Tuesday, September 12, 2006

[Shades] Surprise

Shades is a game for two or three players. I mean, it says so in the rules. And that is why I dimissed it as an option when Remko, Annette and Eva came over to my place last week.

Until I realised that those rules has been written by me, and that I had never tested the game with more than two players. So I thought "it's worth a try", and we played it with four. Now, the four of us are friends, in some cases very close friends; we played together many times before; and to a large extent we are on the same page when it comes to roleplaying. The circumstances, then, were optimal for a game of Shades - and lo and behold, to my surprise it went very well indeed.

(The tale turned out to be about a noble/rich family consisting of an elder, somewhat tyrannical brother; a younger, slightly mad brother; their sister, aged in between, vicious but insecure; and the sister's maid, who was also the lover of both brothers. Their struggles for power and love led them to cruelty, and finally, suicide. But, as shades, they finally understood each other's motives and weaknesses, made their peace, and died their final death.

As with every game of Shades I ever played, none of the characters received a name.

When the game ended, I put on Mozart's Requiem, and we sat in silence, holding hands, around the single candle left to burn, listening without a word to the work entire. When its last note died away, I blew out the last candle.)
Moral: don't ever believe you know your own game until you tried it out.

3 comments:

  1. Until now, I played Shades two times: first time was with 5 players, four close friends of mine and I, and the second time was on Rat Con 2006 (one of the larger conventions in germany) togeather with three unknown persons.

    Both times your rules worked pretty well: In our first game we had a mafia-story; in the second there was a family-drama with two brothers loving the same woman.

    But in retrospect I would now say, four is enough. The 5-player-game tended to be a little bit chaotic.

    Dom

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  2. Hey, it's great to hear that you played Shades! Have you written about your epxerience anywhere? I'm very interested in feedback.

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  3. Hi Victor,

    indeed, I think you must say farewell to the idea of Shades just being a 2-player-game. =)

    As a friend of Dom, I was able to receive a Shades player initiation last weekend, where 15 weird people met for a roleplaying convent. (See also Dom's RPG forum at http://www.metst├╝bchen.de)

    No, it was not 15 people playing Shades, of course. =) But four of us (including Dom as the introducing guy) met. I was quite curious about Shades due to its morbid charm which I am a big friend of in general.

    Well, it was real fun, your game really works. It became exertive, but we really enjoyed it. But let me go deeper into details:

    You wrote:
    As with every game of Shades I ever played, none of the characters received a name.

    When the game ended, I put on Mozart's Requiem, and we sat in silence, holding hands, around the single candle left to burn, listening without a word to the work entire. When its last note died away, I blew out the last candle.)


    Your lines show me there are several ways to play Shades. For us, it proved to be a funny and thoughtful but not contemplative or even romancing game. Within ten rounds we had a cruel mixture of blood, sex, and magic - and I loved to spend super traditional names to my dead lads (Herbert, Klaus etc).

    A fifth person - somebody may find him as Dr Boomslang somewhere in the forum world - wrote down every single sentence we were doing. Maybe he will be dilligent enough to get them into his PC some day ...

    I am sure the first time I played Shades was not the last time.

    rillenmanni

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