Ferretbrain Presents: Fighting Fantasy Podcastingness Part 1

by Wardog

The Ferretbrain Crew are doing stupid things on the Internet. Again.
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listen to podcast
(MP3, 53:38, 96 kbps, 36.09 MB)
Some of the Ferretbrain crew take on a Fighting Fantasy book not exactly live on the Internet, and carry out an experiment in alternative voting methods. Incidentally, despite Dan's cruel failure to introduce me, I am actually involved in this podcast.

If you wish to download this podcast, turn to page 87.
If you wish to run away screaming, turn to page 147.

(Incidentally, for any who care, Ferretcasts now talk to Itunes).

Part 2 Coming ... well ... at some point.
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Comments (go to latest)
Arthur B at 00:01 on 2011-05-05
Wow, that was a fast edit! And it got our AV plug out the day before the referendum too. :)
Wardog at 09:36 on 2011-05-05
Why d'you think I very proudly assigned it to the "topical" theme. Fb makes topical joke. Zomg.
Andy G at 18:05 on 2011-05-08
Which book do you play? Or is this a secret?
Dan H at 18:09 on 2011-05-08
/Keep of the Lich Lord/ - I think it's mentioned at the start (selected via AV which is *really not hard to use*).
Wardog at 10:55 on 2011-05-11
I think we didn't mention it by way of introducing a faux element of mystery and tension into the business :P
Daniel F at 03:29 on 2013-12-07
Far, far too late response...

I have been skimming the archives and I want it known that this podcast caused me to waste several hours reading about the alternative vote and the 2011 UK referendum on it.

As an Official Australian From Australia, I found the whole thing deeply amusing.

(I thought you already used preferential voting, actually. I had never looked it up and for some reason I had the impression that no one seriously uses first-past-the-post. Ignorance, yay!)
Dan H at 19:10 on 2013-12-08
I thought you already used preferential voting, actually. I had never looked it up and for some reason I had the impression that no one seriously uses first-past-the-post.


You'd think, wouldn't you? But no, we've been using it in this country for centuries, and will no doubt carry on using it for centuries to come. It's just so convenient, it's like democracy without the hard bits.
Shim at 22:08 on 2013-12-08
I thought you already used preferential voting, actually. I had never looked it up and for some reason I had the impression that no one seriously uses first-past-the-post.

You'd think, wouldn't you? But no, we've been using it in this country for centuries, and will no doubt carry on using it for centuries to come. It's just so convenient, it's like democracy without the hard bits.

Specifically, we don't use it for the Scottish Assembly*, student union elections, company boards, school governors or choosing which gamebook to play. We only use FPTP for unimportant things like elections to Parliament.

*The Welsh Assembly planned to stop using it but the UK government rejected the move without giving any reasons.
Daniel F at 00:19 on 2013-12-09
The whole debate put me in mind of those politics/society classes I had in primary school, where I remember being taught about different voting models. (Although it was primary school, so the explanation was something like "Twenty people are trying to decide where to go for lunch. Eight people want fish and chips, seven people want pizza, and five people want pasta; but the five people who want pasta all hate F&C and are all okay with pizza. How can we design a voting system to be fair to everyone's preferences?")

Anyway, I came out with it drilled into me that FPTP is fine with small groups, when there are very few options, or when you don't have time to do anything else, because FPTP's only strength is its simplicity. If you are voting with a large group on something of importance, you need something that lets people express more nuanced views.

And I'm just endlessly amused that the British population is apparently unable to work out how to number a series of boxes. Score one for the convicts, I guess?
Robinson L at 20:30 on 2014-10-01
Relistened to this episode recently in a fit of nostalgia and noticed this line from Kyra, which I missed the significance of on previous passes (well before I made it out to the UK for my my studies):

~11:30: This door is alarmed

... Which always cracked me up whenever I saw it on emergency exits and the like; I always wanted to say "Have you tried calming it down? Maybe give it a glass of water or talk soothingly?" (For the record, here in the US, doors equipped with alarms are advertised as such in various ways, but they are never labeled as "alarmed.")

I kinda think it's too bad you guys didn't do more of these; I like how this one takes the listener through an actual story, with great riffing along the way.
Shim at 22:11 on 2014-10-01
We did talk about doing some more, and had an unsatisfactory experiment with a book that turned out not to be suitable for the format.

There have also been some job-related upheavals; for example, I am now on the opposite side of the planet. Admittedly this is job-related in the sense that previously I had a job.
Robinson L at 00:36 on 2014-10-02
Sorry to hear your professional situation has taken a bad turn, that really sucks. And I can imagine how difficult it must be to pull one of these podcast events together - just wishful thinking, really.
Shim at 00:53 on 2014-10-02
Ah, the sympathy is much appreciated but undeserved. I decided to chuck in my job for further study, which is tough going but often fun. The interesting bit will, of course, be finding a new job come January.

The trouble with Fighting Fantasy and the like is finding the sweet spot. Trad FF is short and punchy, but a lot of them are so arbitrary that they won't be fun to play because you'll die every three minutes, so it'll get boringly repetitive. Some of them just aren't very good. The one we tried was very much designed for solo play because it's essentially a novel with a very specific main character, some choose-your-own-adventure stuff and unnecessarily complicated mechanics. We'd be reading out multiple paragraphs per choice, and also reading most of the book over the course of play, which is both hard work and seems rather cheeky.

I think we just got lucky with this one. Although it will probably turn out Arthur spent days agonising over a shortlist of structurally-strong contenders to bring.
Robinson L at 20:36 on 2014-10-02
Oh I see. In that case, best of luck with your studies ("tough going but often fun" would be a good description of my educational experiences) and with finding a job afterwards (an experience about which, unfortunately, I cannot say the same).

Hmm, yes, that makes sense. Well, I guess I'll still hold out hope that someday you guys will find another game of this sort to riff on, and the opportunity to do so - and even if not, we'll always have Keep of the Lich Lord.
Arthur B at 21:33 on 2014-10-02
I think we just got lucky with this one. Although it will probably turn out Arthur spent days agonising over a shortlist of structurally-strong contenders to bring.

I didn't, but I did pad the odd a little by selecting late-period books, since the later Fighting Fantasies tended towards the sort of features (longer paragraphs, multiple routes through the adventure, less cheap instakills) that made Keep handy for podcasting purposes.
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