December 31st, 2012


Weekend Gaming

Saturday, Lut and I both went over to Fred's place for boardgames, with Steve (whom I'd met Thursday at Tabletop) also joining us.  We started off with Trajan, a worker placement/resource management game that most of us hadn't played before. It featured a curious Mancala-like mechanism for selecting your next action. I quite liked it, enough to request that we play it a second time. I won the first game and came in last the second, having completely failed to successfully pursue a new strategy.


After that, we went old-school with a game of Titan. Fred, Lut and I have all played tons of Titan, most of it many years ago. Steve had never played before, and was pretty lost for most of the game. I had forgotten how long Titan takes to play with four fairly cautious players. I've played lots of games with Telnar where he trashed me in under an hour, but this one went for two and a half before we simply called it after I knocked Lut out of the game. And even taking that long, no one actually made it to recruiting dragons or giants, though Lut had gotten one unicorn. Still, had a good time with it.


Sunday, I went to Tyson's. Tyson had been making noises about running a tabletop RPG for the last few weeks. I am not very enthusiastic about tabletop RP, or about being a PC, but last week he had out an RP book for Monsterhearts, which is kind of "Buffy: the RPG". The PCs are highschool students of various supernatural archetypes, and the system is simple and social/romantic/storytelling in orientation. +Terrible Butterflies+ has proved to me that I have a fondness for Supernatural Teen Angst, so I told Tyson, "Okay, if you want to run *this*, I'm up for it." Rebecca was also interested, and Nick and Brett were fine with it, so this week Tyson started the game.


Character generation took an hour or so, most of it with the players deciding what archetypes to go with. Picking abilities and whatnot was pretty straightforward. We played for a couple of hours, which was quite fun. Tyson had an interesting mechanism for GMing, which I think he'd borrowed from another gaming system. He'd go around the table with questions for each of us, to flesh out the setting. Eg: "Camilla: you were the last person to see Angela last night. Where were you and why did she leave early?" It was a good tool both for giving the players some input on the setting and for taking some of the 'make stuff up now' pressure off of the GM. During play, the PCs tended to focus on their own little arcs, but Tyson was good about taking turns with each of us, and the players were  good about trying to drag other PCs into their arcs.


The game mechanics encouraged party interaction with a mechanic called 'strings'. Each PC started by having some Strings on other PCs and NPCs, and by some other PCs having strings on them. Various game-mechanic things would let you spend a string to influence that character or rolls involving that character. Eg: Kyle spent a String that he had on Stark to get Stark to help him with a revenge ploy. From a character perspective, it's good to have Strings on other people and bad for other characters to have Strings on you.


From a player perspective, I thought Strings were just good, regardless of direction -- having my character in debt to someone else mainly meant 'increased likelihood of interesting stuff happening to me'. For example, Nick got to pick a PC to have a crush on his character and thereby get two strings on, and chose mine. So I got to spend the session with my character mooning after his and helping his PC out, which was more fun than anything I'd have come up with on my own.


The archetype I selected was "The Queen", which is also 'the popular girl' and doesn't have a lot of supernatural power.  I picked it because (a) I have never been 'the popular girl' in RL, and (b) I've never really played that archetype, either. The archetype sheet lends itself to the nasty version of 'popular girl', the clique leader that spurns and destroys the outcasts. I didn't go this route, partly because I am terrible at playing mean people and partly because my most vivid recollection of a girl in my school that everyone liked was one who was super-nice. So I generally tried to play her as kind and caring even with people she'd turned down. I am not sure this was the best choice from an 'interesting character with problems' standpoint, but we'll see. My character's clique is her rockband. I kinda want to dress IC for the next session, but I'm not sure how she'd dress, or if I own the kind of clothes she'd wear (jeans and t-shirts aside). Hmm.


The GM wrote up a game summary, so I figure I'll post that in a separate entry, along with some snippets from the game. (I am not going to try to recap the whole game, after seeing how long that took with the one session of Little Fears.