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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 160 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Nine Worlds] Voice-over-Internet play (Skype)  (Read 8982 times)
Matt Snyder
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Posts: 1380


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« on: January 28, 2006, 07:53:19 AM »

Early this month I announced I would run a Nine Worlds game on Skype, a free and easy voice-over-Internet program. I had several interested people, and chose the first responders. We started with four players plus myself, but reduced that down to three after Jared Sorensen had to duck out for schedule conflicts. We found the fewer players is a bit more manageable over the conference calls, which can be slightly confusing as everyone talks.

So, the current group includes me, Thomas "lordsmerf" Robertson, Ben Lehman, and Fred "vaxalon" Wolke.

We spent our first session meeting one another, talking about the game, and creating the players' Archon concepts and Muses. Thomas generously set up a wiki, which includes those players (including Jared's, though he then had to quit the game). Visit the Nine Worlds game wiki.

Last Wednesday, we finally got to kick off the first session. Thomas, Fred, and I started the game with a few scenes, and some good rules discussion. They both caught on to the game very quickly, found some subtlety in the rules, and generally had a good time. I certainly did.

The beauty of the situation is that I recorded the entire session. I have edited the first scene (30 min.) and have about 2 hours of additional audio to edit. I'm making these available for download in manageble chunks. The first is now available.

I think this audio recording is a really exciting way to examine actual play, market my game, and let the actual play literally to the talking. In this case, there's barely any more real-person information I can provide. Since we're not seeing one another's reactions, but only hearing one another, this is as close to me reporting the "actual play" as I can make it. You hear what I hear! (Well, admittedly I do make us sound better -- fewer "ums" and "ahs" thanks to snappy audio editing, as well as a few other minor deletes to speed things up a bit.)

Download the Nine Worlds Skype game, session 1, scene 1. (10.6 MB mp3 file) More to come, and I'll keep posting when I finish editing more audio!

As far as I am aware, I'm the first publisher to offer actual play reports via audio (though not the first person to do so; Paul Tevis recently recorded and made available his Polaris sessions).

A quick note about Skype -- when it works, it works very well. It's a wonderful tool that will make some long distance play a reality. I can't wait to play more Nine Worlds, and later other games with people I usually get to play with only at GenCon.

That said, with Skype there can be sound quality issues. I've noticed this is especially true when people's microphones pic up background noise (you can hear a TV in the background on our session, but it's not too bad) or pick up a feedback loop of the conversations themselves. This is VERY BAD as it causes an echo delay, and is very frustrating for the conversation. If you're on Skype, or planning  to, you'll need to work through some of the microphone issues. (For example, I HIGHLY recommend a headset with earphones to avoid echo delay from normal speaker output.)

Some last notes:

This is the first role-playing I been able to do since GenCon. Needless to say, I really appreciate the opportunity, and enjoyed the game very much.

Also, Thomas posted a blog entry about Nine Worlds and his thoughts on the game and actual play. Read it here.
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2006, 08:21:16 AM »

Fantastic! Fred, you're a real pleasure to listen to, role-playing. Great ideas, interaction, rules-learning and discussion, everything.

Question for you, Matt - how come you narrated Fred's character's use of Metamorphosis? That seems to have occurred prior to reading the cards ... did I mis-hear that?

Best,
Ron
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Brand_Robins
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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2006, 11:00:30 AM »

This was awesome.

I love this new trend towards podcasting games, as it lets me hear the way other people play. Stylistics and rhetorical stances fascinate me, and this gives a lot of rich material to work from. Hearing the way you guys set scenes, negotiate conflicts, and do (and don't) pose things offers a very cool contrast to the way my groups usually do things.

I highly hope this trend continues, as it offers a huge increase in the amount of information we have. It also does a very nice job of humanizing people -- it's amazing to me how differently I feel about people when I can hear their voice and actually get the human connotations of voice (even without seeing their face) than when I only know them in text. And in actual play anything that reinforces the fact that we're dealing with actual people dealing with an actual game they're playing together is a good thing.

(P.S. Fred, with your voice you could just about be my brother. You sound so much like him its eerie.)
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- Brand Robins
pedyo
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« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2006, 11:22:28 AM »

This is such a great way to understand a game, I think. Often, I have a hard time REALLY understanding how moment-to-moment play of a particular game (Forge-type games) will work (which actually reminds me of when I first tried to crack the code of D&D way back in the day) and it's extremely helpful to hear how other people - especially the designer of the game - does it. It comes as no surprise to me that it's a rather different way than I've been playing rpgs the past 15 years, and it makes me itch for more.
Three things have recently made a difference in this area:
This podcast
The Dogs in the vineyard-one that was posted a few days back
Timothy Kleinert's scripted demo of The Mountain Witch.
I wish more designers would do this - often, the best way of learning a new game is to be shown how to play; podcasting is the next-best solution; combined with a great text, it's a winner.
Thanks for sharing.
/Peter
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Peter Dyring-Olsen
timopod
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Posts: 29

I'm an art major for some reason


« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2006, 12:21:13 PM »

Wow, that was really neat. We're can i find more podcast that demo games. I think it's a fantabulous idea of putting a play session on a podcast. Especially one that your not likely to find being played down the local comic shop. The game sounds fun and it also sounds pretty well organized. Definitely like to hear more!
Oh yeah, and the dude getting arrested was amusing, got a chuckle out of that.
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Tim Goldman
Professional College student
TimOPod@hotmail.com
Matt Snyder
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« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2006, 01:40:10 PM »

Question for you, Matt - how come you narrated Fred's character's use of Metamorphosis? That seems to have occurred prior to reading the cards ... did I mis-hear that?

Wait, which part are you referring to? Only Thomas was active in the scene, while Fred's Archon "waited in the wings." When he lost the conflict with Herakles, I asked him if he had any ideas for how he wanted to use his magical stuff. He suggested changing his body/face into a disguise, and I used that. Is that what you mean?
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
timopod
Member

Posts: 29

I'm an art major for some reason


« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2006, 03:52:12 PM »

Yeah, it was a good idea the guy had. Course it wasn't good enough. He ended up in jail, you know "they best laid plans...". Just sorta typical role playing stuff about someone  coming up with a rather good idea, just to land in jail and show the npc's what powers he has. I did like the connection between the two players, will be interested in that to see how it plays out
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Tim Goldman
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TimOPod@hotmail.com
Matt Snyder
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« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2006, 10:59:28 PM »

Part 2, which is a short aside as Fred and I discuss some of Nine Worlds philosophy and social interaction, is now available:

Nine Worlds Skype game, session 1, question interlude (1.7+ MB mp3 file)
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
timopod
Member

Posts: 29

I'm an art major for some reason


« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2006, 06:41:16 AM »

huh, interesting. I wanna stay on topic with this one, so here goes. i personally have never really been involved in a gamewhere the players and the gm sort of scratch out the story as they go. I'm use to the much more traditional preplanned story. It's interesting to hear this other approach, but I'm  wondering if it detracts some form player interaction with each other? I can see it takes away from the Us versus the G.m mentality (which i always liked).
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Tim Goldman
Professional College student
TimOPod@hotmail.com
LordSmerf
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Posts: 864


« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2006, 11:57:50 AM »

Tim,

I think that, if anything, this sort of play makes player interaction richer.  As "Us vs. GM" goes down there is less pressure for us to work together.  Further, since we're making the story up as we go along, sometimes the players come into conflict with each other in cool ways.  It has not happened in our Nine Worlds game yet, but I have seen it in my HeroQuest game.  Trust me, it can be super-fun to get into a knock down, drag out fight with another player over the outcome of a scene.

Now, to be fair, the reduction in pressure to conform to the story that someone has prepared ahead of time comes with a reduction in pressure to work together.  But that does not mean that you can not work together.  It is just as easy to interact in the more "traditional" ways, but now you have more options to choose from.  While there are some disadvantages to the "make it up as you go" way of playing, impoverished player interaction is definitely not one of them.

Thomas
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Current projects: Caper, Trust and Betrayal, The Suburban Crucible
timopod
Member

Posts: 29

I'm an art major for some reason


« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2006, 12:24:48 PM »

Humm, i guess I would have to try it for myself. As I said i am use to the more formal  method of g.m versus players. Us players had no trouble with interaction and killing each other off. There were also times when the G.M's ideas for the story had little to do with us going after each others throats (this is in Ars magica). Maybe the type of story and player interaction depends on the group more then the game material.




































































































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Tim Goldman
Professional College student
TimOPod@hotmail.com
Matt Snyder
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Posts: 1380


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« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2006, 07:24:01 PM »

Scene two is now available for download. It's a bit longer, and includes an exciting escape scene as the two Archons flee Jupiter. We also discuss some more mechanics, and work through a multi-phase conflict, which turns out nicely.

Nine Worlds Skype game, Session 1, Scene 2 (17.5 MB mp3 download)
« Last Edit: January 31, 2006, 06:54:18 AM by Matt Snyder » Logged

Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
coffeestain
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Posts: 165


« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2006, 07:48:14 PM »

Fixed link, I think.

Regards,
Daniel
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Yokiboy
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Posts: 363


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« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2006, 03:55:12 PM »

Hello Matt,

I love this! Great way to market your game. I hope this becomes a trend. I had honestly written off Nine Worlds as something that didn't interest me, but might buy it just to reward you for posting this.

Thanks,

Yoki
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timopod
Member

Posts: 29

I'm an art major for some reason


« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2006, 07:24:19 PM »

Ok, lets see if I can do this wiht out hitting return 50 tmes at the end. I listened to part 2, then went to have soem cookies (homemade) while i thought it over. Ok, so I need to think it over soem more so I ate soem more cookies. But the final outcome is that this is an entirly new way of dealing with a game for me. This is more like a chose your own adventure then a standered role playing. While i find this neat, I also think it releys on the players being able to create things that don't suck. So far what I heard is all good, and it's been very enjoyable. But I can easily see this gettign out of control with some wisenhimmer trying to one up everything.

Now I can honestly say I don't understand how the game works. For now I just think poker (altho I don't know how to play that ether). What the big differnce is, and this might just be the style of play, there is very little in character communication going on. I get the feelgn I'm seeing a movie with the sound turned off, or more likely the story boards for a movie. Just not what I'm use to (don't get me wrong, I dont' dress up as my characters and sit around the table saying "Ye are doomed sire!".)

I'm inturested to hear more of this, and wonder if the more involved character inteaction is possible with this type of game play.
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Tim Goldman
Professional College student
TimOPod@hotmail.com
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