I did get to play Poison'd tonight. I'd feared we wouldn't have enough people, but everyone did show up. I made it the centerpiece of my Talk Like a Pirate Day festivities. We had three players: a really brutal guy, a really ambitious guy, and basically a voodoo witch cum surgeon. I had them make characters before I mentioned the setup scenario (except that they sailed under Capt. Brimstone Jack). The brutal guy killed Tom Reed straightaway; he already had two X's from things Brimstone Jack had done to him, and he got a third one easily for his Brutality vs. Soul, so he killed Reed outright. Ambitious guy ascended to the captaincy unanimously, and they set about looking for a prize so they could take care of their Wear & Breakage and Want. I put the Mariette Grace in their way. They took her with relative ease, and then brutal guy killed the captain. I introduced the curse his grandmother had placed on the ship. The storm tore them up pretty awful, leaving them stranded with almost no crew. They'd just repaired the damage by giving up most of the plunder they'd gotten when the Resolute showed up. The Resolute pounded them, and would soon close in to finish them off. So, the captain headed down to blow up the ship; he'd sworn to Brimstone Jack that he'd sink the Dagger before he'd allow someone to capture her; brutal guy had sworn to deliver the Dagger to Capt. Rutherford. Both players used flashbacks, the captain endured duress, and in the ensuing fight, the captain managed to beat brutal guy and kill him outright. He lit a fuse, and succeeded at slipping away with what remained of the crew undetected. The Dagger blew up as the Resolute's crew began to board, sinking her and doing a good bit of damage to His Majesty's warship along the way, as the captain slipped off to find himself a new crew and a new ship.
All in all, a pretty nice story. But not very satisfying in play. I felt the same kind of awkwardness as we did playing Bliss Stage, which my group will refer to as a joke unto itself. I know none of us had a very comfortable grasp of the rules, myself included, and a few times I forgot key things (like, I escalated NPC's, completely forgetting I had to roll to see if I could do that). But it seemed like we had a bigger problem in that no one really wanted to describe things. I asked for descriptions, and I got things like, "Uhh, I stab him. What do I roll?" Always, we go straight to the rolling. In Bliss Stage, I had players asking why they would want to take over narrative in the dream, what benefit does it give you? Why not just always cut straight to the fight? It felt very similar, and it made me wonder about the "IIEE with teeth" discussion lately, and how different groups might relate to that. You can apparently play Poison'd with only some very bare bones descriptions; we did tonight, and nobody seemed to walk away feeling particularly good about the game. Nobody liked our Bliss Stage game, and much the same thing seemed to happen there.
Do you think mechanics can really prompt you to fill in description, if you have a group disinclined to do so, who don't see the point and just want to get to "the real game," where they roll dice? And how do I get my group to try playing differently? I don't think you can even call it a preference in play style, since I don't know if they've ever played any other way.