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I helped run The Prince Comes of Age at WPI last night, a favorite of mine written by morethings5, lightgamer, and Bernie. I enjoyed helping out, and it's made me wistful for running larps again. On our way home, Bernie brought up Alice, if I'd want to rerun it. I hate to say it, but honestly these days I kind of wince to think of that game. Because as good a track record as it has, the truth is that it's not all that well-made a game.

It's well-known that a fun game isn't the same as a good game, and I often talk about the phenomenon of games that work as well as they do because the players bring whatever baggage to it that allows their imaginations to run with it. That is different than the game providing sufficient material with the quality of its writing and design. Now that I look at Alice with the knowledge of a more experienced larp writer, I fear I must place the game in the former category.

Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of good in it. It plays quite well, most people who've played it have enjoyed it; I'd say at least twenty people out of every twenty-five-person cast. I wrote it during a dark time in my life, and a fairly compelling central story came out of my exorcising certain demons. It's one of only a few goth games in the local larp canon that isn't World of Darkness, and it's cleaner and more elegant than that.

But it was the first game I ever wrote, and I hadn't played all that many games when I started it. Those few games, not all of which were great, have too much of an influence on its design. It has a number of plots that are just plain weak larp writing-- kill plots, fetch quests, too many characters motivated by money. There are a few characters that are just too thin. Whenever I think of it, I wince. I've written eight games and played many times that since then, and I've grown enormously since then. All the flaws in Alice just glare at me. They're not irreparable, and since the game has good bones, I probably could fix it. But it would likely be a lot of work, and I have an odd tendency to build up curiously painful aversions in myself. I find myself with one to the thought of digging through my amateurish mistakes in that game. 


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 29th, 2013 01:25 am (UTC)
I know that feeling. Tory and I periodically look at Lifeline and go 'we could edit this, we even know what needs fixing. But nope.' So on one hand, I'm still curious about playing Alice, but on the other hand, I definitely understand.
Jul. 29th, 2013 08:39 pm (UTC)
Any content creator will tell you that editing is the hard part. Editing is a completely different skill set, and unless you can embrace it, is antithetical to creativity.
Aug. 2nd, 2013 08:44 pm (UTC)
You have to start somewhere to learn.

I'd say take the themes and things you learned from Alice and write something else if you'd rather not rework it. I would love to be able to play a game with overt goth costuming, but it doesn't need to be Alice. ;)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

About Me

My name is Phoebe. I'm Boston area theater professional and English professor focused in writing, acting, directing, and modeling. I'm known for having lots of interests, lots of opinions about those interests, and a very high estimation of the value thereof. This blog is for talking about whatever's on my mind, from my daily life to my activities to musing on any number of abstract topics. Thanks for taking the time to read.

My productions:

Upcoming Productions:

MRS. HAWKING part 2 and 3

at the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016

presented by The Chameleon's Dish

Vivat Regina
by Phoebe Roberts

at 2PM


Base Instruments
by Phoebe Roberts

at 6PM

Saturday, May 13th 2017
at 274 Moody Street, Waltham, MA

Other Achievements:

"The Tailor at Loring's End" screenplay
Quarter Finalist in the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Competition 2013

"Adonis" screenplay
Top Ten Percent in the Bluecat Screenwriting Contest 2015

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