2012-05-07 : Flattery!

I'm feeling like maybe sharing some nice things people have said to me recently.

Here's Chan Sterling:

I know you hear this all the time but Apocalypse World really inspired me to make my own game. This is it Coliseum of the Gods

Bonus: if you watch the update video you'll see the hand and hear the voice of Ruby Darling, who is excellent.

Quick aside to the bonus: Apocalypse World, it turns out, has kind of a large number of fans in the world of indie and nerdy burlesque. If you know me, you can imagine how delighted and embarrassed this makes me.

Here's Pete Figtree:

I have to post this. I have a class full of kids right NOW playing Murderous Ghosts by Vincent Baker. Life is so good. Nine pairs are playing. Imagine hearing all of these creepy stories at once. Awesome.

Later on Pete posted a photo of the whiteboard for their post-game discussion, including questions like "how do the cards attempt to support the goal(s) [of the game]?" "How could [elements of the commonplace] help the stories be creepier?" "How could the MC's knowledge of the player's expectations and experience help her tell a creepier story?"

And here's a flattering little exchange between Pete and Scott Dorward:

Pete: I like the restrictive nature. Freedom within structure...a sonnet of death if you will.

Scott: There's also something very intimate about one-on-one gaming. When you're a player in a group, you get a breather when the focus moves on to someone else, but there's no escape in Murderous Ghosts! You're always under pressure.

To date, this is the only RPG ever to unsettle me during play.

Finally, here's Matt B.:

Just wanted to give some praise.  I'm a high school English teacher, and I've been part of an Apoc World group for the past few months, and having a great time with it.  Today, I used several of the Hx scenarios to have my sophomore students create backstories for characters in Macbeth that they were rehearsing.  It worked great; they had a ton of fun, and it added a whole new level of depth to their readings.

I asked him what he'd done:

I scanned through my PDF of AW (which I fortunately had on my flash drive) and picked out six of the Hx questions that seemed like they would give the kids some creative avenues to pursue.  I put them up on an overhead, then asked each student to pick out three questions, apply them to one of the characters in their group, and write a 3-4 sentence explanation of their answer.

In the end, I got great results.  The students developed all sorts of love triangles (and some love rectangles, as they put it), childhood traumas, failed business ventures, and a host of other incidents that had all taken place among the characters in Macbeth.  They were excited to tell me how Macbeth & Malcolm were children together and one of them stole the other's favorite boots, which escalated to a lifelong hatred; others developed a backstory on how Lady Macbeth is secretly having an affair with the soldier who speaks only five words in the whole play.  We discussed how these different backstories change the meaning of a lot of scenes and moments in the play, and discussed acting approaches, and how having those histories changes the way actors might play roles and interact with each other.

Overall, I can't wait to go back to this; I sort of pulled the idea out at the 11th hour, so I didn't have the time to fully explore possible combinations of questions, or have as much time for students to share stories and play out different attitudes toward each other.  But overall, it added a wonderful amount of fun and depth to the lesson.  So thanks for not only developing a great game, but for helping me teach a great lesson!

My absolute pleasure, Matt. Thanks for telling me about it!

1. On 2012-05-07, Vincent said:

On burlesque: if you see me in person, ask me to tell you about sponsoring D20 Burlesque's post-apocalyptic show back in January. I have a funny story not suitable for the internet.


2. On 2012-05-07, Bret said:

I know some people in that troupe! So I will have to remember to ask you.


3. On 2012-05-07, Evan said:

I want to play that soldier who speaks only 5 words just so I can be secretly sleeping with Lady Macbeth, who doesn't want to murder ME.


4. On 2012-05-07, Micah said:

I don't think I've ever seen the phrase "not suitable for the internet" used before.


5. On 2012-05-08, Meguey said:

Evan, that's the best motivation for that character ever :)


6. On 2012-05-09, Nick said:

I wonder how many people can say "Apocalypse World really inspired me to make my own game". There must be hundreds of us :-)


7. On 2012-05-10, David Berg said:

Inspiring folks to creatively R-Map literature in high school is pretty sweet too.  That's awesome, Vincent.


8. On 2012-05-14, Simon R said:

Once again, I pulled out your games as examples in a video games meet-up to show how far they have to go in modelling non-physical conflict. Most of the people there were younger than my t-shirt.


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