Announcing: Gather

Sometimes, I get really weird ideas for games.

Gather is one of those ideas.

Gather is a game where I'm not actually sure if it works. It's a game that has some clever bits, but that I imagine a lot of folks are going to say that they don't have the right group for it, or that it's a little too "out there" for them. It's a hard game to sell people on, and isn't even really a tabletop roleplaying game. It falls more into the freeform game realm, bordering a bit on a live action game. There are no dice rolls. No character sheets. It's all improvisation based. Your only safety net is that every single player is making stuff up at the same exact time. Literally.

For this game you're looking at a custom deck of cards, a very short rulebook, and a handful of tokens. 

Okay, let's get into it.

Every year, a solitary Speaker from every tribe in the land who wishes to participate unite for the Gather. The Gather is an opportunity for a meeting of the tribes on neutral ground to gain knowledge, air grievances, and speak what must be spoken. Each Speaker carries with them the weight of their entire tribe. When the Speaker speaks, truly, it is their tribe which speaks through them. They are each of them a voice for their people. 

The Gather is heavy with ritual and history, though the Gather's proceedings are relatively straightforward. Questions will be asked of the Speakers, and the Speakers shall answer as one. For you see, at the Gather, all are equal. No one voice shall speak before or above another. As such, a question will be asked, and all of the Speakers shall answer -- in unison.

The way a game of Gather works is through a deck of cards. Each card holds a single question. Speakers go around the circle one by one drawing a card and reading it. At the moment the reading Speaker discards the card, all of the Speakers offer their answer at once, briefly and to the point. And so on the questions are asked until they have all been answered.

Every Speaker has three tokens. If you hear another Speaker give an answer that intrigues you, or that you wish to hear spoken more of, you can grant them a token once everyone has finished answering the question. If this is done, the token recipient has the opportunity to speak alone, to expand upon their answer and offer a more thorough response. After this is done, they might be granted yet another token if a Speaker wishes to know even more. These additional tokens (past the first) can also be accompanied by a question, which the speaker must answer. Once all tokens have been resolved, the next Speaker draws a card and play continues.

There are three phases to the questions. The first phase consists of a number of questions referred to as "The First Questions". These questions were the same asked at the very first Gather ever held. The second phase consists of a larger number of questions referred to as "The Questions Since". Each of these questions is pulled from a previous Gather (one from each) that has happened since the first Gather. Finally, "The Questions Today" are asked. At this point, the cards have run out, but the Speakers who are present may ask questions to the group of their own creation until all are satisfied, with no one Speaker asking two questions in a row. After the final question has been answered, the group unanimously decides on one of "The Questions Today" that have been asked and adds them to the stack of "The Questions Since" such that each time you play, a new question is added permanently to the game (written onto a blank card).