group for indie RPGs in Boston?

Hello!

I will be moving to Boston from Seattle in a few months. One of my favorite things about Seattle of late has been the indie RPG community, specifically the Seattle Story Games meetup and its spinoff groups. I was wondering if there are any similar active groups in Boston - specifically inclusive clubs open to the general public that meet on a weekly basis exclusively to play story games, emphasizing respectful conduct between players. If I cant find any, I was thinking of starting an indie RPG meetup modeled after the one in Seattle following the good advice found on these forums and elsewhere, and would be interested in any interest in such a club.

I did some scrounging - so far I've found a group that looks like its now no longer open to the public https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/sgboston/info), and some general purpose RPG clubs affiliated with universities in the area.

Thanks!

- Max

Comments

  • I have looked and hoped but not found such a group. I would definitely be interested, as would the handful of storygamers in my home group. Where in Boston are you? I would think Pandemonium Books and Games in Cambridge and Alpha Omega Hobby in Quincy would be cool potential sites for such a meetup.
  • edited January 5
    Oh hey! Its awesome to hear that you'd be interested and you know other folks that'd be interested too!

    Im not quite sure yet where exactly in the metro I'll be when I show up in April. I remember Pandemonium having a space that would be suitable for such events back from when I was around the area, and personally think any location that is transit accessible to interested people and has tables is good.

    I have some RPG enthusiast friends from in the area that would possibly be interested as well.

    Seeing as it doesn't sound like a club already exists, I look forward to efforts to found one :)

  • Welcome to Boston! I think you will be able to find such a group (particularly in University towns). But I would say expect a bit of culture shock if you are dealing with local gamers. My impression is the Boston Game scene and the Seattle scene are very different. There isn’t as much of a story game (though you can definitely find groups who are into it). I do think there is a good mix of play styles in the area. And some of the stuff around table etiquette (for example X cards) are not nearly as well recieved here—-again going by my perception of the Seattle scene.

    One cultural detail of you haven’t encountered it yet: people bust each other’s chops here. No one means any harm by it, it is just a way of having good conversation and bonding, but I think sometimes it strikes people from different regions as a bit rude.
  • One group I would recommend getting in contact with are the folks who run Games on Demand at PAX East. Lots of Story Games are facilitated there by Boston folks, and their use of safety tools is intentional and (in my experience) consistent.

    https://plus.google.com/u/1/communities/107997480537445321792
  • edited January 14
    Create your own group. Build it and they will come; more people are interested in indie RPGs then you may think. I and Ben Robbins were both very successful using Meetup. Use Meetup if possible; it costs money but after you get going you may be able to get regulars to contribute. Ben created Story Games Seattle, which he has retired but whose members have since produced further indie groups. I created the Indie RPG Guild; feel welcome to steal anything from my Meetup site you find useful.

    If you end up creating your own group and have any questions let me know. I’m happy to answer them. Good luck :smile:

    P.S.
    If you like GMless games; I suggest you limit them to some degree. I suggest you play at least 3 GMed games to every 1 GMless game. GMless games are typically more difficult to pull off and people can get frustrated. Ben was able to pull off a purely GMless group but that was because he had 3 factors working in his favor. 1) He has name recognition and is widely know as an indie game designer; 2) His group regularly played a small sub-set of games over and over so people could get used to them and good at playing them; 3) He was based in Seattle, which has a large population of people who are eccentric and like to try non-mainstream things—a legion of pink-haired hipsters and hippies just pining to play a game of adult hid-and-seek in the library. ;)

    Also, I think it is a good idea to play plenty of GMed indie games that have a low failure rate, like PbtA games, and when you do play GMless games, play games like Fiasco or Microscope, which are more likely to produce successful sessions that are less creatively demanding because they give some structure rather than the expectation on improving without a net. Fall of Magic may also likely be a good choice for a GMless game.

    Follow could be worth trying out as GMless option, after the group gets more used to GMless games, but with some caveats. Follow is most successful when players stay close to the story archetype and genres the Quests are built for, and when everyone is committed to the same tone. Follow will automatically create creativity, so one shouldn’t try to be overly clever or creative or try too much; doing so can often create a sprawling and unsatisfactory story. Just naturally build on each other’s contributions instead of trying to force things or throw in unexpected or clever twists. As stated above, Follow builds the creativity in the story automatically as an emergent property; it will arise naturally as the story unfurles. So to be successful in Follow: 1) Don’t try too much, or try to be clever, just make a scene that would naturally follow from the previous one; 2) Agree on a tone and make sure players stick to it; 3) Focus on believablity; Gonzo is almost always a bad idea; 4) Keep the story focused and tight and build on other player’s contributions; 5) Don’t stray to much from the Quest’s story archetype; staying close to the Quest’s story archetype keeps players on the same page and telling the same story— archetypal stories are archetypal for a reason.

    P.S.S.
    I have some great alternate success/failure rules for Follow if your interested. I also have some suggestions about how to approach and contextualize success/failure in Fiasco. With this approach to Fiasco my group has never had an unsuccessful session and we’ve played it a lot.
  • edited January 12
    .
  • One of my favorite things about Seattle of late has been the indie RPG community, specifically the Seattle Story Games meetup and its spinoff groups
    Ironically, I just moved to Cape Cod. A bit of a hike from Boston, but small world nonetheless.
  • edited January 13
    Jeff, I spun off the discussion of playing Follow into another thread, because I want to hear all about it.

    And I think you mean Meetup.com, not Kickstarter, right?
  • edited January 16
    Jeff, I spun off the discussion of playing Follow into another thread, because I want to hear all about it.

    And I think you mean Meetup.com, not Kickstarter, right?
    Yes, I mean Meetup...Opps. I will respond to your other post when I have some time. Thanks :)
  • edited January 18
    Thanks for all of the input folks! I definitely think sticking to beginner friendly games is a good idea to start. Also, I appreciate you pointing out those cultural differences Bedrockbrendan :smile: , I grew up around Boston and felt a massive culture shock when I first arrived in Seattle tried to bust people's chops as a friendly gesture. I hope that dispite the cultural differneces of the two cities, Boston will prove conducive to a story game meetup - I know that theater style LARP is really big in New England, giving me hope that the market is ripe enough with folks interested in plot based, offbeat, inclusive role playing. The only way to know for sure how such a story games club would go is to try to build it and see what happens.

    Thanks a lot for posting that link to the PAX group moconner - I will be reaching out, probably closer to my move date at the end of march.

    Also, nice to see you here Ben! We've actually played a game of microscope together once upon a time - a 20th century alternate history game, where magic was discovered some time before WW1 if memory serves correctly. Thanks for promoting story games in Seattle, I probably wouldn't have gotten into the hobby if it werent for SGS :smile:
  • edited January 18
    OK - The first step to starting a club in Boston is to move there :smile:, settle in, and pitch the idea of a club to all of my RPG inclined friends in the area and to any RPG inclined friends-to-be I come accross. I hope to meet some folks from this forum later this year when I'm back in Boston and going about bringing a club into existance :smile:.
  • Looking forward to hearing more and helping out where I can. Good luck with the move!
  • Also, nice to see you here Ben! We've actually played a game of microscope together once upon a time - a 20th century alternate history game, where magic was discovered some time before WW1 if memory serves correctly. Thanks for promoting story games in Seattle, I probably wouldn't have gotten into the hobby if it werent for SGS :smile:
    Was that this game:

    image

    Walrythia Uber Alles!
  • edited February 22
    Yup! That was the one!
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