An Adventure Per Year: Ditch’d (Enjoy the Silence) (2009)

In my A Game Per Year project, my goal has been to read one roleplaying game corebook for every year they’ve been published. However, I soon started to feel that it was hard to decipher how the games were really meant to be played. For this reason, I decided to start a parallel project, An Adventure Per Year, to read one roleplaying adventure for each year they’ve been published.

The cover of Ditch’d (Enjoy the Silence)

Ditch’d (Enjoy the Silence) is a Jeepform scenario by the Finnish designer J. Tuomas Harvinainen. It has an interesting meta structure: The game is played first as a larp and then immediately afterwards as a Jeepform game. Because of this, the scenario feels like a formal study of how the conventions of the game affect the flow of the experience. The larp version is fully embodied while the Jeepform experience has tools such as fast-forwarding to when something happens.

Most of the design is in the characters, a highly ordinary group of thirtysomething friends in the aftermath of a baptism when annoying relatives have left. Another key theme is boredom. The game focuses on that part of a social event where only good friends are left, everyone should go home but they haven’t yet.

In this sense, the difference in format becomes important: Naturalistically played larp has more focus on the boredom while Jeepform has a whole toolbox of methods to escalate action quickly.

The themes of the characters revolve around family, aspirations, the different things each character enjoys, whether they’re happy in their relationships. It probably benefits from the kind of playstyle where you have fun with the kind of socially destructive actions that are terrible in real life but very dynamic in a game because they generate action.

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