[Jeepform] The other jeepform games at Dreamation

edited January 2008 in Actual Play
So, we've heard quite a bit about The Upgrade! at Dreamation, but not much about the other jeepform games played at Dreamation. I figured maybe I'd get the ball rolling here about them.

I played in Night of Nights with Alexander Newman & Jason Morningstar. The setup: two people from very different worlds would cross paths for only one amazing night, and then never again meet. I played Max, a well-to-do 20-year-old college student. Jason played Klara, a 30-something lower-class prostitute. Alexander played the GM, working to cause strife in the night of these two would-be lovers.

The game really threw me out of my comfort zone there, and I think was a bit therapeutic for me as I had been trying to get my head out of such a hardcore mechanics-focused design mindset but was previously unable to. Partly due to misunderstanding an experimental mechanic Tobias had us try, and partly due to our own story game damage to constantly seek out conflict, the game was less about romance and more about a somber comedy of errors involving an unlikely romance. The game culminated into a great scene where the romantic overtones were dropped -- instead of lovers, they became very good friends...for just a night.

That was my first jeepform game, and I'm not sure if I was thrown into the deep end, metaphorically-speaking, or not. I know that I had to pick up on some cues Jason gave me that I intellectucally understand but haven't been trained to immediately pick up on. (In order words, I've never done improv.) There was some awkwardness in that, I think, as well as other elements of that game.

I've love to hear more about the other jeepform games there!


  • Yeah, I was off for Night of Nights. I didn't feel like I was doing a good job as Klara, and I didn't completely understand the "but you won't" mechanic. When it was on it was really on, but I felt like most of the game was sort of mediocre. Still, getting a chance to see some divergence in form was really instructive, and the role Alexander took as a sort of metaphysical gadfly and tormentor was eye-opening. We could do stuff like that - but we don't.

    Ryan, I'm really interested in your experience with jeepform as a non-improviser. What were the things you observed me doing that you picked up on?
  • I was in the Doubt game, and had a really good time. It's kind of hard to talk about though. For two main reasons:
    1) This was really really different from anything else I'd done before (part of why I signed up) so I don't have much context for discussing it especially since:
    2) Whenever I try to tell the story of what happened I feel like I'm not making any sense.

    It was awesome, and emotionally exhausting, and I'd really like to do it again.
  • I also played Doubt with Patty. It was intense. And definitely took me out of my comfort zone. Patty and I played opposite genders which for me added enough separation (the way fantasy elements may in other games) to keep reminding me that we aren't our characters to go deeper and more personal. I was amazed how we could all be so intense and stay in character with no break for 3 hours.

    Before playing I decided that my character would be a a borderline antagonist. I constructed my character by taking 3 parts of 3 different people from 3 different moments that I didn't like and merge them in my mind. Towards the end, several people wanted to kick my ass in a good way!
  • Posted By: Jason MorningstarI didn't completely understand the "but you won't" mechanic.
    Sure, but one thing I recognized what that the way we did it allowed us to have a bit of a story game-crutch, and maybe subtracted a little from the discomfort. Also, in typing this, I realized why our misunderstanding felt organic -- we say "but I won't" to ourselves often in bad relationships that we let go on too long. ("I should say something about how she never wants to do anything except hang out at home and shoots down my ideas for socializing...but I won't." or "I should say something about how he is drooling over that waitress on our night out...but I won't.") Or I just drew from my history of shitty relationships* in those moments.

    (*I knew they'd be good for something! :)
    Ryan, I'm really interested in your experience with jeepform as a non-improviser. What were the things you observed me doing that you picked up on?
    The one that stands out most in my mind was that very first scene. It was disorienting for me, because we didn't say anything about the environment -- you had a picture in your head and only when you paused shortly after you started going did I get it.

    You also started bang away, so mentally I was running to play catch-up. I had a "oh, we're starting right now? holy crap!" moment. This isn't a criticism of you, mind, but a comment on my anxiety going into the game. That got me to trying to riff off of you more than play myself, if that makes sense -- a reaction I have when I'm thrown into something very different very quickly is to observe before acting, which hurts a game that requires my action.

    I'm trying to train myself to listen to the actual communicated offers more, since that helps in gaming, rather than what's said. In that first scene, you/Klara asked me/Max to wait outside, so I did. As you spent several seconds mimicking rooting around in your things, what went through my head was "what's he doing? this is sort of a weird stall in action...oh...shit! The character said stay but the player is saying 'hey, come in here and disrupt her!' Watch for the offers, Macklin!" The action went against the proto-character I had in my head from the write-up (in that the character didn't want to jeopardize his shot at getting lucky, so he was okay to wait around when asked), so I bent the character to fit the action.

    To over-analyze: Rather than go from improv elements that I haven't really learned aside from in a casual, intellectual capacity, I drew from my GM techniques of forming a proto-character in my mind to play with. So, perhaps in some respects I wasn't playing Max as as player but as a GM, at least through the first scene or two. When I GM, I bend the NPCs to fit the situation, because that's all they're there for -- but I also don't immerse myself, because I can't both bend with the wind and play with immersion.

    Any of that make sense?
  • Sure, and that makes perfect sense. That first scene was a total offer - I'm vulnerable, I'm looking for something personal, come mess with me. We sorted it out, and Alexander definitely helped. I don't really get immersion, to be honest, although I accept that I do it pretty regularly. I definitely didn't at all in Night of Nights.
  • I have zero experience with Jeepform (although it does interest me). Just reading about it though gives me the impression that it's at least half-way meant to be theraputic on some levels. Is this how it's intended, or am I just see things differently?
  • I don't get that impression at all, although it can be positioned to provoke intense responses and often calls upon players to use their own feelings and experiences to inform their character.
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