Winter: Actual Play!

January 7, 2011

Hey! I played my game! I actually, so did my friend Tony, but I don’t have a copy of his journal to post.

So it is a little bit hiccoughy, but it seems to work… pretty okay! I am not very happy with the relief mechanic, but I’m not sure how to make it better without also making it more cumbersome (i.e. roll under half-days, don’t roll until seven days, +4 to roll, etc). The only option I’m seriously considering is “add the number of your remaining rations as a positive modifier to your roll.”

My post is written with italicised Journal entries followed by out-of-game mechanics. Here goes!


Health: 10 Hope: 10 [ ] [ ] [ ] Day Zero

I never wanted to be a solder. I thought a lawyer maybe, or a politician. Just… not a soldier. Today, I’m in Trench 244, and I have a stretch as far as the eye can see in both directions. Mine for the whole week. There’s a crater from a big naval gun not fifty yards to the right of my foxhole. I’ll have to keep an eye on that. Fortunately, there’s a nice little sentry-post right here that overlooks the approach to the crater quite nicely.

Health: 9 Hope: 10 [ ] [ ] [ ] Day One

Nothing much, today. While the sun was up, I sang to myself, and tried to keep myself busy by enlarging my foxhole. The bastard who was here before was shit with a shovel, though, and the damn thing collapsed. Looks like I’m sleeping at the sentry post… I wonder what the boys are drinking back in Chicago? p.s. – I decided to save my rations – I know I’ll be hungrier later.

I played a Camaraderie scene – singing and digging, and cursing at the poor architect who’d built the foxhole in the first place – which sort of tied into a survival scene: trying to improve my condition. I rolled a 3, and got stuck out in the cold.

Health: 9 Hope: 9 [ ] [ ] [ ] Day Two

I was right about the crater. The Jerries came around, tried to drop into the trench there. I gave ’em a few grenades to think about. They thought about it and left, but one of ’em must’ve been hit, cuz he was screaming and screaming all night. When I got to him, he was already dead. Looked to be about my brother’s age – kinda looked like him, too. I sat by his body and told him the story of when me n’ my brother went fishing at the big pond and caught that enormous bass. I cried, then. Then I buried him. I spent the rest of my day digging a new foxhole.

I decided to follow with a Violence scene, to see what mileage that gave me, and came up with this. Man, roleplaying this out was… tough. As in emotionally challenging. This process of roleplaying and writing and then roleplaying more has really gotten me stuck in this character’s headspace. Anyway, I played a cameraderie scene with the dead soldier, and then a survival scene digging the new foxhole. Rolled a 12. shiny foxhole. Forgot to roll for relief today.

Health: 9 Hope: 9 [X] [ ] [ ] Day Three

I found the former occupant of my sentry post today – dead as doorknob. Funniest thing: he didn’t have a scratch on him. I asked him how he died, but he didn’t have much to say. Died of boredom probably. Useless bastard didn’t even have any spare rations – I had to eat my own. Can’t imagine that had anything to do with how he died, I guess…
I was pretty roughed up after day two, so I played a more light-hearted day. Somehow, it was easier to joke about this dead guy from my side than someone I had killed. This is a Cameraderie scene – poking fun at the dead guy – followed by a sort of Survival scene afterthought: I went by and checked his pockets for food. Rolled a 4, so I ate my own rations to save myself the health point. Rolled a 10 for relief today.

Health: 9 Hope: 8 [X] [X] [ ] Day Four

They came again last night. I heard a sound as I was writing in my journal, and slipped out of my foxhole to investigate. I practically walked into a Jerry: I shot him in the chest. I heard another one shout and run, but I never saw him. I imagine they were looking for their friend that I buried a couple days back. I tried to stay awake all night watching for ’em, but I was exhausted – used up the last of my coffee.
In the morning, a sergeant from Tennessee dropped in and we played a game of cards. He was friendly enough, until I told him I wouldn’t volunteer for anything. Then he spat at my feet, and called me a coward: suits me fine, as long as I’m not dead.
This was interesting. It’s a violence scene, followed by a survival scene (rolled a god-damned 3 – used another one of my rations), followed by a camaraderie scene (the cards), followed by a volunteering scene. It played out pretty well. The camaraderie scenes are hard to justify. I keep forgetting about the example I wrote with the dog – I’m gonna try that next time. Today I rolled a miraculous 3 for relief – tomorrow was my last day!

Health: 9 Hope: 7 [X] [X] [ ] Day Five

Relieved! I’ve been relieved! Now back to that pretty nurse for some real R&R!
They came again this morning, about a dozen of ’em, but that Tennessee sarge and his volunteer boys happened along just as the Jerries were coming into view. Boy, we game ’em what for, and then they ran off! And my relief arrived! Boy, today might just about be the best day of my life.
I played out the violence scene, and then finished out the day! First full game of Winter, complete.
I have to say, I’m really happy with this so far. I know it needs a LOT of work, and I sense that there are still some things missing, but for a first attempt at a game design, I think it’s pretty bearable!
Any comments, thoughts, or suggestions are VERY MUCH welcome.

5 Responses to “Winter: Actual Play!”

  1. Emily Says:

    Hey there,

    You wrote:

    “This process of roleplaying and writing and then roleplaying more has really gotten me stuck in this character’s headspace.”

    That is really impressive. I like the types of scenes, and the freeform nature of their play a lot. You find that you figure out what happens as you write in the journal? Or did you think it out ahead of time?

    And, volunteering–from start to finish–brilliant. Really.

  2. thehamp Says:

    Thanks a lot!

    I would say the “what happens” comes out half while roleplaying and half while journaling. In my experience so far, I figure out what type of scene I need to play next, and usually an idea pops into my head – maybe based on something in my environment, maybe something I’d already written or thought of, or something like that.

    Then I play out a little scene for myself and move along to the next scene.

    When it comes time to Reflect, tally my scores, and write my journal entry, I often think of interesting little bits that I wish I’d included in the scene, or extra details that perhaps I didn’t visualize at the time but that I include now anyway. I figure there’s no harm, and it makes my final product that much richer.

    And, gosh. Thanks. That’s… very nice of you. I think I’m blushing.

  3. Aleksandar Says:

    Just played my first game of Winter, and I liked it very much.
    Still, I made some changes to the rules to make it more game-like (added some multiple choices and some kind of award system) and more suitable for my needs and stile of play…
    All this will maybe lower the gore element of the game, but maybe not…
    Of course, this is for my private use and I will not share my version of the document, but if you are interested to see what I did, drop me en e-mail…

  4. Aleksandar Says:

    PS I am at sharanac at

  5. Aleksandar Says:

    Writings from my session are finally over, and can be read at!

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