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New Actual Play Video for: Muse - A Storytelling Game

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New Actual Play Video for: Muse - A Storytelling Game

Hi all,

When I wrote my game Muse some time ago, I realized that it was very... different... from most tabletop story games out there! It's kind of hard to learn a game from reading the rules, as you're never quite sure if you're doing it right or how it all fits together. This is true for a role-playing game, and even more true for an indie story game. So I decided to try recording me playing with my friends and putting that together into a video actual play / tutorial.

It took me a year (yeah, I know) to put it together, but it's done. Honestly, it was much more time-consuming than doing the layout for the fancy print version of Muse.

Well, here's the Actual Play:
https://youtu.be/LlMosE0-BIk

Please let me know what you think! Does it actually help you understand how to play? Is it a miserable failure and I totally wasted my weekend break for the last 50+ weeks? If you have constructive feedback, I can easily go back and tweak the video (and add you to the credits).

Thanks!

--Jonathan

How to Play Muse Video
tutorial vs AP

I might watch an AP 3 hours long, if the story/players are good.
But I will probably not watch a tutorial that's 3 hours long.
I appreciate the idea A LOT, but learning the rules doesn't really require hearing the story.
What about making jump-to points linked in the description that allow you to jump to every RULES INJECTION?

Good Idea

Hi Tod,

That's a really good idea! I believe that for best comprehension it helps to see the game being played, so you're seeing the rules in context. However, I could try putting together a 15-minute tutorial video. [Edit: I'm doing this now and I'll post as soon as it's ready]

Thanks,

I like it

but was already convinced.
The good : both the imaginary material and story structure are very open. We share an interest in this design space. The cards are a good alibi for storytelling improve. There's tension, humour, lots and of various sorts, heartwarming moments. Each player brings something different. The illustration and animation is scarce but always on point.
The bad (and suggestions) : the playing mat is plain, and f*ing triangle shaped ?! (there are free online apps where you can customize your cards, mat and tokens, with like "Kanto" or "katana" instead of spades, and changing background for each location, or maybe, using it as a map). The category of friendly competitive sportsmanship holds because your players are well behaved, but I still feel the contradiction in the premise of the game that in most conflicts, someone goes in ready to give in already. (I don't recommend Capes' "no hold barred" take, but rather that the cards be used mostly for scene resolution, not for conflict resolution. Or if there's conflict, let it be fiercely negotiated, with supreme stakes, as in Polaris - but it's going to limit improvisation). The 2 competing subplots get in each others way sometimes, even at the cognitive load level (questions need to evolve during play to allow players to be surprised : a dramatic question -what will happen- is best distilled as a thematic question -what does it mean for THIS character). The juice are flowing non stop, that's hard (You could use slower times going in or out of scenes to reflect on stakes, consequences, and therefore, questions).
Have you played or seen played Swords Without Masters or Psy*Run ? Was that a WoT?

DeReel, let me address each point...

DeReel wrote:
> The good : both the imaginary material and story structure are very open. We share an interest in this design space. The cards are a good alibi for storytelling improve. There's tension, humour, lots and of various sorts, heartwarming moments. Each player brings something different.

Thank you! :)

There are some story games that use the cards themselves as inspiration (For the Queen, https://www.evilhat.com/home/for-the-queen/, comes to mind here), but I never intended that for Muse. The cards are simply a part of the economy. The more cards you have, the more power you have over the story at the moment.

> the playing mat is plain, and f*ing triangle shaped ?!

Agreed that the Vassal Engine module (http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Muse:_A_Storytelling_Game) doesn't have the most beautiful aesthetic. I picked something plain that would contrast well with the cards, and I picked card images that were free. :D There's definitely room for improvement here.

> The category of friendly competitive sportsmanship holds because your players are well behaved, but I still feel the contradiction in the premise of the game that in most conflicts, someone goes in ready to give in already.

Can you please elaborate? My sincere hope is that players at the table will be good sports. If they're not, it's going to be a challenge to play *any* game with them, let alone a collaborative storytelling game.

> questions need to evolve during play to allow players to be surprised

I agree with you here. This is a weakness in the rules as written. I do cover this, but I probably don't emphasize it enough.

> The juice are flowing non stop, that's hard (You could use slower times going in or out of scenes to reflect on stakes, consequences, and therefore, questions).

Agreed! I designed the game for people that enjoy a higher intensity of game (like me!) or that get bored easily (like me!).

> Have you played or seen played Swords Without Masters or Psy*Run ? Was that a WoT?

No. I've played Kagematsu, which I'm told has some commonalities with Swords Without Master... Why do you bring up these particular games?

Thanks for the feedback,

--Jonathan

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