Thursday, June 16, 2011

Movie Mash Up - Droog Family Songbook

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 Droog Family Songbook, a submission by Nathan Russell

Wow, A Clockwork Orange and Sound of Music? I'd love to see how Nathan's mind works the rest of the time, because that's a challenging combination of films to mash together. I mean, one of them is an ultra-violent dark future mashup where teenagers are hell bent on causing as much violence as they can for kicks while the other is a rollicking romp of a musical where you have a family that has to avoid the Nazis. At first blush this idea is full of head-scratching what-the-fuckery, but I think Nathan does an amazing job at mashing the two up into something pretty incredible.

Proximity: How close to the two films is it?
What if I told you that it was right up there with All the King's Men for getting the the two films together and keeping the main elements intact? It would be strange, right? Well, in this game it is the future 1995 to be exact, and there are Nazi's everywhere in Europe and you have to make your escape. However, you need to try to keep three of your favourite things from being destroyed so you can take them with you.

How do you protect them? Hopefully by just dealing with situation, but in case you can't you can resort to a little bit of the old ultraviolence me droogies. You have to describe the horrible things you do to the various characters to make sure that what you love isn't destroyed. Depending on how much you protect things without over-killing everything will determine how well you survive the Nazis.

The best part is, that there is singing in this game. Yes, you are forced into song and that's perhaps one of the better parts of the game.

Complete: Is it complete? Could you run it?
This game is 100% complete, in fact it's probably one of the most complete games out of all of the games in the competition. All you need is a single D6 and a D10 per player and some tokens. Because the game is GMless it's very easy to pick up and start running the game, because it does have a defined end game. The character creation process is just a lot of fun, with a bunch of random 90s fashion choices for your character to choose from.

Once you're done deciding what the character looks like, you pick your three favourite things and then you're ready to play. Then it becomes what kind of horrible situations you can put other player's favourite things in and hope that it turns ultra violent. Because there are three favourite things there are three chances at setting up scenes that cause people to have to defend them.

The only thing I'm not a super fan of is the random die roll to determine what's going on for the resolution of the scene if you leave it to Fate. What would have been nice is that there should be a vote to determine if Fate favours the player in the spotlight or another player. Each vote is a +1 to the die roll, that way it might encourage more storytelling, dramatic or entertaining, for personal benefit.

Attractive: Is it attractive to look at?
Professional: How much effort went into layout and style?

This is a very attractive PDF. Now I'm not a huge fan of the coloured backgrounds, and if this goes further Nathan should really consider putting out a printer friendly version of the PDF. That being said, this colouring is very, very appropriate. It's a faded paper with the water marked sheet music, just perfect. The only way it would be more perfect would be if the sheet music is the sheet music to "My Favourite Things" or something from the Sound of Music, or Beethoven because that's what Alex listened to all the time.

There are a couple of places where paragraphs are your friend, and they were totally ditched. Just a huge block of text like that kinda of hurt my head, and it was right at the beginning to which is never a good sign. Thankfully I was able to persevere and get to the rest of this book.

Extras: Did they include actual cover, index, character sheet or any other cool things you get in a proper RPG?

It's got a cover and a set of character sheets in the back. Truly, it doesn't need anything else since it's such a straightforward mechanic and rule system.

Would you play it?
Yes, I would. In fact, I want to play it right now. Anyone up for this? I have one more to read, but I'll tell you right now that this is my prediction for the winner. I can say that now that I'm almost done, but this is clearly the front runner.


Nathan said...

Hey, thanks for the review of my game! A couple of times I look at what I have done and become a little scared about where it has all come from! But then, that is the true beauty of the 24 hour rpg format - there is not time for self editing. You just spill whatever dross is bubbling in your brain and hope it turns out useable!
The vote idea is a good one, and still allows for the rewarding of a D10, to give a slight edge. The backgrounds are one of those "great idea / poor execution" things, as the document can take forever to download!

Unknown said...

Yeah, but for a 24 hour RPG that's a pretty good execution.

I won't be surprised at all if you end up winning the whole shebang.

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