Our Programme Manager, Ros Beeson, tells us all about how our new interactive storytelling game, ‘Well That Escalated Quickly’, was created and why you should come and play!
Q: Hey Ros! If had to sum up ‘Well That Escalated Quickly’ in an elevator pitch, how would you describe it?
Well That Escalated Quickly is an interactive multiplayer storytelling game. You play as part of a team trying to complete an ordinary, everyday task whilst things around you are going very, very badly wrong.
Q: What should people expect when turning up to the event?
A whole lot of laughs, an opportunity to play in a supported space and a friendly improviser ready to weave a story for you and your group.
Q: Ooh how intriguing! So where did the inspiration come from?
We were looking for a way to use improv to engage with our audience in a new way and provide opportunities for people to play together. Katy Schutte had just run her Ghostwatch show which was an interactive experience where the audience were given roles to play and this all fed into the show which Katy was brilliantly managing from her role as a presenter.
We thought this was a brilliant idea but we wanted to create an experience where the players were in control of the story and it could go pretty much anywhere.
We looked at ways in which people have already been hanging out together and recognised the joy that D&D and RPG games bring to lots of groups where the players build a world together. Also how invested our audience for ‘Tales of Adventure’ are interacting on the chat and inputting suggestions.
D&D tends to be a long term commitment however, as you slowly build up your characters, relationships and go on campaigns together and can also be quite complicated as it features a rule set and needs one person to take up the role of Dungeon Master and run the sessions.
We wanted to tap into that joy that you get from playing D&D and combine it with the everyday fun you get when playing a board game with friends where there is a fixed goal and end point within a shorter time frame – just without the need of a board!
After some online research I came across Micro RPG’s these are one off games that have been created for teams to take part in for one session only, using a simplified rule set. Some really awesome micro RPG’s you should check out are: All outta bubblegum, Honey Heist and Everyone is John.
So a combination of the above was the inspiration for Well That Escalated Quickly.
The name though? That just came from my love of memes!
Q: What did the development process for the event look like?
It started out quite gradually with a jamboard; a number of title suggestions, game play ideas and lots of general ideas which I then took to Stephen Clements with his years of experience playing and running D&D games and performing improv.
We talked over various game mechanics and the possible aim of the game, throwing about ideas and building a very early prototype, this was how it started to take shape.
Stephen then worked his magic in the background and came back with a fully realised product, and using his knowledge and experience created a really fun easy ruleset and whittled down the concept until he had Well That Escalated Quickly.
We then tested it using our colleagues as guinea pigs and had a demo playthrough. Final tweaks were made and Stephen went away to polish it up and create the game as we now know it which is run by both himself and the brilliant Cat Murphy.
Then our very talented co-worker Billie Appleton created our wonderful illustration and here we are.
Q: You make it sounds so easy! Were there any hurdles in your path?
Trying to find a way to make the game mechanics as simple as possible has been a bit of a hurdle but the whole time we’ve been focused on one core idea: ‘we’ll do the work you just turn up and play.’ Other than that we’ve mostly just had a whole lot of fun and I think it shows in the game!
Q: Absolutely! Why do you think it’s important for people to play (not only in WTEQ but in life generally)?
Play has an enormous role in our lives, as children play helps us to build friendships, learn, develop, grow and communicate.So why do we stop playing as adults?
The thing I love most about improv is watching as people come together and re-engage with play for the first time in years. That joy they feel is electric!
Play is essential now more than ever, it helps with stress, it helps us to bond together and form new friendships and strengthen existing relationships. Most importantly play can help us to process our emotions and our day on a whole providing us with a bright spot of positivity.
Q: What’s your favourite aspect of the game?
My favourite aspect so far is that you’re given a role within the team, this really helps when you’re creating your character. I love it!
Q: How is this different to other online offerings that are around at the moment?
I think it comes back to the core of ‘we’ve done the work you come and play’ unlike with other one shot concepts where one person has to ‘run’ the session.
Also we leave a lot of room for things to become very, very silly indeed.
Q: Who do you think is the ‘target audience’ for the event?
I’d say anyone who loves to play games, but I’d also say if you’ve really been missing improv and laughing with a group of people, creating bespoke jokes and playing characters that are wholly different from you in real life then this is the game for you!
Well That Escalated Quickly continues to run on Friday and Saturday evenings (19:30 – 21:30 GMT) throughout March.