In New York City and curious about Dread, but you don’t have the cash at the moment to pick up a copy (or, perhaps, can’t find it in the stores because it’s momentarily out-of-print)? How would you like to enjoy a few quality hours with the game book and your favorite hot beverage? Look no further than Café Game Exchange, and in particular the Dread page, where you can find just which coffee shops have a copy for your perusal.
In other news, I recently participated in an experiment over at the Imagination Sweatshop in which we made an entire game, from concept to printing, in just under a week. The game is called Trial & Terror: Supernatural Victims Unit, a Law & Order-styled crime drama set in a world where humans and the monsters of classic movies cohabit in an very unease peace. It’s free,* so head on over there and check it out.
* Well, the PDF version is free. The print copy was free, too, but you had to have been at this past JiffyCon to receive one.
Cooperation between the players’ characters in Dread usually takes the form of the players divvying up the pulls, sharing the responsibility and the risk. And this works largely because it lets each individual player experience a little ease in their burden without tampering with the pacing of the game.
But recently, in Piratecat’s ever-growing ENworld thread on Dread, there was a request for a mechanic that helped to focus the game on trust between the characters, and this inspired the following optional rules.
Invasion of the podcasts here. In the past few months I’ve had the opportunity to chat it up with some prominent podcasters out there. For your enjoyment, I offer my Independent Insurgency interview with Rob Bohl. And the wonderful folks over at The Game Master Show were kind enough to record a Dread game (starting with the character creation at episode 36 and ending with the review session at episode 40) and then talk to me about it afterwards (episode 41).
I have been awfully quiet for the past year or so, and dear Dread, and I apologize. I can only offer excuses and my shame, but I hope that you will be able to forgive me, so that we might work through this and on to bigger and better things.
About a month or so ago I hosted a Dread game for several friends of mine who hadn’t played yet. Rather than play one of the myriad of Dread stories I had created for the conventions over the years, I wanted to see what sort of story they wanted to play. One of the players said he would like to see how Dread handled a game where the players’ characters were themselves vampires. Another suggested, perhaps in jest, that we set it in Duluth, Minnesota, in the year 1954.
What followed was the story of an all-American family in the heartland who, upon returning from a long weekend at their hunting cabin, discovered that none of them could remember the week and each of them were entertaining sinister cravings.
Oh, and they were all missing an eye.
Isolation is becoming more and more difficult these days, what with the Internet and relative ease of international shipping. Dread is seeping into corners of the world I never dreamt it would infest.
During the early days, before the book was published, I’d hear from the occasional player in some distant city of the U.S. who learned to play the game from a friend of a friend who played in one of our demonstrations at one of the many conventions we attended. The idea that someone in San Diego or Pittsburgh was enjoying Dread thrilled me.
Since its release in August of 2005, I’ve heard from players beyond the United States, in places like Israel, Australia, England, Italy, Finland, France, and Germany. And I can’t describe how delightfully odd it feels to know there are folks across oceans playing Dread in foreign languages.
Horror doesn’t always have to be in grayscale. If you’ve never seen Suspiria, then you owe yourself a rental, or a NetFlix, or what have you. The sharp, otherworldly aspect of the brilliant colors used throughout that film are just as unsettling as the murky shadows we typically attribute to the genre. Suspiria is what I thought of when I played Villa Paletti for the first time. Since today seems to be my day for Dread experimentation, I’ll daydream a bit about what grotesque fairy tale I could host with this Jenga substitute.
Most of my Dread games as of late have been rather straightforward. I’ve been showing the game off to new players, and so I don’t get too experimental with it. The players in these games are usually interested in purchasing or hosting games of their own. So the fundamentals become the focus of my game.
I miss the early days of Dread, when we’d toy with all sorts of wackiness, including a mad dice system for determining how many pulls you should make and a table of 218 standard questions that rolled on to make your initial questionnaire. The core of Dread was there from the beginning, and all the experiments just led me back to it, but that doesn’t me we didn’t have fun along the way.
In the spirit of those salad days, here are some variants on the questionnaire that I’ve been dying to try, but haven’t yet had the opportunity.