So we took the Last Train Out of Warsaw
tonight. Matthijs has written about it previously
5 players. No GM. I facilitated but jumped in to play a character. I had deliberately not read all the scene descriptions up front but tried to play it "from the text". After 1 hour warm up (talking about setting, expectations and trying out the rules) and 3 hours play we got through 5 scenes. A GM may be able to pace it quicker - but to play it in 'a single short session' is a bit optimistic. We have scheduled another session for the second part. Characters in play: Conductor, Engineman, Quiet Man, Adjudant, Countess. We took our turns within each scene quite loosely.
Stuff that worked well:
* Resolution cards. Be sharp on the task to achieve and when to go for the resolution card - giving the card to another player to interprete is a fun trust builder.
Stuff that worked ok:
* Fate cards. They got the story moving - but deciding when to draw and how to interpret it to match both character and story element was sometimes difficult. Advice: Earlier in a scene is better than later.
* Story elements: Delegating ownership of the train, the passengers and the outsiders explicitly to a single player is powerful - the abstract ones are more difficult to combine with fate cards - but will bring violence, fear and loyalty into the game.
* Try in a different way: Replaying a scene is powerful - but can also throw the player down a less interesting path.
* Scene text and ideas for things to throw in the scene.
Stuff that could be made stronger:
* Initial characters relations could be stronger and requires players to push for them to evolve rather than settle.
* Creating and resolving a secret for each character is much work and takes time.
* Hitting the character destinies requires much focus for each player and reduces focus on the other player's destinies.
* Pretty Girl is not very interesting for character development.
Notes on playing GM-less:
* Having someone to know the overarcing plot before and gently steering the fiction could have been useful. We had to retrofit a bit. That might not have been a GM though - just having one player read all the scenes before could help.
* Having the support of a GM to develop the character destinies could be helpful.