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Doll

I had a chance to play a session of Doll at Dragonmeet 2013 courtesy of Indie Piers.

It is a short game about a day in a child's life and is a two-player game where one player is the child and one is the doll. The doll knows what is happening but may not tell the child the truth.

The first thing to say is that the game is incredibly intense and draining. I took on the part of the child and the instructions for the game say that you should address the doll and not the other player so instantly you're in this space where you are trying to create this believable child character and at the same time enter a state of suspension of belief so the doll is real to you. Very demanding.

As our first game the first act also meant working out the protocols of the game. When we found a rhythm of conversation between the doll and the child the game got easier. The doll and the child can converse normally until the child asks a question of the doll.

Then on a count of three the doll and the child player turn their left, right or not at all. If doll and child player choose the same direction then the doll is truthful otherwise the doll is free to lie (or not!).

The acts revolve around the child trying to make sense of some traumatic events according to the structure of the scenario. Nothing is easy about this game! The doll player is trying to convey something to the child player but this is resolved right at the end and seems mostly to be about structuring the doll's responses.

It's a really interesting game but also very demanding, with only two players constantly coming up with a stream of engaging ideas, even for 15 to 20 minutes is difficult and the format of the interaction means there's no goofing off with the other player.

Overall though it feels like an advanced roleplaying poem and way of stretching yourself as gamer. Its too demanding to be something I'd want to just pick up and play.

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