Well 2018 is off to a great start. The Campfire Narrator app has been in development for more than a year, and we're finally reaching a point where we can host some test games and get some feedback.
And the feedback has been great! I played "Murder at Manor Isle" with a small group recently and things went really well. Sure there were bugs in the app. And yes, only the Narrator app was up and running (no Player app yet). But the Players and the Narrator had a blast.
When I run these test games I'm really interested in two things.
First, what's the Narrator experience like? This is crucial, because the Narrator is the linchpin for the game. They have to enjoy themselves, or they won't want to host another one. I'm also looking to see how easily the Narrator navigates the app. My goal is that a novice Narrator can host a story effectively after only 5 or 10 minutes of training.
Second, what's the Player experience like? I'm looking for three things. At the end of the game, are the Players interested in another game? Not immediately, but like, next week or next month? This demonstrates the kind of interest that will keep Narrators hosting monthly games and bringing Players back time and time again. The second important measure is how quickly the Players take to the format. It's interesting to watch total novices vs. people who have experience in RPGs. Obviously experienced Players will take to the RPG format more quickly, but it's usually their first time using the Fudge system. So how do they react to that? For novice Players, tabletop RPGs will be a wholly new experience, so how quickly do they grasp the concept and get into it? Again, my goal is that a total novice should be able to pick up the basics in less than 5 minutes. The last thing I'm looking for is whether there is potential to convert Players into Narrators. It takes a special type of person to want to host a tabletop RPG session, and it will be critical to the growth of Campfire that a certain percentage of Players choose to make that leap.
The good news from this first test of 2018 is that all of these indicators came back positive. Our Narrator took to the app with minimal issues (aside from some annoying bugs). One experienced RPG player was initially skeptical of the very simplistic Fudge system but quickly adapted and grew to appreciate the emphasis on storytelling over calculation. Our novice took to roleplaying like a duck to water, and was eager to play again. I even had one of the Players volunteer to Narrate the next game, which bodes well for converting Players into Narrators.
So I'm hard at work on some new stories, managing testing and bug fixes to the Narrator App, figuring out the finances, and now writing blog posts. I'm more confident than ever that Campfire has a future and I'm looking forward to getting some great stories into your hands soon. When? I dunno, SOON!