It’s Complicated: first playtest

11 11 2007

Huge thanks to Shreyas, Tom, Dave, Charlotte, and Liam for helping me take this game out for a spin. It was.. totally indescribable to have people actually following rules I wrote! And frustrating when the rules’ failings became obvious. And amazing when things worked well! Here is what I learned:

  • The R-Map Twister chart was called “genius” three separate times. Everyone loves it. I’m psyched.
  • I thought the first scene might be boring due to exposition? Try almost every scene other than the last few. The first round of Oddity and Dysfunction placement needs to happen before the first scene is ever framed; probably without any lines touching or crossing.
  • I need to emphasise the flow of “Due to [Oddity], I [Dysfunction.]” The Dysfunction is a direct, external expression of an internalized Oddity.
  • Since the game creates  the framework for character development, the main thing the players really have to bring is the action in any given scene– coming up with a strong sense of what the backdrop is for the scene points is vital, otherwise it’s people standing around expositing.
  • Apparently people like the fact that you mold a scene around the different notes you have to hit.
  • Instead of declaring the nature of every Oddity/Dysfunction/Relationship being revealed in a scene before it happens, the player should be free to reveal as much or as little as they want, for surprise reveals if desired.
  • The key to a tight scene is not having more PCs in it than you need.
  • Some of the coolest scenes are when a PC declares their side of a relationship with another PC.. And the second PC is not in the scene.
  • Giving the first player a second turn at the end creates a neat little hook that makes you look forward to the next session.

I’m sure I’m forgetting a ton– the guys gave me amazing feedback. I hope we can do it again at some point, so I can see if a non-establishing session really cooks!