Protocol Session Report: HOME

edited March 2017 in Actual Play
I recently had the pleasure of playing in a game of HOME, which is the first game in the Protocol series by jim pinto. It was a 3 player game with jim, Paco Jaen and myself playing over Skype.

Protocol is a series of card-driven scene framing games, and Home is about soldiers on their journey home after failing to win a war.

Our characters were Osric the Engineer (me), Farale the War Mage (Paco) and Wroth the Captain (jim). Our early scenes established that we were short on supplies, and the emotional tension between Farale and Wroth grew more and more as the narrative progressed.

Farale had abandoned his lover to go to the Academy for his mage training, and she had found compassion and love in the arms of Wroth. As the war broke out, she was murdered in front of both of them by an opposing soldier, and their vengeance and anger for one another was a strong driving force in the story.

Added to this the fact that our characters were essentially deserters, and unaware of what might even be awaiting us when we got to what was left of our home raised the tension even higher.

The cards are drawn at the beginning of most scenes, and add a sense of what the scene should be about, and where it takes place (if you want to have it take place in a new location). While I was worried this was going to be too prescriptive, the keywords are just vague enough to give you lots of creative freedom while still providing a suitable amount of gentle guidance.

Our characters eventually got home and were due to be executed. Farale unleashed his rage in one final outpouring of magical energy, obliterating the town and killing Osric. Wroth managed to free himself, and (at his request) put Farale out of his misery.

It was a powerful, dramatic and mature story, and one which I thoroughly enjoyed.


  • edited March 2017
    What do people generally think of Jim's games, Protocol and Praxis? I have never purchased them because I think Jim had seemed too have too many irons in the fire and for some reason this just made me feel unsure about his's kind of crazy because I almost literally own everything, somewhat known, in the indie space. I would really like to know what people think of Jim's games, and specifically if they like any of his games and they think his games play well or if they think they have some design/play issues. Any input would be greatly appreciated on this front; I've been wondering about this for a long time.

    Thanks for the write up!
    I think my post above is relevant to this thread, but I'm not sure if it's what you're going for; so if you want me to start a new thread regarding the subject above, please let me know :-) thanks :-)
  • One of things I like about his games is that they are so mechanically streamlined (especially the Protocol games). All I know is that I had never even read the book and in 90 minutes I had a great time and told a fun, mature story :)
  • I recently played Protocol: Last Scion (I'm not sure it's out yet). It may have been the first fully Story Game I've played and it was a ton of fun. The rules are super simple, though I hesitate to call them "rules"... they are more like clues and ques for how to organize play and narrate scenes. At it's most basic, during your turn, you draw a card to determine what type of scene it is (e.g. an ensemble, an interrogation, a vignette, etc.), what drama elements to emphasize (these are all unique per Protocol game), and so forth. Of course, before you do all that, you have a series of "world building" questions around the table, establishing relationships and facts of the world. Not only is Protocol zero prep... the game actually doesn't work if you prepare. There is a very simple system of competition and conflict built into the game via Drama points, but the most "gamey" component of the game is basically manipulating Drama point pools to be able to "own" more of the narrative than others, though no one gets shut out by design. Either way, you end up telling this really great genre story that's good enough to be a pretty decent screen play at its worst.
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