Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Clink

Clink (Kickstarter campaign) is the game of Drifters who have come together for some specific purpose. It's meant for short games that test the resolve of the characters and see whether they will remain true to their purpose and achieve their goals or give up in the face of the obstacles they face and the weight of past failures.

The system is custom to the game and relatively straight-forward. It works on coin flips with heads being a "mostly succeeds" result and tails being "the situation gets worse". The characters have rules that allow them to flip another coin in the hope of getting a complete success in the form of double heads.

The special rules are elegant and drive the story. The central one being the Creed of the group, the reason and motivation why the group are together. When characters act towards their Creed they gain a coin. In addition the characters have Triggers, behaviours that are deeply ingrained but unhelpful. They feel more like bad habits that have arisen as a part of the character's difficult life prior to the game, a life lesson misapplied to their new situation.

The character's histories are revealed during the game through a system of Flashbacks (which provide the chance to flip an additional coin) and Scars (the result of losing a series of escalated coin flips). Too many Scars and a character loses faith in the Creed, either abandoning the group or making them unable to gain coins from it as they have lost faith in the meaning of the Creed.

Flashbacks are bought with Coins but can be used for the rest of the game as part of the character's inherent abilities.

The game system is essentially attritional so the players have an incentive to push towards fulfilling the group's Creed if they want the characters to succeed in their goals. Failing is kept interesting by revealing character's darker back stories.

The game requires a GM to provide obstacles and also to provide some escalation during coin flips. It feels very much like a "GM as player" role though as really the GM is there to challenge the other players as to whether their characters can fulfil their Creed or not. The GM's story contribution is to provide a stage for the action and some antagonists. The rest lies with the players.

Players also get to ask questions during Flashbacks and Scars so it feels like a very collaborative storytelling system.

The suggested backgrounds for the game are Spaghetti, Horror or Sci-Fi Western. The traditional Western genre can be problematic and I'm not sure the additional genre twist really changes that. This is a game about rugged individuals doing battle with the world to see the ascent of their personal morality.

It feels like a good choice of Creed is going to make or break the game.

Clink is a straight-forward game with a strong looking mechanic that allows for near zero-prep play and emergent player-led story gaming.
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