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Mini Games Night

November 13, 2011

A couple of my friends ran a mini-games rpg party night. The format is pretty close to what I used to do for KueiCon – a bunch of folks show up, ready to run or play some games. Everyone lays out what they’re willing to run and people jump in on what appeals to them. In this case, it was a 4 hour thing, so we broke up into groups and each got in 2 games.

Inspectres

I ran Inspectres, and I think I finally found my stride with the game. It basically came together with three factors. First, having pregenerated character stats just made things a lot smoother. Second, giving the most barest and necessary bits of the rules let people focus on the situation and play, instead of tumbling rules in their heads. Third, I finally figured out how best to give Stress – given that the Inspectres business is a crappy start-up, you just begin with the sorts of things that make life a hassle, and turn it all the way up to the spooky weird shit.

For our game, we had the start up which was founded by a college kid with a rich dad, operating out of one of those cubicle offices which had seen 5 other start-ups go through since the beginning of the year… a hodge-podge of leftover equipment and posters on the wall. It sped onward to their franchise being accidentally identified as working for/against the Occupy movement (much to the founders’ father’s chagrin), and media calls to their offices being answered by Dmitri, the eastern european Open Source new hire who managed to give the worst possible series of sound bites all in a row. The problem was answering a ghost problem in Oakland City Hall, actually a building underneath City Hall which (as game play revealed) turned out to be an older supernatural collection zone, which was now a magical superfund site.

The three tools I’ve found to making Inspectres sing is:

1. Pacing – be sure to move things along when the players get enough Franchise dice. I’ve seen a couple of games where the investigation takes up most of the dice, and the actual resolution doesn’t get enough space to play out.

2. Stress – Inflicting a few 1 and 2 dice Stress rolls for each character pumps up the tension.

3. Questions- stealing a bit from Apocalypse World, I made sure to ask questions about the place of business, how they operated (“What’s the company car?” “It’s a 1997 Miyata. It was a graduation gift.”) It really brought out the hilarity of the situation.

Yuuyake Koyake/Golden Sky Stories

Ewen ran this for us and what a charming game! I think it hits all the buttons of cute/feel good and I’d really like to play a campaign of this. Everyone plays magical animals who have various powers, including the ability to change into humans, and help people in their daily lives.

The game uses no dice or cards or randomizers whatsoever. Basically, you do things, and players award each other Dreams points along the way for doing anything that is cool, funny, cute, or awesome. Which isn’t hard to do, because each of the characters has “Weaknesses”, which mostly boil down to the things the given animal would do that’s entertaining. I played a lazy, skittish, selfish cat. If you know cats, that’s not hard at all. All I had to do was basically do “cat things” and points happened.

You use Dreams to build up relationships to other characters. Those relationship stats lead to you having more abilities or powers to do stuff. So it forms this interesting feedback circle of “Roleplay well, get Dreams. Spend Dreams to show us which characters you care about. Those characters you care about, give you more points to do things. Do things to roleplay well…”

I can’t wait for this to see translation and publication in the US. I will be buying a copy as soon as it happens.

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