Tag Archives: history

Open Play 53: RSGpdx’s Second Birthday!

11 Sep

6pm – 10pm

Tuesday, September 17th

Guardian Games

345 SE Taylor St

Wow, it’s been another year! So much has changed since our first Birthday Bonanza last September. We are fortunate enough to have lots of new faces and many familiar friends. It’s a growing family, that’s for sure.

Since Technicolor Color Dreams is just around the corner, these event will not be the over the top no holds barred that last year’s birthday party was. However, we have several critically acclaimed story games ready to go (see below) and we’ll be doing a potluck of snacks and sweets, so there will be plenty of merriment going around.

By now you know what to expect from RSG events, so here is what we have in store for you this time!

Archipelago

Archipelago:
Archipelago is a game styled after Ursula K. LeGuin’s «Earthsea» books. It is a game of grand destinies, that at the same time has time to dwell on the details of plants, words, everyday lives. It is a game that is about great conflicts, but at the same time treats its characters’ stories with respect. It is not a steel framework, but a spider web of thin threads creating subtler stories.

This game works best if you play it slow. Sometimes, the best thing to do is wait a little and see how things unfold. Ged stayed with Ogion for years, learning about the old language, the names of flower petals and bugs. There’s time to let the characters evolve.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Take your time.

http://norwegianstyle.wordpress.com/2009/07/04/archipelago-ii/
microscope
Microscope:
Humanity spreads to the stars and forges a galactic civilization…

Fledgling nations arise from the ruins of the empire…

An ancient line of dragon-kings dies out as magic fades from the realm…

These are all examples of Microscope games. Want to explore an epic history of your own creation, hundreds or thousands of years long, all in an afternoon? That’s Microscope.

You won’t play the game in chronological order. You can defy the limits of time and space, jumping backward or forward to explore the parts of the history that interest you. Want to leap a thousand years into the future and see how an institution shaped society? Want to jump back to the childhood of the king you just saw assassinated and find out what made him such a hated ruler? That’s normal in Microscope.

You have vast power to create… and to destroy. Build beautiful, tranquil jewels of civilization and then consume them with nuclear fire. Zoom out to watch the majestic tide of history wash across empires, then zoom in and explore the lives of the people who endured it.

Mock chronological order.
Defy time and space.
Build worlds and destroy them.

This weeks history… the dawn of man!

http://www.lamemage.com/
SKEWQR
SKEW:
In SKEW the players guide a single protagonist from the ordinary world to a bizarre alternate reality. Will the protagonist understand this new world? Will the players? Do we understand the ordinary world as it is? Perhaps you will answer these questions and more, perhaps not. Perhaps you will find answers to questions unasked along the way.

SKEW is a surreal science fiction role-playing game that gets right to the point.

http://www.tao-games.com/skew/

Ready, Set, Game PDX is brought to you by Play Out Loud. Play Out Loud serves Portland with spontaneous shared storytelling activities featuring non-mainstream games. Learn more athttp://www.facebook.com/playoutloudpdx.

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Open Play 50: Tremulus, Witch: the Road to Lindisfarne, Psi.Run

30 Jul

Welcome to Ready, Set, Game PDX Open Play!

Ready, Set, Game PDX is an easy story gaming event. All you have to do is show up and play a game. You don’t need to bring anything other than the desire to play and the willingness to try something new. Absolutely everybody is welcome! No experience necessary! You are free to invite anybody and everybody; just make sure you RSVP. That helps us make sure everybody has a good time.

A story game is a game where the players create a narrative as a product of play. You might recognize a few things from other tabletop games, but the difference here is that you spontaneously make a collaborative story with the other players. There are always several different ones to choose from, so odds are good there will be one that’s just right. A description of each of the scheduled games will be posted as comments, so check ’em out!

At 6:00 we kind of loosely gather in the “Blue Area” of Guardian Games and socialize for a bit. Please, just relax and chat! At 6:15 we all come together as a group and the facilitators introduce their games. At that point players sign up for whichever game they want and get down to business.

Technically we have the space until 10:00, but we try to get games wrapped up around 9:30 or so. After the games, all who wish to do so go out for drinks and banter at a nearby establishment. As usual, everybody is welcome!

Here is what we have this week!
tremulus_800x6001
Tremulus:
Tremulus is a storytelling game of Lovecraftian horror where you take on the role of a person who has been destined to live an interesting life, one touched by blood and bile, dark revelations, and horrible sacrifice.

The weight of the world is upon your shoulders as you strive to drive back the darkness threatening to drown it out.

For four erstwhile investigators.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1227949612/tremulus-a-storytelling-game-of-lovecraftian-horro
witch
Witch, the Road to Lindisfarne
It is the year of our Lord 1350 and an unholy plague sweeps across our beloved Britain. Measures have been taken to contain and eliminate it, but still families must surrender their mothers, fathers, sons and daughters to the mass graves.

They say that one in three have been marked for death. But marked by whom? Are the sick being punished for their sins by God?

No. This foul curse is the work of the Devil and his wicked agent, the Witch.

The people pray for an answer and now within the great city of London, the source of the vile plague, God may have given it. A woman has been taken prisoner by the Church after confessing the use of Witchcraft to bring the blight upon us.

Three days have passed since then and during this time the heads of the Church have been in consultation without rest. Today they emerged and gave their counsel.

The woman must be taken in a caged cart to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. Once there, an ancient ritual will be performed to cleanse this land of her and her black plague.

It will take two weeks to reach the site, but as the sun breaks the horizon on the Sabbath then the Witch will face her absolution.

This is the story of that journey.

http://www.ukroleplayers.com/witch/
PsiRun
Psi.Run:
Whoever’s after you, you know one thing: they will stop at nothing to capture you and you’ll stop at nothing to stay free. The holes in your memory vie for attention with your startling abilities – stay one step ahead of the Chasers long enough to answer your questions, and hope your psychic powers don’t go wild.

They took your life.
You got away.
They want you back.
Run!

http://nightskygames.com/welcome/game/PsiRun

Ready, Set, Game PDX is brought to you by Play Out Loud. Play Out Loud serves Portland with spontaneous shared storytelling activities featuring non-mainstream games. Learn more athttp://www.facebook.com/playoutloudpdx.

Open Play 45: Spione, NanoWorld, Microscope, Monsterhearts

20 May

6pm – 10pm

Tuesday, May 21

Guardian Games

303 SE 3rd Ave at Pine St

The Breakdown

6:00pm – Chit chat, socialize, make merry.
6:10pm – Introduce the games and facilitators, facilitators will have the sign up sheets.
6:15pm – Game on!
10:00pm – Any and and all who wish go out for drinks and/or banter, at one of the nearby establishments. Let’s talk about it.

And for the games!

spinoe
Spione:
It’s pronounced “shpee-OH-nuh” and means “spies” in German. It’s a book about spies in Berlin during the Cold War. It also presents Story Now, a new way to author and enjoy spy-fiction.

http://spione.adept-press.com/

clones
NanoWorld:
NanoWorld is a game about clones on the day things go wrong.

You are one among Nano’s vast workforce. You are a clone; will you discover yourself in the dystopian world of Nano?

NanoWorld is one of the new wave of nano ga-es and is based upon the Apocalypse World game system.

www.finemessgames.com

microscope
Microscope:
Humanity spreads to the stars and forges a galactic civilization…

Fledgling nations arise from the ruins of the empire…

An ancient line of dragon-kings dies out as magic fades from the realm…

These are all examples of Microscope games. Want to explore an epic history of your own creation, hundreds or thousands of years long, all in an afternoon? That’s Microscope.

You won’t play the game in chronological order. You can defy the limits of time and space, jumping backward or forward to explore the parts of the history that interest you. Want to leap a thousand years into the future and see how an institution shaped society? Want to jump back to the childhood of the king you just saw assassinated and find out what made him such a hated ruler? That’s normal in Microscope.

You have vast power to create… and to destroy. Build beautiful, tranquil jewels of civilization and then consume them with nuclear fire. Zoom out to watch the majestic tide of history wash across empires, then zoom in and explore the lives of the people who endured it.

Mock chronological order.
Defy time and space.
Build worlds and destroy them.

www.lamemage.com

MH
Monsterhearts:
Monsterhearts lets you and your friends create stories about sexy monsters, teenage angst, personal horror, and secret love triangles. When you play, you explore the terror and confusion that comes both with growing up and feeling like a monster.

Based on the Apocalypse World engine, this is a game with emergent story, messy relationships, a structured MC role, and a focus on hard choices.

It’s designed to evoke stories like True Blood, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ginger Snaps or The Twilight Saga. If you like supernatural romances, or stories of monstrosity and personal horror, or if you just like watching sexy people ruin their lives, then you’ll love this game.

http://buriedwithoutceremony.com/monsterhearts/

Ready, Set, Game PDX is brought to you by Play Out Loud. Play Out Loud serves Portland with spontaneous shared storytelling activities featuring non-mainstream games. Learn more at http://www.facebook.com/playoutloudpdx.

Open Play 41: Steal Away Jordan, Under the Bed, Bhaloidam, In A Wicked Age

20 Mar

6pm – 10pm

Tuesday, March 12

Guardian Games

303 SE 3rd Ave at Pine St

It’s time for another round of story gaming madness!
Here is how this works:
6:00pm – Chit chat, socialize, make merry.
6:10pm – Introduce the games and facilitators, sign up sheets go out.
6:15pm – Game on!
10:00pm – Any and and all who wish go out for drinks and/or banter, probably at the Green Dragon.

 

Steal Away Jordan:
Steal Away Jordan is a vehicle for players to tell a collective story of the lives of people who live in the shadow of slavery. The emphasis here is on the people, not the place or time. The institution affects everyone, from the child born into bondage to the man who owns him.

Steal Away Jordan is a role playing game written in the spirit of neo slave narratives like Margaret Walker’s Jubilee, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and Octavia Butler’s Kindred.

In this game, players are unlikely but certain heroes.

Like these fictional accounts of slave life, players explore the social and psychological implications of life in a society where people can be property. Ultimately, players consider slavery’s long-term impact on a society and on the descendants of slaves and slave owners.

http://theunstore.com/unstore/game/53

under the bed
Under the Bed:
“The stuffed animals, toy trucks, and action figures of your childhood did more for you than you remember. They were your guardians, advocates and friends, putting their lives on the line for you.

“Do you have what it takes to be a toy?”

You will play as Toys: green army men, fire trucks, dolls, a sticks shapped like people, a favorite stone. They are each responsible for the well-being of the Child that owns them, but they are not responsible for the well-being of eachother; quite the contrary, in fact: they are in competition for the affections of the Child and will do anything to gain it.

http://glyphpress.com/UtB/

bhaloidam-logo-med
Bhaloidam:
Bhaloidam is an independently-published tabletop storytelling platform that is used for the spinning of collaborative and character-driven storyworlds. In some ways, it is similar to RPGs such as Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, Burning Wheel, and Fate. However, it differs from traditional RPGs in many significant ways as well.

The most obvious difference is that Bhaloidam uses individual gameboards called Lifewheels instead of character sheets. Spinners (players) place and move stacks of tokens on the Lifewheels to track their influence on the storyworld. Stacks never contain more than three tokens, meaning the comparative math needed to play is easily visualized and comprehended.

Using colorful iconography, the Lifewheel depicts every single rule you need in order to play Bhaloidam. It may seem daunting at first, but once you grasp the core gameplay, it will become one of the most fluid and adaptable storytelling platforms you’ll ever use.

This weeks scenario is The Conspiracy: A group of shadowy conspirators gather to finalize their plans to assassinate a person of great importance.

http://www.bhaloidam.com/

iawa-preview
In A Wicked Age:
In this wicked age…

…Gods, demons and mortals contend with one another for power…

…Law and civilization are new, and no one is their master…

…A simple midwife can set in motion the downfall of tyrants and great empires…

…Your birth is not yours to choose, but your fate is what you make it.

In a Wicked Age is a sword & sorcery roleplaying game of high drama and churning history.

http://www.lumpley.com/wicked.html

Ready, Set, Game PDX is brought to you by Play Out Loud. Play Out Loud serves Portland with spontaneous shared storytelling activities featuring non-mainstream games. Learn more at http://www.facebook.com/playoutloudpdx.

XP: Poison’d

8 Mar

Poison’d has always been kind of a mixed bag for me. I have played three crap sessions of this game, and one pretty good one. The good one was the one at RSG, thankfully. So, here is what I’ve learned.

It is very important that the sins and brutalities are not selected indiscriminately. These tell a story. What has your pirate done, and what haven’t they done? Why haven’t they done those things? This tells us more about your character than any other step, and it will help to know about it upfront.

Just about everything is a bargain. This pressure is a big deal and pushes the game forward. Anything that could maybe be interpreted as a bargain is a bargain, and hold everybody to it.

If no pirates are doing anything about a situation, make it an Urgency and start rolling dice. Either they will do something, or you will.

Get them off the ship. As soon as possible.

Have a map. This will inspire names of places and descriptions of the locale. If you have a group that can and will riff with few seeds, great, but my experience suggests that this is a borderline necessity.

The whole point of all of this is to get the game going in a direction right away and keep it going somewhere. Or it will stall in the ocean, just like a ship without a captain.

Finally, make all of the “moves” a pirate can make into cards. Put them on the table for all to see. There is a lot of interplay, and little of it is apparent. But it will be clearer if the players can see their options.

There is an amazing game here, but you have to meet it way more than half way and carve it out of the text. This game is way bigger than the booklet would have you believe. Read it, re-read it, and hand write those cards so you can internalize what is going on.

Then be a vicious pirate bastard.

Session 39: Durance, Sagas of the Icelanders, Cthulhu Dark

18 Feb

6pm – 10pm
Tuesday, February 26
Guardian Games
303 SE 3rd Ave at Pine St

durance big

Durance:
On a remote planet far from civilization, the worst criminal scum from a dozen star systems have been dumped, charged with building new lives under the watchful eye of Authority. Within a brutal hierarchy of savagery and servility, convicts and guards alike must make hard choices. Every colonist has their own code of conduct and their own aspirations—aspirations that invariably come at the expense of others. This dangerous new world is too small for everyone to succeed. In fact, it may well be too small for anyone to succeed. Only the shrewdest, the toughest and the luckiest will get a chance to find out. Will you be among them?

Durance is the latest game from designer Jason Morningstar, author of the award-winning game Fiasco. It is a fast-paced, low-prep, highly collaborative game designed for 3-5 players and one or more sessions of play and includes a detailed, engaging science fiction setting.

Did you hear the news: http://www.bullypulpitgames.com/games/durance/

SotI

Sagas of the Icelanders:
Sagas of the Icelanders is a game about the lives of norse settlers in Iceland, 10th century A.D. The game deals with the trials and issues that the norse people had to deal with on the icelandic frontier. It takes a more accurate historical approach to vikings and their culture than is common in most games, but avoids excessive minutiae of attack rolls or damage, focusing instead on the turbulent relationships and strict cultural norms that make up their original sagas.

Listen to another time: http://www.indiegogo.com/soti-rpg

Cthulhu-Dark

Cthulhu Dark:

Cthulhu Dark is a rules-light Lovecraftian game. (It gets its name because it’s essentially Cthulhu Light, but you can’t call a Cthulhu game that, so it’s Dark.)

The rules are fun and incredibly minimal: they fit on one sheet of paper. You don’t need a character sheet to play, so you can start playing after two minutes of prep.

Can you handle the truth: http://www.yog-sothoth.com/threads/20390-Cthulhu-Dark

Ready, Set, Game PDX is brought to you by Play Out Loud. Play Out Loud serves Portland with spontaneous shared storytelling activities featuring non-mainstream games. Learn more at http://www.facebook.com/playoutloudpdx.

Session 37: Poison’d, The Wildlings, Norwegian Style, and The Quiet Year

20 Jan

6pm – 10pm
Tuesday, January 29
Guardian Games
303 SE 3rd Ave at Pine St

poisond250
Poison’d:
In this the Year of Our Lord 1701, did end the bloody career of the pirate Captain Jonathan Abraham Pallor, called Brimstone Jack.

He did not die on the gallows, nor by the sword, nor shot in two by cannon. He died of poison, administered to him by his cook, an assassin under the King’s orders.

This is what happened next.

Poison’d
a pirate rpg
& for adults, please.

rave the new world: http://theunstore.com/index.php/unstore/game/3

wildlings
The Wildlings:
It happened while the seasoned warriors of your village were on the open seas, plundering foreign lands. A beast, hidden in the snows and howling winds, wreaked havoc one night, damaging longhouses and eating livestock. Worst of all, it took the chieftan’s young daughter. Time is of the essence, so the wise elders called upon you and your friends, warriors-in-training, to take up the challenge of confronting this beast, wherever its lair may be. You are…THE WILDLINGS.

Discover: http://www.story-games.com/forums/discussion/12047/dd-for-kids-the-wildlings-intro-game/p1

norwegian style
Norwegian Style:
We will be playing a number of short-form games and game poems. The short-form games will come from the Norwegian Style book, a collection of Norwegian games translated into English. The poems will come from the book 24 game poems, and maybe other places, too.

The short-form games are experiences that tell a whole story in about an hour. In one we’ll all play murder suspects, trying to pin down the real murderer. In another we’ll tell unresolved stories about childhood.

The game poems are bite-sized chunks, usually 15 minutes each, that focus on a single tone rather than making a coherent story.”

A new world awaits: http://norwegianstyle.wordpress.com/,http://www.lulu.com/us/en/shop/marc-majcher/twenty-four-game-poems/paperback/product-12919742.html

The Quiet Year
The Quiet Year:
For a long time, we were at war with The Jackals. But now, we’ve driven them off, and we have this – a year of relative peace. One quiet year, with which to build our community up and learn once again how to work together. Come Winter, the Frost Shepherds will arrive and we might not survive beyond that. But we don’t know about that yet. What we know is that right now, in this moment, there is an opportunity to build something.

The Quiet Year is a map game. You define the struggles of a post-apocalyptic community, and attempt to build something good within their quiet year. Every decision and every action is set against a backdrop of dwindling time and rising concern.

Make your future: http://buriedwithoutceremony.com/thequietyear/

Ready, Set, Game PDX is brought to you by Play Out Loud. Play Out Loud serves Portland with spontaneous shared storytelling activities featuring non-mainstream games. Learn more at http://www.facebook.com/playoutloudpdx.

Session 19: Microscope

14 May

5pm
Tuesday, May 22
Guardian Games
303 SE 3rd Ave at Pine St

Humanity spreads to the stars and forges a galactic civilization…

Fledgling nations arise from the ruins of the empire…

An ancient line of dragon-kings dies out as magic fades from the realm…

These are all examples of Microscope games. Want to explore an epic history of your own creation, hundreds or thousands of years long, all in an afternoon? That’s Microscope.

You won’t play the game in chronological order. You can defy the limits of time and space, jumping backward or forward to explore the parts of the history that interest you. Want to leap a thousand years into the future and see how an institution shaped society? Want to jump back to the childhood of the king you just saw assassinated and find out what made him such a hated ruler? That’s normal in Microscope.

You have vast power to create… and to destroy. Build beautiful, tranquil jewels of civilization and then consume them with nuclear fire. Zoom out to watch the majestic tide of history wash across empires, then zoom in and explore the lives of the people who endured it.

Mock chronological order.
Defy time and space.
Build worlds and destroy them.

Text taken from www.lamemage.com.

XP: Carry A Game About War

21 Apr

Carry a game about war follows an American squad through the unimaginable stress of the Vietnam War. This game tackles some heavy subject matter. In this game you know from the get go that things are going to go real bad for the squad, and we play to see how they are affected by the horrors around them.

Carry is not a game about strategy and tactics. It’s not even set in the actual Vietnam War, rather it is set in our collective memories of the Vietnam War. That may sound trivial, but it makes a world of difference. Just as the Grunts bring their own issues to the war by way of their burdens, the plays bring with them to the game the cultural imprint the Vietnam War left in the American consciousness.

A MEMOIR

The dice economy in Carry is remarkably efficient and riddled with subtleties. Generally speaking, when some mechanical effect is implemented in the fiction you are either giving dice to another player or the GM, or they are cycling in and out of the out of play pool. Once the dice are distributed in the beginning, those dice are the only dice that will be in play. Nothing gets added or removed (well, the burden die may change, but that’s a separate thing). If the GM runs out of dice it may mean an early success for the Grunts, but it will be followed by a massacre.

This is particularly apparent in action scenes. The Grunts pass dice to their ranking officer or the GM based on whether they agree with the orders or not. When these dice are rolled, the high sum gets to distribute the fallout from the fight and the difference between the two pools determines the total fallout received. There are two things to take away from this. First, the squad is going to get hurt either way; it’s only a matter of who chooses which squad members are affected. Second, if the Grunts don’t disagree, and thus don’t pass the GM dice, the fallout will be worse. Sometimes, in the heat of combat you have to make your own decisions, in the moment. Granted, this details was not really internalized by the group and it lead to a few disastrous missions.

Squad scenes allow us to see how the Grunts change under pressure. It is in these scenes that their profiles are truly apparent, and in our game, this is where they underwent the most change. Burdens were also more clearly expressed here (though we still barely got into it). Generally speaking, the more Grunts in a squad scene, and the more escalation, the better. The best moment of our game was a four way conflict in a squad scene with lots of pushing. It reminds me a bit of Apocalypse World where you mark Hx if another player inflicts harm on yours.

A REASON TO BE CARRIED

The one thing that we really didn’t see much of, or enough of rather, was the burdens themselves. This is probably the most important part of the game, so I honestly feel like we missed out on something. The fiction didn’t suffer for it, but it would have been much richer if it had been present.

There are two reasons for this. First of all, to address a burden the player must request a scene, rather than the GM simply setting it. So, that detail needs to be hammered home. Second, there simply was not enough time. Carry is a game that, due to its subject matter, demands its own time and space. It gets pretty dark, and so you may not feel totally comfortable playing it in public and you may need to take it at your own pace. Though Carry is a one-shot, RSGpdx may not be the ideal environment for it.

Though my complaints of this game are minor, there are a couple things you might try to tighten the experience further. First of all, using the approaches in action scenes might give more meaning to die choice and may influence the fiction in a positive way. I’m not sure if this is mechanically sound, so this may do something strange and inorganic with the dice economy, but I think it is worth a try.

The next time I play, I am going to take a page from Dogs in the Vineyard and have a boot camp intro scene where we introduce the character and their burden right away. This would make the burdens unignorable, I think. Also, Full Metal Jacket, anyone? It’s listed as one of the three major influences, so I think it is absolutely appropriate.

THE WAR IS OVER

I am very fond of Carry. Hell, I’m very fond of most games. But Carry is one that I will be returning to very soon. Though there is occasionally some confusion (I wonder what happens when there is a profile change while the out of play pool is empty?), these issues seem to exist more in speculation than in practice.

There is one more thing you should be prepared for, though. After the game finished, and we were all sharing a beer, we realized that we just needed some quiet time. Carry does not leave you with the high-on-laughter excitement of Fiasco. It leaves you introspective and uncertain. Carry hits, and it hits hard.

Session 16: Carry, a game about war

28 Mar

5pm
Tuesday, April 10
Guardian Games
303 SE 3rd Ave at Pine St

Carry, by Nathan D. Paoletta is a game focused on the experience of being a soldier in the Vietnam war. Heavily inspired by the films Platoon and Full Metal Jacket and the novel The Things They Carried, carry is designed to provide a serious roleplaying experience in thetradition of these sources.

How soldiers behave in war is a difficult topic, and the game focuses more on dealing with that difficulty than on celebrating violence or exploring tactical and strategic choices. The way that players have described a session is “fun, but in the way watching a really serious drama is fun, not fun like popcorn and beer fun.”

Carry is structured in a short-form style. It plays out from start to finish in one three-to-four hour session. Over the course of the game, characters deal (or fail to deal) with their Burdens and the pressures and difficulties coming from the other characters, and from the GM. At the end of the game, everyone has a chance to talk about both what happens to their characters in the end, and how these characters are remembered in the aftermath of the events of the game.

Text and image taken from http://www.ndpdesign.com/carry-a-game-about-war/