Tea and sympathy, or failing that, monstrous retaliation

Contrary to a lot of play culture right now, I’m not too invested in single-session, highly staged play. I don’t mind the technique itself and have myself written some games along those lines, especially It Was a Mutual Decision, but there are so many of these at present, I find myself attracted mainly to “hey, we make up characters and play them for a long time,” at least at the moment.

So through no fault of its own, Little Katy’s Tea Party had to go a ways to get me enthusiastic … and it does so by getting me a little squicked! Talk about your nice biscuit-tea, friendly introductions which doesn’t mind pulling away the rug.

Here’s the “missing” thing from our discussion that I want to clarify a little: although we focus again and again on safety/boundary techniques (I’m coming to think I much prefer the latter term), Edoardo never quite says why they’re important in this game. Little girl, tea party, imaginary friend, solving problems, what’s to stay safe about? I think it was obvious enough to us as we talked that it just didn’t come up verbally, but it’s evident in the subtitle: a role-playing game about a little girl who is no longer such. Which I guess could be more idiomatically translated as “who isn’t either, any more.” Which although it’s not specified or even mandated to be especially awful, is still really dark, almost too much to bear or to contemplate.

I’m still not sure which is the primary feature or identity for the game: the celebration of Katy’s imagination and resilience, or the yawning horror into which play might go. I mentioned Clover during our discussion, but after thinking about it, there’s a lot more Sorcerer in there instead.

You’ll probably see from these sessions that I don’t want to get walked through a game’s rules in a summary or pitch sense, but instead, I like to go through my own structured questions and get into play in a relatively naive fashion. If that makes you nervous or seems dismissive, rest assured that I go through texts afterwards on my own. In this case, Edoardo provided a slide presentation which he’s letting me attach here, so you can follow along with that.

One of the features I’d like to check out more is the intended ending technique, in which the players arrive at “export” version of their session which will probably be a little bit milder than what happened at the table. That strikes me as what a lot of kids’ book authors do, or must do, considering the material that lurks just past view in many of them.

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