Looking again at my blog post on Escalation, I realized I’d missed an important pattern, which I’m going to call Reflection & Clarification. It solves one of the important pitfalls with pure escalation: that players may generate contradictory and extreme content that pulls the story apart. The Reflection & Clarification pattern is the inclusion of explicit structures in the game that give players time to synthesize different directions they’ve created into one coherent whole.
I made a somewhat maniacal map of the influences on THE ZONE, as an exercise to see if I can talk about the game without mentioning the word “horror”.
I had a delightfully awkward first date a few days ago. The inevitable moment came where I found myself blubbering an explanation of storygames, but this time it was interrupted with: “Hey, let’s play one!”
My first time at Metatopia and I loved it! I’m still sleepless, feeling the con crash hard. I played some amazing games with staggering emotional range (particular credit to Alex White’s “A Cool and Lonely Courage”, which ended with 20 seconds of silence to process at the end. Thank god for a whimsical game of Fiasco In A Box immediately after).
This week I focused on a big open question for THE ZONE: pacing & escalation.
Well this is exciting. After my very first Big Bad Con last weekend, it feels time to gather some sticks, pitch a tent, and kindle a tiny little spot on the internet to talk about storytelling games… including the one I’m actually rather far along in making: THE ZONE.