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Damned Anonymous played at Knutepunkt 2009

John Kim posted an AP bit about a game I designed for Tobias Wrigstad to try out at Knutepunkt, “Damned Anonymous: Anger Management.”  From his con write-up:

This is a short jeepform scenario by American game designer Ryan Macklin that focuses on an abusive man named James. It was slotted for an hour slot but took a little over and hour and a half for our session. There are three characters: the abuser James, his therapist, and his demon — though in our case we had two demons. After going through the rules, we play three scenes where each player rotated through what role they played. Each scene is nearly pure dialogue of James talking to the therapist, while the demons urge him to acts of anger. The rules were a bit involved to explain, but essentially by holding back his anger too much, James would be required to describe going home and abusing his family as his outlet. The therapist could potentially redirect this anger to be self-destructive rather than abusive, but couldn’t cancel it.

The organizers were Frederik Berg Östergaard and Thorbiörn Fritzon. The players were myself, Tobias H, Iris S-D, and Kjetil A-D. We were a bit of a quiet group, and explaining the rules took some time. For me, it was an interesting experiment and I enjoyed trying out, but it wasn’t one I would particularly recommend.

I commented on his blog, thanking him for trying it and agreeing that I also wouldn’t particularly recommend it.  Tobias said that he has some audio & video coming my way (which I’m eagerly awaiting) and that from his perspective the game went very well.  I don’t know if I’m going to publish it in any capacity, since it’s a very, uh, built to generate a fucked-up experience rather than one of “fun,” but maybe I will with enough of a warning/disclaimer.

In any case, I’m pretty excited that my first Jeepform game got some play at Knutepunkt! That’s pretty awesome!

– Ryan

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2 Responses to Damned Anonymous played at Knutepunkt 2009

  1. Fred Hicks says:

    Huh, that setup with the therapist goes a little bit against the group-therapy model of an AA meeting, but it *is* interesting. I wonder if this “reads” in play like a supernatural spin on the HBO series In Treatment.

  2. Ryan Macklin says:

    Fred,

    I haven’t seen that, though I’ll have to check it out sometime. I ended up framing the “single therapy session” idea as a way to get at what I wanted in a more-focused way. In writing this up, I realized that there were a lot of ideas in Damned Anonymous that were crowding each other out — the group therapy game would need to be more about the group, and not about individual sessions, which is where my head was for this version.

    Which is to say that there’s room for other DA games, hence why I called this “DA: Anger Management.”

    – Ryan