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Story Games Seattle Message Board What We Played › Rancher, Gambler, Sharpshooter (Shooting the Moon)

Rancher, Gambler, Sharpshooter (Shooting the Moon)

A former member
Post #: 11
Martin and Marc were kind enough to lead me through my first game of Shooting the Moon this Thursday as we told an Old West story of two woman with less than reputable pasts pursuing the only child and heir to the largest ranch in the county.

Martin's Sharpshooting Sarah Sky, headline act of Tequila Sam's Wild West Show, had given up violence to break from her blood-splattered past, Marc's Millie Maclure was a gambler and cheat but a successful one, and both sought the affections and commitment of my Anita Alred, eager to prove herself an effective head of her ailing father's ranch but pining to go East. Triumphing over Abraham Alred's disapproval, ruined dresses and town fires, Ms. Sky eventually earned Ms. Alred's devotion when she paid off Mr. Alred's creditors with her lucky $20 bill and famous leather jacket. Which was appropriate seeing as how she was the only one to show any interest in Ms. Alred's wanderlust and how Ms. Maclure only ever involved Ms. Alred in failed swindles.

I did enjoy the game a fair amount as it kept all players attentive to the game at all times as we were either playing in a scene or waiting for an opportunity to create the conflict. I do have to say, though, that I was a disappointed in the lack of gunplay in our story, especially for an Old West setting. Despite two characters having the traits of 'crack shot' and 'quick draw' and the other with a criminal background, not a single person was shot or even threatened at gunpoint. Everything was solved with talking. This West was more Genteel than Wild.
A former member
Post #: 31
Well, it's not like there was anything to shoot. The only physical threat was a fire. Everything else was rude townsfolk or awkwardness.

I think a problem this game had is that we made the Beloved's life too simple, and in spite of the Opportunity she was clearly not in a place to engage in romance. Anita's mind was on her ranch 100% of the time, and it was clear from scene 1 that neither of us scallywags was in a position to help her manage it. I found it hard to justify pursuing her, in character, because she was so uninterested it felt like harassment. Her problems were also highly depersonalized- there was no external threat to help her fight, and no internal emotional struggle to help her work through, which removes two major classes of Hurdle. It was cattle ranch economics or GTFO.

Looking back on character creation, I think we had too many Beloved traits that referenced the same aspect of the character. She's rich [because of her ranch], she's ambitious [to make her ranch better], she has cattle gelding skills, etc. The only non-ranch traits I remember are Crack Shot and Churchgoing. And of course the opportunity was ranch-related, the obstacle was ranch-related, and the dream was ranch-related. So it's not exactly a surprise that it was impossible for the character to do anything not related to her ranch.

Still, it was a fun game and the characters were all interesting in spite of their total lack of chemistry. I think Shooting the Moon is pretty resilient to issues like this, and we managed plenty of fun and silly anyway.
A former member
Post #: 12
I think you're absolutely right, Martin, but I wonder if we couldn't have made gotten around Anita one-dimensionality by doubling down and making both of the suitors associated with the ranch, perhaps one being a creditor and the other a ranch hand. Then it at least would have given all three of them something in common to talk and be concerned about. Not to say I didn't enjoy Shooting the Moon because I had a blast, but it doesn't seem to have been the full Shooting the Moon experience.
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