Friday, October 8, 2010

Game Chef 2010 - Across the Universe, or finish line

This should be the last batch of reviews. I'll put forth something else, because twitter reviews don't really cover it. While I'm not the game chef in question, since it's been a couple of weeks and the website hasn't been updated I'll do a longer review of any game requested. It's only fair to the effort that a lot of people have put into the games.

Also, this is me whining now, can someone look at my game and tell me what they think? I know it's a draft and a rushed one near the end, but I'd really like to get a sense of what works and what doesn't.

With that, I present the last few games.

52. Deserting Paradise by Mcdaldno & Team Fremen

The Good:Wow, that's a pretty little streamlined game there. Unfinished business, punks who have taken immortality and are trying to escape with it. It all very Greek Mythology in a modern setting. I love the adaptability of the "Bad Things."
The Bad: Can we move away from using the word fuck in things to make them sound fucking edgy? Also, I've never been a big fan of the whole "How to Host A Murder Mystery" style where you have someone read stuff. Another way to try to draw me in please!
The Other: It has the feel of Misspent Youth or CyberGen but with a very specific magical and malevolent feel. Even more so than either of those two above games and I like and/or love both of them.

Would I Play This? Fuck yeah! And I'm not being sarcastic this time. ^_^

53. The Book of Sands: A Story of Our People by by Nolan Callender / masqueradeball

A Though, one among many:Technical writer, eh?

The Good: I like the use of the hidden cards to help define what's going on. There's also a logical order to what's going on.
The Bad: My problem is that I couldn't follow it, despite the technical writing. Examples would go a long way to solving this problem.
The Other: The number headings made my head swim and made me feel like I was at work, probably not the best mindset for reading a RPG.

Would I play this? I don't know. I liked some of the structure but I'd need someone to hand hold me through it and I think if that happens it's more than likely going to be a no this late in the game for me.

54. Pilgrim by Leo M. Lalande

The Good:I like the idea being the structure of the game. I like how the burdens are what drive you and help you determine your victory
The Bad:Finish it. Fiiiiiinniiiish it. Six kind of half assed thrown together pages does not an entry make. It feels like this was kinda of thrown together and it's a little insulting to those who got something together.
The Other:I like the logo, it's freakin' awesome.

Would I play it? Is there something you can actually play in these pages of text?

55. Edge City by Tomas HV Morkrid (Sorry for lack of accents)

The Good:Hey, look! Another Map! Actually this is awesome because you get to write on it as part of the character creation. It also has a wonderful logic for having someone play the GM. You stay behind in the pod.
The Bad: The whole seven deadly sins thing as the drive for the ghosts in the undercity. I was in the game, and a little spooked until there. "Impregnate the characters?" Really? Really?
The Other: I think this feel does spooky better than I hoped I could with Over the Wall. Well, maybe Over the Wall is supposed to be creepier or something, but until I hit the "seven deadly sins" part I was looking over my shoulder, making sure nothing was behind me.

Would I play it? Yes, but only once I ignored what they thought I should do for the ghosts in the undercity.

56. The City: on the Edge of Humanity

The Good:First few lines and I'm in. Alternate future for the win. It's also another coming of age/teenage rebellion game. Should have expected this with the theme this year.
The Bad:It reads more like a story for the most part than a game. This is cool, but it's doesn't really go into the rules on how to play much other than how the dice work, kinda.
The Other:I like the fact that the City is a hierarchical one both figuratively and literally. I've also loved exploring the idea of height as being an indication of class in fiction.

Would I play it Probably with another system? This one isn't finished cooking yet.

57. Walkabout by Michael Wenman

Though among Many: I am going to say right now that I'm going to be kind of twitchy on this one because of the description on the page and with some of the words already used in the book. Intersectionality is important when dealing with oppression politics, but we all have our axes to grind in particular and Indigenous Rights are a big one for me.

Another Thought: Ha! See, another map! This should be Game Chef: Map World or something like that.

The Good: Excellent use of maps and decision dice. You're constantly having to decide what you're going to have to sacrifice in order to move the story. The characters sheets are gorgeous and the maps wonderfully detailed.
The Bad: Yeah, I can't get over the appropriation. It's really jarring for me because while I don't know a lot about Indigenous Australian issues, this is still something that was taken "because it was cool" rather than actually taking it within the context of Indigenous Australian culture.
The Other: Background is nice in pdf, but if it were to see print it wouldn't look so good in B&W unless you have the bajillion dollars to print it in colour.

Would I play it? It's there mechanically, but again the cultural stuff totally gets in the way for me.

58. Maddenhaten by Renee Knipe

Thought near the end: Goodness this was a lot of work. Last one, it's only one of THE LONGEST! AAREAGSDGLKASJRDAW!!!~!!!11~!elventy!

Thought still closer to the end:Note to self for next year. Self, don't write as much on your own game.

The Good: I think this game just hit on something awesome that I haven't read before. If you fail, the GM gets a token that they can call in later rather than you fail at something. I know it's pretty much the same thing (I didn't see the assassin so they're following us now) but this feels more tactile. There are some nifty mechanics for spellcasting.
The Bad: The game suffers a bit of FASAitis. It feels like it's got three different game mechanics in one, and you need to know them if you want to do regular stuff, magick and faith magic.
The Other: Thankfully a lot of the pages are filled with the character classes. The other good stuff is that I like the idea of you all being soldiers at a seige and learning to respect your enemy. What I think would be awesome would be if there was the opportunity to go in either direction on the map (Hee, another map!). As if there was a story that shows how evil the people really are.

Would I Play this? Yes, I play a lot of old FASA games anyway and so the rules stuff is just something to get used to. The concept is intriguing enough that I'd totally play it.

Currently in the Binder Note, these aren't those I think should be finalists, but more like those I think I'd like to keep around personally

1. Cosmic Journey
2. Bridge Across Eternity
3. Man-of-Letters, Man-of-War etc.
4. Deserting Paradise
5. Skin Men
6. Danger Mountain
7. Egregore
8. Last Chance USA
9. Longshot
10. Action City!
11. Over The Wall (It's mine, so duh)
12. Chronicles of Skin
13. Edge City
14. Maddenhaten
15. The Hand of Gulliver the Man Mountain
16. Pub Crawl: take the edge off
17. In Between
18. In Skin City You Need an Edge
19. Going Home: an urban power fantasy
20. A Sojourn in Alexandria
21. Chaos Lords and the Desert of Death
22. Sparks from the Fire
23. The Fall of Granada
24. Broken Dream
25. Under the Sun
26. Red Land Black Land
27. Memoir
28. My God's Bigger Than Your God
29. A Trick of the Light
30. Paths of the Resolute
31. nowhere ROAD
32. A Journey

Current Finalists

1. Danger Mountain
2. Pub Crawl: Take the Edge Off
3. Never to Die
4. Longshot


Unknown said...

I just have to say, wow! You did something incredible here, reading all the entries AND providing feedback. Thank you, you're the best!

I'll definitely read your game (I really should have done it sooner, i know) and if I have any useful thought, we'll skype, deal?

Brendan the Navigator said...

I'd be glad to read your game and review it, because it seems pretty effing awesome! I haven't read much of it so far, but just that opening page of fiction got me going. I love the idea of selling off bits of skin as currency, and slowly becoming robotic as a result.

My only request, however, is that, well, you would be so kind as to give my own GameChef entry its own capsulized review? They're pretty awesome, and useful, for all these other games. I checked through twice, though, and I didn't see an entry for mine. I noticed that you did 58, including your own, and you were missing number 21, which means that out of the 59 total entries, there were two you didn't do...and I guess mine is one of them. *sniff* I just hope that it wasn't because you thought my game was too horrific to write about or contemplate.

And to be clear, if you don't have time, if you don't have desire, that's fine, I'd be glad to give you some comments on your own game anyway. What you've done here is nothing short of awesome, and you definitely deserve some reciprocation. But I would really love for any feedback you'd be willing to give me on my own game. Sojourn: The City and The Desert (awesome title, totally inventive, I know), by Brendan Conway, if you're willing. Let me know with another comment here if there's a way you'd prefer for me to send you any comments. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Hey Brendan,

I'm so sorry! I'll get to your game tonight or tomorrow depending on when I have my daughter. I swear that I read it, but I guess I just thought I did multiple times.

Jamie said...

Not whining at all. To pay the karma back, instead of reviewing everyone, I just did a long review of yours. But it's highly critical so I didn't know if you wanted me to just post it here or send it in an e-mail.

Give me your e-mail address - mine is jdfristrom at gmail dot com - and I'll forward you the review.

Unknown said...

Hey Jamie,

If it's short you can post it here. If not you can email it to me. I'll email you so you can send it.

Critical is good. I know mechanically it's a piece of crap, but that's what happens when you have a week sometimes and you aren't awesome like other people. ^_^

Unknown said...

Tamara: Deal. Usually I work nights so during the week you will probably find me on Skype.

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