Ola Jansson has been working on his Compact Stories for a while, with plenty of playtesting and revision along the way. But it’s hit that point I’ve identified as critical, when the design questions and the presentation questions are bleeding into one another. With any luck I can put some of the work of the past couple of years at this site to good use.
The game stands in a design space which may or may not seem to you to be thoroughly occupied already, in the vein of Universalis, but as I see it, it has more in common with the earlier, better versions of this design ideal – more about what we do with our starting tropes and notions, rather than what it (the world, the story) “is.”
In tandem with Justin’s Kinfolk, another interesting instance of two games in consulting with – if not actual similarity – certainly topics in common. I’m going to have to be careful to remember which thing I said about which game.
I was a little hesitant to post this session by itself because my take is that we barely started moving. Then again, Ola is at the point where he needs to talk his way through it and it strikes me that more than one person out there will identify with this.
If it seems like we’re jumping in with a conversation already under way, that’s true, because I played it a bit with Ola a couple of years ago, and I’m already familiar with the larger picture of play. You can see in our discussion here that I’d like to set that aside, let it be what it is, and move directly into what we do while the characters are doing things, preferably those things which cause and receive trouble.
We finish this session with a plan to play/dissect a tight and dangerous resolution in play, and so you know, we’re using his trippy science fiction set – and if you can believe it, not because I picked that, but because it’s the one set he has in English. Anyway, my little brain is currently very expanded via the games I’ve been playing lately, so this is right in the zone (although I may need some naturalistic play about ordinary people at a tea party and the butler’s found dead, or something like that, pretty soon).