2005-06-21 : Robot Uprising

I dreamt I was setting up to play Magic: the Gathering (which I haven't done in real life since ...uh... The Dark). I was looking through Meg's green cards (in real life, she has none, of course) and I was like, the hey?

They were from the Robot Uprising expansion. They had very sad, simple, peaceful illustrations. It seemed to be that the robots had risen up and exterminated their oppressors, but their oppressors had been the ones who feuled and maintained them - so the illustrations were a robot lying in the grass with an arm off and a bird nest on its face or an old cement factory with a tree growing out through the window. A bit like the overgrown robots in Castle in the Sky, I suppose, but really they made me think of Stanislaw Lem.

The cards had no numbers on them. Instead of "tap to make flying" or whatever, they only hinted at the rules: "remember how to fly?"

1. On 2005-06-21, Peter Dyring-Olsen said:

Oh, imagine the gentle poetry and tender force of Castle in the Sky transformed into a roleplaying game?
I'd play it for days on end....
- Peter (


2. On 2005-06-21, Ben Lehman said:

Funnily enough, I was just reading a system document the other night that was full of exactly that sort of text.  Rather frustrating to the players, I gather.



3. On 2005-06-21, ethan_greer said:

That's a pretty neat dream. How did it make you feel? Was it a happy dream, a yearning sort of a dream, sinister, or what?

The other night I had a dream, one of those long and involved intricately plotted dreams. The main thing I remember from it is that at one point I smashed my face into a steel door frame.

I woke up with a fat lip. Seriously. It was weird.


4. On 2005-06-21, Talysman said:

reminds me of The Robot Song, a little.



5. On 2005-06-22, Vincent said:

In the dream it was frustrating. I was trying to build a deck and I couldn't figure out what the cards do. I kept getting sucked into the illustrations and evocative words - half struck by the sadness and simplicity and half going "...remember how to fly? the hell?" - while Meg and Sebastian were waiting for me to play already.

My deck was half-built already, in blue. I'd had no such trouble with the blue cards.


6. On 2005-06-22, Vincent said:

Ha! The other thought I had in the dream, very distinctly, was: "these Wizards of the Coast guys are so big in their britches, they think everybody already knows how to play their game. Jerks. -Jeez, is this a land? or what?"


7. On 2005-06-22, Piers said:

So, here's a question:

In what sort of game would text like "...remember how to fly?" actually be functional?

{And I'm thinking about a game which didn't use the obvious solution of defining these things in rules exterior to the cards, but rather one where the indeterminacy and vagueness of the statement was actually useful—maybe something like the Major Arcana in Shadows in the Fog.)


8. On 2005-06-22, Adam Dray said:

It's be a Narrativist collectible card game. Games like Magic: The Gathering are heavily karma-based. You know that your Power 3 will kill its Toughness 2.  You know that your Serra Angel can Fly.

But now you have a card that says "...remember how to fly?" That's the primary challenge that card faces. You'd play your Confidence +2 card and your opponent would play Crushing Despair +1 and you'd pull out Akashic Memory +2 and you'd be 3 dice up and you'd roll them and one would show six pips and, yes, your sad little robot would remember how to fly.


9. On 2005-06-22, Piers said:

Adam: yes!

Also: with positioning mechanisms!  Play "...remember how to fly" as a 'challenge' card, or as a 'the risk is...' card, maybe as a 'situation' card.


10. On 2005-06-23, Victor said:

Oh, this is so beautiful. I'd play that variant of Magic....


11. On 2005-06-24, christopher hearns said:

This is an awesome entry.


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