Saturday, April 25, 2015

Calkins & Tabletop Games - Husband's Write-Up on the Kids' Games

My husband posted this to the BGG forums, sharing his experience working with the kids. I wanted to post it here to have to reflect on at the end of the process and for next year.

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So my wife is a 6th grade teacher and is doing her second year of a game design unit. Last year's was moderately successful considering she went into it with a lot of completely untested ideas and had to learn from mistakes.

I found last year's particularly interesting because she made it into a Research Project while they were studying human rights issues so the games were all portraying some relatively serious issues (The Birmingham Children's March, Human Trafficking, India's history with debt bondage, bullying, etc.)

There were ups and downs that year but in the end there were some very interesting final products, and a few that were genuinely fun and/or interesting to play.

This year she was coming at it from a different angle as a cumulative end of year project covering narrative, instructional, and argumentative writing/presentation. So the topics are much more free reign, but she's also expecting much more of a full experience from them.

Both years I have served as the "consultant" and prospective publisher the kids had to "pitch" to and get suggestions and help from. It's been a very rewarding, if somewhat exhausting experience.

Just thought I'd do a quick rundown of the 23 games currently in development from these kids. I have varying levels of confidence in what the final products from each group will wind up being, but there's definitely a surprising amount of enthusiasm and willingness to improve there and a few I'm honestly excited to return for during the playtest sessions in a couple weeks.


1. FBI themed sorta Ticket To Ride/Pandemic-y hybrid as players take their agents around the country to resolve certain crises and situations that arise.

2. Sci-Fi planet drilling/temporal anomaly-stopping dice rolling/resource collection game.

3. Haunted House hidden traitor game building off of Forbidden Island mechanics. It smacks a lot of Betrayal at House on the Hill but the kids have not played that game. It also employs the dual purpose Day/Night card mechanic of Jamaica as cards help players discover Clues during the day at the cost of being subjected to horrible terrors at night.

4. Cave escape game that while not employing unique mechanics to US, are very unique to the kids as they do not mimic any of the games they got to play in the prep-period. Players draw directional cards to traverse the cave, but have to stay in the bio-luminescent parts of the cave unless they draw light sources. Sounds like it will wind up being quick and light but fun.

5. Bakery themed yahtzee style dice rolling/set collection game to appeal to specific customers that features a timed mechanic which was surprisingly similar to Pie Factory (another game the kids did not play...weird!). It's actually mostly a skin of Dwarven Miner with a few minor twists.

6. Cold War themed Tsuro with hidden objective and more board manipulation and trouble for your player marker once you enter enemy territory. Kinda feels like Tsuro+Confusion!

7. Mt. Everest themed racing game of betting, set collection, and random events. The kids had never played K2 either, but feels like a light version of that using the Hare & The Tortoise game play but with event cards and "waypoints" for bonuses.

8. WW2 themed microgame a la Love Letter/Brave Rats

9. Stranded pirate island escape game with multi-purpose cards and Pandemic's "Epidemic" style timer as several cards in the deck are a sea monster causing a tidal wave that smashes your progress of the escape-rafts you're building.

10. Game of ghosts in a netherworld maze trying to be the first to the center where a chance for reincarnation is. Another unique mechanic game as the "maze" is represented by hex tiles lined with colors that must be rotated to match before you can cross and a unique action point system where players deposit their "spiritual energy" as they take actions and the energy must be able to find its way back to you after all players have gone. Really looking forward to seeing this one in action.

11. Space conquest game that kind of combines Munchkin with Race for the Galaxy. WHAT, you say? Eh, I'm okay with 12 year olds using Munchkin as inspiration.

12. Pyramid treasure hunt game with Forbidden Island flavor. Tiles are laid in a pyramid fashion and going up levels of the pyramid requires additional action. Also (naturally) MUMMIES. >.>

13. 4 way asymmetrical quick card game of 4 alien races trying to dominate each other. Bit vague on this one...

14. A fairly uninspired Munchkin clone that has only barely changed the game its based off. They're gonna need to do some work to meet wife's standards.

15. Super cute dice chucking game called PANDA BATTLE. Probably the lightest game of the whole bunch but they won me over with it.

16. OMG A EURO GAME. SHOCK AND AWE! Irrigating dry lands, fertilizing them, planting various crops in sets for points. SO DRY but I nearly wept with pride.

17. Another silly game of recapturing escaped llamas. Press your luck dice game of making sets of colored llamas based on cards displayed to move them towards your pen on a gridded board. This one I'm happy with just because it's come a long way from first draft which was just a roll and move game (despite wife's STRICT "No Roll and Move" rule).

18. ANOTHER Maze game with Ticket to Ride style drafting but programmable movement as you can only move one of your 4 mazerunners when you can complete a set of 5 actions (either movement or overcoming obstacles/hazards/hostiles). I was skeptical at first but it has potential and if done right lots of varied replayability.

19. Game of collecting reagents to summon monsters to fight. Simple mechanics but the kid's partner is AWOL and he's struggled a bit so kudos to him for what he brought to me.

AND THEN...Then there were the Werewolf variants...

If I never see another Werewolf variant it'd be too soon. Of course, the kids love Werewolf so if my wife continues to do this I'm sure I'll see them every year: cry I personally hate Werewolf, but all I ask of the kids is that they think outside the box and do SOMETHING unique so it's not just Werewolf with a different skin.

20. Vampire themed Werewolf. This started out with lots of groans from me. The kids knew they wanted the vampires to be able to TURN or eliminate villagers, but had no idea how to make that choice matter. I helped them with that and then we added Item cards each person gets at the start and can be stolen/lost/used, and a Scheming Vampire that gets to steal items and is trying to collect 3 items to revive an ancient vampire to overthrow Dracula (the chief role vampire that's always used) as its victory condition.

21. Jewel Thief Werewolf variant with Bag drawing mechanic. Drawing jewels from bags is fun so whatever I guess!

22. Marvel Werewolf with where the twist is extra narrator responsibilities as the narrator has "tokens" of all the in-play characters and those tokens flip each turn behind a shield and it changes what can occur (example: Hulk token flips between Hulk and Banner. If the villains target Hulk player and the token is on Bruce he's eliminated. If it's Hulk they get SMASHED and one of their numbers gets dropped. And then the narrator secretly shakes the token and slams it back down so the current status is always unknown).

23. Merfolk Werewolf with an interactive board and secret movement/agendas. At the start of the game everyone has a token of their role. This token is placed face down on a side of the board so that all tokens look the same. You have to keep track of your own position. During the Day each player can move ANY token on the board. If you believe your token has made it to the goal spot stated on your role card you can announce that and the narrator will check. If you are right, alternate win condition. If you are wrong, out you go.


All said and done, it's been pretty cool so far...



Friday, April 24, 2015

Calkins & Tabletop Games - Days 8 - 10

As part of this unit, I wanted to bring in someone who knew something about games and could help elevate the students to the next level. I wanted to bring in a "professional." I wasn't getting any bites on local game designers, but I do always have my husband. He has an amazing way of visualizing the ideas of others and making them into something tangible. It's a gift he has. After watching him work his magic last year when I taught a Tabletop Unit, I wanted to bring him in again to help the students further realize their vision and to hopefully work out some of the more intricate mechanics issues that the students were dealing with.

During this phase of the project, I have the kids prepare themselves for sharing their ideas with a "professional." I dropped the ball a little bit and didn't model the expectations ahead of time for them. This sadly led to a very frustrating evening when I was debriefing with my husband on what the students had presented to him. The kids were just sitting back there mute and not talking and my husband had said that he felt like he was wasting his time. That breaks my heart and the fact that the kids just weren't being passionate and excited about their brilliant ideas! They just want to sit and listen and not really interact and learn to share ideas. They also were not following the clearly written, spoke, and reminded direction of taking notes during the meeting. That shows a lack of investment in what they're doing.

So after day one, I took a step back and I wanted to make sure the students knew what they were doing back there. I made a rubric that incorporated a writing component (W69 - focusing on using new appraoches to revise their ideas) and I also added in two Speaking & Listening standards so that the students understood that this is something they are expected to know how to do and should be pushing themselves to learn to interact professionally. I gave each student the rubric, explained it, and then my husband scored them in pencil during his meeting.



I was even able to coerce my husband and his favorite presentation team in each class to come up and demonstrate what he is expecting of them when they come back. I had forgotten that important piece of modeling. The above rubric helped turn things around a great deal, as well as the modeling of expectations, and even enforcing note-taking. My husband left on the second day feeling much better about his interactions with students. He finally felt like the kids cared about their games and were invested in making them something special.

While the "professional" meets with the students, I have the "professional" keep notes in a google doc that allows me to read them in real-time. I have a back room in my classroom that I set up like an office for my husband. Then I would schedule the students when they were ready, and my husband would see it pop up on the form. I would then type to him, asking if he was ready or not and then he'd signal to bring the students back. I would bring them back and introduce them. If I didn't act as a "secretary," the kids would have been running back there, one after another, and it would have been very frustrating. In the google doc, I had the names of the students, the date they met, and what their mentor game was and then a spot for my husband to type of notes. I made a 1x2 chart for each set of students. Not only did this help my husband keep track of the kids and take notes for what he wanted to think about later or find out more information, it also helped when I debriefed with him each day and was an assessment tool for me as I evaluated and will continue to evaluate the students.

Since my teaching day runs from first hour straight through fifth hour, I took time during my sixth hour prep to debrief with my husband. We would go over the rubric of the students, discuss his feedback and what each students needed additional help with. I would then finalize the rubric, also taking into account my knowledge of the students and I would adjust their raw score, if needed, based on that. I never adjusted grades for the worse. If they were adjusted at all, it was due to things I learned after speaking with the students or my co-teacher or from observation later on. This offered for a well-rounded score for the students.

What I really appreciate that my husband does, and I know I am spoiled for it, is that he goes home each night and mentally runs through the notes he wrote that day and tries to envision the games. He makes additional notes, writes up information for the kids, or finds a way to demonstrate to them their idea by bringing in additional games and setting up a visual. I'm going to be honest, I couldn't have done all of that work in my classroom without him. Or, I would have had to schedule in a lot more time to the unit. I am, though, very lucky to have a volunteer who is willing to go this far to help with this project.

I also love that every year that I offer this unit, I am learning more and more from him. I had said to one of my kids that they need to take advantage of his genius while he's here, because I am merely a padawane of game development. I have not yet developed my Jedi skills. My husband gets all "Beautiful Mind" with this stuff and one of my kids said they could actually see him playing their game in his head. I've got something special here and I wish industry people would finally snatch him up like they should!

It was very important to stress to the students the finality of his visit. If they had questions, they needed to form them and ask them before he left the classroom. I even invited students to ask at recess while he was there. Only students who were in my game club took him up on the offer, but at least someone did. In this day and age, where it's not about losing grades based on work being late, because we function within the Common Core which is about assessing a standard, not a student's ability to adhere to deadlines, students have a tendency to ignore due dates and forget about timeliness. Forget is an understatement. . . they just downright don't understand the urgency. That is why I use the professional coming in. It is a one time opportunity. If you don't have something ready to present, how are you going to continue on with the process? You just missed out on your chance to get meaningful and vital feedback for your project. Additionally, if you don't talk over the feedback he gave you, how are you goig to know if you have questions? He is gone and I made it clear to the students that I can't help with every aspect of what they want to do, especially if they don't communicate what kind of help they require.

I love the real world aspect of this activity, because the students are supposed to use what they've learned all year for writing (Narratives, Arugmentative, and Informative Writing) and the rest is where I can provide support here and there. How can they apply what they've learned while also grappling with expectations and an assignment that they need to complete within a specific time frame. So far the deadlines are working and it's going well. This next week will be the real test.

By the end of the three days that the "professional" could be in the classroom, he helped 23 groups develop 23 games. What he is nervous about is them taking the game to the level they should be at to really develop the greatness that is in their game and demonstrate their own creative abilities. I tried to tell the kids that he sees something amazing in your game, but you have to be the one to make it so (yeah... Star Trek reference.... I run a geeky classroom).

What I took from these three days of working with the kids are the importance of sevearl things that will be applicable to the real world. I intend to remember them for next year so that I can be sure I do not forget them again.


  1. 1. The importance of a "professional" to light the fire of their youthful creativity.
  2. Stressing that a mentor game doesn't mean you're skinning it, it means you're using it in some way (the directions set, the pieces, the mechanic) to help guide you as you create something you've never done before.
  3. Taking notes during meetings. Meaningful notes that you can reference when the professional is no longer there with you.
  4. MODEL your expectation. You'd think this would be second nature, but oh how easily it slips the farther you get into the year. 
  5. A rubric has the power to incentify your expectations. Once those points are on the line. . . they don't want to fail.
  6. Enforcing the finality of the "professional." Get those questions answered before he leaves. You won't get another chance to ask him what he meant.


This is still an amazing experience and I'm starting to compile all of this into a packet/binder. My co-teacher, who is also my Literacy Coach at the school, is encouraging me to package this unit. With her there to build my confidence and reminding me that this is amazing for the kids, it makes me want to share this with others.

On a side note, while I am so happy to be doing this unit, I have a student or two who have decided to be a bit snippy. The other two sixth grade literacy classes are writing mystery stories. Watching movies, reading mystery novels, researching crimes, etc. It sounds like a really fun fictional writing unit (Calkins' 6th Grade Narrative is a personal narrative, not a story you make up out of nowhere). So one of my students said to me, "After this unit, I want to do what they're doing in Mrs. Other Teacher's classroom." I looked at him and said, "Hun, this is the last unit of the year." He looked at me, "Awe, I wanted to write a mystery." To which I reminded him, "You can write a mystery to go along with your haunted house game!" He only slightly perked up and responded with an, "Oh yeah!" When I told my co-teacher this, she said he should be celebrating and bragging to others how he's making a game. I totally agree. If I could only have counted how many kids were peaking their heads into my classroom to see the kids doing "research" by playing games.

Sometimes I feel like my chest is going to explode with the swell of pride I feel for what I've been able to create this year and that is beyond amazing!


5 Fandom Friday: Games We Love to Play

This 5FF is right outta my corner. Sure, games could be video games, but you know me. . . I HAVE to do TABLETOP GAMES!!!



These 5 are not necessarily my Top 5 Rated Games. . . no. . . they range from guilty pleasures to my favorite playing right now.

1. Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game (2012)

Break this game out and I am all over it! I love how each game is different and there's that level of strategy that allows for it to be cooperative yet competitive when you add up all the points. It's easy to break out and relatively easy to set up. Then there's the randomosity of what you'll draw when you're playing. You need patience sometimes in order to get to a good point where you've built up enough power to really start doing damage. Love it!


2. Guild Hall: Seven Seas (2014)

This was a game that was part of the AEG Black Box. Guild Hall is a popular game, but we'd been having fun with the pirate theme. Once we figured out how to play it, I had a tendency to throw it on the table at least once a weekend when we're gaming. A wonderful little treasure in the AEG Black Box!





3. Kingsburg (2007)

This game was played at one of our game clubs meet-ups. It was so cool and immediately wanted to own a copy. Sadly, I had to wait to own a copy, but I love it to bits and pieces! I will play it no matter what. I don't always win, but that's alright. It's another game that I find pleasure sharing with my Middle School Game Club. It's so unique and something that they can really get into after some explanation. Sure it's long and intense for them, but the light in their eyes when they play is like Christmas! Excitedly waiting to break out Kingsport!


4. Captain is Dead (2014)


A new game we received over the last year and I have been playing it like nobody's business. It's cooperative and you have to save your ship from aliens, because, of course, the captain is dead! It's a quick set-up and the results are different each game, especially depending on the characters that are played. It also appeals to my love of Sci-Fi in a very self-indulgent way.




5. Ticket to Ride (2004)


I play this on the table AND on the computer. I love Ticket to Ride. End of story!






There are so many I wanted to put on the list after I started look at my games list, so I couldn't not do a list of other games. So to show some love for my other favorites, here are some more titles.

Additional Runners Up




Saturday, April 18, 2015

Meet Me at the Table: Running a Middle School RPG Days 3-5

It's been a while since I updated, but we were still mostly focusing on Character Creation for the RPG and, like I seem to frequently mention, I have had a very busy week. Here's how our first week rounded out. I do have to say, it was really exhilarating and exhausting. If I could take a hippy moment, I have a tendency to be drained easily by the emotions of others, for better or worse. So I was overloading every day and practically shorting out. This time it was shorting out over the excitement of everything we'd been doing in the club, in my classes, and my own anxiety over wanting things to go well. It'll be great. So check out my overally animated reflection here.





Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Meet Me at the Table: Running a Middle School RPG Day 2

Here are the adventures of Day 2! We focused on alignments, modifiers, traits, and names.





Calkins and Tabletop Gaming - Day 2

Today, I provided the students with folders for their groups. I put them all in groups of 4-5 students at a table-cluster for later gaming (only 2 students per design group). I asked the students to come up with a "Publisher" name for their group and write it on their folders. I shared with them some of the names of popular Game Publishers: Fantasy Flight, Flying Frog Games, Paizo, Tasty Minstrel Games, Stronghold Games, AEG, Rather Dashing Games, Mayfair, Rio Grande, AsmOdee, Days of Wonder, IELLO, GameWright, DiceHateMe,  etc. Then they were to also write their name on the folder. In the 3-prongs of the folder, the students put the introduction worksheet with the deadlines, so that they can always find it. Then I gave them a vocabulary reference sheet. It explains the different types of games, the different types of materials, and the different types of mechanics. This way they can reference the domain-specific vocabulary for the project and sound knowledgeable about what they are doing.

Next, I instructed them to be investigatory with their game and I gave each of them a reflection worksheet they needed to fill out for each game that they played. The point of this is to 1) become familiar with different types of games and 2) find a mentor game. Calkins using the idea of a Mentor Text, so it seemed fitting to provide the students with a Mentor Game. They could use the Mentor Game any way that they wanted to help guide them in the process.

On the SMARTboard, I put the following steps:

1. Examine the Box
  • Look at the title.
  • Look at the recommended time.
  • How many players can play the game?
  • What is the recommended age limit?
  • Read other information on the box.
2. Open the Box
  • Examine the contents.
  • What comes in the box?
  • How is it organized in the box?
3. Read the Directions
  • Locate the directions packet.
  • Walk through the pages, noting headings and pictures.
  • Start at the beginning and read through the directions.
4. After Reading the Directions
  • Once the group is comfortable with the directions
  • Play through using the directions.
  • If there are questions, have a question, not "I don't get it."
5. Throughout the Process
  • Take notes on your Game Reflection Worksheets.
  • Discuss questions, comments, or reflections with the group.


I gave the students 50 minutes to begin the process. By the end of the 50 minutes, there were several frustrated students and some whinning. They didn't want to read the directions, they just wanted to jump in and play the games. I can understand the excitement, but there were so many mistakes and bold-faced lies about having read the directions that it was rather frustrating for me.

The day ended with not a single game having been fully played, but that's why there's a whole week, so that by the last day the students will be able to understand games and the process of being someone who plays different types of games. The whole point, again, is to become familiar with different types of games, see the different types of mechanics, and to find a Mentor Game.


Calkins and Tabletop Gaming - Day 1

Last year I developed a unit where my students created Tabletop Games about Human Rights issues. It was a rather clunky unit with some errors and things that didn't go as smoothly as they should have, but at the end of it the kids had created some very memorable and well-developed games. At the end of last year, our district introduced the Lucy Calkins curriculum to our Literacy classes. When I found out I figured I'd have to just scrap my Tabletop Game Unit and tying in any games to my Literacy class. But as I taught the units of writing, I realized that there so many different avenues I could take using games in conjunction with Lucy Calkins. By January I knew that I would be able to keep my Tabletop Game Unit.

Over Spring Break I put the final touches on the unit, which, of course, will still be in progress while it rolled out in my classroom, but I had a plan. I had a vision. Due to the overwhelming success of the content and how my kids have connected with Calkins, I wanted to start to post some of what we're doing throughout the unit. It's a culminating unit using the three strategies of Lucy Calkins. The level of writing that my students have risen to is beyond amazing and I am so proud of each and every one of them. Due to the efforts of my co-teachers and myself, we were able to really help each and every student develop and grow. Now it's just ensuring that they are able to use what they learn in Literacy in their other classes. Once they learn transference, these kids will be golden! And that's kind of part of this activity. Using what they learned and applying it to different activities!

Day 1


Introducing the project to the students. I gave each student a handout that helped step us through the unit and focused on important deadlines and what they'll need to do in order to be successful.

Narrative, Argumentative, & Informative Writing Meet Tabletop Games!

Are You Ready?!
Welcome to the apex unit for Literacy. You are about to embark on the final activity that will demonstrate everything you have learned about writing this year. Instead of having you write three more papers, your new challenge will include a real world task; you will be expected to create a tabletop game!


Objective
  • You will learn to apply the strategies of writing to tasks that you might encounter in the real world.
  • You will learn to use close reading strategies to help develop, improve, and critique your projects and the projects of others.
  • You will learn to work with partners in an extremely creative environment with real deadlines.
  • You will learn to interact with real world members of the gaming community.


What Do I Have to Do?
  1. Play some games.
  2. Pick a Mentor Game (Also known as a Mentor Text).
  3. Come up with a Narrative for your own game.
  4. Create a pitch that explains what your game is like.
  5. Make the pitch to a professional and get feedback.
  6. Write the Narrative for your game.
  7. Write the informative booklet that explains your game.
  8. Create the game.
  9. Construct the game.
  10. Play-test the game and get feedback.
  11. Create an argument for why a publisher should buy your game.
  12. Try to sell your game to a professional gamer.

Group Members: _________________________________________________
  _________________________________________________
  _________________________________________________


Mentor Game: ______________________________________________

Important Dates:
  • Monday, April 20 - Mentor Game Chosen
  • Wednesday, April 22 - Friday, April 24 - Have a Pitch Ready for Mr. B
  • Thursday, April 30 - Finished Narrative for Game
  • Friday, May 8 - Completed Written Directions Booklet
Draft of Game Components Completed
  • Wednesday, May 20 - Directions Booklet, Game Prototype, & Argumentative Presentation Done
  • Thursday, May 21 - Begin playtesting
  • Tuesday, May 26 - Last day of playtesting
  • Wednesday, May 27 - Presenting your finalized game to buyers
  • Friday, May 29 - All games and presentations turned in.


Notes:

______________________________________________________________

The students were allowed to pick a partner to work with. Each class has one group of three, due to numbers. Once they picked their groups we went over the deadlines that they were going to run up against throughout the project. It is important for them to really start to understand the importance of deadlines. I went over this with them, especially regarding Mr. B coming in. It's not like this person could come in another day just to meet with them, because they didn't do their work. This person scheduled special time to be there and could only be there during that time. Too often kids think they can just hand stuff in whenever they want, because we're not really scoring whether they can turn in assignments on time, we're scoring the assignment or benchmark. So I really wanted to enforce real world deadlines.

This also allows students to plan ahead. I sent the deadlines home to the parents via an e-mail through our online grading system, hoping that they will also be aware of the deadlines that their children are facing. Most of the kids are excited enough to hopefully keep the deadlines, but it's a good fallback for if concerns arise.

Finally, I shared with the students some of the projects from last year, so they could see some of the things that they will get to work with. I showed them some of the boards students made for the board games, cards, and the artwork that some of the more artistic students did on their own, as well as digital artwork. This last bit was to get them jazzed and keep them motivated.

Hopefully tomorrow's attempt try share vocabulary and start to expose them to "mentor games" won't be a bust! 



Monday, April 13, 2015

Meet Me at the Table: Running a Middle School RPG Day 1

I promised my club kids that I would arrange to run an RPG for them. That day has finally come and I am chronicling my experiences.





Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Fiasco Session (4-3-2015)

For my husband's birthday, I arranged for us to play Fiasco with our friend, Jim, through Google+ Hangout. He had been wanting to play it and Friend Jim and I prepared to play by watching the Tabletop demos and psyching ourselves up for some intense acting. My husband was the most excited, because we're technically creating our own little movie scenarios. Both him and Friend Jim like these kind of Simple Plane/Fargo movies, so after looking through the book, they chose the Main Street & Willow Road scenario. Then we went through the process of rolling. (The dice were kept on the camera through Google+ Hangout.)

Suffice to say, this was a really enjoyable game and it was pretty easy to play through Google+ Hangout. I will say, sitting across from my husband, who was so committed to his role, was incredibly intense for me. At one point, when my character had his character held at gunpoint, he almost made me cry! I mean, I was seriously about to cry and had to keep stopping to take a moment, because my character was a bit more callous than myself. I guess my husband can feel confident that if he pleaded for his life, I would totally cave in and weep my silly little head off!

The unfolding of the game was really quite engaging. The setup of acts and how you don't really know how everything is going to pan out kept the enthusiasm up. I also loved the collaborative effort to create the scene and the story. I'll be honest, we spent a good many wasted minutes laughing our butts off and probably could have scaled back the amount of time the game took to play, but it was epic and beyond enjoyable. We're looking forward to more scenarios.

Bonus: No one had to do preparation before playing, so it didn't burden any of us before playing.

Here are the finalized notes from the game. We filled these into a Google Doc while we played. Our Friend Jim was adding quirky character bits as we went, since I was forced to do most of the talking and interacting. So it's not exactly a game play, but it's notes to see how we incorporated everything. I'll be happy to answer questions if you have any while reading. (Some language has been changed for mass consumption.... sadly, too much innuendo to be able to change it and stay clever.) Some of the notes, though, are not true to the character, but, again, are things that Friend Jim added.

Hawthorne Street & Bradley Road


[GENERAL]
OBJECT
->Untoward - Was it the cardigan, was it the fricking pie, was it something horrifying in Bill’s creepy secret room-- OH WELP GUESS WE WON’T FIND OUT BECAUSE MEL’S DEAD. Thanks for that, Betsy.


LOCATION
 ->Mansion on Hickory Terrace being sold by Bill, near Hawthorne St, not Bradley Rd.. None of these are near Main or Willow, because frack that crappy neighborhood.


WHAT A TWIST!
 -> Greed leads to killing
 -> Someone is not so innocent afterall. Oh Betsy, you little...


Sally Wright - the 6th grade girl who disappeared; member of the church
Mrs. Wright - Contacted by Mel; Lives in Bill’s neighborhood; Remarkably calm for having her daughter missing for a month; Possibly a Jon Benet Ramsey situation; Doesn’t know French; abuses Valium;  member of the church
Jessica Miller - Makes awesome coconut creme pies; pissed that Deacon Blackman rigged the last Bingo tourney; member of the church
Buffy - member of the church
Pastor Fredericks - Our pastor, loves Jessica Millers pie, Buffy is not amused
Detective Charles Jager - Awesomeville PD...okay so the town’s not called Awesomeville but most it’s the south and it’s Orsomville. Yeah. That’s gotta be it right? Shut up.


[Sarah Notecard - Betsy Flint (exaggerates, reasonable, kind of a tease, gives out personal information, into snacks (maybe also Jessica Millers pie, tapping Mrs. Wrights valium)); packing heat; doesn't want to see Mels package; knows a nice pie when shes sees one; quick trigger] Got her playground.
RELATIONSHIP
 ->Ray friends Real estate rivals
 ->Jim community church volunteers


NEED
 ->To get Respect! - From the TOWN by proving my convictions
The town needs to support the community through helping to fund the projects of the church. Give back so we can give to you blah blah bah


[Ray Notecard - Mr. Mel Jacobs, Esq. (nosy jerk, frequently drunk, photo aficionado, enjoys climaxes, soooo changeable, DOES know French, totes paranoid, practiced maybe not so practiced aspiring stalker/peeping tom; He’s a runner!; smoke)]
RELATIONSHIP
->Sarah friends Real estate rivals
->Jim crime corrupt official/local big shot


NEED
->Get the Truth


[Jim Notecard - Bill Ace Blackman, III (loves insertion, lives at the end of a five and a half minute hallway, loves sandwiches, perfect gentleman, charming, has an awesome face, Not a child-murdering son of a gun because that’s clearly something the dodgy Real Estate guy would be and not the rich jerk with the creepy torture dungeon)]
RELATIONSHIP
 ->Sarah community church volunteers
 ->Ray crime corrupt official/local big shot


Detective Charles Jager is friends with Bill and is going to help him clean out his room ASAP.