Before playing a game, or even introducing the rules, there needs to be a conversation at the table to set expectations. A game runs smoothly when all players understand what the group is striving for. But how do you do it? You use the CATS method! Everyone loves CATS.
This codified presentation will allow the facilitator to hit four essential topics quickly and easily. Just start from the top.
Pitch this game. At a high-level, what’s it about?
Explain what the players are trying to accomplish. Can someone win? Can everyone lose? Are we trying to tell a specific type of story?
Have a quick conversation about the tone of the game. What is the default? Are there different options for gameplay? (Serious vs. Gonzo, Action vs. Drama, etc.). Come to a consensus on what the group wants.
Explain what ideas might be explored during gameplay. Do they make anyone uncomfortable? Discuss what boundaries need to be set, if any.
Afterwards, everyone should have the same expectations for the upcoming game. This discussion shouldn’t be long, but it is essential. To significantly improve your gaming experience, spend five minutes with CATS before you play!