Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Started by Sydney Freedberg, January 18, 2006, 03:48:16 PM
Quotea note: most of these rules aren't rules This may look like a lot of rules, compared to games like chess, poker, or even boardgames like Monopoly™ or Risk™. It's really not. In most games, the written rules are just a reference, and you actually learn to play from other people – the legal moves, the sound strategies, even the etiquette – but since a lot fewer people know how to play apocalypse girl, these written rules have to walk you through all that themselves. So most of these "rules" are just suggestions, explanations, examples, and advice to help you understand the real rules that you actually need to learn. Those real rules are marked very clearly in the text, like this:0. RULE NUMBER ZERO: THE RULE ABOUT RULES Anything in boldface type, with a number set out in the margins and a title in small caps, [which I can't figure out the formatting code for...], is a rule you have to follow to play the game correctly. Anything written in regular type is just a suggestion or an explanation, for you to take or leave as you like. Anything written entirely in italics is an example – one possible way to play that is legal by the rules, but just one way out of many. You've just read your first real rule. There'll be another one along in after a page or so.game and story This is a game about telling a story. This is a story about playing a game. When you play chess, you don't describe your knight charging across the battlefield and make little clip-clop-clip-clop hoofbeat sounds. But chess might be more dramatic if you did. When you make up a story just out of your head, you don't have any rules or dice rolls to tell you, "No! The thing you thought would happen, didn't: This other thing happens instead." But your stories might surprise you more that way. As you play apocalypse girl, you roll dice to see what happens as you move your playing pieces. But those pieces also represent things that you've imagined – people, places, institutions, even ideas and moods. The die rolls tell you what they're doing in the story – which may not be what you expect. You care more about what happens to your pieces because they're people, and the die rolls suggest changes to the story you might never have thought of on your own. Sometimes you think of something you want to add to the story, and then you have to figure out a game move that makes it happen, even if it's not the best strategy: That's fine. Sometimes you do something just to get ahead in the game, and then you have to figure out what that means in the story, even if it seems like a stretch: That's fine, too. Telling a story by rules may seem strangely self-restricting, but having clear guidelines actually makes it easier to imagine things (as opposed to, "Make up something cool – oh, anything you want – now! Go!"). And these rules are written to shape the story in a certain way, to keep confronting you with choices about what you value, what you fear, and what you are willing to betray.telling the story together Everyone playing a game of apocalypse girl is telling a story together. If the game's going well, then all of you are participating all the time: acting out your imaginary characters' reactions, suggesting what should happen next in the story, urging each other on when someone has a really great idea, telling each other honestly "nope, try again" when someone has an idea that stinks, and, above all else, really listening to each other, all the time, even when – especially when – you disagree intensely. So:1. RULE NUMBER ONE: RESPECT Treat your fellow players with respect: Give everyone a chance to contribute and really listen to what they're trying to say. Once you've really listened to the other players, though, you have no obligation to agree with them, or to give them what they want, or even to keep them happy. What you are obligated to do is keep them engaged in the best story you can tell. And apocalypse girl is based on the idea that you get the strongest stories by asking the hardest questions. So:2. RULE NUMBER TWO: THE RIGHT TO CHALLENGE If someone plays apocalypse girl with you, they have given you to right to challenge things they really care about. That does not give you the right to be a jerk. You can challenge and engage the other players by making them smile, laugh out loud, gasp, flinch, think, anything. If your group is built on rock-solid trust, you may sometimes even make them cry. It's all good. What is not good is boring the other players. What's worse is freaking them out: then you haven't challenged and engaged them, you've upset them so badly that instead of rising to your challenge, they have to disengage. Where that fine line lies between playing too hard and playing just hard enough depends on you and the people you're with. It's worth talking about it before you begin to play – but once the game really starts, you may be surprised by what you can take and what you can't. You need to pay attention to each others' reactions and to watch out for your own over-reactions. If someone does something that upsets you, give them the benefit of the doubt and asume they didn't mean to – then speak up and ask them (politely!) not to do whatever-it-was again. If somebody keeps on putting things into the story that you find upsetting, even after you try to discuss it and get that person to listen respectfully – or if somebody introduces something really upsetting out of nowhere and there's just no time to discuss it – you can and probably should ask the other players to pause the story and talk through the problem. If even that doesn't work, then, as your last resort, you have the right to stop play, like this:3. RULE NUMBER THREE: THE RULE OF WHOA If you are ever simply too upset to keep playing, hold both hands out in a double "stop" gesture and say, "whoa!" or "wait!" or "stop!" Everyone immediately stops playing the game; play only resumes when you are willing. You have to tell the other players what upset you. You do not have to explain why it upset you. The "Rule of Whoa" gives each and every player a veto over every other player's contributions: "Play in a different way or we can't play anymore." Only the most daring or disfunctional groups should ever have to use it. It exists to give the seriously unhappy player an option short of just walking out: It is a big red panic button to stop play, not a routine tool for play. At any given moment in play, by contrast, there is one and only one player who has the right and responsibility to veto or accept the other players' contributions: the "narrator." With everyone contributing together and challenging each other, someone has to have the buck-stops-here authority to say "yes" to some ideas and "no" to others. Each player gets a chance to be that final arbiter at specific times. When you make a move in the game, you and you alone have the ultimate responsibility and the final authority to say what that move means is happening in the story (within limits set specifically for each type of move; see below). How exactly you tell your part of the story is up to you: You can literally narrate events like a campfire storyteller, or speak in character like an actor on an old-time radio drama, or ask the other players to portray the characters they do best as if they were actors and you were their director, or anything else you want to try. When you're narrating, you can and should encourage the other players to make suggestions. If you like someone else's idea better than the one you had at first, fine: use theirs and thank them. If you still like your idea best, fine: reject theirs and thank them anyway. If their idea gives you an even better idea, great: That's the best part of collaborating with other people. Sometimes, when you're the narrator, all you have to say is, "yeah, what you just said, that's what happens." Sometimes, you need to say, "no, what happens is this." So:4. RULE NUMBER FOUR: THE NARRATOR For any given move in the game, after everyone has had their say, the player who made that move has the final say over what it means is happening in the story. What are those moves and moments? That's what the rest of the rules are about.engines drive the story Everything that does anything important in the story is represented by two numbers and two phrases written down on a regular 3"x5" index card, along with an ever-changing collection of dice. These cards are your playing pieces in the game, and they are called "Engines" because they drive the story. If something isn't written down on a card as an Engine, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist: It just means it isn't important to the story – yet. If you decide that something that matters to you is missing, you can add it as a new Engine. If you decide something that matters is a problem, you can try to change its Engine, or take it away from its current player and control it yourself, or remove it from play entirely. But remember that the other players can do the same to Engines representing things you care about: If you put it in play, you put it at risk.
Quote from: Joshua BishopRoby on January 18, 2006, 05:21:26 PMI think you need to elaborate the Challenge bit a little more. An example might be nice, but mostly I'm looking for what kind of challenge we're talking here. Challenge in terms of obstacles to overcome, or challenges to statements I make, or challenges to things I believe, or challenges to who I am?
Quote from: Mark Woodhouse on January 18, 2006, 04:32:42 PMAs one of the designated CrankyPants on the foggy land where Rules meet Social Contract, let me say that that's one of the best treatments of the topic I've seen. You're intending To The Pain as default mode, right?
Quotethey have given you to right to challenge
Quote from: dindenver on January 20, 2006, 12:17:38 PMthat should read "they have given you the right to challenge"
Quotethe term "move" seems a little awkward.
Quotethe Rule of Whoa (while necesary) may give potential players the wrong impression about what your game is about.
QuoteI think for novice/traditional Roleplayers, challenge might be a lot to digest.
Quoteplayers want to challenge Character's values, not other Players values.
Quote from: Unco Lober on January 22, 2006, 03:18:24 AMI think, the idea of _creating a story together_ should be stressed more....AG makes _resolving arguments_ (that would otherwise hinder the whole process) turn into a _game_...
QuoteIf that would be possible for us to lay our hand on the rules the next week, we shoul most probably playtest those on the spot .../quote]That's a great incentive for me to get my act together and finish the revisions. Again, thank you.