Thursday, 18 June 2015

Narrative Gaming with Family.

I thought I would expand a bit more on one of the ways I get and keep Olivia's interest in gaming projects, since you have seen a few more games we play.

Narrative gaming.  For us its all about the story.  Linking it in, following it on.  In games like X-Wing when we play Olivia is following the story of who she has seen in the film, Luke and Chewie are her favourites.  she goes into great details of their new adventures, making suitable Chewie noises when she dodges.  Its a world she knows, so storytelling in it is easy.
 In the world of Star Wars its very black and white between Good and Bad, and Olivia never likes to play the Baddies, she has watched Star Wars, she straight away knows who is good and who is bad, and then she finds who she likes within it from watching the films.
Im always stuck with the Empire when we play so she can recreate the battles between good and evil in a clear cut way in her head, and as you all know Chewie and the good guys nearly always win, and she wins against me, so it keeps it all in theme.  But what about other games? and other ways?...

Playing Star Trek is a bit more difficult for pure good and evil stories, as everything is a shade of grey, even the Federation at times.  And Olivia has picked Romulans as her favourite Faction and declares them "goodies" Its hard to argue with really, as at points, and from points of view they are at times.

The plus though is that the very greyness of the universe allows more varied storytelling, where the Romulans CAN be the good guys, and fight for a purpose Olivia agrees with.  what we have started doing is telling the story of the turn as it happens, explaining what they are doing, ohh no im bracing for impact those Torpedoes are coming in hard, hard astern lock phasers prepare to return fire, that sort of thing.  Then after the game we build it into a story, which Olivia loves, so long as I can fit her into it somewhere.  Sometimes she will be the captain that takes the place of a named one for the story purpose.  It helps her feel connected to the game, like she has a stake in the story, and can change it with HER actions.  Of course should the ship be destroys, she always "escapes" in the story in a great way to fight again, as heroes and villains never die, just go away to reappear.

These stories can carry over from game to game, forming rivalries, and great chains of events.  Creating reasons for vengeance, reasons to defend something and play again.  Olivia has a certain dislike for my Defiant class, as it always seems to cripple her ship in most games we play, and the last two games has been the cause of "her" ships destruction, so she now hunts in mercilessly  for retribution.  Not because its the most powerful ship in the game, but in the story of the game it has hurt her.  Its great fun, keeping grudges and fears alive, watching heroes rise as a ship others performs well, she declares they need a promotion, then the next game its disintegrated in seconds.  Back to the ranks she yells! She develops her favourite ships from what they do, not how powerful they are, which Is built into our stories.  Keep an eye out in the coming weeks, and we shall share some our narrative mission games with you.  I build the story first, whats going to happen, what they are doing, and it gets her so interested, she is in the moment to play that mission and game, she IS the captain on the ship with childlike innocence doing voices, and its great to see.

Then we have games of Mars Attack for example.  Games that give you a background story before each scenario.  As you know if you have been following our battle reports I read the fluff that sets up the scenario with Olivia, then add her "character" into it, explaining the mission to her, you will need to make sure you rescue these people and fight your way out, just making the objectives more then a single line.

Making the whole set of linked scenarios into a story fleshing out the characters with our roles in the game, giving them history of their own, reasons to do what they do in the next battle.  sitting making up the story together is as fun as playing.

Try it sometimes, roleplaying isn't just for dungeons and dragons, try it with your tabletop games too.