Beloved Jakob

edited November 2007 in Directed Promotion
I wrote a small game that I call Beloved Jakob. The whole thing can found here. There I write amongst other things following
I have a small game for you. Beloved Jakob is what I call a conversational game. It's for two players and no GM. The game consists of three pdf files. Both players read the short introduction file. Then the players divide the two player files between them, read their character file and engage in a conversation. This conversation is the game.
You can find the text in English as well as in Swedish.

On another note: Over here in the playtest forum at the Forge me and Emily Care exchanged the following lines:

Me:
There is almost no plot, the game is almost fully about their discussions about their memories, guilt, feelings and the problems of treating all this. It should be mentioned that the game is propelled mainly by the character descriptions which quite clearly defines the character and what will happen during the game (although this is usually invisible to most players when reading only one character).
Sven:
This is an interesting aspect of scenario and various types of structured freeform play. It makes the writing, and interpreting for play very different. Do you have any reflections on the relative strengths and weaknesses of this type of presentation? It's something I'm thinking about a lot right now.

This very miniscule scenario (Beloved..., that is) is a rather extreme version of that type of game and if someone here would like to read or play I would be very interested in listening to any type of comments, (even language nitpicking) but especially comments from this aspect. (As late as yesterday I played Spione, which gave some interesting thoughts on this, but I keep that for later.)

Comments

  • edited November 2007
    Some thoughts -

    The experience of play (and the outcome, which is the less obvious part) would be quite different in person as opposed to via telephone. having the hang up as a way to end play definitively is a really powerful tool and i think the telephone version would ultimately be stronger.

    I only read Mia at first, based on your comments, and you're absolutely right - it'd be a bit of a leap of faith to engage with the game based on that incomplete understanding, but the two interlock nicely to propel the conversation. It's probably worth emphasizing this in the introduction, to reassure people unfamiliar with this form.

    This is really interesting. Thanks for including an English version!
  • Excellent background writing, Sven. Very inspiring. That's the kind of stuff that captures your attention and the characters kind of start build up in the back of your mind as you read. I especially liked the re-occuring statements of the characters.

    The fact that the underlying tensions - most of them not even visible to other character - are not brought up as something you have to do, is both demanding from players and fitting.

    Also, what Jason said about the introduction.
  • Thanks for the comments, guys.
    Posted By: Jason MorningstarThe experience of play (and the outcome, which is the less obvious part) would be quite different in person as opposed to via telephone. having the hang up as a way to end play definitively is a really powerful tool and i think the telephone version would ultimately be stronger.
    Perhaps you are right. I have never given the live version any deeper thought, basically since there are other games I can play when I share room with someone!
    Posted By: Jason MorningstarI only read Mia at first, based on your comments, and you're absolutely right - it'd be a bit of a leap of faith to engage with the game based on that incomplete understanding, but the two interlock nicely to propel the conversation. It's probably worth emphasizing this in the introduction, to reassure people unfamiliar with this form.
    The interlocking was of course my intent and I'm glad it gets through. I must admit it never crossed my mind that this was something in need of mentioning, but I realize now that with a different rpg background than me you might expect the character text to be more of general character background than being specifically written to create certain discussion with someone who has read the other text. With the other character, Lars, there is a possibility for a player not to communicate all his secrets to Mia, but I trust that most players would push a bit extra to get as much as possible through.

    Since you both agree on the introduction I will probably do a change there next time I come around to some editing.
    Posted By: MertenExcellent background writing, Sven. Very inspiring. That's the kind of stuff that captures your attention and the characters kind of start build up in the back of your mind as you read. I especially liked the re-occuring statements of the characters.
    Thanks. And the reoccurring statements are not only done in that fashion for some poetic reason, but also because they are in my min keys to the respective character, especially they are keys to the main difference between the two characters.
  • BTW, Merten, you read the English version, right?
  • Sven, I agree that it is well written (in English). I didn't notice any errors in grammar or tone.

    As far as clarification, I'd just state that the individual information meshes with its counterpart, and the two combined provide a compelling and engaging situation.

    I think Mia has enough information and hints that her player can push Lars into revelations.
  • Posted By: svenBTW, Merten, you read the English version, right?
    Yes. My Swedish is pretty much limited to reading street signs.

    Thought about the face-to-face -playing yesterday, and it occures to me that it might be a fun idea to try to set up the playing space in a way that would make the whole thing resemble a telephone discussion, but still use the fact that people are playing together to it's advantage. Like separating the players so that they can't communicate with each other directly, but can still somehow observe the other players body language. To kind of create the feeling that the characters know each other from the past and can imagine how they act, even if they only hear their voice through telephone.

    Does that make any kind of sense?
  • Posted By: MertenThought about the face-to-face -playing yesterday, and it occures to me that it might be a fun idea to try to set up the playing space in a way that would make the whole thing resemble a telephone discussion, but still use the fact that people are playing together to it's advantage. Like separating the players so that they can't communicate with each other directly, but can still somehow observe the other players body language. To kind of create the feeling that the characters know each other from the past and can imagine how they act, even if they only hear their voice through telephone.
    You think in strange ways. I like it!

    Put the two players in two different apartments in a way so that they can see the other player through the window, but not hear any sounds. Ze coolness! actually.

    (BTW, my Finnish is limited to the words for one, two, three, sauna and some words for body parts usually hidden.)
    Posted By: Jason MorningstarSven, I agree that it is well written (in English). I didn't notice any errors in grammar or tone.
    That's nice to hear. I did work on it a bit to get there and had some good help by Jonas Ferry to point out some mistakes. The English text is slightly more straight forward than the Swedish version, since I am not totally idiomatic in English. (I use much more English than Swedish in my daily life, but I normally talk to Turks speaking English and these days Swedes speaking English, so I get these strange habits.)
  • I love the idea of playing voyeuristic, Rear Window style. Not relevant to Beloved Jakub, but that would be a fantastic set up for a The Lives of Others game.
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