2009-04-22 : Wait, pride isn't listed as a sin...

Occasionally I'll be reading the internet and I'll happen upon Graham Walmsley saying that Poison'd is currently the single best game there is for introducing adult non-roleplayers to roleplaying. I'm pretty sure he's right.

It makes my heart swell every time. It's a little jolt of hubris and it gets me through the bleak 9:30 - 10:30 workday morning.

1. On 2009-04-22, Matt Wilson said:

You arrogant fucker. My knife cuts your face and your eye is bleeding. Or something.

It's a pretty good game. I want to play it again.


2. On 2009-04-22, Meserach said:

So... why? What properties of Poison'd make it so suitable for this singular task?

(I don't yet own the game.)


3. On 2009-04-23, Vincent said:

I've just been searching for Graham's explanation, but I can't find it. He introduced the game to a dedicated Scrabble player with great success, she stole his copy and ran off to get her Scrabble group to play it with her. Maybe he'll come around and tell us himself.

Its properties: it's fun, it's easy, and it's really violent.


4. On 2009-04-23, Jonathan Walton said:

That's only true if people can figure out how to play it.


5. On 2009-04-23, Vincent said:

Well, yes. If you can't figure out how to play it yourself, don't try to introduce non-roleplayers to roleplaying with it.


6. On 2009-04-23, Meserach said:

Okay, but what properties of it make it easy? What makes it fun and violent, for that matter?

Okay, those are probably too big as questions for this comment thread. But I was interested because in the post you seem pretty confident about Graham's assertion that it;s the best game in the whole world for introducing non-roleplayers, and so I figured you might have some insight into why.


7. On 2009-04-24, Graham said:

It's because the first thing you say is "Right, this guy killed your captain. He's in front of you on the deck. What do you do?". And they can't help but respond.

And then, when they say lame things like "I hit him", you just say "OK, you hit him, he's down on the floor. What else?".

And eventually one of them gets it and goes "I slit him from the base of his stomach up to his throat and throw him overboard". Which is fantastic. And then they all vote for the captaincy, which gets everyone talking.

This happened to me, by the way, at an "unconference" given by a national newspaper. Me, Simon and Steve were representing indie games and I ran a session of Poison'd for journalists. And they got into it instantly.

Also, they're all pirates, so they instantly know what they're meant to be doing. As opposed to, say, Mormon gunslingers, where they don't instantly know.

Jonathan is right, though, that it's difficult to figure out how to play. I do wish you'd revise the text, Vincent, because it's such a good game, but the text doesn't show it off.



8. On 2009-04-24, Graham said:

Oh, right, and also.

I think it's the best game for introducing non-roleplayers, providing the GM is a roleplayer. That's because there's a strong, facilitative GM role. Strong, in the sense that there's someone to say "This is what's happening now. What do you do?". Facilitative in the sense that everything is then in the hands of the players.

I know everyone will read my last post, above, and think "Ah! It's the initial situation that makes it good!". And I guess it is about the initial situation, but I hesitate to reduce it to that. It's about the fiction being instantly engaging and easy to relate to.



9. On 2009-04-25, Vincent said:

I think, instantly engaging, and then engaging going forward. The game in play lives up to the engaging initial situation, it doesn't bobble it or let it drift away.


RSS feed: new comments to this thread