Prophecies, Golem friends, and the origins of Magic abounded in last Thursday's game of Fall of Magic. Fall of Magic has always been one of my favorite story games and while I love Roll20's online version, there's something so satisfying and tactile about the physical version with the scroll and the weighted tokens.
The four of us, all having played before, finished the whole game in about exactly three hours which was quite the feat. Normally Story Games Seattle games of Fall of Magic barely make it to Mistwood in this time.
After we made it to Umbra and wrapped up the game, it occurred to me possibly why we were able to keep the game moving. Fall of Magic can get bogged down with Mother-May-I style collaboration.
I was facilitator of the game this evening and around the Oak Hills (second location) one player asked the other players, "I want to move the Magus, did everyone do all the scenes they wanted?" and I sort of offhandedly remarked that you really shouldn't ask and just commit. After the game, when we were talking about how fast the game moved, I realized that was the pivotal moment that sped the game up and what really makes Fall of Magic move in both a progressive and fictional sense.
By withholding asking permission from your fellow players to move the Magus, everyone must play each scene without the certainty of having another scene. This implicit Carpe Diem attitude kind of makes players go, "What do I REALLY want out of this place right now?" It really started to make sense to me, because that uncertainty of a second or third or fourth chance in a location means your shots have to be hitting the dramatic notes you want or you risk throwing it away.
I also kind of see it like being the Lens in Microscope. Make sure you're always listening and incorporating other's ideas into the story, but don't be afraid or think you need permission to do what you want. Because Fall of Magic doesn't have the safety rails of Microscope, Fall of Magic is swimming in the Ocean. It's a very deep game with no safety nets. The more I move about in its waters, the less I'm inclined to share it with beginners.
Anyways, I'd love to hear about your experiences with Ross' AMAZING game and let me know how you play!