The Farrier's Bellows - Out of Dodge

There’s a new episode of The Farrier’s Bellows, and this time we’re speeding away from disaster in Jason Morningstar’s Out of Dodge! We talk about American Freeform, LARP, and improvisation, as well as replay-ability and intention in play. Out of Dodge is a great game of chaos, carnage and comedy, and we hope you enjoy the episode!

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Thanks for the play and review of Out of Dodge! I’m glad you liked it. Heck, I’m glad you tried it! I feel like The Climb is a super good introduction to larp and hope you get to play that soon. Anyway this episode gave me weird feels because:

A) Very few people play Out of Dodge (don’t know why, exactly, wish that would change) and

B) Your discussion of larp missed a few exciting fundamental truths about the medium, from my perspective. The one carved into a gigantic larp monolith as a universal constant being “every game is infinitely replayable, because not only is every player different, even the same players are different at different times, and the result is always surprising.” If you are playing a game with “secrets”, knowing those secrets only flavors play, it doesn’t diminish it. You spent a lot of time on something that, again from my perspective, is not even remotely an issue. As an example, I’ve played The Climb dozens of times, and it is a very focused setup with very procedural outcomes, and it has always been different and interesting. People make cool and surprising choices. I did like the way you framed foreknowledge and no foreknowledge as two distinct experiences, which feels right.

Thanks again!

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Maybe I’m misremembering (I listened to this a long time ago) but didn’t they eventually reach the conclusion that replayability wasn’t going to be a major issue?

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I guess my point is that, for various reasons, that’s not even a thing. Having a discussion about the replayability of a short form larp is not very productive, because of course it is replayable. Maybe this would be a good conversation of its own!

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I don’t disagree, but iirc they were specifically referring to the secret information in Out of Dodge, and whether knowing that secret envelope stuff makes a replay as fun. I don’t think they were referring to the re-playability of larps in general. But, like I said, I listened to this weeks ago. I could be misremembering.

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That’s fair, and I totally agree–it’s something that must be obvious if you’re familiar to the medium but, as relative outsiders coming in, took some time for us to come to ourselves. As players who are very new to LARP and the sort of scenario play that games like Out of Dodge and The Climb do, I think that aspect of the medium was something we had to discover through discussion. We’ll make sure to keep that aspect in mind as we continue to play similar games! (I have wanted to play The Climb for years and am making sure to get to it in 2019!)
We hope our discussion didn’t misrepresent Out of Dodge, we just wanted to present the same thoughts and processes that other players new to the medium might face. Also hope that more people start playing Out of Dodge, because we loved it.

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Also, and perhaps predictably: I’ve played out of Dodge a few times, including in a car.

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So thats what we’re playing on the way to Silver Spring in August? I am so not driving. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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One of us has to bleed out. Hopefully not the driver.

Yah, when I heard about the replay-ability factor, it immediately called to my mind Inheritance, which seems extremely UN-replayable. And yet I’ve heard many people who have replayed it, sometimes multiple times, and they say it’s excellent. That “alpha” and “beta” version game definitions feels like it rings true, and is a good way to visualize / conceptualize and talk about these games.

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Can confirm. I’ve played Inheritance three times (as Ring, Gefjon and Torvald) and it is always different and always fun. It’s a pregnant situation, and on the offhand chance that you know the outcome of a fight from a previous run it isn’t going to prevent you from stabbing somebody in the biscuits, trust me.

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I’m of the opinion that larp or rpg scenarios with secret knowledge are (likely to be) re-playable even with a high level secrets.

As someone who has facilitated Inheritance many times and knows all the deadly outcomes, it’s still a surprise when death happens.

The ways in which the players embody the characters and how they choose to react is the far more interesting thing to watch unfold.

That being said, I wouldn’t reveal the secrets to anyone who’s interested in playing but hasn’t or anyone who doesn’t want to know.

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It’s a good point and worth noting that as a facilitator you should be prepared to reveal whatever a player needs to know so the game will be comfortable for them. Beyond general content warnings, some players want to understand what is going to happen, or what might happen, with more specificity. No “secret” or “surprise” is worth losing that player or making them anxious or uncertain.

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So … the players are more important than the game? :wink:

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The idea of protected information is so ingrained, and the idea of anxious players just straight-up asking for more information so foreign, that even the kindest and gentlest facilitators can get thrown for a loop by this in my experience.

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True enough! I’d be always happy to answer these kinds of questions, too! Interestingly it’s never come up.

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