I’m back from the fourth Camp Nerdly, and being back feels good, like a corner has been turned. It was wonderful to reconnect with my scattered friends and feel the Nerdly vibe again. It was especially good to hang out with folks from far afield, like Dave Younce and Ryan Macklin. I’d stepped back from organization this year and it was a pleasure to just do my chore and forget about it, knowing there would be food on the table and a clean bathroom. Thank Clinton and the organizers if you had a trouble-free, fun event! Those guys worked their asses off. The weather was great on Saturday, best ever. The food was good and plentiful and the bacon was a big hit. The games were also good, although I didn’t have any great sessions this year. A Taste For Murder was a fun playtest, but a playtest nonetheless. How We Came To Live Here, which I had been greatly looking forward to, sort of got dominated by one participant and wasn’t as fun as I’d hoped it would be. I think it seriously suffered form the compressed con game format. Fiasco went well, but was very subdued – everybody chose the more mellow options in the suburban playset, so it ended up being a family relationship drama rather than unfettered chaos. Because of this, the aftermath didn’t really click well for me and I need to think about that. Montsegur 1244 was solid, but we started at a leisurely pace and then had to play catch-up, and Emily Boss had to leave early for her chore, which sucked. And the Freeform playtest/sampler event didn’t live up to my very high expectations – the playtest part was good and informative, and the full game just wasn’t that fun for me. I think I am alone in that assessment, though, and people were using the techniques we’d just taught, so that’s a good thing. I had a lot of good conversations, made some new friends, spent really pleasant hours with people I love and respect, and came home fired up to do some new things.

Camp Nerdly 3
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6 thoughts on “Camp Nerdly 3

  • June 1, 2009 at 10:43 am

    I’d love to understand why that first Bird in the Ear event fizzled into sadness. Even if the answer is ‘Adam sucked at improv.’ Care to share your thoughts on this?

  • June 1, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Hi Adam,

    I thought the exercise bit went fine, and you guys used what you learned later on, so all is well there (nd you don’t suck). I was unhappy with The Butterforger because it went directly to wackytown, and I think the game has a lot of potential for absolutely lethal humor if played with more subtlety, that’s all. If I were to facilitate it again, I’d start by saying “This will be ten times more hilarious if you take your role very seriously and let the humor emerge organically from character and situation.” It’s no big deal – we try things, we learn. Plus I may be totally wrong!

  • June 1, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Eeeenteresting. Humor is a funny thing (ha) in that my humor might not be your humor. I thought the piece was hilarious, largely because it was in wackytown. I think it would be interesting and fun to _run it again_ with those directions, and see how it differed from what we did.

    Also, many players /were/ taking their roles absolutely seriously, but their roles were totally whacky. Do you mean that you’d like to see people /play/ their roles more seriously (less weirdly)?

  • June 1, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    You’re right about humor, of course! In my mind the game would work best played like an episode of Law and Order. All the elements are so ridiculous that treating them as sacrosanct would be really funny. But honestly, that’s just me, and my dissatisfaction doesn’t reflect in the least on your experience or enjoyment.

  • June 2, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    Hey Jason!

    I totally agree with you about How We Came to Live Here. I was really looking forward to it and it was okay – there were definitely some cool and sad things that happened, but it still felt a little flat. It can make for a really great one shot, but it’s not a given, and I think that’s partly because the best practices haven’t yet been established.

    I learned quite a bit from our session, though, and I’ll be running the same scenario again this Monday so we’ll see if a few changes make a difference. I mean, there’s always going to be a certain amount of the unknowable, but I think I can do some things that will start us out on better grounds, like:

    1. Condense conflict rules to one easy-to-reference page.

    2. Make sure the Inside/Outside Players (GMs) are paying attention to the players further down the line who have to wait longer for a scene and make sure those players get involved early.

    3. Either have brief intro scenes or push the existence of the love triangle as a real thing early on. We should have pushed you guys together harder and let you tear yourselves apart.

    Anyway, I’m hopeful that a few small changes will make a big difference.

    I have a lot that I want to say about the Jeepform Sampler stuff, too, but I’ll probably add my thoughts at the Structured Freeform forum later tomorrow.


  • June 3, 2009 at 6:13 am

    Hi Rachel! I think your ideas are right on and will really tighten the one-shot up. I already yelled at Brennan about the lack of a reference/conflict sheet.

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