the Fairgame Archive

2008-04-14: Mist-robed Gate
by Meguey

Last night I got to play the most fun game of the year, thus far. Shreyas ran his game in development Mist-Robed Gate for 10(!) of us Western Massive/Story Games Boston types. The theme was a western on Mars, as colonized by Chinese kung-fu masters. Whoo-boy.

Cool things about the game design:

Each character picks a color, weather, and 'kung-fu tell', which turn into points when you bring them into narration.

Because the people not on-screen get to vote as to who's winning the kung-fu fighting, everyone stays engaged even if you're not in the screen.

Yes, the cool rules about the knife include stabbing another player's character sheet as an option.

Cool things about the game play last night:

I don't ever remember being in a game where there was *that* much applause. 11 people who are all quality players makes for a really fun game, even just to watch.

Who's who:

Carrie=Flower Blossom, the oldest daughter of local notables, and a high-ranking water resource manager with a marriage she wants kept secret

Elizabeth=Metal Wind, a bounty hunter, later revealed to be Flower Blossom's little sister

Shreyas=Small Happiness, a Taiwanese/Phobosean spy, works with Flower Blossom at the water station

Jonathan=New World Chen, the cop, with

Kat=Plum Blossom, owner of a saloon called The Grove, she has a painful past

Evan=Misery, the penitent fanatic who drags a ball and chain everywhere, self-styled slave to Flower Blossom

Dev=Old Duck, the simple dirt farmer and moral center of our tale, linked to Plum Blossom's past

Kelly=Sounding Bell, a traveling religious fanatic, head of Misery's sect

Josh=Clouded Glen, tyrannical water system controller, Flower Blossom's boss, now dead at Old Duck's hands

Meg=Fragrant Plum, the hooker with the heart of gold at The Grove, a Party Loyalist

Joshua=Nine Hands Mi, a wandering 'man with a past' who has found in Plum Blossom a reason to stay here

Can you see it? It's all about water control and water access, crossed with secrecy and religious fervor. I spent a lot of time listening at doors and ferrying info to my cop 'friend'. Carrie's prim water manager is *dangerous*! Do Not mess with her!

Best bits, not in chronological order:

Flower Blossom trying to bribe New World Chen to leave the humble farm before recognizing her as something beyond a farm-wife. How do you trust a cop who won't take a bribe??

Sounding Bell's blind-folded monkey.

Nine Hands Mi catching the falling soup bowls - so kung-fu!

Plum Blossom's pimp-coat and arch looks. There's a lady who knows how to run a business!

Clouded Glen's spitting-mad freakishness in smashing the control panels when his authority was questioned, and his threatening dying words. Impending nuclear explosion, you say?

Metal Wind's mono-filament razor ear-rings inscribing twin circles in the stone wall during the sister's fight.

Old Duck's insistence on his town's right to water, and Small Happiness' revelation about all the extra water in Dark Militant Lake. And then death to Clouded Glen!

Misery looking for 3/4 inch pipe, and Fragrant Plum lending him a, um, hand in measuring.

2008-04-14 16:12:33 Jonathan Walton

I also blogged about the game over on Thou And One.  So much fun!

2008-04-14 20:42:55 Meguey

I know! Round Two must happen.

2008-04-16 16:21:11 Emily

Awesome! I can't wait to get a chance to try it out. :)

What kinds of things were the applause for?

2008-04-16 17:04:44 shreyas

Thanks for writing about the game, Meg! It was so great having you there. Em, I think the applause bits match up approximately to the best bits Meg posted, and some really great pieces of performance by the players...Carrie's shaking hands when she spotted Jon's cop in the house with her secret husband were priceless.

2008-04-17 18:59:19 Joshua A.C. Newman

Yeah, really bitchin'. I'd like to play it for several sessions in a row. The voting system means that it will work best from five to seven players, I bet, and that means that it will pose logistical challenges.

Still, totally worth showing up for.

How does/will the text communicate "no blocking" and the back-and-forth of combat?

2008-04-21 19:43:01 Carrie

Man that game was so fun. The Head of Terraforming played by Josh H-B was such a great villain. Kat was such a complex madam. The work and pleasure bond between the cop and the hooker... the monks with the Monkey... the bounty hunter who craves her parent's approval... Woo! Great fun!

Back to ToC