"OUIJA: Mystifying GameMaster"

Here's a game I wrote a while back. Any feedback is welcome.

It's only a few pages long and fits in one or more of the following categories:
quirky, boutique, iconoclastic, fatally flawed, unique, derivative, ill-conceived, incomplete, a joke in poor taste, a masterwork of pure genius, and/or stupid.

Note: although the intro indicates the game has been played, well that's just a bald faced lie. Written as an aspirational goad for myself really. I haven't tried this out.

I'd be interested in your impressions. Are there other OUIJA board based RPG games?




  • I think I will post all of my games here for public comment as I get them into shape. I will try not to share things before I think it might be worth people's time to peruse.

    So far I've shared "The Palimpsest Device" here, which I still think is a fun idea, but which was not much enjoyed by the two people who tried it with me... The playtest revealed a mechanical flaw that is very fixable. The bigger issue is that the two players I was with just didn't like the basic idea of it :(

    I will be playtesting some of these games in our Seattle meetup group: RPG Workshop. Although I've been engrossed in the creative endeavor of making games and sometimes excited and delighted with ideas that strike me... I'm not at all convinced that what I come up with is at all the kind of thing that people in general want to spend their time playing. But I'll continue to complete a few more of my babies and kill even more no doubt.

    The OUIJA game above is more of a thought experiment that exists to give expression to the central conceit (and mechanic). The same could be said of "The Palimpsest Device". Maybe gimmick is my shtick. I should go back to it and see about buffing out some of the world and character creation rules make it more fully formed as a story game.

    I'll link palimpsest below in a separate comment.

  • And here's "The Palimpsest Device"
    FYI: The mechanical flaws include: The Time Traveler will sometimes coincide with the Inventor Role. The fix involves just getting rid of the idea that the Time Traveler doesn't exist in the upcoming scene (after the time travel vignettes). It turned out that the GM like role I had in mind for the Time Traveler wasn't much utilized anyway. The Rock Paper Scissors part will also be cut as an extra and unnecessary layer. I just love Rochambeau and wanted to squeeze it in even though it didn't really fit. Maybe I'll just have to make another game that makes R.P.S. a central mechanic somehow. Maybe a voting mechanic for scene resolution???

    Anyhow, here is the game I mentioned:


  • Are there other OUIJA board based RPG games?
    The other Ouija board based game I know is "The society of dreamers" by Matthijs Holter.

  • I also wrote a short game which includes what is best described as a Ouija board simulator.
  • Here's a game I wrote a while back. Any feedback is welcome... I'd be interested in your impressions.
    I like to read short game texts in my spare time, so here goes...

    From the get-go, this wasn't what I was expecting, so bonus points for pulling that off! As an almost-permanent GM though, I'm not sure how I feel about dying offstage before the game begins... ;-)

    The most overwhelming impression I get is that this is an invitation to go over-the-top, solid gold, screaming gonzo: there don't seem to be any brakes or steering here, you just get pushed down the slope from the top of the hill and the game will meet you again at the bottom.

    A lot of foreknowledge of seances and the Ouija board is assumed throughout, which might be reasonable for the expected target audience of this game: there are tons of things to be said about the subject, but it's difficult to say how much you should include here. The short passage about using the planchette is probably enough for most, but might be mystifying to others.

    I'm not 100% sure I'd play this... it could be fun, but I've played other games where you 're-create' a lost adventure through improvisation (Cheat Your Own Adventure occupies similar territory) and that goal married to the Ouija-mechanics just jars with me. I like the idea of the mock seance as a game resolution mechanic, but using that to construct a theoretical game sessions seems trivial: the game system could do much better things!

    As an aside, I know of at least one chamber larp which takes place during a seance: I'm tempted to suggest using this game to create the final session of that one, but I'm afraid it might signal the beginning of the Metapocalypse! ;-)

    As a further aside, if you want a space to discuss and present new game designs, perhaps even get playtesters, then I moderate the Games on Trial community on G+ which does just that.
  • Thanks Chiarina and James
    Society of dreamers looks super cool. It seems like an investigation game that may well have skirted some of the big difficulties of that genre... plus the theme and basic story idea is right up my alley.

    Thanks for linking your game James. I’m gonna read it today. Yes, my game as written has very little in the way of brakes (as you say). If I do decide to refine and playtest it, I’ll post results here.

    I’m thinking of fiasco right now. That’s also a game w very little mechanics to guide the story. But it works. I’m wondering what I could add that wouldn’t overly complicate the game.

    I’ll check out “cheat your own adventure too”. I’ve heard of it, but don’t really know anything about it yet.

    I’ve got an idea for making a maglev OUIJA!! I have looked on the inter webs and have only found one example it used an unusual property of bismuth, which is a really cool element. Apparently for reasons I’ve already forgotten, it repels both positive and negative charges. Maybe like a vanderwaals force in reverse, if you remember that from chemistry class;). Maybe not... either way, too expensive. I’m wondering if I can drill a bunch of holes in a piece of plywood, epoxy in little neodymium magnet discs, then attach a OUIJA to the top and put more magnets on each of the planchettes 3 legs. I can’t predict how the field will work surrounding the board. Might be too bumpy, might just push planchette to the edge. The fact that I haven’t found it online coupled w the obviousness of the idea may mean its doomed from the start. But it’d be really fun if it actually worked.

    Thx again,
  • James, Thanks for pointing me to your OUIJA board simulator. How have sessions gone? I can imagine having fun w it. I have a few questions but if you don’t want to entertain them I am totally fine with that. After all you did not solicit any feedback I don’t think...

    I am thinking the card rank = word length mechanic might be a bit like a crossword puzzle challenge and I’m wondering what that limitation does to the emergence of an engrossing story. Maybe it’d work really well. I am also wondering how it might differ if people actually use a OUIJA board. You didn’t include “rules” for that option, but since it generates letter sequences (words) in a very different way, you might get very different results.

    I have to admit, I drew up the OUIJA game I shared above without ever going back to the board and trying it out again. I remember vividly how it did in fact work for us in our youth. I wonder if it will work for my friends and I as more jaded adults. My lack of confidence in our ability to surrender our defenses is the driver of my interest in making a maglev board (as described in a post above). Have you had success using the board as an adult?
  • James, Thanks for pointing me to your OUIJA board simulator. How have sessions gone? I can imagine having fun w it. I have a few questions but if you don’t want to entertain them I am totally fine with that. After all you did not solicit any feedback I don’t think...
    My blog is largely a thought-space; as such, some of the games on it have been played thoroughly, while others are more like experiments and suggestions. Phasmagraph falls into the latter category, so I'm happy to answer questions about it, but I still haven't managed to get it to table: so many games, so little time.

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