MAID is a rather fun setting thing. And from a game design standpoint surprisingly well made for a game that is focused around trying to be a funny, sometimes sexy, harem Anime trope. But I have yet to find manage to get a game group to actually focus on trying to play the game and not either trying to make the other PCs just fall in love with them or maniacally giggling over the antics the other players try to make one another vulnerable so they can make them fall in love... which honestly is creepy.
So after some 2 attempts of playing the game with people, I shelved the game. One attempt was after making Exalted 3 characters, just to try some 3-hour fun filler as I needed to wait for the morning train. Asking to dial it down helped only a little. It was still fun but in retrospect creepy. The other time was the midnight-round on a con, and after the same player repeatedly tried to hit on another player character to the distress of that one, I had to resort to removing him from the table, which put a dampener on the game.
What can one do to try to herd the Maids into stopping those antics and actually do the stuff that the game presents: doing the housework, protecting the clueless master, and being a good, fun, wholesome harem anime?
What differentiates MAID from other RPGs?
This is not How to stop players from making the game X-rated because the game doesn't become X-rated by using copious amounts of bathroom steam (aka fade to others). One of the origins of the problem might be the translation from Japanese, as the Nun Approved Files, the official list of translation notes, commentary, and changes to the game in trying to make the game American-friendly, tell us:
So, the author basically wrote this game as a huge dose of ironic humor at this whole Maid phenomenon. As such, he used a lot of references, gags and dialogue text that can be best described as “sexy funny”. Problem is, when we did a straight-up translation into English, some parts came out as “creepy sexy”.
Now, funny-sexy can be fun. It’s like the well-placed panty shot or unconfortable exchanges between couples in the anime we watch. Turn up the juice, and you can play up “funny-sexy” without getting too deep into it, basically ironically playing off of anime stereotypes in an ironic way rather than turning it into an exciting fetish game.
“Creepy sexy”... it’s just not what the game is about, or what the author was meaning to write. Because of differences in cultural references, language, conversation and the like, we found that a lot of words, sentences, or even concepts that would be “funny sexy” in Japan, came out as simply “creepy sexy”. This is the kind of stuff that would, if dropped, bring uncomfortable silence to a game, perhaps shutting it down for good. Maid isn’t a fetish game to be used to get all aroused in front of other players. If you see someone playing it like that, please don’t get involved, just walk [ ] away: They’re doing it wrong
Have you seen the anime Elfen Lied? If you have, that’s basically how a game that is meant to be “funny sexy” could quickly turn into “totally creepy sexy, and unfun”. If you haven’t seen Elfen Lied, don’t: [It’s [REDACTED]]1. But look it up.
Anyway, the author meant to make the game silly, fun, and a game with which one could also do romantic or “funny sexy” comedy games. So that’s what we aimed for. Ryo Kamiya gave us a thumbs up after seeing our changes, so we’re all good. But, for the sake of completion, we decided to make the original material available as well.
1 The link that is found in the bought PDF to an unlisted youtube video is... creepy. So removed.