Thursday, September 23, 2010

Game Chef 2010 - First Impressions part deux

Okay, I finished more of the games. Time for more twitterific type reviews.

10. A Trick of the Light by Jeff R

The Good:Love the concept where you don't know who is real and who isn't. You play your character in other people's realities. It's fun.
The End:Okay, calculate your points and you win! Love the beginning, middle, not the end so much.
The Other:It's got a map of stuff. It was confusing, but this is the year of maps in games too.

Will I play it? Probably not, the ending mechanic makes me cringe too much, but I'll keep it for the other great ideas.

11. The Perfect Tool by Shreyas Sempat

The Good: The way you pick your operatives and how you have a persona agenda that the players don't know.
The Bad:I don't think a similar mechanic to Don't Rest Your Head is used well here. Instead of one good and three bad dominates, you've got three good and one bad.
The Other:Not that I wouldn't do this but "a terrorism" doesn't work, though keeping in parallel was a good try.

Will I play it? No, it's not finished and not in the "not finished but playable" way but not really finished.

12. If Wishes Were Horses by Raquel Mutton

The Good: Um .... um .... um ... um ...
The Bad: Um .... um .... um ... um ...
The Other:Um .... um .... um ... um ...

Will I play it? No.

13. In Your Own Skin by David Berg

The Good: Teenagers are always good for angst. Also, I like how you have to have everyone come out with a Skin, or else everyone fails.
The Bad: It got confusing very quickly. Almost as if someone was using a refreshing herbal tea while writing it.
The Other:Any tag line that has 'lethal peer pressure' has got to be good, right?

Will I play it? It almost requires some refreshing herbal tea to play, so I'm going to have to say no.

14. Skin Men by Marc Majcher

Thoughts the fourth: Oh look! Another map. I guess when your theme is Journey you get maps, and @kristawhite awesome reunion to save the galaxy.

The Good: Love the concept, love the theme. Love the fact that the opening scene is the "Oh shit!" moment and then you go back to the beginning.
The Bad: The map needs cleaning, as in if printing please use 300 dpi cleaning.
The Other: I think I'll need to include more maps when I do things.

Will I play it? Yes, very yes, very very yes.

15. Sparks from the Fire

The Good: Totally delivered on his promise to be the Canterbury Tales, except in RPG, with desert and awesome.
The Bad: So, how do you every get a result other than "You're totally fucked?" I'm looking at it going ...
The Other: This is like an essay on Chaucer and now I'd love to sit down and chat with Brennan about his views on the book.

Will I play it? Maybe? Probably once.

16. Bridge Across Eternity by Tamara Persikova

The Good: Wait, this is a "thrown together in a week game?" Seriously? Ambiguous choices that leave you wondering if you did the right thing. Certainly.
The Bad: Don't apologize for stuff that the people playing the game don't know about. It's all intentional, right? Right?
The Other: Fighting down large swaths of jealousy. I wish I had 1/2 the ability to make anything look as good as this.

Will I play it? Yes and I think it might challenge Cosmic Journey as the "Watch out to win" game.

17. Skin City Romance

The Good: It seems to be a rather together game. Lots of inter-relations.
The Bad: Distinctly lacking in both Skin and Romance.
The Other: I really thought this was going to be something totally different from the title. I think I'd like that other game more.

Will I play it? Not really. Needs more Skin and Romance.

Games currently in my "Free RPG playing" Binder, in order:

1. Cosmic Journey
2. Bridge Across Eternity
3. Skin Men
4. Danger Mountain
5. Pub Crawl: take the edge off
6. In Skin City You Need an Edge
7. Going Home: an urban power fantasy
8. Chaos Lords and the Desert of Death
9. Sparks from the Fire
10. A Trick of the Light
11. Paths of the Resolute
12. nowhere ROAD


Whirly / R00kie said...

Thanks for these mini-reviews. You've read 17 games in 48 hours? That's truly astounding. I'm really impressed you're get through them so fast.

So far I've found chance to read through the first five (although I plan to look at them all eventually).

Brennan Taylor said...

The ending of Sparks from the Fire definitely might not work! I never got a chance to playtest, so the entire mechanic is tentative.

Unknown said...

@Whirly/R00kie - NP. I'm trying to be positive and constructive with them too.

@Brennan - I figured that, you said as much in all your comments. We still need to have that chat about the Canterbury Tales. I <3 Chaucer.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments; not sure what you're calling a map, though.

Do you think the ending would work better as a structured roleplay thing, then? One (known human) player narrating their trust choices one by one and the others revealing if they were correct, with the final outcome based on a simple majority? Trouble is that that would break down a bit in the case where there are more than one humans and/or marginalize one's story at the expense of the others. Possibly I could have the players mechanically determine how many humans there are by going through all played and unplayed cards, and then go from there...

Unknown said...


It's the mat that I'm calling the map. The part where you have the markers and you have the four suits and face cards + aces.

It's also a hard choice with what to replace it with. It just felt kind of abrupt as an ending. Maybe it was the writing, with the rest of it being filled out and then "the end."

Unknown said...

Hey, this it Tamara. Thank you so much for the review, Jonathan. I'm flattered, although your way of expressing yourself - well, maybe I'm just not used to it.

For instance I have no idea what you meant by that "Don't apologize for stuff that the people playing the game don't know about." And this. "Wait, this is a thrown together in a week game?" I wrote it practically in one day, actually, because I had a lot of work that week. The game's only several pages long, why is it so hard to believe?

Well, in any case, I'd really love to discuss it more, if you're interested. My skype nickname is tamara.persikova.

Unknown said...


Hey there. At one point you comment on the fact that there is something that you're not sure about. When I was reading it, I was almost screaming at the page going, "Noo! Don't do that! I didn't know! It looks fine to me!"

Don't apologize for the things that your reader aren't going to notice or care about.

The thrown together in a week comment was a testament to the fact that I couldn't have done this in a month, let alone a week. The production value on it made me drool and wonder if I was in the right business if this is what can be produced in a day, let a lone a week.

Totally interested in chatting more about it. I'd need to go over the game again before I chat about it.

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