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Dialect: Meine ersten Eindrücke

Ein kurzes Vorwort: Dies ist ein Spiel über und mit Sprache, weswegen ich mich freuen würde wenn alle sich ermutigt fühlen Kommentare in ihrer Muttersprache zu verfassen (eine englische Zusammenfassung ist kein Muss, aber sicher hilfreich für andere)

Dialect online und mit einer Gruppe mit so unterschiedlicher Herkunft zu spielen bringt einige Herausforderungen mit sich. Nicht das ich den Eindruck habe ich hätte mich überhoben mit meiner Wahl für einen ersten Versuch als Spielleiter (Facilitator in Dialect), aber ich habe mich entschieden einige Empfehlungen der Autoren nicht ganz so ernst zu nehmen.
Es ist völlig unmöglich in einer Sitzung fertig zu werden. Nicht nur das, sondern aufgrund der Umstände werden wir uns vermutlich 5 – 7 Mal für
zirka 1 ½ Stunden treffen bevor wir zum Ende dieses Unternehmens gelangen.
Kein größeres Problem, es gibt viele Möglichkeiten für einen natürlichen
Kapitelschluss. Dieses Mal haben wir die Aspekte (zentrale Punkte) für unsere „Räuberbande“ gewählt. Im zweiten Schritt uns Gedanken über unsere Position in der Gesellschaft und der Stadt in der wir operieren gemacht. Beides geschieht in diesem Spiel mit der Hilfe von Fragen die für jeden Hintergrund von den Autoren vorgeschlagen werden. Insbesondere bei der Wahl der Aspekte fiel mir auf wie die Tatsache das Englisch für die meisten von uns Zweitsprache ist unsere Diskussion beeinflusst. Hier kommt eine zusätzliche Ebene ins Spiel was die Interpretation und die Nuancen betrifft wenn man einen Aspekt zu einem „Wort oder einer kurzen Phrase“ einkochen soll die für alle am Tisch die gleiche Bedeutung hat. Im Endeffekt haben wir zwei Wörter und einen nicht ganz so kurzen Satz gewählt. Zusätzlich werden wir unsere Erinnerungen der Schwerpunkte unserer Diskussion in einem gemeinsamen Dokument zusammenstellen das wir nutzen können wenn wir uns der Interpretation nicht mehr ganz sicher sind.

Die Fragen über unsere Bande sollen in den Augen der Autoren von einzelnen Spielern beantwortet werden, wir sind dieser Empfehlung nur lose gefolgt. Ich hatte den Eindruck das wir alle durch die gemeinsame Ausschmückung gewisser Einzelheiten ein lebhafteres Bild der Verhältnisse bekommen haben, für mich ein gewünschter und positiver Effekt.

Am Ende des Abends hat dann jeder von uns aus drei Karten das Modell für seine Rollenspielpersönlichkeit gewählt. Dies war ein guter Zeitpunkt das Spiel zu unterbrechen, nun haben alle Spieler genug Zeit diese bis zum nächsten Treffen mit Leben zu füllen.
Im Großen und Ganzen denke ich es war ein gelungener Abend und ich freue mich schon auf die nächste Woche.

Bildverweis/bildkälla/source photo Speicher Alter Wandrahm Nr. 11 (G. Koppmann & Co.), Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg, aus HH 2038/4, S. 41

warum Dialect (in englisch)

(video: play is conducted in English - RE)

Department: 
Actual Play
Games: 
Dialect

Comments

Helma's picture

Denna veckan började vi med att presentera våra karaktärer för varandra och vi har äntligen startat att spela på riktig. Min scenskräck har lyckligtvis också släppt så nu kan jag njuta av spelet mycket mer.
Så, vad är det som har hänt hittills. Vi har valt bakgrunden, kallat ”Thieves’ cant” som målar ut våran ”Isolation” som en grupp av tjuvar i en hamnstad. Vi har även tagit fram hörnpelarna som avgränsar vår grupp från omvärlden och definiera vår syn på oss själva (Aspects):

“the best work is when no one knows it has happened”

(jag väljer att behålla de på engelska för att inte av misstag förändra meningen bakom de)
Mot slutet av förra sittningen hade vi även fått fram en bra beskrivning av staden vi befinner oss in och vald ut arketyperna för våra karaktärer:

  • Helma: Margret Carter (Magpie), Protector, orubblig och säker, du är skölden som skyddar gruppen – antingen utifrån eller inifrån. Folk prata med dig om säkerheten.
  • Nathan: Jacob Parker (…), Magician, ingen förstår hur du få till det du gör. Du har dina hemligheter. Folk prata med dig när de har uttömt alla rationella möjligheter.
  • Ola: …, (Sir Silent), Leader, du är ett föredöme när det gäller att vara en av Finbyxorna. Vi kommer till dig när vi behöver ett beslut eller något måste hända. Folk prata med dig om vad som ska göras härnäst.
  • Max: John (J), Ruler, Du har den absoluta makten i gruppen, åtminstone på papper. Din vilja borde alltid ske. Folk prata med dig när något behöver tvingas igenom.
  • Ron: Nikolas Franz (Duft) Scrounger, någonting är sällsynt här. Vi är beroende av dig när det gäller att förse oss med varje lite bit av den saken som vi kan få. Folk prata med dig om att få det de behöver.

Vad vi gjorde av det syns i inspelningen.

Bilda ord, sätta upp scener och hitta in i spelandet och dialogen – Boken rekommendera att spelledaren (Facilitator) är den första som går igenom en spelrunda för att visa vägen. Inte nödvändig med den här gruppen, jag hade knappt tid att gå igenom av vilka delar en runda är uppbyggt innan någon ”skrek”: jag vill vara först. Så jag försökte mitt bästa för att kunna få med allt som är viktigt i de olika stegen från sidolinjen.

En runda börjar med att spelaren presentera kortet han har valt för gruppen genom att läsa upp ursprungskoncept och en del av texten på den. Sen skapa han en förbindelse mellan idén och någon av gruppens hörnpelare och förklara varför han tycker att de hör ihop. Att bygga eller definiera ordet gör gruppen gemensamt, spelaren på tur är dock den som i slutändan bestämmer vilket ord är det ”rätta”. Sista steget är att ha ett samtal där alla deltagare i samtalet använder ordet på något sätt. Spelaren på tur bestämmer vem som ska vara deltagare i samtalet, den behöver inte vara med själva. Samtalsparterna sätter scen för samtalet genom att bestämma var karaktärerna befinner sig och vad de gör. Det är svart i början att gå från uppsättandet av scenen till att starta samtalet, men att lära sig nytt ta tid. Med andra ord, jag är inte särskild oroade just nu, men jag ska se om jag kan komma på ett sätt att hjälpa oss i detta.

En fråga som kom upp på slutet, hade gruppen som jag för första gången spelade Dialect med, en liknande startsträcka när det gäller scenerna? Jag svarade lite svävande (det har varit ett tag sedan och jag började bli trött), men efter att ha vilat upp hjärnan lite så törs jag nog svara med ja på detta. Någon som var med då få gärna rätta mig, men jag tror första scenen där inkluderade två spelare, men det var lite trevande ändå och det tog oss ett antal ord/scener innan vi hittade flytet. För min egen del kan jag säga att jag behöver lite tid på mig för att hitta rätt och få en känsla för karaktärerna och situationen de befinner sig i innan jag kan prata fritt som min karaktär, oavsett vad jag spelar. Det verkar dock bli mer tydlig när man spelar ”story games” där många av de faktorer som annars hjälper orienteringen inte finns.

Någonting jag har lärt mig som spelledare för all framtid: fråga aldrig igen om dina spelare vill avsluta spelet för kvällen eller fortsätta lite till. Bestäm att ”nu är det slut för idag” när du känner att alla börjar blir trött, det blir inte bra om man försöker fortsätter, hur roligt man än har.

Deutsch translation

English translation
 

Greg's picture

Merci Helma pour ce compte-rendu. C’est superbe de te voir prendre la place de la facilitatrice, et ce compte-rendu me donne énormément envie de jouer.

Est-il possible d’avoir un exemple d’un tour qui vous a semblé intéressant, afin de voir comment cela s’est déroulé concrètement dans cette partie ? Quelle carte est sortie ? Quel lien avec quel aspect a été fait ? Quel mot en est sorti ? Quelle scène a été posée et comment s’est-elle déroulée ?

Le jeu a l'air de donner beaucoup de marge à la créativité, comment le système de jeu impose-t-il des contraintes qui semblent contribuer à faciliter la créativité ? 


English

Thank you Helma for this report. It's great to see you in the facilitator's seat, and this report makes me really want to play.

Is it possible to have an example of a round that you found interesting, to see how it actually went in this game? What card came out? What connection to what aspect was made? What word came out? What scene was set and how did it play out?

The game looks like it allows a lot of room for creative input, how is the game system constrained in ways that seems to facilitate this?

Ron Edwards's picture

The video of the session will be available soon!

Ron Edwards's picture

Here it is! Although I just realized I've confusingly titled it "session 1" as opposed to the previous session titled "preparation."

robowist's picture

Helma wrote:

In the beginning we found it difficult to launch into conversation but I gather that’s part of the learning curve with each new game. I’m not overly concerned about it, but I will try to come up with some idea that may help us. 

After the session the question came up whether we experienced a similar learning curve when I played Dialect for the first time. I was at that point too tired to recall, but later remembered that even in that case it took some time to find the pace. If anybody who was part of that game remembers more, please leave a comment.

 

It’s nice to see this group tackling Dialect, and it’s wonderful to see Helma in the facilitator role. I was in that previous game of Dialect that Helma mentions, and so I’ll add to her response on the slowness or hesitancy of the opening scenes My sense is that the gears of the game move slowly at the start for three reasons:

  1. There’s a lot to sort out initially. In our game (or any game of Dialect), we were all trying to get a handle on the aspects, the specifics of our isolation, and our characters. And then, on top of that, the framed scenes involve newly coined words that you are trying to incorporate into the conversation. So there’s considerable mental overhead at work. It helped that we decided to devote our opening session to setting up the characters and the isolation and then breaking it off so we had time to digest some ideas, but even so, there are many balls in the air.

  2. Our group had players who had not played together previously, and my sense is that we had to take some extra time to settle into the new social dynamic. 

  3. The game itself involves the players oscillating between taking individual turns and also being involved in dynamically collaborative exchanges. For example, in Dialect, when it’s your turn, you choose a card from your hand and develop or coin a new word based on that card. You have the final say about what that word is.  But the game also encourages discussion about the new word prior to making that decision, and it also involves a scene involving other players which is there to demonstrate the word in actual use. So it’s someone’s turn, which gives them a certain amount of ownership over it, but there’s also a sense that you shouldn’t “tyrannize” your turn. This creates some dissonance as you are trying to work out the mix of the individual vs. group aspects. I’m curious as to whether you or the other players are experiencing this tension. 

For clarity on this final point, it might be useful to compare Dialect to The Quiet Year. In The Quiet Year (which many would classify as a GM-less story game), the turn procedure is more strict: When it is your turn, you draw a card and then make an important choice for the community, and you do so initially without discussion. If someone is unhappy with your choice, they can pick up a “Contempt Token,” and at the end of the turn you can opt to open up a discussion (though choosing a discussion involves sacrificing a new discovery or project). But, even with that discussion option in play, the rules of The Quiet Year insist that the key decision be made individually by a player, initially without input from the others. In Dialect, you are in a grey zone: When it is your turn, you are working out the degree of individual choice vs. community input, and Dialect leaves the players with more of the burden to work this out.

 

Ron Edwards's picture

I think the numbering is all borked now because I called my videos "prep," "1," and "2." Anyway, here is our third gathering for Dialect, direct link into the playlist.

Also, Greg, Helma made a collage or pictograph or whatever you want to call it, as her preferred way to follow up on your questions above. Click the image for the PDF.

Helma's picture

to read auf Deutsch or på svenska

Ron, for the record, I find the numbering perfect, as we had a preparation session and sessions 1 and 2 so far.

This session saw us making our first transition, into Age 2. This basically means we are going through a number of steps comparable to our preparations for play. We did choose a path to follow for the rest of the game, answered a couple of questions and developed one of our Aspects (the other two stay the same). All of us did choose to exchange one of their cards for a new one. We even had time for the first turn during this Age.

I do enjoy play more and more. Everybody is eager to drive the story forward, to the point where I feel I have to pull the brakes to keep the pacing even. My guess is that keeping things from accelerating to fast is easier with fewer sessions but it is not impossible even this way.

I really like our discussions, they move in a very natural way between driving the game forward, exploring and explaining our native language(s) in the real world and sometimes a fair amount of banter baked into it.

In response to Robbie's point 3 above (may be somewhat off as I never heard of “The quiet Year”): Our group tends to change a little bit between games but now most of us have been playing at least 3 games together and for me that shows in the way we tackle the turns. Sometimes somebody needs a little reminder or chooses to ask for input where they “should” make their own decision. From my position as a Facilitator these detours from the order of things as stated in the text are deemed beneficial for the play/story, so I’m certainly not going to stop them unless I deem it absolutely necessary. Over all I rather like the way responsibilities are distributed during turns in Dialect, but it is obvious that it helps if people have known each other for a while before playing. It is not a necessity, it just makes things smoother earlier. Seriously, had I not found playing the game with Robbie and a bunch of “strangers” so enjoyable I would not have considered to play Dialect with “my” group.

Picture: Hamburg Zollenbrücke, © Lexikus Verlag 2021

Ron Edwards's picture

Here's the video! Linked directly into the playlist.

It took a while to edit due to a couple of diversions about language(s). I retained a brief portion of trilingual discussion about "proverb," to convey how that works for this group.

Please also consider the testing or clarification about the word "box." If you ever want to know what I (the author of the terms) mean by Lines and Veils, speaking as the author of these terms, this is exactly the case study.

First, we happened not to use those exact terms. We could have, but it is not necessary actually and formally to say "line" or "veil," which is one reason I get itchy at calling them "tools."

Second, I hope you can see that I raised the issue of a Line, for me, regarding the proposed word ("box") and stated why. Two things matter a lot: (i) that this is a during-play discovery on my part, not a pre-play negotiation or contract, and (ii) that I did not present it as a joke.

Third, Helma's response includes two parts: (i) acknowledging that she understood the content I referred to, which is to say, validating my concern without debating it; and (ii) furthermore, stating that all such language-specific content is to be kept individualized among us, or rather "left to fend for itself" as I perceived her point to be, rather than required/expected as an explicit part of the fiction. In other words, she both respected the Line and established a Veil in practice.

That's how to do it.

As a minor detail, it helps that the common language for our characters is not specified or known. I happen to have settled on Hamburg as my mental model for our city, which is why Niklaus is so German through a Dickens-ish lens, but it's really a fictional distillation of anywhere among the many harbor cities of the North Sea. Therefore implications specific to English, Swedish, German, or French are perfectly sensible to treat as audience-side rather than in-setting-side.

Ron Edwards's picture

Three more words = three more scenes into the Second Age. Here's the video linked into the playlist.

Ron Edwards's picture

Our vocabulary so far!

We are The Fine Trousers

The best work is when no one knows it happened, The theater/music hall, Favors & mutual obligations [gone in Second Age], Accounts are kept for what you owe [gained in Second Age]

  • sunnyday = look out, things are going wrong, abandon the plan
  • the spinners = the rival gang, who don't honor their promises, the bastards
  • spice/spicy = good friends, people you can count on
  • lilies = acquiring and selling the former possessions of the newly-dead
  • kleister = a time-unit indicating how much longer we can do something before police or similar people appear
  • box = directed toward veteran Trousers who are over-concerned with accounts and debts
  • xem/xey = "them/they" for snotnose new Trousers who excel at keeping their accounts without really doing good work
  • sticky buns = Trousers who promote good fellowship and group unity just because they are nice and fun
  • a perfect kill = stroke of good luck toward our ultimate hopes

We have one more scene to play in the Second Age, and after that, a final round of scenes for the Third Age.

Helma's picture

As I like Ron's list above I'll start with filling it up with the last word we played before anything else.

  • Mind the spice to save the mice = a proverb reminding us of why we are proud of being fine Trousers and what is the most important ingredience of our success and self-perception.

Coming up with this proverb did take quite some time. Attempting it for me seemed daring, coming up with a word can already be challenging, coming up with a proverb means first you'll have to pin down what you want to express, then to condense it down to something short an memorable. But we succeeded, and for me the whole process contained everything that makes me feel so at home with everybody around our table. We care for each other, we help each other, we can be ourselves and give each other the room and time we need.

Coming up with the setup for the scene and launching it did take some time again and I realized that I still struggle when it comes to help this process along. After play we talked for a while about this point, trying to figure out what keeps us from getting a fast and smooth transition from set up scene to role play. One thing I plan to do at the start of the next session is a quick reminder of the procedures in play during this step

What else happen during this session? Not much more, we read the descriptive prompts and questions connected to the third Age, decided how much time has passed during the transition and which Aspect to change and to what. Most of us decided to switch out one of their cards and we are all set up to start Age 3 next time.

Due to a lack of time there are no translations to German or Swedish this time.

Ron Edwards's picture

Here's Session 5!

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