Posts in this Category

Story Games 101: Angle the Chairs

This is a simple trick we’ve been using at Story Games Seattle for years. It may seem trivial but it’s not. Your physical environment has a huge impact on your social interactions, and a role-playing game is just one big social interaction. In the kind of games we play — story games with no game […]

Ben Robbins | September 20th, 2016 | how to play | 2 comments

Defy Everyone

In story games, a character can defy everyone else and succeed entirely on their own. A player cannot. Big, important distinction.

Ben Robbins | September 15th, 2016 | how to play

Story Games 101: Shifting to Third Person

You’re sitting at a table, playing a game, and someone across from you says: “I grab your neck and put a knife up to your face and say “Tell me what I want to know, or else!’” Story games can be intense. Sometimes too intense. If you need to cool it down and avoid scaring […]

Ben Robbins | January 31st, 2016 | how to play | 2 comments

A Beginner’s Guide to Making Scenes

(This is an excerpt from Kingdom, but it’s a good recipe for making scenes in just about any story game.) The secret to making a good scene isn’t coming up with an amazing or surprising idea. The secret is painting a clear picture so players know exactly what is going on. Being able to visualize […]

Ben Robbins | January 6th, 2014 | how to play

Antagonism 101

or, being the right kind of mean “So, you’re trying to expose government corruption. Well, a car drives up, and a bunch of guys jump out. With guns! And… they shoot you! Uh, dead! Conflict!” “Allll-right…” We play a lot of story games where there’s no GM, and each character has an arc or agenda […]

Ben Robbins | December 2nd, 2010 | how to play | 6 comments

Partners In Crime: Teaming Up at the Table

The game table can be a lonely place. Everyone else is running around, having fun exploring their pet plots or doing cool things, but no one seems to be interested in the thing you want to do. So you sit quietly and wait, and you get more detached and disinterested in the game. You drop […]

Ben Robbins | February 10th, 2009 | how to play | 1 comment

Stepping Stones: Telling More Interesting Lies

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive…” –Sir Walter Scott Lying to someone in roleplaying games often goes something like this: “I want to convince the guy these are not the droids he’s looking for.” “Okay, roll.” >roll roll roll< "I win!" It's simple: you have a goal and […]

Ben Robbins | December 26th, 2008 | how to play | 6 comments

Play Constructively: Pass the Ball

You’re a good player. You’ve got all the basics down pat: you understand your character, when it’s your turn you make decisions (even bad ones) rather than hold up the game, and when you sit down at the table you are ready and eager to play. You’re definitely holding up your end, but as you’ve […]

Ben Robbins | September 16th, 2006 | how to play | 2 comments

Three Sins of Players

Gaming is a social contract. Everyone has agreed to show up and spend their time participating to the best of their abilities. Just as the GM has agreed to not (intentionally) create a situation which automatically wipes out the party, or precipitously violate the framework of the imaginary world by having German tanks roll out […]

Ben Robbins | May 14th, 2006 | how to play | 1 comment