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I'm currently playing a game of Polaris that has been going on for about six sessions. Our protagonists are all deep into their various plots, two of us are veterans, and we're getting towards the end. One tendency I've noticed in our group is that some of the players, when acting as Mistaken, like to take one or both of the Moons out of the room, or pass notes to each other, all to discuss what should happen to the Heart. Then the Mistaken and the Moon(s) act in tandem to steer towards this fate. My question here is twofold:

  1. Should information about the direction of the story ever be kept secret from the game table at large?

  2. Should the Moons be consciously working together with the Mistaken, or independently pursuing the goals of the characters in their section of the cosmos?

Answers should either be based on published statements from the designer or actual Polaris play experience.

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You can play either with or without hidden information, just make sure you all agree. It's a style issue.

In practice, I think, most people don't bother with concealed information, preferring instead to improvise, but there's nothing wrong with planning ahead together. If it were we, I'd prefer to collude either between sessions or during breaks, rather than note-passing, because note passing breaks up the game in a way I don't enjoy.

Note, though, that the Mistaken isn't a GM, and doesn't get to boss around the Moons. If one of the Moons decides to do their own thing, that's totally cool.

(source: published statement by the designer, actual play experience.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi, welcome to the site. It’s a good answer, +1, but it would be ideal if you could cite the published statement if you’re going to claim it. A link, or just what book/page it can be found on, would be fantastic. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jun 17 '15 at 1:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, I was being too clever. I'm the designer of the game, publishing a statement, just now. \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Lehman Jun 17 '15 at 1:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Rather than saying your source is a published statement (which means you could be just anybody, working off a statement posted somewhere that's gone unlinked), it would be more useful to outright say you are the designer. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jun 17 '15 at 1:55
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Concealed information is definitely a style issue (as posted by the designer, here), but collusion is sort of mandatory between all parties. Part of the fun of the game is seeing how the different ideas and angles people put in turn out, and you can't do that without working together at least a little bit. An important thing to keep in mind is that the Moons should be colluding with each other and the Heart as much as with the Mistaken. If you play with concealed information, it makes just as much sense for something to be concealed from the Mistaken as from the Heart. Keep in mind, though, that by keeping a major player out of the loop you will either have to put up with that player narrating things that contradict the information they are not aware of and thus invalidating it or develop a mechanism for resolving such situations. Having narration rolled back because it contradicted with something you aren't allowed to know about is very problematic and leads to players getting frustrated.

Source: Play experience.

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