Monday, May 4, 2009

Event Profile: Armada Breakaway

One of the newer games to hit the Second Life trivia circuit is Mako Kungfu's short but sweet weekly event in the fabulous steampunk sim of Armada Breakaway. The sim itself is rather new, opened just over two months ago. A floating city based on the novels of author China Mieville, it is a roleplay sim welcome to any and all types of SL citizens, RPers and non-RPers alike. Native to the environment are mermaids, street urchins, pirate-looking folks, and at least one arachnid. Stores such as Grim Bros, Viv Trafalgar Outfitters, and ZAiGear skirt the walkways, and the organizers host a range of events friendly to visitors, including burlesque, discussion groups, synchronized mer-swimming, and of course trivia.

Me, Posableman, Rach, and Chadd

Armadans approached Mako to host themed trivia in the sim (his sky capsule store, Atomic Owl, is there), and the games have so far attracted a mix of people who hear about it through Armada and through trivia sources. The questions are written to be relevant to the sim's themes but are always accessible to others. For instance:

[17:28] Mako Kungfu: 4. Synchronized swimming demands advanced water skills, and requires great strength, endurance, flexibility, grace, artistry and precise timing, as well as exceptional breath control when upside down underwater. Competitive swimmers keep their hair in place by "knoxing" it with this edible translucent substance, found in wobbly desserts, trifles, marshmallows and confectioneries like Peeps and gummi bears.

[17:45] Mako Kungfu: 8. In Mieville's novels, the Vodyanoi are a fat and froglike race of water magicians who can fashion temporarily-solid objects (such as walls) out of water. They are based on the Vodyanoi of Slavic mythology, male water spirits who occasionally get angry and break dams, cause floods and drown victims... and who may give you a fish if you drop a pinch of a certain substance into the water. This substance comes from the dried leaves of plants in the genus Nicotana and can be smoked, chewed and sniffed. Name it.

[17:47] Mako Kungfu: 9. The word aeronautics comes from the Greek "aero" (air or sky) and "nautis" (sailor). For much of his life, this Renaissance icon was fascinated by the phenomenon of flight, and was one of the first modern Europeans to study aeronautics. He published a Codex on the Flight of Birds and designed flying machines like his famous helicopter and a light hang glider. Name him.

(answers at the bottom of the blog)

Lengthy questions like these aren't usually ideal for fastest-answer trivia because they advantage those who either speed-read or are most accustomed to the format of the questions and know which parts to skim, and newer players are likely to grow frustrated. They seem necessary for this context, though, so that they provide both steampunk/period relevance and a means of answering for those who aren't familiar with the Mieville mythology. They're also well-written enough that I usually return to read them more thoroughly after zipping through an answer. Mako's questions and explanations of the answers are among the most thorough and informative around. You can't leave without learning something new, and a few of the people who come who aren't regulars at other trivia events still seem to do fine.

Mako and sheep

The setting is a little park, one of the very urban Armada's only pastoral spaces. Sheep roam and sometimes find someone to cling to. Jazzy, bluesy, and old-time tunes come in on the audio stream. A few couches are set about, though most people seem to prefer standing. The tone is low-key, and the locals are friendly. Three weeks into it, though, it still feels like it's off the beaten path, perhaps because it sounds specialized, doesn't take place at an established trivia club, and conflicts with Double Standards. It's only one hour a week, though, to DS's 14+, and I've been able to get in an hour of the latter before heading over. If you like your trivia laid back and intellectual, don't let the unfamiliar territory discourage you. Throw on that Victorian dress or suit buried at the bottom of your inventory (or don't -- steampunk duds are optional) and swing by next Monday.

=> Time: Mondays, 5:00 to 6:00pm SLT
=> Place: Armada Breakaway,
=> Host: Mako Kungfu
=> Prizes: Fifteen questions, at L$40 per question; bonuses also include gifts from local stores, including Grim Bros and ZAiGear

Answers to questions in the blog:
=> gelatin
=> tobacco
=> Da Vinci

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the writeup and for featuring Armada! It's a new event, still evolving -- I may try and whittle my questions down a bit, though the themed-yet-accessible thing is an ongoing challenge.

    As for competing with DS, I'm operating at a time that seemed the most high traffic for Armada citizens, really. And, let's face it, there's no prime time slot that isn't competing with something, and since DS has thriving trivia every day, it seemed the most benign conflict. It's great to see people from the regular trivia circuit stop by, for sure, since it is kind of off the beaten path, as you said.

    Thanks again for the feature! Looking forward to more of this new blogging venture. :)