In the Deep Forest, players are prohibited from communicating with eachother outside of the 'Agree on Something' action and via the placing of Contempt tokens and exact citing of rules text with no context (and a handful of other less common cases). Does this prohibition apply to meta discussions beyond rules text, such as discussions about the emotional states of the other players, objections to the meta process of the game, etc?


Games provide an opportunity to have experiences that aren't available in passive media such as books or movies - instead of emotions based on things happening to someone else that you can't affect, you feel them based on things happening based on decisions you've made. So that, in the relevant example, you can be a monster looking at the idol that's now a support pillar in the human temple with its edges filed off, and you can pretend to grief, or fear, or wrath.

Games are about creating an experience. Sometimes it's a fun experience, sometimes it's a contemplative experience. The Quiet Year and The Deep Forest both lean toward the "contemplative" side. And the mechanics of a game are there to create the experience it's supposed to create. In this case, deliberately restricting communication is there to put you in the mindset of, well, a large and diverse body of creatures who don't keep open lines of communication, who don't really understand each other, or even the world, necessarily.

But that's the same communication you're already using to, you know, explain the rules of the game to each other, ask for help if you get stuck, and do all the other things people need to communicate in order to do. The rules take some steps to try and mitigate the amount you need to do - suggesting, for example, that you deliberately create a setting free of distractions to play the game, rather than, say, playing it alongside dinner (p.3, "Preparing Your Space", original TQY rules), and limiting the amount of interaction with the map during the game to a small, stylized drawing about the size of a thumbnail, to minimize downtime (p.15, "Discover Something New", original TQY rules).

(Note that this mitigation doesn't work as well if you play TQY on various online platforms - everyone plays in their own, arbitrarily distracting, space, and people unskilled with computer drawing tools are much slower, comparatively, than people unskilled with pencil and paper.)

It is, technically, against the rules of the game to say at the end of Spring "this isn't really working out for me. Could we play something else, or can you go on without me?" But if you believe it, you should absolutely say it!

Games intended to create a fun experience will often have their rules enforce some kind of numerical or logical closure, to restrict the decision space and present people with interesting choices. But the thing about numbers and logic is that they work the same from person to person. That's what numbers and logic are for. Games intended to create a contemplative experience will often have their rules try to set some mood, but how well that works can vary wildly from person to person.

So, all I can say is, take a moment to think if what you're about to say to break the mood is going to work out well in the end, or over the course of the game, or whatever. And make the call. Maybe it'll be the wrong one! No one knows for sure but the future, although the you in the now is necessarily going to have a much better grasp on the situation than some rando on the Internet, disconnected from all space and time.

Here are some tips from a rando on the Internet, all the same.

  • The purpose of drawing things on the map is to help you remember them. If someone has a really great idea they can't figure out how to draw on the map, they can and should ask for help, since people are more likely to need a refresher for the things they didn't say. Similarly, if someone draws something on the map you can't easily understand and you have an idea for a line or two of edits that would help you remember, it might be worth speaking up.

  • If a prompt card has two choices, and the answer to one of them is more or less out on the map already, take a moment to think about the other one. If nothing comes to mind, be obvious, but The Quiet Year is in part about throwing prompts out for other people to play off of. More varied prompts is more places to go for everyone.

  • Especially when playing a game with deliberately restricted communication, you might want to consider making and using an X-Card. One variation on its use is inspired by the degrees of X-Sign in World Wide Wrestling - touch the card to break play and ask a question or raise a concern. Take the card if it's something serious.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So being prohibited from talking about these things is intended, but there might be good reasons to break that rule and play a different game with more communication, it sounds like. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Jul 28 '17 at 1:52

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