As we have related in other parts of the site, we
are providing, in this section, some basic tips for
playing the 20-Song Game and forming a lodge. If you
start from these “skeleton” instructions,
you will no doubt find yourself acquiring new methods,
approaches and regional variations at a feverish pace.
That is how it starts.
This bit is pretty simple. You are looking for some
people that you feel very comfortable with, and ideally,
you should also like listening to their music. You
find these people, and then you harass them until
they agree to join your lodge.
2) First Meeting:
If you can get to the first meeting, you are set.
It can take a while to get everyone involved to agree
on a date, and there can be a lot of false starts,
but generally, when a person experiences the ICS for
the first time, they are hooked forever. For this
reason, the best thing you can do is have a meeting,
even if it is just two guys. The excitement from those
two guys will be enough to get the lodge off the ground.
In meetings, the trick is to be highly considerate
of Each other’s feelings, while not being CHEESY
4) Treats: Bring
5) Name: ICS naming convention goes like this;
your lodge name should be some sort of word (usually
a noun) and then the word “lodge” (e.g.
Neptune Lodge, Kraken lodge). A lot of lodges like
to also have a second, extra ornate long-version of
their name. For example, Wig Lodge is “The Mystical
Knighthood of the Resplendent Wig”, whereas
Bullet Lodge is “The Imperial Chamber of the
Ward of the Embedded Bullet”.
6) Head: if you
are the person who is forming the lodge, you will
probably end up being the “lodge head”.
This is the administrator of the lodge, who schedules
meetings and keeps meetings moving along smoothly.
In the Society, lodge heads often come up with stylish
titles for themselves (e.g. “Kai Esbensen, Chief
Trajectory Officer, Resonant Bellwether Severe”).
7) Special Games:
Even though the members of the Society like to create
and play their own Special Games, most lodge meetings
are devoted to sessions of the 20-song game. This
maintains a helpful sense of continuity and sanity
at lodge meetings, and a common bond where every one
at the meeting feels connected to everyone else, because
they all just went through the same thing. You could
also put it this way: it keeps everything from degenerating
into TOTAL CHAOS.
8) Crests, etc:
As you are navigating around different lodge sites,
you will notice that some of them have made lodge
crests and created Latin mottos and picked out lodge
colors. Origin’s colors are red and gold. Wig
Lodge is orange and green. We like it when lodges
have crests and mottos and colors and that kind of
thing on their sites, so that we can look at them.
So, you’re forming a local secret society of
musicians, are you? Well, this raises an important
question: are you a good
secret society or an evil
secret society? Are you a mystical knighthood, or
are you more like those virgin-sacrificing cultists
in ‘Young Sherlock Holmes’ who creep around
in black cloaks and have neuro-toxic blow darts that
they shoot into people’s necks, causing said
victims to have frightening hallucinations that result
in their seemingly accidental deaths? Obviously, this
is a good thing to figure out right away.
1) Day: When you
are playing the 20-Song Game according to the classic
rules, and you are playing it with other people, then
you will all be playing it on the same day. Yes, you
can do your session on an earlier date if you have
to, and show up at the meeting with your music from
that session-but if you do that, remember to confine
all of your writing (and recording) for that session
to only that day.
No fixing, no adding, and no remixing!
2) Time frame:
In the book, Karl and Nicholas stressed that your
session should be “at least 12 hours”,
because we didn’t want readers to wimp out and
do a smaller session. There is another side to that,
though. The session shouldn’t be longer than
a day, either. According to the classic (multi-player)
rules, a player has from the time they wake
up in the morning to the time of the meeting
to write as much music as possible. Makes sense, no?
As you can imagine, many a lodger has maximized their
time by getting up as early as possible.
3) Single: yes,
it is quite possible to play the 20-Song Game with
one person. People have literally made and released
entire albums that way.
4) So: just to
cite the obvious, once you are awake, and your session
has started, you are going to try to write 20 new
songs before the day is over, and unless you are part
of some kind of special lodge that doesn’t use
home recording in their sessions, you are also going
to record these songs.
5) New: remember,
these are supposed to be completely
new songs, so don’t use any riffs or
melodies or rhythms or lyrics that you have ever worked
You probably won’t get twenty songs, at least
not the first time. In fact, getting less than ten
is perfectly normal, and if you think about it, getting
twenty songs isn’t really what it’s all
about. It’s really about making as much music
as you can, and losing
control. In a nice way.
After you have been playing the Game for a while,
you will probably find that your state of mind regarding
quantity vs. quality will fluxuate a bit with time,
passing though different fazes. Actually reaching
twenty can be a major rite of passage for some lodgers.
Of course, that eventual day when you screw up and
only get one song is sort of a rite of passage, too.
That is why there are two (unofficial) clubs
in the ICS. The “Twenty Club”, for people
who have successfully achieved the “objective”
of the 20-Song Game, and the “One Club”,
which is for those miserable souls who had a complete
nervous breakdown one day, and just got the one song.