Game Chef Talk: Dear Deliverance

I’m gonna start looking at entries that interest me by people who interest me. First one on the list: Larry Spiel’s Dear Deliverance. (

First GC entry? Maybe? It’s a two player game you play over the Twitter! So: infinite audience, I suppose. 

I hate the Twitter.

So the conceit is that one of the players is a “confidant,” and is there to provide advice. The other is a “stranger” looking for advice. It’s an advice column game! Well alrighty then.

Setup is way-undercooked right now. The confidant starts by picking 3-5 “elements” in two categories: issues the stranger is facing, and why the stranger is alone. Issues are issues, anything from substance abuse to codependency, really anything you might see in an advice column. But it looks like the confidant does it absent the stranger’s input, guessing at what might be the lines in play. (For safety reasons it might be necessary to negotiate around the lines previous to the confidant’s setup step.)

The stranger runs with whatever the confidant puts out there, doodles up their fucked-up life in private. Then they decide what pushed them to ask the confidant for advice.

So: I do like that the game leverages the Twitterness of Twitter. It’s meant to be dumped into in tiny dribbles, then disappear, then reappear down the road. Not sure it’d actually work on the Plus! 

Something that jumps out at me is that once play has started, it’s pretty much the confidant providing advice and the stranger expanding on their problems. I like the safety measures baked into the game (the players can tag their posts with stuff like #redlight  to make play stop, or #yellowlight  if you need it to slow down). That’s good, because the prospect of becoming an advice columnist feels dicey.

I think it’d be way fun to play the stranger: it’s basically Fiasco for one, right? It’s also possibly cruel misery tourism. Like, the very first person who came to mind as a stranger is my mom, who is masterful at dragging people into her bullshit and then reweaving and reincorporating her endless problems.

Looks like Larry came up with a similar conclusion: a game he wrote that’s not for him. 

I think the only solid advice I’d have going forward would be to build out the safety tools (like drawing lines ahead of the confidant’s input), and man…thinking long and hard about who you’d actually want playing as a confidant. Now, I also think you could turn it into something more entertaining, something Fiasco like but played out between Twitter handles — the stranger’s goal being to weave ever more implausible awfulness, the confidant’s goal being to provide terrible advice that the stranger actually takes.

0 thoughts on “Game Chef Talk: Dear Deliverance”

  1. Thanks for your thoughts.

    Yeah, I hate Twitter, too.  I made an account to playtest this, and I don’t know how to delete it.

    The setup does have some safety in it (list elements you don’t want to include), but I pretty much assume that players will not be in the same room when playing.  If I were running with it, that’s probably an area that I’d work on with it.  Same with creating some structure – like a skeleton of how to play the stranger, since the confidant is more reactionary.

    Part of the idea came from the app game Lifeline… which work like a choose-your-own-adventure and does use time delays (quite effectively).  If I were taking the idea somewhere, I’d probably go closer to that, but for Dear Deliverance I was working with the ingredients (and Dragonflies seldom need advice).

    I’ll have a look at Dragon, Fly when I can.

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