To be understood


It feels nice to be understood.

My filmmaker buddy Matt said that he was always surprised and glad when someone after seeing a film of his would tell him something they picked up on. It could really be anything. “They got it!” And it’s not that his films are obscure or obtuse, but that communication is tough.

It’s tough in any medium, from speech to games to writings to facial expressions and beyond. So much of what we say and mean gets lost. Even more so when it’s released to the larger world where it’s among all the noise, which making communication even tougher. As anyone who has written a post on social media or a blogpost that went over like a fart in an elevator will tell you: it’s easy to be ignored at times. In fact, apathy is the default. There’s a lot to what’s been termed the attention economy and we’re all contending for shrinking real estate.

All this to say: when something lands and someone “gets it,” it’s all the more thrilling.

“You too? You see it the way I do?”

I went over to Amazon yesterday to pick-up a copy of my own game. Yes, I actually buy prints of my own games. This is because my current method of getting people into RPGs is to listen for who saw Stranger Things and wants to play D&D. I lob a fresh matte copy their way, much like I bought over 20 copies of Cairn for friends and family of mine for Christmas. 🙂

While on the Buy More From Your Home site, I saw this review from “S. Anderson”:

Adventure Hour! is one of many small format games inspired by Into the Odd and overall minimalist design. There seems to be a bit of Maze Rats flavor in there as well. It is stated to be useful for all ages of players, but per the author, has been developed and used for games with kids and people being newly introduced to RPGs. One aspect is that the design is intended to be used anywhere. Camping, hiking, car trips, airports, and other places where larger, more complex games could not be accommodated., as well as the kitchen table.

Character creation is simple and fun using some random charts and a couple of d6 to roll up character details like a profession and a suite of possessions. There are no stats as the game breaks down generally into 50/50 rolls using a d6 with rolls of 4+ being considered successful.

Something that is different than many older RPGS is that the author gives all of the information regarding any actions that may require a roll up front. This includes detailing the consequences of the action and allowing the player to think about whether or not they want to continue to pursue an action based upon the stated consequences. This is a different way of playing that emphasizes getting the players to think about what they want to do and potentially trying varied solutions rather than pursuing a single course of action. Players having the knowledge to make choices and control the consequences allows for a more conversational style of play and eliminates the GM tricks and surprises that are so common in the realm of the RPGs I grew up with in the 80s and 90s. I find it refreshing, especially considering that this game is aimed at young and inexperienced players.

The author has some thoughtful points regarding running the game and presenting it to the players. There is also advice about how to handle violence, damage, and death and how to actively present the dangers of the setting. Lastly, some d66 charts to roll on that can help a GM build and develop a world and adventures round out the book. An interesting adventure location in the belly of a giant fish gives a GM all the tools they may need to fire up a game.

The author’s perspective on RPGs and information presentation is unique and interesting. He has documented many of his thoughts on [this blog] where you can delve more deeply into this mindset and perhaps plan some new ideas about how to execute role-playing game play at the table. It has me thinking a great deal about how I can better present the games and worlds that I run to various audiences and how to allow players to more thoughtfully engage with the imaginary world and the game itself.

This is a great introduction to RPGs with some solid and interesting GM advice. If you’re looking for a game to play with your kids or curious adults with little RPG experience, this is well worth the cost.

Warms my monkey heart! 🙂

Find the PDF version here on itch.

Find the print version from Amazon.

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