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[Breaking the Ice] A Dangerous game (Dreamation)

Started by Kat Miller, January 27, 2006, 09:08:59 AM

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Kat Miller

I had the great fortune of playing Breaking the Ice with Emily Care Boss at Dreamation this weekend and it was a great experience.  Emily broke her table up into pairs so there were 3 couples playing off each other.  I was Emily's partner so I don't really know what the other two couples were about.

We chose Foster Mom vs. Single as our difference.  Emily Started Trish the Foster Mom, and I started Sophie the single.  Emily asked if it was ok to play same gender.  I said sure.  I had wanted to take on more risks and play fearlessly this con.

We chose colors.  I wanted to choose something I normally wouldn't so I chose brown.  Emily chose Silver and that was cool.  Silver and brown are complimentary.  Brown led places I wasn't expecting.  It started out "quiet" and led to "forest" and "animals" and "party!"

We decided that Single Sophie was a party planner.  "Chocolate" was another of her words so she made candy for play.

Silver led to "surfer", "bikini" and "babe, but also to "wealth" and "luxury" and "lawyers" and "divorce." 

Foster Mom Trish was a divorcee from a well to do family.

I decided that Sophie's issue was religion.  She was a preacher's daughter, and he and the congregation was a little dismayed at Sophie's lifestyle.  We thought it would be fun if Trish's family went to the same church.

Emily decided that Trish's issue was "In the Closet," Which made sense since she was recently divorced- oddly Trish being gay had nothing to do with the divorce.

First Date

With Sophie being a party planner, we thought it would be fun if Trish and Sophie's first date was the tail end of a business meeting that winds down and ends in a coffee shop.  Trish was planning a Divorce Shower. (which is a great idea by the way, when my mom finalizes her I think I'll throw her one!)

I got to go first and so Sophie started flirting with Trish, complimenting her on her flower choices, and telling her how beautiful she is.  I roll well but not well enough, so there is a small pen explosion spilling ink over the party plans, and that recovers me a little.

It's Trish's turn to compliment and Emily rolls.  Things are starting off well, they like each other.  Emily wants to roll better, so Sophie leaves  to clean up the ink and Trish goes through Sophie's bag for another form and finds a gay publication- with an article on candy making written by Sophie-  Sophie comes out to fine Trish in her things. Both women are shocked. Now they can start talking about relationships.  I discovered Sophie was comfortable with who she was, not pushy and not insecure.  Emily played Trish with a timid curiosity that was quite tender.  Both women started to relax in their attraction.

Enter Mrs. Ogrady.  A Friend of Sophie's father and member of the church.  (again I remind myself I'm playing fearless)  Mrs Ogrady has some very harsh and vile things to say to Sophie and to Trish.

Trish starts to defend Sophie. (which was cool)  Sophie stood up to Mrs Ogrady and the Date ended.  Our attraction level was pretty high much of it stayed permanent.  We didn't have things in common yet.

Second Date

This one was great.  We decided that Sophie asks Trish to join her on a LOGO Casino Cruise for the evening.  Sophie who is out doesn't think twice that Trish might not know what LOGO means, playing on Trish's "In the Closet" issue.

At some point during the beginning of the second date, the dice were no longer important, the story of the couple had momentum.  Both Trish and Sophie felt very real.  Trish was shocked when she realized she was on a Gay cruise across the harbor and of course she doesn't realize this till its too late for her to get off the ship.

Sophie is mortified, that she has dragged Trish into something that Trish wasn't ready for.

Trish is terrified that someone will recognize her. 

So of course someone does.  It's her cousin Charice  Trish's cousin is one of the people her parents don't talk about anymore and she's walking right towards Trish, and then she says "Cocoa Bean, I hoped that was you!" Hugging Sophie.  Charice is one of Sophie's Ex's 

And Before she recognizes Trish she warns Sophie to avoid closeted divorcées.  (That was fun)   Trish is defensive and embarrassed at this point.  I think the lights went out for the dance floor and Trish realized she was ok with all of this and hugged a stranger.

The two of them stay up all night talking, and have gotten into that comfortable spot watching the sun rise.  As well as things went, Sophie managed to lead Trish back to her car and then had a fender bender with Trish's car. (to the sound of church bells in the distance while)

More attraction, and now we had a few things in common.  Charice being one of them. 

Third Date (my favorite Date)

Trish invites Sophie to another Cousins wedding.  Sophie doesn't normally do churches but this is a Synagogue, and she wants to be with Trish.  Unbeknownst to our couple be beknownst to us, Sophie's father is also there.  This is one of those bi-religious ceremonies, and we had already established that Trish's family are of Sophie's Father's congregation.   

The set up for the scene is sweet.  Trish has brought her two foster kids there.  Sophie has brought matching corsages and a buttoner.  In fact Trish and Sophie are wearing complimentary outfits.  Sophie his a ring in Trish's corsage, made like one of the favors from the divorce shower.

When its time for things to go wrong Sophie turns around and there is Dad looking down at her.  It was wonderfully painful and still gives me chills.  Sophie said nothing but ran for the car and locked her self in to cry.  Trish gave her kids to her Aunt and ran out.  All she could do was tell Sophie she was there, and place her hand on the window.  I was getting all misty-eyed by that point.  (Disapproving parents suck)

After Sophie calmed down, Trish talked her out of the car and they spent some time in the garden sanctuary behind the synagogue talking about how much it hurts when your parents don't approve and when your life becomes your own.  I felt Sophie's pain and just wanted to be understood. 

And there was another moment hard won calm.

Then the door to the Synagogue opened and Trish's mom stepped out commanding Trish to come to her.  It was reflexive.  Trish left Sophie.  Mom recognizes Sophie as the woman who brought Charice out.  Mom's not happy.

Then the ring detail I added before, fell out of the corsage. Emily said inside what the inscription "To thine own self be true" That was powerful.  Trish turns and faces Sophie and puts on the ring.  Emily and I beam at each other.  Sophie takes a matching ring from her pocket and puts it on.

The newly weds come out with happy chaos and rice throwing to get their pictures taken in the sanctuary.  Trish and Sophie are absorbed by the chaos, and stand together again.  It was a very satisfying end.

This Game will dare you to squirm and explore hard issues of relationships. We could have played Breaking the Ice in a safer mode, but the potential is there to bring tougher issues into the game.  I'm glad I was playing fearless, because the rush waiting at the end of the 3 dates was worth it. 

There were two other couples at the table and I'd love to here how their dates went.

I just want to add that this game can also be very dangerous to play with your S.O.  We played Breaking the Ice right after Gen Con.  My S.O. was miffed at me for something, he wasn't even aware how miffed he was till we started playing the game.  Then his character was having lots of trouble thinking of ways to flirt or be nice to my character and after the first date I looked at him and knew we needed to talk.  I don't think that would have happened if we had played a different game.

kat Miller

Emily Care

Thanks, Kat. This was the single best game I've played of Breaking the Ice, and ranks among the best game sessions I've ever had.  The issues of the characters were so real, and the emotions so tender I was riveted throughout. 

It also allowed me to have the experience of hearing some of the most inspirational dialogue I've ever heard in a game.  Two scenes in particular:  in the first date, when Kat described Sophie giving Trish a pep talk about making choices for herself, not based on what other people needed, but based on what was right for her.  In the first date, after the exploding pen fiasco, and the discovery of the LGB magazine with an article in it by Trish (on candy making & being an out business person), Kat had Sophie make a cup of coffee and place it in front of Trish, side by side with the coffee she had chosen for herself.  Trish's cup was a lovely frothy deluxe mocha latte, and Sophie's cup may have been a plain black cup of coffee or the like.  Then Kat said "Here are two choices, one you made and one I have made for you. If I asked you to choose what I think is best for you, would you choose it even if it wasn't what you want? And if you wouldn't do this about a cup of coffee, how could you do this about something so much more important? In your choices about who to be with and how to live your life?" 

I tell you, I had tears in my eyes.  Thank you so much, Kat.

And the other scene was in the final date.  When Sophie and Trish were talking in the garden.  Kat as Sophie really went there.  She was letting herself feel the sadness and fear of rejection that Sophie was feeling about her father judging her. And from that place, she took a stand and delivered this incredible speech about how could God or Spirit find sinful a beautiful person like Trish, or the love that they had found together.  Sophie got to fully confront her conflict and own her own power, as she'd helped Trish to do. 

I tell you, having the rings say "to thine own self be true" was completely inspired by what Kat said. (They were silver too, I had forgotten that was Trish's color : ) I'm so grateful to have been able to spend time with these characters with Kat.  I ended that game and I felt so proud to have been part of making that possible.  My reaction was "that is what gaming can be." 

And, like Krista after the PtA game on Saturday, felt like I should have a cigarette. : ) 

Thanks again, for all that, Kat. And thanks for sharing about your own experiences with your partner & the game. I have heard that from some other people too.  This game takes you to places that few other games do.

all the best,
Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games

Andrew Morris

That's great, Kat. Sounds like an awesome game. Had you met Emily before you sat down at the table with her for this session? Also, how did things turn out for Trish and Sophie? Did they fall in love? When? Are they destined for long-term success? Did you not address those issues at the session?
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Nathan P.

Apologies, for this post is only to display enthusiasm and congratulations. Emily, I'm sold.

Well, one question. Do you have a sense of how much of a real icebreaker the game is? That is, do you think that there needs to be an existing bond of some kind (friends, SOs, gamers) for it to take off? I'm trying to envision playing it with a random person from my campus gaming club, say, and just fearing that it would be awkward and lame because we don't have a pre-existing trust.

I'm not sure if I'm phrasing that well. But yeh. Your thoughts?
Nathan P.
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Jason Morningstar

I played with a stranger at YukiCon and, while the game worked mechanically and we hit all the right notes, I don't think it was as effective as it could have been if we knew each other and had some trust in place.  Maybe that's obvious.  My point is that the game *works* without pre-existing attachements, but I think it *soars* when you have them.

Emily Care

Thanks, Nathan!  Great question. As Jason said, you can really let loose if you have those bonds. But I kept in mind the high potential awkwardness level in the subject matter when I wrote it, so I included lots of tools to help ease it..

First, you can pick a Genre and a Rating. If you were playing with an acquaintance, I'd suggest picking Comedy or Screwball romance as your genre.  The conflicts can be light ("talks too much") or caricatured ("have 3 girls chasing after me") and how you approach the game can be handled accordingly.  Rating is about Lines & Veils a la Sex & Sorcery.  Do  the characters have sex? How much do you talk about it?  When I played with my Mom, it was Comedy-G. : ) 

Then when you start to play, you begin the game by just chatting about yourselves--to find out what characteristic to Switch between the characters.  (I play someone like you in this way, you play someone like me). Gender is the default, but I've seen people use where they come from as a common change. Or what they do for a living. Elizabeth & Michele, who played at the same time as Kat & I switched jobs: one was a librarian, the other a computer analyst. It may end up being central to the game, or it may not, but what it does in all situations is that it gets the players to just be aware of whom they are playing with, to some degree.  I thought of that when we shared about our family history with the military etc. when we played Carry.

And the process of making characters is collaborative & kind of fun on its own: making a web of word associations from a color.  It's not intimidating & gives you a chance to literally play with the other player in a creative but non-judgemental way, that I think helps build trust and creative connection. 

Kat and I had met at GenCon, and even played a demo once, but I think we developed that trust through play as much as anything. I know I left the game feeling closer to her. : )

Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games