Learning from the event: A no-points RPG version?

Initially we intended to do a physical event where people would sit in small groups and discuss/play using physical card decks - with points/strategy focus. But Covid. So we ran the live event as remote only, much shorter time-wise. For this we used a different version with some immersive narrative elements (audio) and less/ little focus on points.

The feedback from the post was conclusive - go all in RPG. So here is a proposal for a new version for us to collaboratively develop/ change/discard. It’s a wiki, please feel free to make edits directly or discuss in the comments below!

  • Step 1: Purpose for the player: you try to find different ways to reach the same outcome. Each player chooses a district, within which they try to find and imagine one or more ways to reach the outcome.

    • The district that you personify will have different ways to achieve the same outcome. Not necessarily better, just different. You are the champion of each district, you must defend the philosophy and way of life of your district. You need to endorse variety and try to make your proposal the most unique as possible.
    • In the end, you will decide which philosophy best reaches the outcome and decide where to make it happen, and move to/ with the best idea of your district.
  • Step 2: Choose an Outcome

    • Love,
    • Working together,
    • Urban survival,
    • Transcendence,
    • The best sharp pencil,
    • Touching the moon,
    • The best workplace for 12 peoples
    • A team you can stand
    • A good decision
    • No burnout
    • Less 15 minutes meeting
    • Half-work days
    • Child-proof holydays
    • Zero Waste
    • Zero Racism
    • No Sport!
    • Zen state
    • Non-human profit
    • Everywhere beauty
    • Back in the ’90s
    • Or make your own
    • Total Health
    • A good sandwich
    • Amazing sex for all!
  • Step 3: Choose an ending

    • Option 1: Storytelling / We are looking for a good story
    • Option 2: introspection / We want to see things accurately and face our misconception
    • Option 3: Roadmap / We want a creative solution and a way to make it happen
  • Step 4: Discover the world of witness

    • The full world description
    • 7 fictional and idiosyncratic worlds.
    • 7 philosophies
    • 7 colours.
    • 7 places.
    • 7 Economy alternatives.
    • 7 liveable alternatives.
  • Step 5: Choose a district for each player

  • Step 6: Each player pick 3 clues to get started

  • Step 7: Each player describe their vision of your outcome in his/her district

  • Step 8: Pick a card question. You can answer it or give it to another player.

  • Step 9: When the timer rings, it’s the end. Every player moves to the debriefing room.

  • Step 10: complete the debriefing room and move to the transition room


  • Step 11: then what?

What materials are needed?

Some thoughts…

  1. Instructions. an illustration of steps + a set of tools for each step

  2. {district} Presentation

    1. Illustration

    2. Short text (15 lines)

    3. 4 sentences

    4. The Concept

    5. The forces

    6. The weakness

    7. The history

  3. {Distrikt Clues} for getting a deeper sense of a distrikt.

    1. Quotes (text)
    2. Principles (text)
    3. Hobby (no-text)
    4. Exemples of places (no-text)
    5. Emblematic tools (no-text)
    6. Person of the year (text)
    7. Example of Activity (no-text)
  4. {Card Families}

    1. {CardFamily} New mindset

      1. In your [District], What’s considered beautiful here?
      2. In your [District], What’s make people uncomfortable?
      3. In your [District], What’s make people scared of [outcome]?
      4. In your [District], What is the source of stress?
      5. In your [District], What skills are needed or available to reach [outcome]?
      6. In your [District], What are the motivation killers about [outcome]?
      7. In your [District], what is considered a success?
      8. How is important this [outcome] in your [District] and why?
    2. {CardFamily} New organization and processes

      1. In your [District], How do people become powerful in [outcome] and why?
      2. In your [District], Why this place could change the way we talk to each other
      3. In your [District], How do I give up?
      4. In your [District], What happens when things go wrong for [outcome]?
      5. In your [District], What’s are the solution that people refuse about [outcome]
      6. In your [District], who, what, and how will carry your legacy on [outcome]?
      7. In your [District], where and how do the people relax?
      8. What are the funny habits in [District]?
      9. What is the shortest way to accomplish [outcome]?
      10. What leads to [outcome] in this district?
      11. What could break your ability to reach [Outcome]?
      12. What could save your time to reach [Outcome]?
      13. What are the key resources to reach [outcome]?
      14. Why ant Who put the plug?
      15. How do you resource [outcome]?
      16. How do you deal with disagreement in [your district]?
    3. {CardFamily} New artifacts and places

      1. In your [District], what did people wear when they [outcome]?
      2. In your [District], Where do those who focus to solve [outcome]?
      3. In your [District], What suddenly became a necessity?
      4. In your [District], What are my new tools for [outcome]
      5. What are the new tools that you need from [Other districts]?
      6. What is the latest invention in [District]?
      7. What is the key technology in [District]?
      8. What is the system that everybody secretly hates in [District]?
      9. Where does [outcome] happen in [District]?
    4. {CardFamily} New relationships

      1. In your [District], who can you trust to have your back when [outcome] came to fail?
      2. In your [District], who suddenly became the useful person of [outcome]?
      3. In your [District], who suddenly became the obstacle of [outcome]?
      4. How did [District], my relationship to others?
      5. How stand to lose ant to win whit [outcome]?
      6. How do you deal with troublemakers in [your district] and who they are?
      7. What are the ideas from [other districts] that you want to copy?
      8. Who is the opinion shaper in [district]?
      9. What is the interdependence with [other District]?
      10. How other districts can help on [Outcome] and how do you learn from them?
      11. What support can you offer to [other districts]?
      12. What do you trade with [other districts]?

ping @matteo_uguzzoni ahead of our chat.

1 Like

Love the outcomes!
One additional element I’m wondering about- particularly if you’re going Full RPG.
Negative outcomes are as important as positive ones- stories about the creation of a utopia are good, but so are cautionary tales about a utopia gone wrong (Yes, those are also WAY more common, but I feel like they should also be a potential outcome of the sorts of discussions this game provokes).
When you’re playing an RPG, whether it’s a more crunchy points-based game or a story led one, a dramatic death scene can be as satisfying as slaying the dragon and stealing all the treasure, so opening the door to some narratively satisfying fail-states is a possible area for development.


Yes, that much is clear.

I am out of my depth in game design. How about we do a game night, and play The Quiet Year together? @IvanV knows it, and @matteo_uguzzoni even uses it in class:

This would give (me, at least) more of an anchor when talking about worldbuilding games.

Also curious about what @yudhanjaya thinks.

1 Like

One game that might be worth a look:

This is very much and RPG for RPG players, so the rules system is probably more in depth and less accessible than you would prefer, but it’s much closer to the story-based rather than simulation-based end of the RPG spectrum and is looking at the same challenges as Witness (admittedly from a far more scifinal, less reality-based perspective)