Being home at 3. am the day before I was up for an “early” start with my first game at 11 and even worse I had to gm it. It was the well written pearl Distance, I ended up with an international group just minutes before game start, as we would have had to reject them, if I didn’t grab it. And I also didn’t get acces to our play room before that point, so all in all a bit stressful start. But even though I didn’t perform, at my top game and used to much time on the introduction and warm up we ended with a good experience.
In Distance the players are three Danish women whose husbands are stationed in Afghanistan. It’s a melodramatic tragedy, where the distance that this situation creates end up ruining the three marriages in three different ways. It’s for only three players and each player plays one of the wives as a main character and one of the soldiers as a supporting character.
This is very important and quite well described, it’s all about the wives and when you are playing the soldier you need to remember that and put pressure in the wives situation. The wife can also create a lot of the distance and tension, but it’s very much up to the husband to challenge the wife.
It’s a really well written game (and it did go on to win the Otto for best written material), it’s the level of Reservoir Elves, one of my favorite games to GM. Both are page turners, meant in the way that as soon as you are running it, all you have to do is turn a page, set the scene, give what ever instructions there is, start the scene and cut the scene, (maybe throw in a few instructions during the scene.)
One thing though, I’m not sure it’s a weakness, but it’s as challenge: there’s a lot of scenes. 30 or something like that in a game meant for 3 hours. Now it didn’t help that I spend too much time on the warm up, but the scenes are supposed to be short (no really short) and to the point. You can’t hold back or dwell on things, get to the point and intensify straight way.
That is not something I like, but I can see it work, but my group was on the same page as me, they wanted to dwell and it worked, the game is still good and strong with this playstyle. But I had to cut some scenes, for this to work.
I think that it’s good to be aware of the style you want, but If I was to hack it I would cut the scenes by maybe up to half and have them longer. But it’s a taste thing. I still think it’s a really good game, and I could run it again, and with the right group I would like to try it fastpased.
And straight after that game all of us had to run to other activities for the short games bloc (Fastaval has two long runs each day at 11.00 and 20.00 and a short two hour block for short quick games at 16.30.) But luckily I caught up and got to talk with some of the players later, and they seemed satisfied.