It’s Complicated playtest #3, part one

30 11 2007

We got most of an It’s Complicated playtest done last night, with tweaks to the last rules tweaks, and trying out a rough new shape of the board. While I was tweaking the board, I had people who’d played before explain the rules to people who hadn’t played, just to see if the game makes sense without me explaining it; other than getting some terminology swapped, that went really well. It took a little longer to unpack the rules due to the semantics issues, but once we got to playing, I think it went pretty well. I’m thinking this is going to be the playtest we take past one session, and see how it cooks.

Things we learned:

  • Char was spot on with her suggestion that everyone start having declared one stat, not two. (I chose Dysfunction, since that’s the outward manifestation of an inward issue; Oddities would make more sense from a metagame standpoint, but you kind of need to have the ability to manifest your internal issue in order to play.)
  • Having a more detailed setting is always better. This time we played quirky people spending the night in a haunted house in order to get a deceased man’s inheritance.
  • “Oddities” being internal and “Dysfunctions” being external is kind of confusing to some people. I can see where Dysfunctions being internal might make more sense on the surface, but a lot of what can be classified as Oddities are not dysfunctional per se; you wouldn’t call Superman’s X-Ray vision a dysfunction. It’s a weird secret; an oddity. Dysfunctions are outward things that people see and go “Oh, he’s kind of broken.”
  • JR realized that there’s a certain amount of tactical thinking to the game board; we moved his Oddity during his turn, because he said “Oh crap, I did not realize that this means someone is going to have to share the ‘Cursed’ Oddity just to declare a relationship with me!” I think having to keep that kind of thing in mind is sort of cool.

So there you go! I’ll probably write up the new rules sometime this weekend; my main focus right now is Retrospective, because I have to crank it out by the 6th. It’s hard not to keep poking at It’s Complicated, though, because I’m too excited that it’s fun and actually kinda playable.

EDIT: this recent “Overheard in New York” is a great example of the feel I think of, when I think of this game.

Cashier: How are you?
Customer: Do you want the honest answer?
Cashier: Yes.
Customer: I feel like the business end of a donkey. I am extremely hungover and did a mountain of cocaine last night. Now I have to make dinner for a 68-year-old gay artist who is trying to fuck me.
Cashier: I’m… sorry.
Customer: And the woman I love is in another state pregnant with her ex-boyfriend’s baby, and I wish the baby was mine. And I’m sleeping with a dominatrix. And it’s all true.

–Whole Foods

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