Tips for a Good Jeep Form?

edited July 2009 in Play Advice
I'm interested in trying Jeepform. I've been reading a little about Jeepform games on the Jeepform site, skimmed a couple of the games on offer and did a search on Story Games but that's basically all the information I have at the moment. Mother by Fredrik Axelzon's seems interesting, I think I'll try that one sometime soon.

So, weathered practitioners of Jeepform. How would you advise me to approach these games? Any practical tips, pointers, and references to helpful material would be appreciated.


  • edited July 2009
    Keep in mind that the actual Jeepform scenarios on the site are a mismatch of very different techniques, objectives and game types. The only common grounds I have found between them, is that they were created by someone who is a "Jeep" and use a subset of techniques listed on the site. Even the Jeep "truth" are about techniques for the most part.

    So, don't search for anything like a common Creative Agenda or something like that. For example, "mother" is a very. very different animal from, for example, "Doubt". The first one is about experiencing something created by the playwright (most of the latest Frederick games are about achieving something he calls "Bleed" that it's something that flow from the designer to impact the player in a passive role), while the second is about removing the barrier between character and player litle by little achieving something very similar to "story now". I don't know if I was able to explain this well, but, in practice, is like comparing a railroaded Vampire scenario with a game of Grey Ranks.

    So, if you want to understand Jeepform, you should try to understand the various techniques and how they can be used, and read the Jeep "truths".

    For playing, I don't know what Jeep scenario would be more useful for learning by oneself. "The Upgrade" was written as a convention demo of Jeep techniques, to be used with a lot of person in the public, and it's very effective as a demonstration, but require that one or two people already familiar with Jeepform play the hosts (it's very good for teaching other, not for teaching to oneself).

    My advice is always to play "Doubt", but simply because I consider it a still unsurpassed masterpiece of game design and everybody who is interested in role-playing, of any kind, should play it and be blown away. I played it the first time with people who never played Jeepform before (even the GM) and it worked very well. But if you can play it with someone who already know the scenario as a GM it's better

    For reference, I was rather disappointed by "Mothers" and other new Jeepform games, because I am not really interested in "bleed" and I think they are turning away from the most promising use of Jeepform techniques for player's buy-in searching instead to get "more in control" of the game.
  • edited July 2009
    Thanks, I'll check out Doubt right away. And I do think I got your explanation on Bleed vs. the properties some other Jeep games have.

    Edit: There's a Finnish version of Doubt as well, great!
  • edited July 2009
    I'll second the vote for Doubt. It's especially good if you have a group of people who know each other well play, and if you have *plenty* of time. It's an easy job for the Director/GM, just helping the group get out of any stuck places, and it's pretty intuitive for the players once they get over the hurdles of remember who is playing who, and sort out the layers of the narrative.

    I have had good experiences with The Mothers, though. And just to be confusing, there are 2 games: The Mother, and The Mothers. The Mothers (plural) deals with a group of women in a pregnancy support group, and is about vicious group dynamics. I've played once and run once, and it was a good game both times. Much more simple in structure than Doubt. The Mother (singular) deals with an abusive family situation, and I have not played the game.

    Others I'd recommend would be, certainly the Upgrade, but that takes a very active role on the part of the GMs. I'd suggest having an experienced hand run you through it the first time, though if you get how it works from reading it, that's of course not necessary. I find that kind of pointed framing and pressure more challenging, so it may depend on the proclivities of your GM. Happy Ends is a very sweet game. Fat Man Down is a short, intense in-your-face and experiential game (all bleedy, yes indeed).

    For American Jeeps, my game Under my Skin has been well received by players. can't say enough good things about Seth Ben Ezra's Flowers for Mara. I think playing Mara at GenCon last year is one of the single best role playing experiences I've had. And Bill White's Ganakagok Jeepforged takes the form back to a mythical setting, with a neat semi-competitive structure that is well suited to big groups and a is blast to play.
  • I too would give an insider's vote to Doubt. But in all fairness, I think that GR is the true apex of the Jeep design form, and has been received really well. The problem is just that it's not at all suitable for most players. So I say go with Doubt and Under my Skin. One Finnish group I have talked with, who have played through most of the Jeep archives by now, had some high words for Kongo (in the Rear Mirror). So give that a look too, if you have time.

    My own two pieces were quite well liked in both Finland and Germany, but knowing you, I recommend that you start with other stuff first. So go Doubt -> UmS -> Kongo, I'd say.
  • I'm trying Jeep for the first time with some (equally clueless) friends this Saturday

    we're starting out with "Drunk" and "A bitter aftertaste"

    our choice was based mostly on the number of players (4)

    I'd be happy to compare notes, if you like
  • Thanks very much, guys! So many interesting games. Theme-wise Kongo, GR, Mother (just one :) and maybe Ganakagok Jeepforged interest me the most. System-wise Doubt and Ganakagok show promise after skimming through (I haven't been able to read all the suggested games yet).

    And what's with all the romantic relationship games, guys? ;) There seems to be a real strong trend in that direction. It's not a bad thing at all (after all there's room for plenty more if we look at the rpg scene as whole), but I could imagine that for example something like a Le Guin -esque scifi Jeepform (or Jeepforged) game could be great, too.

    Participant-wise I'll need to ask who wants to play with me before deciding on a game. For me the urge to get to try Jeepform is probably more important than the theme of the game we choose to play but for others it could be the other way around.

    Hoog, it would be interesting to to hear about your preparations and how the games go. I probably won't get to play for another couple of weeks but any additional practical pointers and experiences on the games you chose would be very welcome.
  • One of the original ideas in designing jeepforms was that they should be grounded to real-world phenomena. That, and the fact that a solid relationship scenario is a far more challenging thing to both design and play (it gets to many people on a level no epics can touch), together have made it a trend.

    For instance I, as a designer, especially like to create intense playable content out of the stuff we tend to encounter and ponder in everyday life. The smaller the cues (as in Ditch'd), the better, for me these days.
  • edited July 2009
    I guess my (only half-serious) quip about all the romantic Jeep games was more of prejudice than an objective observation. When I skimmed through your games, Jiituomas, I was happy to find neutrality in terms of gender and sexual roles as well as elements from other everyday situations and themes than just the modern all-encompassing ideal of romantic love.

    The objective of grounding things to real-world phenomena is a laudable ideal, but in my opinion there are many more themes as universal and interesting as romantic relationship scenarios. But I'll continue to note that this is not a critique of any of the existing games about relationships: It would be pointless to critique their authors for not writing something completely different. (to be fair there are Jeep games exploring those other themes too)

    I think I've painted myself in the corner now: There's really not much else to say or do than design my own Jeep game about a real-world phenomenon outside of romantic relationships that interests me and doesn't exist yet :) But maybe I'll just try some of the games available first.
  • Jeep Truth #4: "Setting does not make up for story. Assume that you are the only one that thinks your setting is cool."
    #14: "The most important purpose of a story is to facilitate player interaction."

    Jeep "piece of the cake" #17: "The most important aspect of a story is how it affects the characters in it, not whether the characters manage to save the world in the end."
    #18: "Everyday drama is more interesting than epic drama."

    It's easy to see why so many stories about relationships... :-)
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