Archive for September, 2011

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Crossroads, my Fastaval scenario

22 September, 2011

It’s official, I’m writing a scenario for Fastaval 2012, and I’m excited! I haven’t contributed to the con since 2005, and oh man, so much has changed since then. I hope my stuff meets less resistance this time, but who knows?

I’m writing “Crossroads” a “short story” scenario to be played in two hours by a facilitator and four players. It’s loosely based on Chris Kubasik’s TV series The Booth at the End, and using a super slimmed-down version of the Apocalypse World system.

Right now I’m hoping to have a first playtest ready for our local Nerdinburgh gathering in two weeks.

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How much information is enough?

9 September, 2011

I am working on a small project, which is a short story convention scenario for Fastaval 2012. It’s a story game version of Chris Kubasik’s “Booth at the End” TV series, if you like, but that’s not what this post is about. It’s about how little information you can give your players. The scenario is for four players and a facilitator, and has to be played in two hours or less, so I don’t want to waste a single second on participants reading through game materials. I want the game to be able to start, BAM!

My current draft has a 100 word character description, and 320 words of how to play the scenario. There’s no character sheet. This means that it all will fit two comic book-sized pages with enough room for players’ own notes as well. That’s all. I won’t give you a character example, but here’s the “How to play” text that is the same for all the players. Now, imagine you are sitting down with four other people and only has to read this before playing. Will you say it’s enough?

How to play
The scenario is made up of scenes where your player character is talking to a man in a cafe. The man is roleplayed by the scenario’s facilitator.

The first scene is special, because you get to tell the man what your character’s desire is, and he will give you a task to complete if you want your desire to become reality. The scenario is all about what you are willing to do to obtain a goal, so do play along.

In all subsequent scenes, the man will ask you what you did to perform you allocated task since you last met. And you will roleplay what happened before, based on what the man asks you. Sometimes your character might get dragged into the story of one of the other characters, and you will have to roleplay in their scenes as well. Play along with that as well.

When your character does something in a scene that’s uncertain, dangerous, dramatic, you get to roll two dice to see how it goes. You have three cards that give you a bonus to a roll, which you can use, even after the roll, if you describe how what’s on the card influences the situation. When you have used a card, it’s gone forever.
Add the total of the dice, plus the card if you are using one:
6 or under: Suck! You blow it – the facilitator will tell you how bad it is, and you won’t like it.
7-9: You do it, but there are complications – the facilitator may offer you a tough choice.
10+: You do it, no problem.

Remember
You don’t know what will happen or what has happened – play to find out.
Always tell what your character is DOING, not thinking. When you DO, ROLL the dice.
Make stuff up. Go with the flow.
Don’t be a dick.

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Red Front playset is out

1 September, 2011

Early in 2011, Malcolm and I put together a German terrorists in 70s Germany Fiasco playset together. With some good input from Fiasco designer Jason, the slightly revised Red Front set was thoroughly playtested at Conpulsion in March. It’s great that Red Front is now out as September’s playset, please do play the heck out of it and let the world know how it went.

Designing a playset for Fiasco is excellent if you want to look closer at how the game works, and why it works. There is also some good advice about that in the recently published Companion, which along with the core rulebook is highly recommended.

So, thanks to Jason for his marvellous game, and for publishing our spiky, funky and hopefully controversial Red Front playset.