Indiegame primer for anyone following along who needs it:
Brand Robins brought up a really solid point yesterday about the role of one-shots and convention play in the indie scene. There’s a lot of it going around! And the games are evolving to accommodate that play. Pretty much all the PbtA games, and lots of the other indies I’ve played or read or know about, now have situation-making as part of play.
In a practical sense it’s handy and fun: we’ve got 4 hours, so let’s all settle into a situation we can buy into as hard as possible. I mean, I’ve sat down at trad-game tables with no buy-in and noooo idea what the hell was going on. I wasn’t part of the creative process, I have no buy-in. It doesn’t work for me. But lordy, I’m so okay with collaborating for upwards of an hour with friends, friendly acquaintances and total strangers at an indiegame table with tools built for that purpose. Take a potty break, and now we’re down to 3ish hours of actual play time. Lab-grade, maximum purity, illegal in most states.
Not everyone loves this! I ran a Night Witches game at a convention last year and a couple folks at my table hadn’t really done this sort of thing before. They were ready to rock with their dice and their playbooks, and then I start asking questions. And more questions. And gentle scene-framing questions that they just rejected outright. And pretty soon it’s obvious that they’re in no way buying into the situation we’re allegedly crafting together, nor the process itself.
It’s definitely a play style and cultural thing.
So question #7 never actually happens, not really. It’s kind of a gag. I mean we spent a lot of time in a recent Urban Shadows game setting up an amazeballs situation, a magical-realism take on Cartel set in the border town of Juarez/El Paso. The work we put into setting it up did not in any way get paid off through play, because we only got in two sessions before life interfered. But at the beginning of both sessions I had so many questions! I still love that setting to pieces.
Short day, we’re a week into this thing so pace yourselves — 23 days to go.