What is it?
The Listen Party is an ad hoc event I started a few months back. The first one was on a day I felt a little low and didn’t have the ability to leave the house, but really just wanted some connection and chit-chat. On that day, I checked in with some folks in The Gauntlet Slack group. Before long, some of us dove into a Discord voice channel and listened to segments from recent Gauntlet podcasts, and after 5-10 minutes of listening, hit Pause and discussed the topic. We did this for about an hour or two, working our way through a few segments.
Since that first time, we’ve probably had about a half dozen of these crop up. Sometimes there’s just 3-4 of us, and the biggest was probably closer to 10 Gauntleteers.
Some recent Listen Parties
A particularly memorable one was when a large group of us listened to the Fear of a Black Dragon Podcast about Operation Unfathomable, specifically highlighting the segment where Jason and Tom discuss tips for good characterizations. In addition to getting to process the segment again, having each other as a sounding board allows questions to be answered, and additional tips and tricks to be uncovered from the plethora of experience we all have.
In another we listened to one of the Gauntlet’s GM Masterclass episodes, and a few weeks later the +1 Forward episode about Dream Apart.
The most recent involved us listening to the Gauntlet Podcast for Flotsam: Adrift Amongst the Stars with Josh Fox. Prior to the podcast, we just caught up with one another and had a discussion about MR-KR-GR: The Death Rolled Kingdom. While listening to the podcast, conversations came up about cognitive vs improvisational load in Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA) and other story games, tokens and GMless games, and mechanics in regards to Flotsam, Good Society, and others.
How does it work?
Our listen parties are actually quite low-fi. Someone simply announces they want to do the thing in Slack; we have a specific Slack keyword we use to allow for people to opt-in to get notified it’s happening. This call to arms has us gather into a Discord voice channel, and then once we have a critical mass, we choose what we want to listen to. Generally, we go for a recent podcast with a juicy segment or two. At this point, I do the “3, 2, 1…” countdown, we all hit PLAY, and listen to it on our headphones, individually. When the segment is over, or if someone pipes up and says they want to start a discussion, we just hit PAUSE, and then commence. This continues until we’ve decided we’re done. Simple enough.
There was a suggestion of using Rabb.it, a service that allows people to watch or listen to things together, but we found it’s a little more than what we needed just now. Perhaps one day.
Are you a Gauntlet Slack user who’s interested?
Use the GauntletListenParty keyword to get info on how to setup the notification. And even though I’ve been the one generally making it happen, it’s anyone’s game, so don’t be bashful in starting a listen party when the mood strikes!