Monday, March 14, 2011

Movie Mashup 2011 - Spade vs. Indy

Since I'm involved in a contest that doesn't end until June 1st, 2011, I figured that I would do what I did with Game Chef and do reviews for people who have put forth entries into the Movie Mashup 24 hour RPG competition. I put my game up already, but since I'm not really going to review my own stuff, I'd rather get feedback from other people, I turn my attention to those the other contestants.

I'm doing this because I know that feedback is important, and that it is rather notoriously hard to get. I offer free copies of a book to people who will do a review of the PDF and I still haven't gotten any reviews that fit the contest (though Ed at Robot Viking did one, which is always appreciated).

Anyway, I'll be doing this review using most of the criteria put out by the contest. Copying from the thread here are the criteria for judgement.

Poor you! Our panel of monkeys will be judging you on:
Must include an NPC called Keeton
Proximity: How close to the two films is it?
Complete: Is it complete? Could you run it?
Attractive: Is it attractive to look at?
Professional: How much effort went into layout and style?
Extras: Did they include actual cover, index, character sheet or any other cool things you get in a proper RPG?

Don't worry too much about the Keeton part. That's a running joke on the site.

Today's game is Spade vs Indy by Tamás Kisbali aka Evil Scientist

Spade vs. Indy tells your right away what kind of game this is, and what movies were used to mash things up. This one uses the Maltese Falcon and the Indiana Jones movies to create a wonderfully film noir, pulp adventure experience. This one just kind of popped up for me, I hadn't been to in a while, so I didn't have the same sense of anticipation when I read the game but it's still a pretty damned good idea.

Yes. This is what I see as a mashup. It's not one, or the other, but it takes elements from both movies and turns it into an original game. It's pulpy, and campy, and full of the potential for backstabbing, doomed romance, and mustached twirling villains. You always feel like you're in both movies, without feeling too much like you're in one or the other. Perfect.

100% complete. It would have been nicer to have a few more examples, just to make sure that some of the rules are clear. The game uses a card system to determine everything from stats to success. Not only do you have a set of cards for character creation and tricks, but you'll need a second one to be the random challenge difficulty.

Where the game shines in a place where it might fail is the role of the secondary characters. There are two main characters, your spade and your indy but if you've got more than three players then normally what you're left with is a bunch of unhappy players. However, here the associates get the fun job of trying to screw up the two 'main' characters to get what their characters want. It's a really elegant way to solve the problem of not being in the spotlight since it's not "your story."

Attractive and Professional
The few graphic elements in the pdf are nicely placed and are perfect for the setting. Same thing with the header fonts. The separate colours really make them pop well.

The standard body font is serviceable, unless we're dealing with quotes. That's when I want to take what's been done with the book and throw it out. Seriously jarring to have to deal with one of the quote marks on the bottom and the other on the top. It's the only thing I would change in the whole document, but it's a big one especially in the opening story text section where you're going to either capture your audience or lose them.

It's got the character sheet at the bottom, with a little nifty crest watermarked in it. The slots are big enough to place the cards in, but in reality I'd rather just write the number and suit down rather than have to worry about fixing the cards to the paper somehow.

Also, a little personal quip of mine. I'm kind of sad that it's got a No Derivative Clause in the Creative Commons License. I think this is a wonderful mechanic, to the point where I start to wonder how I can hack it. Just a personal qualm, nothing actually bad about the game itself.

Would I play it?
Hell yes. It's in the current, games I think that should win this contest.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review!

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