Saturday, June 14, 2014

Wanna see how Tekumel was done "back in the day"?

The incredibly talented Chirine ba Kal (who played in MAR Barker's original Tekumel games and has forgotten more about gaming than many gamers ever learned) has posted the following series of videos to his YouTube channel.

The whole thing will take about two hours to go through, but ye Gods is it worth the time. Not only to ogle the incredible scenery (the surface temples look amazing, and there are wooden blocks for the walls of the underworld, but damn it just makes it even better) and miniatures he has (the large temples can be found here for your buying pleasure, by the way), but the way he not only narrates the action but throws in tidbits about how games were done back in the early 1970's is just priceless.

Behold this gem, from the first video, starting at around 8:37:
This is the style of playing that we used to do back in Ye Olden Days here in the Twin Cities, where there was a very large element of role playing to all of our miniatures games, and there was a very large element of miniatures in all of our role playing games. There wasn't a clear division to it. We played everything; nobody was a particular specialist, and there certainly... I mean one week Dave Arneson would be playing Blackmoor as a referee, and the next week he would be Captain LeGreneul of the French navy trying to fight off Horatio Nelson the one-armed [in a] "Don't Give up the Ship!" action. I mean, we played everything. We'd do everything and anything and we had a great time doing it. A big part of what we did was the model-building aspect of it, where whoever was hosting "the game" would spend hours concocting something for people to look at.
These videos are sprinkled with those sort of things, and he has a write-up on his blog as well.

We in the OSR often say we want to emulate what happened in the Golden Age of gaming. Chirine lived it (I came in at the very tail-end in 1977, but never had any experience like this). Behold his works, ye OSR, and despair. I am so inspired watching these videos, I want to start doing minis with my roleplaying again.

These really give new perspective of the role of hirelings in the earliest games. Note also that he gives hints about what would be Bad Things To Do throughout. And doesn't worry about players having meta-knowledge about what's happening out of their view. And much, much more. Lighting, music, the whole garage-sale aesthetic for some of the terrain... terrific.

A very different style, but one that I really want to try to incorporate more of in my own games. This sure beats the heck out of playing online.