The Quiet Jackercon Year
I love me some GM-less games. It's been a while since I've played the Quiet Year (http://buriedwithoutceremony.com/the-quiet-year/ ), and wanting to participate more in some online gaming, I decided to run one for Jackercon VIII a few weeks back. Especially because a certain lowkeyoh said he'd be down.
Leading up to this game I was trying to figure out which software or method to use to have a collaborative drawing map for the game. Apparently you can draw in Roll20, but a little testing on that proved that it was more difficult than I felt it was worth.
A quick search online showed that a few people recommended Google Drawings, and a quick test proved it was usable. Of course if you are using Google Hangouts on Air, the drawing itself will only be recorded if you actually share your screen, although I always have problems sharing browser windows in Hangouts, especially if they are in Chrome. In my case, the best way to share the map, every once in a while, was to shine my video camera on my monitor. It works.
We went with a "fleeting" Quiet Year, which is to say that you basically pull 4 cards (of 13) for each season, so that you are playing a game that is about 2/3 as long as a full game. Combined with the 30 minutes of shitty wifi problems I first experienced, and then the general slowness you get online, and it still took almost 4 hours.
And there you have it, some fun with Andrew (lowkeyoh on the HJ forums), his friend John, and Bill. Here's the video, during which you can see my connection and camera were truly atrocious (although I've verified later that my connection wasn't that bad at the time, however the recording makes it look unusuable):
Here's the resulting map. Note that the Cthulhu is technically bad form, since we should only draw things and not use pre-made art, however it was part of the end game and I think at that point we were all winding down around midnight.
A Fantasy Flight Quiet Year in Roseville, Minnesota
I took a work trip to Roseville, to our offices there, for a few days. The office is a few blocks from the Fantasy Flight flagship store, which means that I played games every night with my work colleagues and gamer friends Robert and Joe. Among other games, I ran them a session of The Quiet Year. It was a long session, and ended around closing time, but we had a great time with a tribe that traded in teeth, and were in fear of the faceless man of the mountain. Many crabs later, the frost shepards arrive with the tribe moving into a mountain tomb, and a lone boy searching out old manuscripts in an abandoned, ransacked library.
Robert kept exclaiming that he felt that playing this game was a very illuminating experience, but also that the sense of sadness with the ending was a bit overwhelming, in a way. I wanted to impress on him that that feeling is one of the enjoyable parts of the game, at least in my experience. That sense of sadness, and unknown, that you get at the end of this game, after becoming attached to these people for the game.
It's sometimes the same experience you get with many of the narratively collaborative (often GM-less) games at conventions, where you really only have 3-4 hours and are just starting to get into it, and then have to let it all go into the ether. It's an experience I have come to love.
And the map:
This was the first time I ran the Quiet Year with 3 people (instead of 4), and it worked pretty well. It felt like you had a little more control over the way things were moving since there was less time between turns, and I don't know if this is a good thing or not.