Thursday, January 19, 2012

Other People Say Things - Geasa Review

Every now and then I check the internets to see if anyone has actually looked at Geasa enough to review it. We've had a couple of reviews from Ed over at Robot Viking who is always game for looking at things. I think I didn't mention this but we got two other reviews.

The first one was a review from Game Knight Reviews which had some rather lovely things to say about Geasa. The one complaint there was the the rules were a little on the obtuse side, which I can understand. The mechanic is simple but it's not always the easiest thing to describe to people, which is why I put in the summary at the back of the chapter, for reference.

The second one was a surprise review from Paper & Plastic which had a lot of similar things to say as the Game Knight Review did. They like how the Fae worked in the game, they liked the price, they liked the setting blocks and the fluff. However, they had a problem with the rules and the fact that they didn't feel that the game inspired them to play it.

Those last two are pretty fair criticism. I mean, when you have a lot of people commenting on the obtuseness of your rules you may just have created a "Designer in a Box" game, which I was hoping to avoid. Thankfully, they do offer a handy suggestion that should help deal with this problem. I should get an actual play document set up. Now I didn't include one because I felt that they're kind of this odd little thing that people put into books to pad their page count and justify a higher price point. I still do think that. However, getting one done, writing it up and releasing it online for free is probably a very very good idea.

Secondly the inspiration to play a game comes from a lot of different places. You're inspired by the setting, you love the stories that you've told with this game already, you like the type of stories that the game helps you tell. Geasa doesn't do any of that. It's really a giant sandbox game, you don't know what you're going to get until you're already half way through the game. It's hard to inspire someone from the book to play the game when it does that.

I'm not too worried about this since the people I know who have gotten into the game really are inspired to play it. It's the game they pick up when they don't know what else to do, and don't feel like spending a huge chunk of time on a campaign. It's a pretty good pick up game, kind of like Suitors is which is weird, that you don't have to invest a huge amount in. If that doesn't inspire people then it's not going to do that, and I'm okay with it.

I mean, that's why I didn't print too many copies of the book. Plus I think there are a lot of cool things you can do with the mechanic. We're going to take some time eventually and start playing with it. You'll see.


blackhatmatt said...

Actual play: Personally, I find them very helpful to read, especially when dealing with indie games that don't have huge numbers of people playing them. For instance, Blowback and Leverage are games that I wanted to love, but not having AP examples really hurt my understanding of how they should work. Ganakagok and Misspent Youth, OTOH, both had them, and I was able to easily figure out how they should look in play.

Jonathan said...

See, I didn't need it for Blowback because I did what I do with magic tricks. I took the dice out and actually moved them about. When I went through the steps it made sense.

However, I'm no longer going to dismiss Actual Play documents. I just need to write up one or two from the games that we've played in the past.

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