Gird my Road Trip with Gaming Goodness!

edited June 2008 in Story Games
I'm going on a road trip through Spain and France this month. Hey, I deserve it!

In amongst visiting my family and friends in Catalunya, exploring the Pyranees, Massif Centrale and disappearing into nature for a while, I'm keen to play some games that will work with the trip. However, there are some criteria that must be accommodated. To whit:

Low number of Players There'll just be the two of us for the most part. Three for the first stretch of the trip, including a bunch of time on a ferry, which we could definitely play a few sessions of something fun.

Tone I'm not after playing something twisted and disorienting, a La Lacuna /DRYH, but neither something light and adventure-like. My desired sweet spot would be something explorative, thought provoking, and affecting. This doesn't preclude tough or difficult content, necessarily. A point of light would be Sign in Stranger, from what I understand of it, but I gather it isn't released.

Mode of Play We'll be driving a lot, walking a lot, and sitting crosslegged outside tents under starlight much of the remainder. A game that employs few or non-cumbersome mechanics (to this end, I guess Drama/Karma are favourable), and is light on book-keeping, or amenable to delegating this to passengers when driving, would really go a long way to being a part of the trip, rather than a fun intrusion.

I doubt anything entirely fits this bill, but I'm curious if there are some contenders, particularly in terms of the Mode of Play. If not, there should be! Road trip, supported by the Story Games Community


Finally, my trip is semi-determined at this stage (Santander->Barcelona via Aragon, Pyranees, possibly Belize, Centrale Massif, north to Paris) but not set in stone, neither. If any local gamers would be interested in crossing paths, whisper me. It could be really nice!

Thanks people.

Comments

  • edited June 2008
    Polaris would be great, when you have three of you. I forget how it plays with two.

    Bleakworlds would pretty good, too, if you'll excuse me for recommending my own game.

    Oh...you could try Solipsist, too.

    Graham
  • Don't Walk in Winter Wood was designed to be played around a campfire. The mechanics are so simple that you won't even have to take the book with you. It's available as PDF if you need that instantly gratifying goodness.
  • edited June 2008
    Dead of Night was designed to be portable! In fact, we even playtested it whilst driving about, which worked better than it probably should have. It'd make good campfire entertainment too, especially when it gets nice and dark and spooky, plus all you really need for a good horror movie is a GM and a single victim ... err, I mean player.
  • Cool.

    So I've got a couple of horror recommendations, which I will have to explore a bit misself. Folkloric horror (DWiWW) fits my desired buzz a bit more than slasher type stuff - or am I misconstruing Dead of Night?

    Bleakworlds - I think we will almost certainly bring this along, actually. Except all the tables could get fiddly, maybe. Bah, with my improv fu I don't need your puny tables in any case!

    Polaris with three? Anyone care to give the details?


    It has to be said, these are enticing options, but I still feel like I'm not honing in on exactly what I'm looking for.

    Back to the tone. I'm going to be cleaning my head out between jobs, my buddy is trying to sure up his Grand Plan for the future, and one ambition is to use the time chatting shit and solving problems, whether they be the west's, the world's, or our mums. Or our own. So exploring space and being spooked will be enjoyable as of themselves, but aren't necessarily facilitating the headspace I'm hoping to develop there. They could do! But that's not what they're built toward.

    Take Death's Door as an example of maybe what I'm looking for. I've no idea how it does with the other criteria, but thematically it's doing the kinds of thing I'm after. Does anyone know the game enough to comment? Any thoughts on other games with this kind of approach? Solipsist does seem a good fit - how would it handle under the conditions mentioned?

    Any thoughts gladly received! Make my trip splendid.
  • I get the feeling you might like "Noumenon" from Abstract Nova Entertainment but... I'm not sure if it's that good with few players since cooperation seems like a central issue. Also, it's played with dominoes (!) which might be a hassle to lay out while travelling.

    I just heard about it the other day myself so I'm afraid I can't elaborate on it. There's a pretty good preview on the site though.
  • edited June 2008
    How about Vincent's Nighttime Animals Save the World?

    Or Trollbabe or Otherkind but those may be heavier tone that you're looking for.
  • My desired sweet spot would be something explorative, thought provoking, and affecting. This doesn't preclude tough or difficult content, necessarily.
    ...
    one ambition is to use the time chatting shit and solving problems, whether they be the west's, the world's, or our mums. Or our own.
    Shock:? It scratches this itch for me, anyway. It works great with three, could be pretty easily hacked for two. Normally requires some dice-rolling and scratch-paper marking after each conflict. If that doesn't fit what you're looking for, though, you could use Shock: as far as setting up the setting and the issues, and then play mostly freeform in that world.

    Your road trip sounds awesome, and I hope you have a great time!

    (I had a seven-day Chicago-to-San Francisco road trip one time where I DMed a D&D Planescape game from the backseat most of the way. We sorta-used 3.5 rules, but ignored most of them. We rolled dice into a hat and I named most of my NPCs after the names of the tiny towns that we passed by, or words that I saw on bumper stickers. It was super awesome.)
  • Somebody should design a game specifically to be used for road-trips! It should let you keep your hands free most of the time, and have explicit procedures for taking people/places/things that you see on your real-life trip, twisting them around, and incorporating them into the fiction.
  • I'd second Polaris, since it hardly uses any dice

    I've played this with 3 played before, and it works fine

    the person to you left is your Mistaken, and the person to your right is your Moon

    ask away if you need more specifics


    Trollbabe is also a good choice, since it's very simple, and works great for 1v1


    or, since you're planning on playing several times in a row, you might want to try a little Sorcerer campaign

    never played it myself, but I hear it's great with few players, over multiple sessions

    can't remember how heavily it relies on dice


    and, by the way, don't hesitate to give me a shout when you reach Paris

    either here, or through Play Now! or Pixels and Polyhedrons

    I always enjoy playing with new people!


    (oh, one last idea: Thousand and One Nights)
  • We were totally just talking about almost this exact same thing before our last BW session. I grew up playing car games of all sorts with my family, and my husband and I play a wide variety of car games when we go on long trips. They're mostly word games and guessing games, though. The closest thing we have to a story game is one where we take turns telling a few lines of a story, and the next person takes over the narrative when you pause. It's hardly a "game", though. It would be a lot of fun to have something with some sort of conflict mechanics, even as simple as "I'm thinking of a number from one to ten" and how close the guesser is determines the result. It would have to have, for me anyhow, pretty much zero record-keeping and zero dice-rolling, if it's going to be played in a car (especially when driving at night).
    I'll definitely keep my thinking cap on during the drive the JiffyCon later this month...
  • Some really great ideas here, thanks!

    Jule Ann and Jono: definitely. I've been talking about this the dearth of this format of game with the rest of the Clapham Massive, it's definitely something that needs more exploration. Carl - you mentioned Nighttime Animals and I think this is a good example of design working in this area. I should definitely have a look over that before going.

    Shock: is a definite possibility - I got it for Christmas, and it is orange, so hard to argue with, really. I might kick it off on the ferry with all the resources to hand, and if we handle it well see if we can get what we need engine-head-style.

    Polaris - you know, the unanimous swell of opinion suggests 3-way Polaris is a must for the car. I hear ya! only .... travelling the Iberic peninsula, one might almost wish there was a thematically appropriate hack of that game in the ether... must pursue...

    Sorcerer I think is too dice-heavy, and also I think to run well needs ready access to notes, a relationship map etc. I have been wanting to play it for some time, and it might still come along on the trip, but it won't make the car test. Trollbabe would be good but I understand the content is being rejigged and I'd rather wait for the tightened up version. 1001 Nights (or Binary Nights, as I chucklingly call it) would be another option, definitely.

    Rolling dice into a hat... hmm. I was thinking about that, or having an oversized matchbox to take out on hikes to roll in. Ah, what a picture for the locals. Regard! C'est le fou Rosbifs! Totalment bizarre!

    Thanks for all the well-wishes too. I'll drop some photos on my return, mayhaps... and hoog, I might just get in touch!
  • Posted By: Alex F
    Polaris - you know, the unanimous swell of opinion suggests 3-way Polaris is a must for the car. I hear ya! only .... travelling the Iberic peninsula, one might almost wish there was a thematically appropriate hack of that game in the ether... must pursue...
    "Thou Art But A Warrior"?

    (Maybe you knew that, and were being sarcastic... curse you, text-only communication!)
  • edited July 2008
    Posted By: Alex FTake Death's Door as an example of maybe what I'm looking for. I've no idea how it does with the other criteria, but thematically it's doing the kinds of thing I'm after. Does anyone know the game enough to comment? Any thoughts on other games with this kind of approach?
    Hi, I think I'm familiar with that one. ;p

    Death's Door would not, I think, survive well with active travelling; it tends to pull at your attention. But in terms of sitting and playing under starlight, or on a long ferry, it would manage very well.

    I would add my voice to chip in with 1001 Nights as a good fit. The mechanics are simple enough that you could easily set one person in charge of the dice.

    Also Amber Diceless is a fantastic travelling game.

    thanks,

    James
  • OK, I'm back.

    I hope no-one's going to kill me when I say:

    we played no role playing games.

    .
    ..
    sorry.


    Seriously, though, when you match it up against this:
    image
    and the hairpin bends it takes to get there, it makes much more sense to be attending to the environment.

    Lots of fantastic suggestions though - I did pack Shock: and some Polaris excerpts for the road on their basis! The thread has given me some food for thought on designing for travel, I hope it stirred some other heads too.

    Oh and JC, sadly we span straight past Paris! Maybe another time?
  • Oh, and just one more thing:

    I had a great time.

    Thanks for all the well wishes!
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