Last night I played a one shot of Atomic Robo being run by +Ryan M. Danks. The game was set in fantasy ancient japan and we all played nobles and samurai sent to deal with an upstart warlord and his Oni army. Needless to say, my character was the most awesome. Basically he was a Samurai Elric. We also had a ninja courtier, a reformed Oni, and a mystical alchemist. It was pretty sweet.
Ryan started out the game with a brainstorm scene. It went OK, but I think there were a few issues. The focus of the brainstorm was on getting into the castle held by the Oni. The first issue we ran into with it was some of the players didn't really get what a brainstorm was for. More specifically, they were all role playing wonderfully, and they were trying to come up with plans and contingencies. However a brainstorm requires small step by step incremental fact finding. So when one person said that the castle was out of food, that became the sole focus of the scene. Rather than pulling a bunch of interesting facts out of the air, most of the facts revolved around the food situation. This led to the second issue. Hypotheses does not really work when building a plan. I think that if I were to do something like that again I would need to alter the flow of the brainstorm and definitely alter step five. Brainstorms work really well when dealing with scientific endeavors, no surprise, but it feels off when you attempt to do something else with it(while using the rules as is). All that said the players quite enjoyed it and really fell in love with the mechanic, so what do I know?
The game came to a truly epic conclusion where my character gained an extreme consequence while murdering the enemy leader with my magic sword. It was pretty sweet. Everyone got to bring the awesome and the fight was very satisfying, though I think that there was a bit too much story for a one shot. Were I to run a one shot, I think I would do something like "The Gift" for Burning Wheel. Start the game with everyone having a single goal and a reason to want to achieve that goal in a way that differs from the other characters. I think there was too much going on in the game. We had six advisers and the demon lord to deal with. It would have gone a bit smoother if it had been just the demon lord a pile of henchmen. For short games, I find that brevity and simplicity are the breath of life. Complexity is the death knell of a complete game. Just how I felt though, I could be wrong.
After the game we had a fine conversation about the game and games in general. I also ran into a moment of accidental awesome. One of the players was talking about how much he liked Jadepunk and how much he wanted more example assets and stuff for it. I responded:
Me: "Well, good news Blue Jadetech should be out this week and white jade-"
Me: "Blue Jadetech should be out this week and I am writing white-"
Him: what do you mean? What are you talking about?"
Me: "...well Ryan and I write for-"
Ryan: "-we are the co-developers of the line."
It was kind of surreal for me, as I was hanging out with a fan of Jadepunk who did not know that I was a writer for Jadepunk. It is a hard feeling to describe. On the one hand it was awesome to hear something good about Jadepunk. On the other hand, it was really neat to here it first hand and to know that it was honestly meant. On the third hand(its a jadetech prosthetic), people who do not know me are buying and playing my game and that is quite a rush. Overall it made my week.
On that note, it has been a hectic couple of months for me. Naramel Martial Arts Supplement came out for Jadepunk, written by Ryan. He did a fantastic job, really knocked it out of the park. Blue Jadetech comes out as soon as the last piece of arts goes in, so should be soon. And for those of you who wish to dig into the world of Jadepunk a bit more, I am writing a series of connected short stories set in the world, the first of which should be coming out by the end of this week or the beginning of next. If you are interested check out Serial Tales: Iconic Adventures.