Game Chef 2011 – Daughters of Exile makes the finals!


Well, out of 66 entries (a record number), each reviewed by 3 or 4 people, 11 got 2 nominations and 6 got three (or more). My little effort places in that latter top group, meaning I’m into the finals!

There isn’t really a prize, indeed winning tends to doom your game to obscurity and stasis, but it’s nice to be appreciated. Of the three people who read my game, all three of them thought it was the best one of the four they read. Those are good odds.


9 thoughts on “Game Chef 2011 – Daughters of Exile makes the finals!

  1. To be fair, 66 games is only a recent record. There were 82 games in 2007 and 76 in 2008. We’re trying to work back up to that level of participation and were pretty close this year. Also, yours was one of only 2 games with a perfect reviewing score: 4/4. Congrats and nice work! I’m looking forward to digging into it.

  2. Congrats!

    I started running a one-on-one campaign for my girlfriend using Daughters of Exile, and so far it has been really cool (only a couple of hours into it, and as such we haven’t progressed much farther than the “Dollhouse” stage yet). Looking forward to the “Firefly” stage! Planning a one-off Daughters of Exile game for our yearly Halloween Roleplaying Weekend with three couples (mostly to see the other two guys play a Daughter 😉 ).

    Most interesting roleplay document I read since “Firefly – Walking the Line”. I just love my SteveD!

      • Well, I am storytelling it, so I will leave sharing the information on the character to my girlfriend. As storyteller, so far it was fun impersonating a whole lot of good daughters … 😛

      • Hello,

        You asked for some player feedback, so here it is. So far we’ve had three mini-sessions which I have enjoyed a lot. Until the cliffhanger at the ending at session 3 (“O my. I fear this whole escape plan might have been a poor, poor idea. We should apologise, and get back to bed.”), it felt a lot like playing Whedon-Dollhouse: waking up with no memories, meeting and interacting with a lot of like-minded, content people with no other goal than learning how to cut bonsais and keep their hair and body in shape.

        It was great fun to explore playing a perfect housewife in a house full of perfect housewives during sessions( I never made a character who was this enthousiastic about flower arrangements or restroom furniture, in a world where every single NPC gets ladylikely giddy about it as well) and to discuss what a perfect housewife should be afterwards. E.g.: How much personal opinion is she entitled to have? None at all, to conform to any opinion of Man? Or a lot, as long as she ultimately boosts Man’s morale and self-esteem by acknowledging his intellectual superiority? Does a Man want to have a conversation partner able to share with him on an almost equal basis, or does he want one that just nods in adoration, no matter what? Isn’t the ideal wife a combination of both? What Father thinks about the question will probably vary according to the personal views of the storyteller, or to whatever he wants Father to think about it. Kris (the storyteller, also my SO) clearly opted for a very traditional Father view.

        The blessing and the curse (not sure about terminology, I did not get to read the guide in detail, in order to avoid spoilers) are, of course, very important parts of playing the character. At the beginning, those were her only defining features. It made for an extremely fast character creation process. As a player, I usually try to make complex characters with very detailed background stories, a trauma or two, nuanced views, hidden agenda’s… So I wondered what it would be to be a perfect housewife with just two defining features. Somehow I thought that it would be hard to adapt. In this case, I chose the blessing Courteous and the curse Cruel. Kris asked me not to tell him in advance, instead he would try to guess it by observing my character’s behavior. The Courtesy was easy to guess, Cruelty took until session two, when my character uttered to two sisters that “Well, Miranda, you certainly don’t need all those fitness lessons the three of us take.*Your* body is perfect! *You* are a classic beauty. How lucky that father’s friends do not all expect classic beauties, so that there is still hope for Paris and I. But, well, anyway, you are sure to find someone. Don’t look so worried, Paris. It’s okay. You are beautiful, really. I love your hair. Not all men want a wife who looks like a model. I’m sure you’ll find someone. Soon.” Slowly, the brothers educating us started to figure out that things went wrong around her, and slowly, the dollhouse began to show flaws. My character started to notice inconsistenties, but rather saw them as opportunities to inflict pain on her brothers and sisters. She would probably have remained there for a while, but she was convinced by another sister that her memory would be erased and that fleeing was a better course. That’s where the story is right now.

        There are many things that make Daughters truly original. Shakespeare meets dollhouse meets space whores is a great concept to start with, but there is more. The quick character creation process allows instant fun, but somehow it immediatly introduces depth, despite its simplicity. Somehow, it’s very challenging to play a perfect future wife: a pure lack of individuality is easy, a normal everyday wife is easy, but thé quintessensial perfect wife? It requires lots of thinking. The two defining features, however, allow to quickly slide into her skin. The character immediatly has a “heart”, a lifegoal, a drive. Usually, it takes a few sessions to get a feel of your character, and a few more to find a lifegoal that explains his actions (mostly his involvment in the plot, despite the dangers it entails). Sometimes, that goal is never found, and you keep on wondering why your character actually participates to all these dumb endeavours, and just follow the plot for OOC reasons. But thanks to Daughter’s system, finding a heart was almost instantaneous. The only wants you start with a very well-defined, and every possible situation can be motivated by love, aim to please, or the blessing and curse you’re born with. There are occasions for Courtesy and Cruelty everywhere.

        I do recommend starting in the dollhouse, because it really allows to get a feel of what you, as a daughter, were supposed to be and to get used to playing a robot whose ultimate aim is to please. Few roleplaying games grant the unique opportunity to try to be purrr-fect in a sisterly-love environment. In the dollhouse environment, the blessing and curse automatically causes the character to evolve from a very clueless and happy being to a somewhat worried person in a way that feels very natural, and deliciously creepy at the same time.

        However, to me, what makes a roleplaying game truly amazing instead of just fun, is how much it lingers afterwards: its capacity to continue to raise questions, to keep one excited not only about what is going to happen next, but also about the setting, the world, the Meaning of Life. Daughters definitely has it. There’s the question of perfect wife-hood, which already allows for a load of thinking (right now I wonder how Father regards the issue of sex: should a perfect housewife be passive, active, or both?), but there is so much more. All the classic issues about robot versus human are raised, but also all the Big Questions in Life: Can a robot love? What is love, actually? How can it be programmed? Do robots actually achieve superiority over humans where feelings are concerned, thus becoming more human than humans? If robots are more human than humans, should they respect Asimov’s rules? Are they things of living beings? What defines life? Why and how can virtually omnipotent programs be limited? There is no end to the questions and to the excitement.

        In sum: I’m wildly enthousiastic.
        I thank you (and Kris, of course) a lot for this amazing, exciting, and enriching experience.



  3. Pingback: Game Chef 2011 – Better Than Winning | D-Constructions

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