[generic] [Tabletop Awards] Best Roleplaying game - Women are werewolves

Whirlmeister

Rune Priest
"Women are werewolves" won the Tabletop awards best Roleplaying game. I'd find it very hard to define this as a 'roleplaying game' and I have some very open definitions.

"Women are Werewolves is an ENNIE-nominated card-based story game where players portray nonbinary characters in a family where only the women transform into werewolves. Using a beautiful deck of tarot-sized cards containing roleplaying prompts, players explore their relationships to gendered spaces, family customs, and queer and non-queer family members."

ABOUT WOMEN ARE WEREWOLVES

In Women are Werewolves, all players create nonbinary characters who are members of a large extended family. Other than this, the only thing that must be true is that the family believes women, as defined by the family, transform into wolves on the full moon and men, as defined by the family, do not. Whether the family is correct, how the family defines men and women, and whether there are other werewolf families in the world who contradict that truth are up to you.

Play begins with a safety conversation. Then players lay the groundwork for storytelling by drawing one card from each of the following categories:

Setting. Where does your family live? A wide selection of setting cards help players imagine the family’s home and surroundings.

Family Dynamic. Is your family well meaning, ignorant, or actively hurtful? Each dynamic card helps characterize the atmosphere and tone of the story.

Transformation Milestone. In your family, when do people start turning into werewolves? This card helps players begin to describe their own werewolf mythology.

Following this, players create characters, then set up their card deck. The game is divided into phases and interludes. Each phase focuses on a different category of prompts, and comes with a stack of corresponding cards. The three prompt categories are: Werewolf, Gender, and Family. During each phase, each player will have a turn to answer one prompt card from the deck. Then, other players ask follow up questions to deepen their response. During interludes, each player takes a turn answering the same prompt from a single Interlude card.

Sounds interesting. Is it a roleplaying game?

It's definitely a card game and it has some roleplaying. Would have been better in the Indie category or card game category?

I just feel like it fits into the Card game, Party game, Indie Game, New Designer and Roleplaying game categories. Its interesting, but would it be too much to ask for an actual roleplaying game win best roleplaying game?

From the other nominees, Animon Story, Blade Runner The RPG, Fabula Ultima and Ink are all awesome RPGs - all feel more deserving of the RPG award than Women are Werewolves in my opinion, because there main drive is roleplaying, where as Women are Werewolves feels like a card game with a roleplaying aspect.
Barkeep on the Borderlands, Fox Curio’s Floating Bookshop, My Mother's Kitchen and This Discord Has Ghosts in It (The other nominees) I know little about so can't comment on them.
 
Judges need to help niche games win awards, obviously. Because if winning is based on volume sales or actual play like music's Billboard awards, then D&D, like Taylor Swift, will keep dominating.

Though on a personal note, this game is definitely not for me, so, obviously will never make my roleplaying lists.
 
It’s a great game.

I’ll be interested to see how it compares to Break! which fills a very similar nice.
Obviously as an Irish man I don’t favour either the British game (Break!) or the Italian game (Fabula Ultima)
I am getting rules mechanics lock-in to systems I already know, so if not D&D5e or YZE or 2d20 or Savage Worlds or d100 (my catchall for WH40K and WFRP and also Zweihander) or even Cypher, I usually pass.

Hence, for the Japanese Anime and Studio Ghibli experience I went for the D&D 5e Obojima Tales from the Tall Grass. Later DnDShorts did his own similar 5e Kickstarter, but I think Obojima is more authentic and less power-gamey in design versus DnDShorts.

Obojima Tales From The Tall Grass: A 5E Campaign Setting, via @Kickstarter https://www.kickstarter.com/project...les-from-the-tall-grass-a-5e-campaign-setting
 
I am getting rules mechanics lock-in to systems I already know, so if not D&D5e or YZE or 2d20 or Savage Worlds or d100 (my catchall for WH40K and WFRP and also Zweihander) or even Cypher, I usually pass.

D100 would include Troubleshooters... ;)
 
A [debate] enters the bar

The drinkers look up. The barman looks across and says.'[Just what IS a roleplaying game?] - it's been a while?'

[debate] smiles and replies 'It has, but like my friend [What is Indie?] you just can't keep a good question down. Now stand back, and let me go to work...'
 
D100 would include Troubleshooters... ;)
Yes, on the Sunday of Black Friday sales, the whole bundle of The Troubleshooters was in my shopping cart, obviously, since I grew up with Tintin.

Luckily, even at discount, it would have cost me close to 80 quid plus those overindulgent Modiphius shipping fees added on top, so that is when my "amulet of poverty" got activated and saved me from wanton temptation. :eek:
 
A [debate] enters the bar

The drinkers look up. The barman looks across and says.'[Just what IS a roleplaying game?] - it's been a while?'

[debate] smiles and replies 'It has, but like my friend [What is Indie?] you just can't keep a good question down. Now stand back, and let me go to work...'

Everyone knows that card-based resolution mechanics mean it isn't an RPG, right? *winks*
 
Everyone knows that card-based resolution mechanics mean it isn't an RPG, right? *winks*


I know the question wasnt asked seriously, but I will attempt to answer it seriously. As far as I can see there is no resolution mechanic since there is no conflict.

Its a GMless story game.

Players come up with a character - all characters are non-binary members of the same extended werewolf family. A card is drawn to determine how supportive the family are of their non-binary members.

Players draw cards to determine additional aspects of their backstory: e.g. "When you were younger you met another family that is similar to yours and made a friend. You keep in contact to this day. Who are they and why are you envious of them?". Other players can then ask further questions but the player who drew the card has full narrative control of the answers to those questions.

The roleplay exists in that they answer the questions from the perspective of the character they chose to play.

Without playing it I can't say how strong the narrative is, but from the explanation videos it would seem the only narrative is the evolving backstories of the PC, and the players have little choice over most of it as its determined by the cards. They do however get to interpret it.

Is it a roleplaying game? Who knows. However if falls a long way from traditional roleplaying games - to the point that players do not get to make decisions about character actions, there is no current evolving narrative (although their is an evolving backstory) and there is no resolution mechanic.

Lets put it this way: Fiasco, For the Queen, A Penny for your Thoughts and Once Upon a Time: The Storytelling Card Game are all much closer to traditional roleplaying than this. I might even argue that Mysterium, Cluedo and Galaxy Trucker are closer. Someone at the Tabletop Awards having to decide which award to put this forward for and where to position this game chose roleplaying. I'm not saying they are wrong. I just personally wish we'd got something with marginally more 'roleplay' to it.
 
So I am thinking of creating a "3Tminus" (yes sounds like an ailment, and that is the point) classification system, to rate all published role playing games against the traditional tabletop roleplay of the original Gygaxian Dungeons and Dragons.

So we analyze OD&D and any game that removes one core principle gets one minus, or if it adds one new game mechanic, another minus We can start with the various coloured boxsets of D&D.
 
An rpg doesn't need conflict resolution.
It may be a game in that it has components and mechanisms, but the conflict can be resolved by roleplaying, not a mechanism.
I have switched to assertive mode since @GuyMilner has joined us.
 
I never grew up with the original D&D, so I look to the experts here of that traditional tabletop roleplaying game to help list out the core principles of original Gygaxian D&D to serve as a base for 3Tminus comparisons.


My point of reference is Keith Baker's Eberron D&D 3.5.
 
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As far as I can see there is no resolution mechanic since there is no conflict.

An rpg doesn't need conflict resolution.
It may be a game in that it has components and mechanisms, but the conflict can be resolved by roleplaying, not a mechanism.

Okay. On review there is conflict in "Women are werewolves" - but surprisingly little for a narrative story game. It looks like the tension is in the reveals rather than the uncertainty around resolution of current events. Its a game which asks how did we get here, rather than where do we go from here.

I would argue that any game with conflict does need a conflict resolution method unless the aim is to leave that conflict unresolved (sort of the opposite of play to see what happens, more play but never find out what happens) and that roleplay is a conflict resolution mechanic. Note by conflict I'm not talking about combat, but about any moment in play where two choices are available and players have an interest in which way the game goes. Two characters disagreeing over which breed of horse to buy is just as much a conflict as 'does the sword hit'.

In "Women are werewolves" it would appear (based on the videos - I haven't actually played the game) that the conflict is pretty limited, but narrative control (and therefore who gets to decide the outcome of any conflict) is very clearly defined.
 
I would argue that any game with conflict does need a conflict resolution method unless the aim is to leave that conflict unresolved (sort of the opposite of play to see what happens, more play but never find out what happens) and that roleplay is a conflict resolution mechanic. Note by conflict I'm not talking about combat, but about any moment in play where two choices are available and players have an interest in which way the game goes. Two characters disagreeing over which breed of horse to buy is just as much a conflict as 'does the sword hit'.

So if conflict can be resolved through roleplaying, does a roleplaying game also need a system/mechanic?

I'm thinking of a lot of the freeforms I play, which I would definitely say are roleplaying games (although not ttrpgs), but often have no rules at all. Conflict is resolved through roleplaying.
 
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