Feminist? Game/ Complete Game waiting for comment/play

edited June 2007 in Game Design Help
Hey All, was reading Graham W's work on a feminist game and it got the old thinker thinkning so i thought i'd give it a shot. As it is i think it's almost done and have done a few minuets of playing but it's still very much a work in progress

Riot in a Women's Institution

( Alternatively can be about anything, but the game i am working around revolves around a women's institution [ prison by design but could be the Revolt of the Proletariat or anything suitably class/race/money/etc based. I think if playing with WASP Males would probably be Rage against the Machine,or something like that [ Men vs Machine, blatantly ripped off of Grahams first post)

Character Creation and Advancement.

Make your Character Name and Place a Yes a No and a Maybe among the Three Stats

The Lioness ( dealing with Aggression/Destruction)
The Lamb ( Dealing with Intelligence/Curiosity)
The Cow (Dealing with Nurturing/Support)

Thus a Beginning Character would look Something like this

Sally
The Lioness Yes :)
The Lamb No :(
The Cow Maybe :|

if this was Rage against the machine the Triad ( Lion/Lamb/Cow) would be different but three things central to the theme/genre ( Not just name changes in a matrix style one it may be Mad Fighting Prowess, Hacking, and Real Life but these are not always analogous to Lion/Lamb/Cow)

Over View of Play,

People move from Scene to Scene, Overcoming Obstacles , occasionally using Empowerment Points to succeed (more in a sec) unlocking more rooms to explore with the grand of intent of eventfully finding and tackling THE MAN securing their freedom/Empowerment/Liberation. Eventrully RIOTS are triggered which both help and hinder the feminist heroiness.

Setup

The First Scene of Play is always the Cells (/Workstation/Pod) The Scene has 1 Empowerment point available ( Which Always enough for one player to get to the next scene without any help although help makes things easier ) For Every Empowerment Point available in a scene, a obstacle (s) of equal Value are present in the scene ( Traditionally a guard or lock in the cell )

First Scene
The Cells Empowerment Points 1
Obstacles 1 (Guard)

For the Players to get out of the cell they must overcome the Obstacle 1 which brings us to Conflict Resolution

BTW Who's the Dm

Well in small games ( 3 or 2 people) I would suggest each player to be considered the DM for her :( Stat thus in a small game sally's player would be in charge of the Lamb aspects of the game and whoever :('ed Lioness would be in Charge for that aspect. for bigger game's you could have a designated IM ( Institution master Scheherezade ) or Groups of People could control each aspect (2-3 people who have Lioness :( would be in charge of making Challenges and resolving them for people who have Lioness :) )

Conflict Resolution

Basically you must get enough happy faces to beat the >:| (which are mad) Faces of the Obstacle ( The Total >:| faces of a room = Number of Empowerment Points Available )

People can work together adding up their happy faces and medium faces to see if they beat the obstacle
:-| + :-| = :)

so two people with Lioness :) could beat a Guard 1 >:|
or one person could grab a Empowerment point for an extra Happy

One Person with Lioness :) + Empowerment Point :) beats Guard >;|

If the Challenge is defeated the Heroine(s) can go to the next room(s)

If the Challenge is not defeated ( Ie is Tied or lost to ) then all the heroines involved get a Self Doubt
When Self Doubt =3 that character passes out/ is knock out. If all character's in that room are knocked out they are captured and returned to Solitary, Solitary has a no Empowerment points but is a Challenge of number of rooms encountered from the cells ( Ie someone who is capture 1 room from the cells has a solitary of >:| someone captured 10 Rooms from the Cells have a Challenge of >:|x10. (This may not be everyone). If everyone is sent to Solitary everyone is returned to the cells and play begins anew ( The Challenge is put down and a reasonable amount of time passes )

The Next Room ( to be determined by consensus/commonsense/DM ) has The Original Empowerment Points of Previous Room +1 + Left Over Empowerment Points . The Room as an equal number of challenges to that total

The Challenges can be divided ( Ie Two >:| challenges or one >:| >:| Challenge) of anything that makes sense ( Guards/ control panels /laser trip lines) etc

The Eye ( The Arrogant Eye)

All scenes should be wrote out on a piece of paper, noting how many Empowerment points are left and spent. (Even though they are carried forward) The Man is in the control center and using video surveillance can literally see the heroines cross the rooms . ( Doodles/markers can be helpful to determine what exactly is where) . The eye may not see everything ( The same way looking at the same picture two people can see different things) so don't let whats on the scrap paper work in a negative way but in a positive way ( It's not there to tell you what is NOT there but what is)

The Eye across time

sometimes obstacles change or change the room over time. If the room is on fire and that is an obstacle when that is resolved it's a new scene ( with new Empowerment point and new obstacles) The Old Scene ( The Fire Room) should be marked PAST on the Sheet and the character may not return to that room only the present room ( The Burnt Room)

So this is all well and great, but where's the challenge. If Empowerment Points = Challenges the Heroines can always win right?

Every time someone uses the empowerment points the Riot is that much closer. The Riot is when the used empowerment points = total number of rooms in game ( which can be decided before hand) or randomly ( 1 Chance for Every Spent Empowerment Point) If this is Rolling D20 or picking a card from a deck of cards doesn't matter as long as it gens a number. When Spent Empowerment = this arbitrary number ( at max the number of rooms expected in the session) a Riot Occurs

RIOT!

Everyone is Distributed to a Random Room ( Ie Player a may be back at the cells and player B at the control center) if a player is distributed to a room that is marked Past they are said to be having a flash back and aside from the fact that they cannot be reached are treated the same. If someone is knocked out on a flashback they are placed unconscious in the present version of that room.

During the Riot is the only time the Man can be reached, The Heroines must regroup and track him down ( Ie in the highest Room. The Riot lasts a number of Scene Changes= Unspent Empowerment Points marked on the sheets ( These cannot be spent , as all current empowerment points are available in the pool. ) Challenges = Available Empowerment Points are placed randomly. Once the heroines have rejoined they can attempt to get to the Last room ( Head Office ) and if they get there while there is still rioting going on can conflict with the man who's number of >:| faces = total number of rooms +1

Advancement

Like a lot of story games means this one has no advancement right? Wrong. Generally when THE MAN is Dealt with or Everyone returns to THE CELLS from SOLITARY they gain a YES i am and No I'm not statement. This statement can be used like a :) to what the statement says the characters are and a :-( to what the characters are not.

The Statement might be Yes I'm a Lover No I'm not a fighter, For Loving they gain a :) which they can use with their cow Score and a :( face which they MUST use concerning fighting.

Are all of these games oneshots...

No if the group succeeds at OFFING the MAN, a reasonable suggestion would be to move them to a higher level facility ( +1 empowerment/challenges to all rooms or however much you need generally a +1 for every Yes/No statement that are spread across the group

Comments

  • Interesting.

    The use of emoticons as game mechanics is pretty neat.

    The animal names for the women archetypes leaves me cold, especially "Cow," but the rest to some extent also. Maybe you need more along the lines of (War?) Maiden, Crone, Mother.

    I see that the protagonists are women, and the setting is against The MAN, but I'm not sure what feminist themes are being touched on here. Most of the conflicts you talk about seem to be of the Lioness sort, or perhaps minorly the Lamb (opening doors, or something), but you haven't explained what the Cow is about. How do you use this in the game? What do people with Cow = :) get to do?

    The game feels somewhat like a generic "get out of prison" scenario with women as the arbitrary prisoners. Can you explain what parts of this game touch on the feminist experience? What about this game relates to contemporary feminism, and how does it mirror or analogize the struggles of feminist women today?

    Is the idea of women going on a riot and ultimately killing The MAN a realistic portrayal of womens' movements, or does it come across as some sort of anti-feminist, fantasy scenario in the same way that one might play a game of rampaging zombies?
  • edited June 2007
    The Cow was a bit touchy on my end here too , The three aspects being taken from Thus Spake Zarathustra ( The Lion/The Cow/The Child) but their are actually suruprising number of mythos with the cow being not a bad thing. ( I was thinking things like norse with the mother (Sort of ) cow at the begining of the world but there are lots out there, ( Fertility gods associatied with mothers and cows ( Isis's Horns etc) ) Mother Maiden Crone kind of works. ( But where does curiosity/tech come into it who medicine mother or crone etc, whos the agressive one maiden or mother)

    As for the ASpects of Feminism or how i see it. The Game is really set up to be a Class/struggle theme. I think it works preety equally well for any underclass ( Apart of the reason why a gangland or a man vs machine version are possible)

    Maybe thats a little too marx feminist

    Second, The Mechanics are an attempt at non hierarchical/inclusive mechanics. Part of the starting point of this game was a game women would play / vehicles for people to put their stories into that strives to avoid the line that a lot of games take. Some people might only see this as lip service but perhaps the starting aspect of praxis is lip service. Women's institution is a bit misleading. The little bit i've played used a women's jail cause that's what came to mind first, but if it's a maquiladora company or housewives i dont think it harms/changes the game ( The Examples could be a little better/inclusive)

    I never said killed the man ( or at least i dont think it does) but Riots are part of the growing pains of this sort of movement. Ideally the heroines will deal with the man and be placed in a hgiher level institution with a new man ( eventrully worrking their way up to a military prison and kill the president maybe?)

    Is it satiricle, well its a game that has riots in it, i think that it could be used satiracly ( which is part of the reason i dont want men playing riot in a women's institution but rather rage against the machine) but Race Riots Compton Riots, etc are present and part of various minority movement i guess ( RIOT GRRL)

    I think the game focuses on empowering the underdog and fostering relationships amounst the underdog while striving against the man. I think that should be enough to count ( I tried to get the whole knowledge issues into it and it may make a scene yet but it didn't come out of the first day of game design ) Who knows maybe the man will start saying NO YOUR NOT GET BACK IN THE CELLS over booming loud speakers while watching his security cameras.

    Josh

    Ps. The Idea with Cow :) is medicine/ support/ general group booster ( Like a bard almost ) Pep Talks and the 'Heart' of the movment, I honestly had more trouble thinking of what lamb :) could do ( Besides fiddle with things and poke around things that no one really needs a trait to do unless it's a security panel etc) but they might just be me
  • Posted By: Logos7The Cow was a bit touchy on my end here too , The three aspects being taken from Thus Spake Zarathustra ( The Lion/The Cow/The Child) but their are actually suruprising number of mythos with the cow being not a bad thing.
    I need to issue a serious warning here. Nietzsche was extremely misogynistic and his views concerning woman might be some of the worst in the philosophic tradition. As much as he railed against the Western tradition, his opinion about women was basically that of Plato's: women were somewhere between men and animals. That makes your use of animals for descriptors especially off-putting for me.
  • Interesting,

    first of all his use of animal metaphores in Thus Spake Zarathustra were not aimed at women at all as far as i can tell, are you off put because im willing to use something by someone who is misogynic ( And also can you give dirrection to what parts would be misogynic as apposed to androcentric, I think a lot of his parts could be read as androcentric, but to tell you the truth i've only read a few books by Neitmeister so my reading has considerable gaps, so if you could point out more specific examples i would be in your debt)

    as well i didn't think plato was that anti women, I was just reading book 5 of the republic where Plato threw the voice of socrates and glycon gave a preety convincing argument for education/equal treatment of women, albiet with the conclusion that women ought to respect their roles as mothers in the end. Did you mean perhaps Aristotle or have i just not read the same things you read?

    looking at this again, The reason why I and I think Kynn to a large degree dislike cow, is that it seems to have negative connotations towards women. ( I remember being called a calf or heffer as a child as insult, the phrase 'you fat cow' has a certain memorial ring to etc). Neitichies cow was a beast of burden, most especially in relation to the herd, as far as i know N's use has no association with women ( Which is why i commented about andro centrism as apposed to misogyny )

    anyway i look forward to your responce and hopefully some ref's and further readings for myself

    L
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