You see, Tapestry works best when you are in an environment where it is easy and even encouraged to go and talk to strangers. A Saturday around a busy park where people go to exercise with their earphones firmly pushed in is _maybe_ not an ideal test environment for a social, community interaction game...
When players arrived I slapped "Hello, I'm playing a game. May I ask you a question please?" stickers on their chests. I got many wide eyed, "do we have to talk to strangers???" reactions. Here's the answer: No. No you don't have to talk to strangers. You can play Tapestry with two people trading stories back and forth and never moving from their spots on the picnic blanket. We had a couple players play like that at the play test, and you know what? Their stories were amongst best we had.
Other players were bold and talked to people sitting around the basketball courts, the children's playground, and people walking down the path. We even got a couple of stories from political canvassers (who also helped two of our group who had recently moved to get their voter registrations set up at their new addresses. Vote! It's good for you!)
- Use something sturdy for the Tapestry posting wall. The cloth we had flapped in the wind and was tricky to pin stories on to.
- Categories of people are best when they are readily visible. Categories like "parent" or "child" were much easier to spot and approach than "cook" or "teacher."
- Evocative story types are the easiest to prompt people with. Travel, survival, ghost, and (my personal favourite) a story about a squid, were the most useful and popular stories for people to contribute. Things that didn't work? Coming of Age stories. We didn't get any using that prompt.
- The haiku and comic strip forms were the most popular ways to collect the stories. I think because the constriction of both formats meant a flowering for creativity. It wasn't too open ended and intimidating. Interestingly, a framed piece of paper for drawing was very nearly useless.
My favourite part of the day was when players would come running back to the Tapestry wall,hand extended and reaching out for some markers and paper, while exclaiming excitedly, "I just heard the most amazing story!! Let me tell you..."