No Sign of Alex

by Tobias Wrigstad and Jan Salomonson

Think of Gothenburg. Think of vampires. Think of vampires — in Gothenburg. Actually, No Sign of Alex is not about that at all; it is a freeform adventure that takes place on a small island just by the route of the Stockholm—Helsinki ferry, slightly to the east of Norrtälje in the Stockholm archipelago. The game is written for eight players and two game masters and is played on two different time-levels, one starting in 1969 working its way forward in time and one working backwards, starting in 1982.

No Sign of Alex is about different perspectives, truth, misunderstandings, (mis)interpretations, mis- and disrememberings. On a slightly different level, it is also about growing up, about suddenly realising that you will never be an astronaut, and about changing your perception of reality when you lack the strength to change reality itself. There is no plot-driven story, no big surprises, twists or tasks to be resolved, as it would take the focus away from these subjects. Instead, the players play four cousins in two simultaneous "base scenes" set in the same room in different years looking forward into a very promising future, respectively looking back, almost in a summarising fashion. Two teams of four players facing each other will play the cousins in the two scenes. With a few exceptions, the teams will never interact directly, but watch each other and react to what goes on in the other scene.

Most of the game takes place in memories or dreams of the future. Scenes from memories and the base-scenes might go on in parallel, and the main difficulty for the game master is to direct the players so that they get to watch the most interesting things that the other players are doing, as this is crucial input for them in their game.

Oh, as will be obvious as we continue, the game is also a bit about Alex, the cousins' Dad.

8 players, 2 game masters
4-5 hours
Therapy, standing/sitting play, insides and outsides
SydCon 2001

Acknowledgements and Credits

ELGE is Pappa in "Pappa på band," Wilhelm Björkman was instrumental in actually getting the game finished by travelling to Stockholm for a week and helping Tobias piece it together. Almost all pictures are from family albums.

Linus Gabrielsson wrote and recorded all the music for the scenario. Joachim Bengtsson edited the first version of the TV handout, Tobias edited the second with his help.


*) look at the "Swedish + some English" version for some diagrammes as well!