Story Games Seattle Message Board What We Played › What We Played: 'The Brain Frame' (Shock)

What We Played: 'The Brain Frame' (Shock)

Jerome
user 8261819
Seattle, WA
Post #: 2
Amy, Bridget and myself played a Shock game called 'The Brain Frame.'

The plot occurred in a near-future America, where bio-mechanical implants have become all the rage, and the country is quickly becoming divided into the 'plugged' and 'unplugged'. Those who have been plugged in benefit from instant access to a digital network called the 'Brain Frame', which allows them to gain skills and information almost effortlessly. The unplugged are doomed to learn things the old fashioned way: by memorizing it. Impacted by this intrusive new technology were:

Margret Jefferson, a candidate for US Senate. A beneficiary of the Brain Frame herself, she struggled not to be cast as an elitist robot by her unplugged opponent.
Yogen Luz, a gameshow host on a well-known media channel. Yogen, secretly sympathetic with the unplugged resistance, fixed his gameshow in order to promote traditional learning.
Smith Wilson, an 'uninstaller', whose job it was to remove the Brain Frame from people who were delinquent in their subscription payments, with potentially disastrous results.

This is the first time I've facilitated Shock without a more experienced player at the table, so there were a few mix-ups w/r/t the mechanical aspects of the game. I feel that the dice-rolling mechanics, especially as they relate to the 'praxis' and 'minutae', are the weak spots in an otherwise superb game. Luckily for me, the ladies were both patient and gracious, and we got through it alright.

Out of curiosity, is there a Gamma hack for this aspect of the game? And while I'm at it, what are the courtesies/ethics behind hacking games, anyway? On the one hand, as a designer, I'd like to see the game played as it was designed. On the other hand, if the players have a method of increasing their own enjoyment (which is the point, after all), why shouldn't they use it?
Ben R
thatsabigrobot
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 254
I feel that the dice-rolling mechanics, especially as they relate to the 'praxis' and 'minutae', are the weak spots in an otherwise superb game. … Out of curiosity, is there a Gamma hack for this aspect of the game?

I played around with switching all the numbers so you were always trying to roll low. So on a truth/lies praxis, instead of true 1-7/lies 9-10 you'd have truth 1-7, lies 1-2. Opposing d4s would always add to your number. Mechanically the same but easier to do the math and see exactly where you stood. You'd just have to remember that if you rolled exactly one over it was fulcrum.

The downside is the more you hack, the more you make it harder for strangers to play together. They meet up and think the rules are totally different.

We also downplay formal minutiae. We write notes, but we're not strict about it. We're definitely loose about the audience having to use minutiae to explain how they brought in their d4. It's nice if you can, but it's more important to bring in something that fits what's happening in the moment.


And while I'm at it, what are the courtesies/ethics behind hacking games, anyway? On the one hand, as a designer, I'd like to see the game played as it was designed. On the other hand, if the players have a method of increasing their own enjoyment (which is the point, after all), why shouldn't they use it?

That's a good question. When you're playing I'd say you owe the designer exactly nothing. Possibly less. They're not playing. Do whatever makes your play fun. Sometimes other players will want to follow the rules as written, in which case you do have a social obligation to them. It will also get chaotic if you start re-writing a game on the fly. No fun.

On the other hand I like to assume the designers have put some care, time and testing into what they wrote. Hopefully there's a good reason it's set up the way it is, even if that turns out to be a system that isn't ideal for me. So I personally follow the rules closely for several sessions at least before I decide to hack anything. I often find I misunderstood something or was playing in a way that was fighting against the system. But yeah, if I've played a game 3-4 times and I think I'd like it better with some tweaks, I will tweak away (say hello, Remember Tomorrow).

A former member
Post #: 3
Thanks, Jerome, for posting the beginning of the "what we played" thread and thanks for facilitating the game last night.

I really enjoyed the gaming session last night. I mentioned it was only my second week at story games (meaning only my second time playing story games), so it was great that you and Bridget were so patient. Ultimately I think everyone is grateful that everyone else was patient. :) I learned a lot playing Shock, although it was hard going from Polaris last week to a new game this week. I was still so focused on the game structure of Polaris that it was weird in my mind to switch.

What will help me in the long run play story games more successfully (i.e. contribute better to the overall story) is getting over my self-imposed limitations. I may have said something similar in my post last week after playing Polaris.

Also, being a politician (as the "unplugged opponent") was a lot more challenging than I expected. Fun and kind of terrifying to be put on the spot and have to say something contridictory in a smooth way without coming across like a douche.
Powered by mvnForum

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Log in

Not registered with us yet?

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy