Thursday, July 28, 2005


Carry Playtest

(Also posted here at the Forge.)

So we just finished a playtest session of Carry, my Iron Game Chef 2005 entry. You can download a PDF of it here, if you want. It's about 15 pages. It's about the psychological side of being a soldier in Vietnam.

The session was pretty good from the playtesting standpoint, slightly less so from the roleplaying aspect - as in, it was very useful, but not particularly fun. Part of this was due to the holes in the game that need to be filled. Basically, you have a cast of characters to choose from, but no indication of the relationships between the characters, so you start out the game in a pretty big vacuum, especially as it's supposed to revolve around the conflicts between the characters. As the GM, it was hard for me to frame scenes at first.

On the plus side, I discovered something that I really like - the GM has total pacing control, giving them a pretty hefty responsibility, which I had felt was lacking from the rules as written. I think it's really cool that this is a product of the relationship between the written rules, and not something blatentely included. I am all about emergent dynamics, and I wish I had done that consciously. Oh well, I'm still learning.

The mechanics seemed to work as intended - as in, they did what I wanted them to do, and while we had to fill some holes, we didn't find any "breaks" in the rules as written. However, before I totally sign off on them I want to play out a full game (i.e. a full reward cycle) to see if everything continues on the trend as it was. The game is meant to played out entirely in about a session (from character picking to Endgame), so hopefully that shouldn't be too hard to test.

So it seems fundementally robust, but needing a good amount of work on the Setting level. Which isn't bad for a game written in a week.

I really liked Carry. I started reading it thinking I would not. It won me over. Keep refining -- it's good stuff.

-Ninja Mystery Judge
Hey, thanks! I hope I'll learn who you are someday, oh encouraging ninja mystery judge.
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