars, and finally the GameChef 2013 Global winner, Pulse.  I have not played Feng Shui, but that game has a much greater reputation, so it doesn’t need my endorsement. However, I can speak for the remaining three titles. Kingdom is among my favorite not-super-emotionally-intense games ever. I’ve played a full campaign of 3:16, and there is some real brilliance behind it, but you’ll probably be hankering for a full campaign yourself. I ran Pulse at Technicolor Dreams, and though I was skeptical, I fell in love with it. It turned out to be a very powerful game. And, of course, drinks after!

Since it seems last session slipped through the cracks, I’ll mention what happened here. In the Halloween spirit, we had the Final Girl (a homage to slasher flicks), Ocean (a monster movie mixed with a psychodrama in a deep sea lab), Black Stars Rise (the Dungeon World team’s response to Tremulus, in other words, a game of Lovecraftian Horror), and finally, Paper Tigers (a political game where conniving, power hungry politicians ruin the country… a different kind of horror story from the rest). It was a great flock of folks, and we also said good-bye to one of our long time regulars. Bittersweet!