Thursday, October 25, 2012

Preparing for Winter Court

It's been over a years since I've last had the chance to sit down and write an article. With Winter Court III: The Hangover around the corner though I felt now was a good time to do a new article. I think this will be the first in a series of things I'd like to say about Winter Court. So stay tuned for more. And if any other Winter Court vet has some sage words to share, drop me a line and I'll post them here.

I've had the benefit of playing in one Winter Court and also GMing another Winter Court. What I express is my personal opinion based on my observations of the games thus far. So with out further adieu prepare to lose three months of your life. Say good bye to your loved ones. Put the family pet up in an animal and get yourself a Hulu or Netflix account.


I think this is one of the first and key things to enjoying Winter Court. While people will devout a lot of time to playing in Winter Court life itself doesn't stand still. Many of us will still have family obligations, and jobs and homework. Add in the factor of time zones and well ....

So sitting there and refreshing the forum every 10 minutes is likely to lead you to burn out and have a rather unfun experience  Instead I recommend, patience. People will post when they have time to. Some scenes will move by swiftly, but not all scenes. As a matter of fact it is only the largest of scenes that seem to move with any real speed.

There is of course a difference between giving people proper time and someone who is just dragging a scene out. But in general most people will be reasonably swift in their responses  And few things in the game occur at such a break neck speed that an instant answer from a player or a GM is going to make or break things.

A tie in to patience is


Another factor that I observed that leads to burnout is trying to do to much. Especially in the beginning  Now this doesn't mean not to get objectives and things done in a reasonable amount of time (it is a headache to have to approve treaties all at the last second for instance), it does mean to not feel rushed. You don't need to be in ever scene to have an influence. Sometimes a handful of scenes done with the right people will go further than a bunch of scenes done with everyone.

When you start on Day 1 you don't have to hit the road hard and running. A lot of people pre game seem to worry about not getting everyone together pre game to do some planning and to figure things out. You'll have plenty of time to get things moving.

My recommendation for your first week. Say hi. Spend your time getting to know people. Start building towards your goals, but focus on just getting used to being in the city.

In the past I've noticed that players want to rush and hurry and get all sorts of things done right away. Day 1 seems like a mad rush to be the first to complete all their goals. But to be honest, you have a fair amount of time to complete your goals. So taking awhile to get into the swing of the game, will benefit you more in the long run.

This isn't your GM's game:

What I mean by that is that Winter Court is a slightly different beast than other games you've played in, both online and offline. It is likely best not to walk into the game with a lot of preconceived notions about how it should be run.

In the past this has tripped a lot of people up. However much like when you move to a new city or start a new gaming group with a new set of players and a new GM, this game too must be approached with an open mind and a willingness to try things their way.

The Staff is your FRIEND :)

I'm not a GM this year, but I was one last year. And one of the things that made the game a bit harder was the belief that the GM's were out to get people. Or rather certain GM's were. The staff is there to help and they aren't out to get anyone. A lot of problems with other players can be avoided if you come to them as friends and allies.

Have Realistic Expectations:

This is my final piece of advice for the night but one I feel to be the most important. Have a set of realistic expectations. While Winter Court offers you the chance to change the game in new and exciting ways some things are going to be harder to change than others. You're going to be very disappointed with the game if your goal takes your clan or the empire in radically different directions.

Rokugan is a land with 1000 years of tradition on its side. Yes we are here to make a difference, but some things just won't change during the course of one court.

Therefore it is important when considering your own personal goals to make sure that they are realistic in their expectations. If you're ever unsure of if your goals are going be on the far side of realistic then I recommend talking to the GM's. They won't stop you from going forward with your plans, but they can advice you on if it looks like it would be something that has a smaller chance of being realized.

Of course things are different this time around with everything being done made canon unless the ST say otherwise, but if you work with a realistic set of expectations then you decrease the odds of an ST veto :).

And on that note I will close this article. Until next time.

1 comment:

  1. Good post. I really missed The Celestial Agonies all this time without new writings.

    I tried submit for Winter Court 1, few years ago. I can see how the idea developed to a fenomenal experience. I would love try, but, as you said, a lot of work wait for me in the offline world, and I'm a lot out of date with actual storyline. So, good lucky for the players (specially the Phoenix's ones). And all wisdom in the world for GMs.