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POKER CHIP BARDIC
by Lee Gold © May 2002
Some years back, while still fond of the basic egalitarianism of the bardic circle, I decided I was frustrated by its topology format: the fact that song followed song dictated not by mood or theme but by where the singer (or requester) was seated.
I decided to experiment with a format in which each person still got one turn per round to Pick/Pass/Play but could exercise it at any point in the round. And as training wheels, I got out a set of poker chips and distributed three of them (red, white, and blue) to the filkers, to be used one per round.
I still refer to this sometimes as the Non-Topological Bardic, but it's better kown as Poker Chip (Bardic). Here's the instructions I hand out when I'm running it in a new area.
POKER CHIP BARDIC
If you've never attended a Poker Chip Bardic before (and that's likely),
here's how it works.
When you come in, you'll be handed three poker chips: Red, White & Blue.
We'll sing a Red round, then a White round, and then a Blue round.
As usual for a Bardic, you get to Perform or to Pick a song or singer once in each round. Unlike the usual Bardic, the turn doesn't pass clockwise or anti-clockwise around the circle. Instead, when a song is over, anyone who still has a chip the right color for that round can toss it in. That person can then perform a song OR ask a certain person to perform a song OR ask if anyone present is willing to perform a song (specifying the song somehow -- or asking for any song that applies to a general subject). This lets a song flow naturally from the previous song, letting a set of songs develop in the Bardic Circle just as it can in a Chaos Circle, while still preserving the basic egalitarianism of the Bardic.
If you have a follower song you'd like to sing but you don't have a chip left, announce that you've got a follower -- and see if anyone tosses in a chip to hear it. If not, then abide by the group consensus.