Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Juggernaut

Juggernaut is the latest Jason Morningstar game (Durance, Fiasco) and is a card-driven American freeform in the style of Out of Dodge.

Juggernaut is a sealed room game about the predictions of the eponymous 1950s supercomputer. Designed to break cyphers before they have been created Juggernaut instead starts to make predictions not just about the future of the nation but specifically about the Juggernaut team and what will happen on the day of the trial.

The players take on the roles of the team members trying to run the first trials of Juggernaut. The play is generally freeform but the requirement on the players is to find out how Juggernaut's predictions become true.

Everything that is required to play the game is in the print on demand card deck (with a free optional downloadable audio file that represents the punch card analysis of Juggernaut).

Monday, January 05, 2015

The Deep Forest

The Dark Forest is a re-imagining of Quiet Year to try and remove perceived colonialism from the game and to focus on humanising the other. I'm not sure that what definition of colonisation is being used here and there is definitely some confused thinking in the author notes about the destruction of the Native Americans and decolonisation. There are some fascinating games to be made about this latter topic but this one doesn't deal with the issue from my understanding of the issue.

Essentially this is a skin of the Quiet Year with the community being a collection of monsters who have lived through an occupation by humans. The humans have left or been forced out and now the community has a quiet year to build a new society for themselves and deal with the fallout of the occupation.

I liked the Quiet Year and the new perspective seems more interesting than the old game with the addition of a difficult legacy at the start of the game rather than a struggle for survival. The non-human characters would also seem to fit some of the alienation that seems to occur in the game by not allowing individuals to be played.

Looking forward to playing it.

Friday, January 02, 2015

The Hood and Inverse World

Apocalypse World hacks are kind of hard to read since the bulk of the content are the playsets and its really hard to understand what the game will be like just by reading through them. I also kind of wish that the playsets were broken out of the main game text since you need to copy or print them out anyway to play and they don't really intersect with the principles of play that guide the MC.

The Hood is a hack that adapts AW to the world of crime. The players take on the roles of minor criminals (neither petty criminals nor involved in major organised crime). Rather than lurching towards the apocalypse the characters are trying to walk the line between crime gangs and the law. Each failure dragging their friends and family into danger and reprisals. It seems fine in principal but I don't really get what the emotional heart of the game is.

Inverse World on the other hand is more of a skin of DungeonWorld that tries to strip away the D&D conventions from the original game and just leave the flowing fantasy gameplay. The setting is certainly different a spherical world with an imprisoned god radiating light from the centre of the sphere and the inhabitants of the world occupying the chains, floating islands and rock surface of the sphere.

In terms of where it tries to take DungeonWorld it claims it wants to focus not what a character is but what they do. It's hard to say whether it is successful in this just by reading the book.

As a former successful Kickstarter campaign there are a number of bonus pieces of material about airships and giant monsters and the book doesn't really feel like it has a cohesive thread or core to it. Ideas and concepts are introduced here, there and everywhere.

Inverse World doesn't feel as if it has lived up to its ambitions. It feels more like a setting writeup that has morphed into something more bloated and not clearly more substantial as a result.