Play With Intent – tools for open play

I’m super excited that Emily Care Boss  and Matthijs Holter have released their roleplay framework, Play With Intent, as an open document. It’s a customisable methodology that helps us make up a story as we go along. It can be used in a way similar to ‘tabletop’ play – sitting around a table and describing events – but encompasses acting out events live, using mime objects and environments, cinematic techniques (‘cut to…’) and so on. For improvisers it will feel familiar in some ways to what we normally do, but it can go to very different places and is forgiving of lack of improvisation training.

I played with it twice at the Solmukohta convention in Finland earlier this year, and it was a blast – particularly the first session, pulling off an involving melodrama between a group of people who hadn’t played before, going to emotional places and forming a truly unexpected but coherent narrative, played live before each other. Much credit must go to the other players, of course, but that was the point where I became satisfied that the framework is much more than a set of training wheels for improvisation.

After playing with it I became fascinated with the customisability, and wrote some notes on  comedic techniques that Emily and Matthijs have built into the framework. Fun! They are mostly taken from improvisation and clown training, and simplified as much as we were able. But comedy is only a small part of what we’re capable of, so have a look, and be ambitious with your imagination.

Play With Intent is freely available here.

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