Longest Game Feedback – Pheonix Bound (pt 1)

May 9, 2013

I’m trying to get back to the Longest Game participants, but its likely to be slow going at this point. Today I’m starting with Phoenix Bound by Samuel Purdy.

Phoenix Bound is a game where the players are phoenixes reborn into recently deceased bodies to protect something that person cared deeply for during life. Arrayed against the phoenixes are forces of the Shadowlands. When a phoenix is pushed against the ropes they can tap fully into their mystical powers, but begin to burn through their body. When they leave their body they emerge as full phoenix for a short while before passing to a different recently deceased body.

To my mind this expresses the root of what is compelling about phoenix bound. On one hand a phoenix is reborn and is called to do so by tapping into her spiritual might. On the other she is compelled to protect, and perhaps do even more, her body’s most cherished person, place or thing. But this whole situation becomes less compelling if the only reason the charge needs the phoenix’s help is because the phoenix is there in the first place and is attracting the forces of the shadowlands.

One of the important parts about long form games is that the players get the chance to change the world. This is not just creative collaboration of what the world is, but through effort, cunning, and sacrifice coming leaving the world different in ways that re-emerge in the future. In that vein, I suspect what Phoenix Bound needs is to heighten the responsibility of the phoenixes, not just to protect someone or something, but to complete an unfinished goal or enable a personal transformation during the short span the phoenix gets to persist in the body. This would mean that a player can look at each cycle and see what was accomplished and what fell short. And the consequences of these outcomes are then available to be reincorporated in future collaborative creations of lives, enemies, and situations.

In my next feedback burst, I’ll be delving into some of the sub-systems in Phoenix Bound: collaborative setting creation, random situation creation, and the blind bidding.

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One Response to “Longest Game Feedback – Pheonix Bound (pt 1)”


  1. […] introduced and discussed the concept of Pheonix Bound earlier. Now on to the […]


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