[split] Help me with Carry

edited December 2007 in Story Games
So over here I posted about my group's experience the first time through running Carry . I wanted to love this game going in, but we experienced frustrations. I thought it would be better to split off from the original thread because the title makes it look like my post is about the game being unfinished or broken. That's not my point and I don't want to rag on Carry or even give that impression. I'm interested in whether my understanding of the game mechanics was wrong and led to problems in play, or whether my understanding of the game was fine, but my expectations of what the game would deliver were misguided. I'm also interested in other people's experiences running and playing the game, both similar and different. If the game was awesome at your table, I would love to hear how the game brought that awesome and what you did differently that yielded that result.

So, anyone who feels they can contribute to my understanding, please post.

Comments

  • interested too!
  • Well, OK, you seemed to get the hang of switching profiles and all those things mechanically, but an interesting thing I read was that in the fiction all the stuff that this brought in didn't mean anything to you. Am I reading that right? Was there a disconnect for you between rolling the dice and what this meant fictionally? It kinda sounds like you were being clever with the fiction but that you didn't engage with it.
  • edited December 2007
    That's a good question. My sense was that the first few scenes created good fiction and the players were all engaged, but once you realized that the narration of those scenes was color and didn't really do anything mechanically, it created a disengage.

    Here's one expample. Squad Scenes. As vignettes, our first squad scene was fun. Lots of tension. Hitting on burdens. Anyone who's listened to the audio of the demo at Gencon on Sons of Kryos can see that squad scenes make great fiction. But something weird happened to that fun that impacted the follwing scenes.

    If you are in a squad scene and have the choice between taking your losing stakes or pushing, what is the choice you are really making? If you take your losing stakes you lose and get to narrate how that sucks or whatever. But nothing happens on your charsheet. If you push, it means you really want to win these stakes and are willing to deplete your dice to do it. However, when you run out of dice you just change the profile and get new dice. Now you aren't all brawly, your companiony or whatever. You can narrate how that change is meaningful, but the system doesn't "kick you in the narrative balls" to paraphrase something in another thread, so profile change is all color too. It sucks up out of play dice, but defeat wasn't loss, victory wasn't gain, and sacrifice wasn't meaningful.

    Bear in mind that the dynamic occured in other places in the game as well, but I'm just focussing on one type of scene here.

    Does that help?
  • Out of curiosity, why is no one who has previously stated that Carry is awesome is addressing any of James' difficulties with the game?
  • edited December 2007
    My awesome carry game was too long ago to really remember the mechanics to contribute materially, and that's the only time I've played it.

    The vague sense I get here is that James isn't interested in hurting his character as a thing worthy of doing unto itself. For me, Joshua, Nathan, and Dave C. (the three I played with), the game was all about hurting our characters as much as possible. We wanted to see them suffer to make a good story.

    ETA: Joshua AC Newman
  • edited December 2007
    Posted By: Adam DrayMy awesomecarrygame was too long ago to really remember the mechanics to contribute materially, and that's the only time I've played it.

    The vague sense I get here is that James isn't interested in hurting his characteras a thing worthy of doing unto itself. For me, Nathan, and Dave C. (the two I played with), the game was all about hurting our characters as much as possible. We wanted to see them suffer to make a good story.
    Adam, thank you for the response. I like hurting my character (or their characters since I was GM) just fine, and I believe the other players did too. However, there's a lot of system here. Dice are getting larger, dice are getting smaller, personality profiles are changing, dice are going in and out of play, burdens are being created and resolved, PCs and NPCs are being wounded, extremely wounded, killed.

    If the game boils down to hurting your character "as a thing worth of doing unto itself" regardless of its impact on system, then all I realy need is a list of burdens and a coin toss.
  • Posted By: noclueIf the game boils down to hurting your character "as a thing worth of doing unto itself" regardless of its impact on system, then all I realy need is a list of burdens and a coin toss.
    It was the game part of Roleplaying game that failed us for Carry. The mechanics didn't reinforce the story. In fact they just seemed to get in the way. If the mechanics don't influence the story in any meaningful way then why have them. We could have just sat around making up 'Nam stories, ignored the mechanics and had a better experience.
  • I think the rest of the rules create the 'Nam story though. It wasn't just storytime.

    I wish I could remember details. I think someone posted an AP report on the Forge; I'll see if I can dig it up.
  • There are some things that I liked in the game system.
      I really liked Burdens and passing the sheets around to get a nicely nuanced set of internal demons to fight.
      I like approaches and the way profiles directed narrative choices by making certain approaches more powerful
      I liked the idea that burdens can get bigger
      I liked the idea that the squad takes casualties as fall out.
      I like having a denouement scene to wrap up character arcs (assumes an arc exists)
    What I really want is: Characters pushing for a desired goal (e.g. get home intact), and striving against Nam and their personal burdens while trying to get there. But, they're in the deep serious and there's no way they can make it out intact. I want the game to be about the things the war takes from them along that journey.
  • Okay, found Joshua's AP but it's more about the story stuff and not about how the mechanics made it happen, except for chargen and squad scenes, which I don't think you're disputing are cool.
  • Hi there James,

    Thanks for posting this. I'm happy that you played the game and there's things that you liked about it! I'm sad that it (obviously) didn't go the distance for you guys, and I have a couple of things to say that I hope will help.

    First off, one clarification question. How were dice being given out after being rolled in conflicts? You said that profiles were changing all the time, but that pushing wasn't happening very often. Unless all of the dice being rolled in conflicts were going to the GM, and/or the group was playing all of the lowest Months In characters, that seems a little strange to me.

    Now, a little bit of philosophy from my end. I view the fiction of the game as having equal, if not greater, weight to the mechanical reward system, especially for this game. So, when it was mentioned that "there's no reward for winning in conflicts", I go "buh? Yah there is....you get what you want in the fiction! That's the reward for winning!" So, I don't know if that sheds any light on anything, but I wanted to have that be known as somewhere I'm coming from. Maybe one of the strange alchemies I bring to the table when I run the game is creating that emphasis. I dunno.

    Other than that, I don't really know what to say. The stuff you say you want, in the post above, is all stuff that I feel a group brings to the table themselves, does that make sense? I've had sessions of the game that were that, and I've had sessions of the game that were almost buddy-film style, with everyone helping each other out, and I've had sessions of the game that were much darker, where it was all about the devolution into savagery and ended with everyone dead. The mechanics are a framework for a war story, I feel, but there are many different stories within that category. What makes the game sing, in my experience, is both the shared understanding among the table of the tone and kind of fiction that is being generated (aided by Burden creation and early squad scenes), and a GM who strongly frames scenes towards that goal, and who sets killer counterstakes against what the characters want and are trying to acheive.

    Does any of that help? I'm totally willing to believe that there's something in the text that is either missing or not stated strongely enough, and for that I apologize. But I'd totally like to talk about any of this, if it'll be helpful or informative for you.

    Oh, and there's an AP on the Forge in two parts, here and here where Ron and his group seemed to have a pretty solid time. Maybe that will be helpful to read as well.

    Thanks again, I really do appreciate you taking the time to post this.
  • edited December 2007
    Posted By: hamsterprophet
    First off, one clarification question. How were dice being given out after being rolled in conflicts?…Unless all of the dice being rolled in conflicts were going to the GM, and/or the group was playing all of the lowest Months In characters, that seems a little strange to me.
    Hi Nathan, thank you for responding. I was a little worried that my post would cause hurt feelings rather than start a dialogue. I'll do my best to address your questions. I'd be perfectly happy to hear (well not perfectly happy) that our problems were due to my doing something wrong or misunderstanding the text. To clarify this issue, the rapid profile changes were mostly happening to Colin's character, who had the lowest months in (5). He was the one that was cycling through dice in squad scenes the fastest. The others were both 7 months in I believe. The dice often went to the GM as we had three players and they all tended to have stakes in the squad scenes. The text says the dice go to the GM or characters not in the scene if possible. We eventually figured out that a Burden Scene took lots of my dice out of play, while distributing more dice to other players.
    Now, a little bit of philosophy from my end. I view the fiction of the game as having equal, if not greater, weight to the mechanical reward system, especially for this game.
    I agree with you in that philosophical stance. I'm actually not looking for mechanic rewards as much as mechanical meaning. If we play out a scene about a grunt's anger at his father and the scene ends in a Burden Die going up, I want both the pain from the scene and the die increase to be part of the ongoing character's life. Otherwise, I wonder why we are adding dice manipulation to perfectly good narrative. Another example, when Colin’s character wanted the stakes so badly that he pushed all his dice out there, resulting in a complete change in his character's approach to life, that was cool. When it happened again in the next scene, and the next one, profiles started to feel a bit like sets of clothing. Since the characters all want the stakes, there's no reason for them not to push all their dice in every conflict, which means automatic profile change for the character with the fewest months in each Squad Scene.
    ....you get what you want in the fiction! That's the reward for winning!"...Maybe one of the strange alchemies I bring to the table when I run the game is creating that emphasis. I dunno.
    Possibly there is something to that. For me it felt like we would get what want in the fiction, and then you do some dice thing that only seemed important. Action Scenes in particular were a major stumbling block for us. The stated goal in the fiction might be to come out the victors, but there's no mechanical reason to push hard for victory with the dice. An extreme example: if everyone disagrees so you have no dice, or everyone agrees so you have massive dice, you’re still heading toward the same endgame at the same speed. The cognitive dissonance between what the characters were saying and what the dice were saying was a tad jarring.
    The stuff you say you want, in the post above, is all stuff that I feel a group brings to the table themselves, does that make sense? I've had sessions of the game that were that, and I've had sessions of the game that were almost buddy-film style, with everyone helping each other out, and I've had sessions of the game that were much darker, where it was all about the devolution into savagery and ended with everyone dead.
    Any and all of that would have been great.
    a GM who strongly frames scenes towards that goal, and who sets killer counterstakes against what the characters want and are trying to acheive.
    I probably could have done better here. I feel that started out well, but the difficulties we were having at the table started bothering me while I was framing later scenes.
    Does any of that help? I'm totally willing to believe that there's something in the text that is either missing or not stated strongely enough, and for that I apologize. But I'd totally like to talk about any of this, if it'll be helpful or informative for you.
    I think it is a start and I am very interested in the conversation regardless. At the very least, It is helping me see what I want out of the game, whether or not it is actually there. I’ll sum up those thoughts in my next post, perhaps they’ll help.

    Thanks again,
    James

    P.S. I'll definitely check out the AP. Thanks!
  • So, this is just a marker to say, hey, I'll get back to you! I promise! Soon! Hopefully before next year!

    I'm just not very good at keeping up with internet time.

    -N
  • James, I'm curious about the stakes you were pushing. I went back to reread the original thread and saw this from Will:
    This scene was full of tension, hit all of our burdens and was a lot of fun to play. But that high was promptly deflated by the realization that win or loose the results didn't impact play. That experience was pretty much the same for each type of conflict/scene. We later framed the girl I almost in the first scene into a later scene as an armed VC out to kill us. This should have been a great follow up, but at that point I simply just did not care any more.
    I know he's saying that he didn't care because there were no mechanical rewards for winning, but I don't totally buy it. What I read there is that the rewards of the fiction were not carried forward in a way that made a difference. Can you walk through a couple scenes and talk about what was really at stake when you won? And I'd love to hear the players talk about what they cared about, as players, about their characters and the story. That's the meat of the AP report that I'm missing.
  • Posted By: hamsterprophetSo, this is just a marker to say, hey, I'll get back to you! I promise! Soon! Hopefully before next year!
    No problem. Its that time of year. Looking forward to further discussions.
    Posted By: Adam DrayI know he's saying that he didn't care because there were no mechanical rewards for winning, but I don't totally buy it.
    Hi Adam. I definitely want to address this, but its too late atm and my brain is fried. I won't put words in Will's mouth, since he can talk to those points himself. However, I do want to say that I don't think we were looking for mechanical rewards. I wanted mechanical support for the fiction we were creating. It felt like the mechanics were often at odds with that fiction or a distraction from it. I'll try to post more on this point during the weekend.
Sign In or Register to comment.