Monday, December 13, 2004

[RPG] InSpectres - Actual Play

I'm posting a write-up of our InSpectres game at the Forge, here. InSpectres is sort of a cross between Ghostbusters and, very funny and probably the game our group's been the most enthusiastic about over the last 2 years.

It firmly shoves power into the players' hands. When you roll to see what happens, the result doesn't determine success or failure but rather how much leeway you have to narrate what's going on. Couple that with the Confessional Chair (like a piece to camera in a reality TV show, it allows you to flash back and forwards in time, dropping other players in the poo) and you have a great introduction to role-playing and to theatre-sports/improvisation.


Anonymous said...

Svend says -

I think there are two things that help InSpectres be much easier to play in than Universalis. The first is having a GM, someone whose job it is to prod the story along if it stalls. The second is having a very structured background - people know how the world works, why their characters are working together, what kind of things they should regard as weird or normal... you get all the kinds of advantages that a constrained form gives.

I've seen it go the other way, too - I found that having to speak only in rhyme (in that /Hairy McClairy/ game that I think was with this group) meant that I concentrated on that, rather than the game itself.

I'm of mixed minds as to whether it's a good introductory roleplaying game, though. I'm trying to think how best to describe what concerns me... how about this. A new D&D player can play with no great originality, and that's fine - most of the things that the other players do aren't particularly original, either. (There's only so many ways that a given set of Feats and weapons can go together.)

I agree that InSpectres has a lot in common with Improv stuff - which means that it's much more demanding than many other games. Being told, "Right, you rolled a six - excellent success! Tell us what happens!" puts you right on the spot: entertain your peers, now! Narrative control can be scary. But on the other hand, I suspect it's easier to pick up on the fly than D&Ds initiative rules. ;)

I really, really like the game... but would I use it as a gateway game for new players? Actually, yeah, probably; but then again,I like the lighter, narrative-based games that it encourages. If I was a more "serious" gamer, I might have more reservations.

hix said...

Agreed that it could be intimidating, although when people play "Let's Pretend", they watch to pitch their own ideas into the mix - and InSpectres provides a couple of pretty natural ways to do it.

However, for a real introductory game, I'd probably go with Heroquest. The conflict resolution system appears so simple and wide-ranging that a newbie could probably 'get' everything about the game in a single session (or less) ... whereas D&D, well that has a lot of stuff going on, not the least of which is spell selection and managing the levelling up process.

Second choice: Primetime Adventures.
Third choice: Universalis ... but is it roleplaying? Well, yes, sez I but not as it's conventionally perceived. That lack of sticking to a single character's perspective is the biggest difference.