Games Design - WWID?

Posted by: James Mullen On: Feb 8th 2010 edited

This is a stupid game that works best with a group of friends who have some booze in them; in order to play, you will need the following:
• Small index cards or pieces of paper
• Pencils or pens
• Table and chairs
• At least four players
• A coin

Whoever has brought the game to the table gets it started by naming a character after themselves, e.g. if the name of the game provider is Joe Bloggs, then the character’s name is also Joe Bloggs.

The First Round
The game provider describes a scene that the character is in; this scene should not take longer than 2 or 3 minutes to describe. This scene will be the starting point for the story that follows, so should introduce or foreshadow the events to come. Once the game provider has described this, every other player, in clockwise order from the provider, adds one further detail to the scene. Note that all description is about the scene that the character is in, it does not describe the character’s thoughts, words, deeds, emotions or memories. The character is a blank slate at this point, an actor on a stage without a script, watching the set be built around him while other characters come & go.

Once the scene is set, all players except the provider should write down the character’s response to the scene; if a conflict is inherent in the scene, the response should relate to that. If there is no apparent conflict or challenge, responses can take any form. Responses should be short but clear and should not prefigure the outcome of taking that response: a response is only what the character tries to do, not what they actually achieve.
When all the responses have been written, the provider takes them all in, reads them and chooses one; they then describe the character’s attempt to take that action and toss a coin.
Heads: the action succeeds, the provider narrates how and what the outcome is.
Tails: the action fails, the provider narrates how and what the outcome is.

The provider keeps the card on which the action was written, adding to it a statement about the character based on the action and its outcome. For example, if the action involved running and was successful, the provider might write down ‘Fast’ or ‘Quick to react’ as a statement; if running had failed, they might write down ‘Slow’ or ‘Frozen by fear’.

All Subsequent Rounds
The player whose action was chosen in the previous round becomes the Actor for this round; whoever chose that action (e.g. the previous Actor) becomes the Reader for this round. Only in the first round is the game provider both Reader and Actor, in all subsequent rounds, these duties are divided between two players.
The order of business is:
• The Actor describes the scene.
• All other players, including the Reader, add a detail to that scene.
• Everyone apart from the Reader and the Actor writes down an action and passes them to the Reader.
• The Reader reads out the actions and the Actor chooses one.
• The Actor tosses a coin, determining the success or failure of the chosen action, and writes a statement upon the chosen action card related to that outcome, which describes the character.
• The player whose action was chosen becomes the Actor for the next round, whilst the Actor becomes the Reader in the next round; in this way, no-one may be the Actor or Reader more than once in any three rounds.

The End Game
The game ends when any player collects three positive or three negative statements about the character; therefore, on any player’s fifth turn as the Actor at the very latest, but possibly sooner.
• If the game ends with three positive statements about the character, all turns out well for them and they get a happy ending.
• If the game ends with three negative statements about the character, things turn sour and they meet a bad fate.
• The true social outcome of the game is to give the players a chance to comment on the game provider through the avatar of their namesake, the character.

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