Tag Archives: science fiction

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 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.

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!

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.


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.


XP: Shock: Social Science Fiction

21 Mar

IMAG0320Shock: Social Science Fiction is probably my go-to scienfe fiction story game. It is almost infinately flexible, it allows the players to focus on the things that matter most to them, and it guides the story to a climax very effectively.

Now that I am more well played than the last time I visted Shock: SSF, I can see the Primetime Adventures bloodline shining through. Through the set up and in conflict the players often take a kind of director perspective to the fiction. Out feeling was that we were not resolving conflicts between the characters in the fiction as much as we were storyboarding the rest of the scene between the players. Though this is not a complaint of any kind, this does affect what kind of experience the player has and how one engages the game through play. This was a foreign mode of play for one of our players.

One side effect of this director perspective (and that of the resolution mechanics too), is that some heat is taken off of the personal conflicts between characters. However, the cerebral and abstract threads of the fiction are much more approachable than in some other games. Like always, know what you are looking for and what you are getting.

My only criticizim of Shock is that the resolution mechanics interrupt gameplay, bringing us out of the fiction for several minutes. The diceplay is tightly woven and deceptively involved. It looks like it should be very simple but once the dice hit the table you find out that there is way more to it than you thought. At least one player will need to be very familiar with the text for this not to be a frustrating experience.

On the otherhand, the dice and numbers do capture the aesthetic of the game in a very beautiful way.

A one-shot is not the natural environment for Shock. There just isn’t enough time to get more than a taste of what the game does. Though I determined the shock ahead of time, should I find myself running a one-shot again, I’d pick the issues too and get right to *tagonist creation. But, the issues and the world would need to be fairly familiar for the other players to buy into quickly and fully. Consider a near-future game. Then, play tight scenes that open at the threshold of the conflits and strike for the juiciest bits of each scene right away.

I am very excited to try Shock: Human Contact in a long format now that I have revisted Shock: Social Science Fiction. This summer, perhaps.

Session 17: Misspent Youth

16 Apr

Tuesday, April 24
Guardian Games
303 SE 3rd Ave at Pine St

Misspent Youth by Robert Bohl is a tabletop pen-and-paper roleplaying game about friendship, rebellion, and kicking ass. In the game, you play 12- to 17-year-old kids in a future world fucked-up beyond recognition by The Authority. The Authority is a force that you create together at the start of the series and played by one person.

You want a sci-fi game? You want a game where friendship really matters? You want a game where you go around curbstomping riot-gear-suited drone-people?

This is the game for you.

Text taken from http://misspentyouth.robertbohl.com/