The Colony: Strength vs Beauty, Truckers vs Slugs (Follow at Go Play NW, part 3)

My third game of Follow at Go Play NW. The very last slot of the con. The slot that has no lunch break before it. Traditionally that means people will be a little logy, a little tired, or maybe if you’re lucky, laid back and serene.

That was our first real life “what makes your quest difficult?” hurdle. The second was that we added a last-minute player even though that put us up to six, because dammit, our motto is “no gamer left behind!” Six is a serious crowd for any game, let alone a tired, hungry, Sunday slot. It also unintentionally continued the perfect growth arc of my Follow games over the weekend: the first was four players, the second was five, and now six.

So last slot of the con, low food, big crowd: we’re doomed, right? Yep, I’m a little concerned. So as soon as sit down we talk about these very issues and agree to try to keep things tight, frame aggressively, etc.

And oh my god did we. Massively, absurdly tight. I don’t think I’ve played *any* game, ever, with such a narrow difference between what was said at the table and what would have been in the movie script. The scenes in our whole first round were maybe five minutes each. Five minutes, tops. Some even less: situation, drama, perfect lines, bam, done.

Our quest: colonize a new world. The big problem? Our thousand or so colonists were not carefully picked for the task. We were a desperate hodgepodge, thrown together by fate.

We had a Teutonic social philosopher trying to mold a new uber-utopia rooted in Strength (“haff you read my book? It iz all in my book…”). We had preservation of the arts (“what’s the *point* of having farms if we don’t have a museum?!?”). We had drug addiction. And we had tiny caustic slugs, eating everything we built.

I had a great time playing Constable Lila Madison, reluctant peace officer. My starting need had me watching Karen’s ex-con character, Esme, like a hawk, but as we played I recognized that she hadn’t just turned over a new leaf but a whole new tree. I was so impressed I dragooned her into being my deputy, as you do. That’s another example of where the need set the situation but it played quite a bit differently than I expected. As I said before, Follow is flexible. If you just follow the fiction, Follow works just fine.

In the “something I’ve never seen before in a Follow game” category: ornery trucker and unlikely hero Swain had a perfectly descending scale of unhappiness. In the first challenge he was 2 red (i.e. “to hell with this colony”), then 1 red in the second challenge, and then no unhappiness in the final challenge. Possibly the most uplifting story of an unemployed trucker on an alien world ever. He even got a rig in the end, a literal monster-truck (“uh, it looked a lot smaller in the blueprints…”) built to conquer the wilderness and bring back the ore that would save the colony.

Outcome: Victory! The colony thrives. In time, we’ve got grandchildren playing at our feet.

But not everyone’s happy. In a sweaty basement somewhere, the eclipsed Doctor von Bleben leads a secret fight club to indoctrinate the youth and prepare for the day when the colony realizes that only Strength can save it…

Those are my three fantastic Follow games, each so different, but each so great. Re the con as a whole, everyone I’ve talked to has agreed: this was a top notch Go Play. Quality gaming and great people all around. Thanks, everybody!

    Ben Robbins | August 28th, 2016 | follow | leave a comment