Allnighter: Imperiet

After our pizza dinner, I set down with four players to play Imnperiet. We agreed on two humerous games: “The Butter Forger” by Olle J0nsson and “Averland Averessen” by Johannes Busted.

Averland Abendessen

We started out with Johannes’ game. Quickly arranging a “kitchen” out of tables, we placed dice around the place to be readily available. The game is organised into four timed “courses,” each including a number of suggested scenes to play. I started each course by reading the menu, and asking them, what their characers were doing at that exact moment. Then I would count down, starting play. We did it “semi-larp”-style, playing out most things, but narrating a lot of things. I would tell them when things woould happen, then they would react. At a certain point they would roll the dice, attempting to vanquish the opposition.

The game was a big success. Most of the time, we had people running around, shouting, screaming, sweating. Pretty soon, they would start doing things when I was paying attention to someone else or the trying to decide what to do next, just as I soon lost all count of their dicerolling. In the end, we were tired, sweaty, and sore with laughter.

We did have some critiques, however – listed here, as far as I can remember them, along with other pieces of advice and shareworthy experience:

  • Johs suggests running several scenes at once – but playing semi-larp and with only one GM, that seemed almolst copmpletely impossible. I tried it in the beginning, but in the end, I had enough just trying to keep up with running one scene at a time. An assisting GM /NPC-player would have been ideal, freeing me to narrate and moderate the game, instead of jumping between playing and moderating.
  • We had saved a number of lids from pizza trays. These were priceless as “trays” for the players to imitate carrying things.
  • The characters were far too busy to ever develop their personal plots. They requested a bit of calm to enable them to talk a bit and to catch up to the pace.
  • Some suggested plots involving the character’s internal relationships might have been appropriate – maybe telling Rofus (the chef) “Geo (the cook) is cutting the carrots in uneven slices.”
  • The Skaven events were impersonal, and needed a bit of a twist. I liked how it (and most of the other plots) escalated during play – but you needed something that made a bit more sense, even if it was the “buffer plot,” being something you could always introduce several times in the same course.
  • The characters were not ideally suited to this kind of fast play. By the time Tomas von Grieg, the poetry lover, enters the kitchen, Geo’s player had completely forgotten that HE wrote those poems. Maybe characters written mostly in bullets, might have been better, pointing out very clearly which points were important. This would also help the GM to tailour plots to each character.

But in the end, we really enjoyed Averland Averessen. Props to Johs.

The Butter Forger

The next game didn’t quite live up to the first. We set up a courtroom and went through a number of witnesses, but when one player had to leave after 45 minutes, we decided to stop. We just weren’t having a lot of fun, though were were laughing a bit.

On one hand, this surprised me – I thought the buzz was, that the Butter Forger was one of the games that people had really liked from Imperiet. On the other hand, I didn’t find it the least bit odd – when I read the scenario, I could never envision how the game could really work.

One part of the problem was of course, that the prosecuter and the defence attourney didn’t really get into the characters, not even once shouting “objection!” And their questioning of the witnesses weren’t the sharpest I’ve seen. On the other hand, I think Ole very firmly put his finger on the problem when he said: “What’s the point? The game clearly states that he’s guilty – so why are we doing this? There is nothing to help us achive a curve of intensity, no guide to what we should attempt to play for.” The point of the game seems to be in the comedy of the witnesses – but comedy with out direction and purpose has about as much bite as butter dentures – forged or not.

7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Johs on May 25, 2009 at 8:39 am

    The kind of game you guys played is why I write role-playing* games.
    Thanks good advice and input.

    To bad about The Butter Forger. I played it two times at Fastaval and it was super.
    The first time especially.


    *) Is this a two or one word word?


  2. Posted by Johs on May 25, 2009 at 8:40 am

    Thanks for the good advice and input that is.


  3. Posted by eliashelfer on May 25, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Hi Johs – and thanks for the game. When I read it, I really wanted to play it.

    I hope you can use some of our thoughts – that’s one of the reasons why I put them here.

    How did you run the The Butter Forger? I would like to hear what a successful game of Butter Forger is like, so I might better understand the quality of the game.

    (Oh, and according to to Wikipedia, it’s roleplaying, unless you’re referring to role-playing games, in which case you use a hyphen. Confusing much?)


  4. Posted by Kristoffer Apollo on May 25, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    I think Butterforger should be a comedy of bureaucracy – satirising the self-importance of the corrupt judicial system.


  5. Posted by Oliver Nøglebæk on May 26, 2009 at 8:51 am

    I think any game would have a hard time coming after such an intense physical comedy as the Averland Abendessen you described, especially a surrealist procedural drama that is probably heavy on monologue and bizarre witness play. With an anthology of games like Imperiet, I suspect you need to time the games after their intensity, otherwise people will burn off their creative juices in the early games.


  6. Posted by eliashelfer on May 26, 2009 at 10:22 am

    You are probably very right, Oliver – I WAS having some doubts about continuing on with another “comedy” game. But, as I said, one player had to leave halfway through, and I thought The Butterforger could stand to have one of the witnesses leave halfway through. Besides, the others really wanted to play it.

    Hmm… I may have to try it out again – with some players who’ve watched more courtroom dramas.


  7. Any plans for playing any of the other scenarios from the anthology?

    BTW. it does seem, that Oliver have a good point. From your description, where neither the prosecutor nor the defense declared “objection” during the game, it does sound like you were a bit burned out from the former comedy. Good luck with your next attempt.


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