March 26, 2011

Meanwhile, at the Molasses Factory Near The Ski Lodge In Springtime…

As part of my taking command of shit, I got a game of A Penny For My Thoughts together. I bought this game because it sounded cool, and I read it and it did sound cool. But it was just on that stack of games I really didn’t think I’d ever get to play with my friends. However, as part of my take-charge attitude, I realized that they would enjoy it, but would never decide to play on their own. I was being asked to do something with people for my birthday, so I hatched a plan and forced the game to be played. People wanted to do something with me, so I twisted it, searched through a million frustrating boxes, and bam, there we were.

The back of the book has several optional different versions of the game. The basic game is about real-world drama and problems. I knew none of my group would take that seriously, so I decided to use the Cthulhu-based version that was included, thinking there was a slim chance that that might be taken with a bit more seriousness. I mean, it wasn’t, but there was a better chance! Still, that was kind of the setup.

Of course, Penny is a game for a small group, and we ended up having a big group. Thus, we only really got past the first round of the three round therapy session. Still, tons of fun was had. Watching Spants dig himself farther and farther into a hole with the sort of details he was setting up his story with was fantastic. Watching Shauna really work it with the ad-libbing and Jonathan fight desperately to attempt to make his story separate from everyone else’s even as everyone tried to draw him into an overall narrative was also enjoyable.

Early in the game, I read a list of example memory triggers from the book. One of these was “your family’s ski lodge.” Essner blamed me for this, but it was all his doing: from that point forward, everything seemed to involve a ski lodge in some way. This ski lodge was somehow adjacent to a farm as well as a Molasses Factory with a trap door which lead down into a constantly burning funeral pyre to burn werewolves who have converted to Judaism and joined the all-Jewish Mafia and trapeze artist circus act. Also, at some point beeswax was being used as a contraceptive.

That’s the kind of game we were playing.

Still, my gut instinct was right. Having actually tried it, everyone seemed to walk away from the session with a very high opinion of the game, though all agreed that a small group for it would probably be best. I got to have the role-play game I wanted on my birthday, and everyone got to have fun. We even got to eat some of Cara’s cake she made! Seems like a success to me. I have all the gear to finish the game still. I’m unsure if we’ll ever actually finish it, or play another, but I kind of hope so. It is good fun.

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