RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
Your integrity is important to us.
While the experience of the character’s story is very personal, the play experience itself is
collective. We create the story together, and we look out for each other – real players are
always more important than fictional situations. This means you should always be attentive to your co-players and adopt a listening attitude even if your character might be self-obsessed or abusive.
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
Hamlet Act 2, Scene 2
You are in control
When it comes to exploring story with other players, a simple rules-set is a good thing to have. We want you to be able to clearly communicate your limits and set the intensity of play towards yourself without breaking the flow of play.
We will use these three interaction methods at Inside Hamlet and we will practice them together at the workshop before the game.
1) Stepping it up! You use a distinct code phrase to signal that you would like to step up the intensity of play directed at you.
2) Taking the offer. When someone uses the code phrase you’re getting an invitation to increase the level of intensity. If you are NOT comfortable with stepping up you decline by shaking your head and continue playing as before.
3) Tapping out. If someone comes on too strong in their play, just tap them twice, as gently or roughly as is needed to get their attention. Tapping out means you step back a little in intensity and relax the situation a bit. After a tap out any participant can choose to leave the situation.
These rules enable us to interact fluidly and respectfully. They give us the ability to continuously negotiate the kinds of interactions we have with the other participants in different situations. You can always choose to leave any situation, and no one or nothing inside the fiction has the power to stop you as a player from taking care of yourself.
Playing with feelings
Instead of barging around, blindly pursuing your own story, always take an interest in what journeys your co-players seem to be on. Their characters might invite yours in, making the experience richer for you both.
If you are not enjoying a scene or situation, leave directly. If you are worried that another player might be breaking rules or overstepping the boundaries of others, report them to the staff. If you are uncertain whether someone is, for instance, drunk out of their mind or just portraying a drunk convincingly, report them to the staff and we’ll find out whether they need to be removed. Only when we feel safe can we all participate bravely.
You will always have control of what you do and what is done to you, and you will always be able to leave any situation. But you may not be able to control what you see. Characters will act in violent or sexual ways, experience dramatic breakdowns or mortifying humiliations.
You might need to remind yourself that these are adults playing fictional roles. You will also see players crying real tears over fictional sorrows. You might have surprising emotional reactions yourself. This is normal: sad stories are sad, and injustice is upsetting even when it’s fictional.
Be present. Be kind. Cut loose.