Tag Archives: surreal

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.

XP: SKEW

22 Aug

SKEW 8 20

Last RSG we game SKEW, the new surreal science fiction story game by Ben Lehman a spin. Two spins, actually, and great spins they were!

I confess that reading the text itself did not leave me super excited to play. I was curious, I like the genre and flavor, and Ben’s games are some of the best anywhere. But, as soon as we sat down to play things really kicked into gear.

SKEW takes place in a sequence of Phases that guide the story into, and possibly out of, misunderstanding. Players take turns narrating what happens to the protagonist and their world (unlike many role playing games, there is only a single protagonist shared by the table in SKEW) in one or two sentence turns. This is very reminiscent of one of Ben’s earlier games, Hot Guys Making Out.

A simple token economy paces the encroaching weirdness, and eventually, one player at a time will speak for the weirdness of this bending reality. The short turns keeps the pace of the game brisk, which accommodates for a large group of players. This also allows for a steady stream of creativity. Since things change so quickly you have to listen attentively to your fellow players. This prompts very functional play, and may be one of the chief reasons we had such a good time.

Our first game took about an hour and a half, and the second took about an hour. The second game was facilitated by one of the players who had no experience with SKEW beyond the first game.

Clearly, SKEW is very accessible. After the game we reflected on our play, and many of the players commented on how this would be a good game to play with non-gamer family members, or in one players case, how it might be used in her classroom.

For our plays the early Phases were the most fun and exciting, and while the later Phases didn’t drag, they were not as poppin’ and the first few. In one of the final Phases the players ask questions of the GM (the player who speaks for the weirdness) as they try and figure out what is going on with reality. Both of our games slowed during this Phase. In our second game we distinguished between asking questions about the details of the established narration, and asking questions about the nature and workings of the weirdness. This was a critical distinction for our play, and is something I will mention in my future plays of SKEW. The text itself isn’t terribly explicit on this, but I feel this approach is likely in the spirit of the rules.

Our first game saw a postal worker attempt to deliver a non-euclidian package to a superspace processed cheese factory only to become a kind of sentient metaphor for certain elements of Greek mythology via a Hero’s Journey quest against a implicitly nihilistic minotaur while on an errand to replace Hermes.

Our second game was the story of Napoleon, a ukulele playing islander who got caught up in a rock ‘n roll battle of the bands with Nordic Gods, Satan and the miserable souls of hell at sea after sounding the lowest pitch possible given the diameter of the physical universe which happened to free an entangled titan. Napoleon successfully (?) re-created God from the kindness in his grandmother’s soul by way of a strange parent-child paradox (“it’s complicated”).

I have no doubt that each player would sum up these games differently, but hey, that’s SKEW. You don’t tell just one story, you tell a spectrum of possible stories, and each is as crazy as the last.

Read more about SKEW here: http://www.tao-games.com/skew/. Enjoy!

Open Play 51: SKEW, Tremulus & More!

19 Aug

6pm – 10pm

Tuesday, August 20th

Guardian Games

345 SE Taylor St

Wow guys, sorry for the delay! I’ve got to get caught up.

Welcome, again, 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 – which this time is the Speakeasy Tavern on SE 6th & Taylor St. As usual, everybody is welcome!

Here is what we have this week!

SKEWQR

SKEW:
This is SKEW. It is a role-playing game by Ben Lehman.

“when we play this game we will create
a science fiction short story
a protagonist is struggling to understand
a world that is beyond understanding”

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

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

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.

Session 34: Silver & White, Project Ninja Panda Taco, The Quiet Year, Solipsist

17 Dec

6pm – 10pm
Tuesday, December 18
Guardian Games
303 SE 3rd Ave at Pine St

S&W
Silver & White:
Four suburban teenagers encounter the mystery that will shape their lives. They explore, and each time they touch, we players exchange cards. For them a few days, for us a few hours. We make up a story together, our invented truths springing from the cards we hold; and they step into the unknown, pausing at every awkward touch, hopeful despite everything to come.

This story is about personal change. It expects to be played by people who want to experience vicarious transformation, and hopes to help those people reach into themselves and connect with feelings of uncertainty, longing, and exhilaration. It is slow, and careful; and fast and reckless. It is about feeling powerless and then encountering possibilities. It is about questions, and the mystery.

This game provides a framework for telling a story with each other. You get a rich starting situation to jump off from, and the tools to navigate shared and improvised story creation. You get to walk around in an imaginary person’s shoes and see what parts of yourself shine through. You get to watch your friends speak as other people. You get to honestly pretend to be a teenager, make up cool stuff, and hear your friends tell what they imagine.

Questions follow: http://www.photographsoflightning.com/silver-and-white/

PNPT
Project Ninja Panda Taco:
Project Ninja Panda Taco is a game where you get to play a Mastermind trying to take over the world. Along the way, you’ll compete as a Nemesis against other Masterminds and as a Minion who loves to help, while receiving rewards for their hard work. This is the first game from Jennisodes Inc, and we are proud to present Project Ninja Panda Taco.

Conspire here: http://projectnpt.com/.

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.

And now: http://buriedwithoutceremony.com/thequietyear/

Solipsist
Solipsist:
A Solipsist is a human with the power to change reality with a thought, by manipulating the animacules, invisible microscopic creatures that create the stuff of reality from their own motions. So long as the change the Solipsist desires fits with their own selfish view of the universe, and they desire it enough to stir the animacules into a response, they can do anything!

Most Solipsists quickly burn themselves out, or vanish into realities of their own desires, but a few, the balanced Solipsists which the game focuses on, walk a fine line between their own obsessions and the things they value in the consensus world.

It is these few Solipsists, struggling with the nature of their own being and the challenge of caring about reality when reality does not exist, who alone stand between the rest of us and the Shadows, a corrupting force of un-making that seek to unravel the universe. Without the Solipsists to rebind the tears that the Shadows leave in reality all things would soon descend into a chaos of non-causality and un-being.

They are unlikely saviours, but they are the best we have.

Solipsist is a diceless story driven game focusing on the conflicts between the character’s obsessions and their limitations as they struggle to come to terms with themselves and to resist the Shadow. Solipsist has only one core mechanic, modeling the Solipsist’s ability to change reality with a thought. Solipsist characters are described in terms of their Vision, the ideal world they want to live in, Obsessions, the things about their Vision which draw them most, and Limitations, the things that hold them back from achieving their desires.

Find your vision: http://www.solipsist-rpg.com/

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