Sunday, November 10, 2013

JiffyCon East 2013

Last Monday night, my housemate and I saw some RTs about the game "slash: romance without boundaries," linking to the website
After watching the promo video, she said, "I need to buy this, don't I?"
me: "If you don't, I will."
Housemate: "I'm a little tight on cash right now, so why don't you buy it?"

So I did.

The promo video referenced a Kickstarter, so I Googled because I was curious what the offered rewards had been.

I couldn't find the Kickstarter, but I found a blog post in which I learned they would be at a con near me on Saturday. So I left a comment on the site saying Hey, you might wanna link to stuff like this on the website. The form was broken, so I then emailed. That's me, winning friends and influencing people :)

So I learned that the Kickstarter was actually launching on Thursday and that even though the blogpost suggested that games wouldn't be ready to ship until January, I would still totally get a prototype copy,

I read through the print and play PDF on the website, and I felt like general familiarity plus the descriptions on the cards meant I wouldn't have significant difficulty playing the game.

I rescheduled plans in order to go to JiffyCon (yes, I was that into playing the game) and found that wow, it was surprisingly difficult to tell stories -- especially characters I only have vague familiarity with.

The "rules" say you can discard characters you don't know anything about, but I'm stubborn, and I felt like I'd be okay. And you can swing this for the Casual Round where you're just playing without commentary -- because sometimes the pairing just sells itself, or the Matchmaker's knowledge fills in the blanks sufficient that you win (e.g., some of the plays I won: Virginia Woolf/Lisbeth Salandar, Chewbacca/Captain James T. Kirk, Treebeard/The Monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey).

But for the actual storytelling rounds, it's really hard to actually generate a story based only on vague fannish/cultural osmosis and the description on a card (though I did win Princess Peach from Super Mario Brothers/Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic -- "unlimited pony rides" -- and Cheetara from Thundercats/Bumblebee from Transformers -- I think I would have awarded Cheetara/Cleopatra with its mutual suicide pact ending, but whatevs).

We had an interlude while the GM went to move his car, during which I opted to discard the cards I'd been hanging on to that I theoretically *could* play in favor of cards I was actively excited to play.

Though I didn't actually get to experience much of how that would have changed the game because on practically the next play I awarded Veronica Mars/Lydia Deets from Beetlejuice (that I had recently been reminded of my love for Lydia definitely helped) and the game was over on account of someone had achieved 20 points. Yeah, I basically never play Apples to Apples or its ilk in an actual "play until N is achieved" -- we play until we run out cards or energy or people.

(We then played Skulls and Roses, which I enjoyed more once I got the hang of it -- it's a bluffing game, which isn't really my thing, but it was more that it took me a few rounds to catch on to how one strategizes for this -- though I don't love that one of the logos is "Indians" with an image of someone wearing a headdress.)

There's plenty of white space on the character cards, so I think I'm gonna rewrite a bunch of the ones in my copy to be characters I'm actually interested in.

I went through the deck while on the phone with Ari that afternoon and and wow, I'm discarding literally about half the deck. I may go back and put some of them back in -- I remind myself that I can still discard characters from my personal hand while playing, so I can retain in my copy of the game characters I know well enough to be interested in stories about even if I wouldn't tell stories about them myself.

Because crowdsourcing is always fun, tell me which characters to include -- Description is optional, and interpret "Fandom" broadly; Glenn describes the game as including characters from "literature, history, and pop culture." [Edit: I checked the slashcg spreadsheet, and their column says "Origin," which is more intuitive than "Fandom" when one is including e.g. Historical Figures, so I changed the column heading on my spreadsheet as well. /edit]

My other reason to crowdsource is that I'm gonna be playing this game with *my* friends, not Glenn et al. (who I think must be older than me given how much the 1980s are represented in this game), though I realize many of my friends live far away -- and bff, I'm now imagining Skyping you in to a round, and because we would be playing with separate decks there being the possibility for shipping characters with themselves (possibly MirrorVerse but possibly just e.g. Time Turner) :)

Ari has a gift for that flash fic a la the 12 characters meme (in which lists of characters and lists of questions/scenarios are generated independently, though those aren't always shippy, e.g. "If 5 + 9 had to rob a bank, could they pull it off?") that I don't so much.

Conversing that afternoon, I was reminded that give me a Scripture text and a theme, or more than one Scripture text, and I *will* find a way to make them work. #sonofapreacherman

At JiffyCon, I think the consensus was that it's way more fun to play with storytelling than just pairing cards, but coming up with questions/scenarios to solicit stories from the other players is actually kind of difficult. So I want to generate a "cheat sheet" of questions in case people get stuck. This is a preliminary list of the ones I can recall from JiffyCon, but I added a sheet to the GDoc for people to add their own if anyone wants.

  • How do they meet?
  • My character is initially uninterested, how does your character win them over?
  • How does your character win my character away from [canonical love interest]?
  • How does your character rescue my character?
  • Describe their first date.
  • Describe the date that leads up to the first time they have sex.
  • What's their shared sexual fetish -- what bedroom electricity keeps them in relationship despite all the odds?
  • Why do they break up?
If I were creating this game, there's a bunch I would do differently (obviously), but actually bringing projects to completion is not something I have a strong track record on, so I have to give them props for actually generating something I can tweak, and I do love the idea of this game. Go fund their Kickstarter.

1 comment:

  1. "What would your character say at my character's funeral?"