This past weekend, I went to the Durham Public Library for an event called – Dice & Decisions: Role Playing Game Demonstration. The organizers have been hosting a series of events about gaming with a local game development called BullyPulpitGames. Our host for the day as Jason Morningstar – one of the owners of the company. The way the day was designed to allow people to play one of three games: Fiasco, The Warren, and World of Dungeons. There were about 20 participants who came to learn about games, and spend some time playing.
Everyone got to choose what game they wanted to play… I choose The Warren, which puts you in the role of a rabbit within a Warren (hence the name). Think of this as playing a character in the book (and movie) Watership Down. The really cool thing about this game was it changes the dynamics of how you think of your character. Rabbits have a short and dangerous life, players will probably die during the game, and can come back as another rabbit. You start thinking in a generational way, because rabbits reproduce quickly (well like Rabbits!)
Jason was our game manager, and we each had to pick a rabbit. You choose various characteristics to give your rabbit personality, and get one card which provides a skill. My Rabbit was a mangy, runt, with an ear tag – meaning I had been captured by humans at one time. The card I had was called “Dead Eyes”, which allowed me to reset my panic score by taking a scar. Panic is a key attribute that you have to manage, since it will cause you to do things that you may not want. I had put my skill bonus into Shrewedness, thinking that my bunny had been experimented on to increase intelligence. This lead to my low strength score and high panic likelihood.
The rest of our little band included Barley (who was hard of hearing but had incredible eyesight), Meadow (how had no fear of foxes and knew the secret of at least one fox), Basil (who was marked for death), and Ash (another runt who could ge in and out of tight spaces). We belonged to a very large warrant which was behind the library. Chestnut was the rabbit in charge (and Barley’s father). Our Warren was starving and we were sent out to find celery. Meadow knew that a fox named silver was in the area, and we were stuck in a area with a possum. Fox is blocking our path home, so we cut a deal with the possum to allow us to escape. meadow would try and lead the fox on a goose chase, while we made a break for it. Meadow barely made his escape, and we ended up digging under a near by house, only to be confronted by a big nest of rats!!
Well none us had trained to fight, so I negotiated with the rats to help us find the food. We got the information, but they tried to surround us. We got away, but one of use was injured (I had who in my draft blog post, but lost the whole thing! So sorry about not naming names). When we got to the plentiful garden with the food, it had a terrier guarding it. We snuck in and started eating a bit of food, only to be seen and barely escape. During our escape Barley saved us all, but we made it back to the Warren with no food.
Chestnut was very upset since the the needs of the Warren are more important than any individual rabbit. But since Barely had been brave to save us all, he demoted the captain of the guards (a paramilitary bunny named Jeffrey) and sent us back out to get the food with a little help. Jeffrey’s was upset by this and left the Warren. On our trip back to get the food, we lost our help, they got hit by cars! (The life of a rabbit).
Each of us gained new skills that night and I picked up the ability to fight. The only rabbit who could. This would soon come in handy.
We made it back to the garden (late at night) and saw that the dog had been put back in the house. Our nice hole to get under the fence had been blocked by a board, so I tried a new feet, I climbed the chicken wire fence. Success!!!! So all bunnies now knew how to do this. Ash tried to grab some food and immediately got hit with a trap and died! Trying to free him the dog started going nuts in the house, and the owners let him out. We had tons of food by now, and escaped back to the warren.
The game took two hours, used dice infrequently, and was totally captivating. What a blast! I hope to get more time to play with this group… And perhaps I can get Jason on my podcast over at GamesAtWork.Biz