Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Electra before the throne

Electra before the throne is a three player, three character shortform freeform game that wraps Greek classical mythology over the throne room confrontation scene in Return of the Jedi.

Electra face Hades, the King of the Dead, who has raised her father Agamemnon from the dead to serve him. Each character has a goal for the scene, an understanding of the situation (which may be wrong) and a kind of tic-tac-toe of abilities regarding the other characters.

Around them the city of Argos is under attack by the dead, the three protagonists must find a resolution to their conflict in 20 minutes of gameplay, after which Argos will be destroyed and its people slain.

This game is entirely a riff on the confrontation between Luke, Darth Vader and the Emperor in Return of the Jedi, re-imagined through classical literature. The blend of high and lowbrow culture makes it seem immediately comprehensible.

The requirements of the game: short play, exactly three players; means this has been kicking around in my possession while waiting for the right circumstances but I'm curious to see how this nano game works in practice.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Do not let us die in the dark night of this cold winter

Two quick things about Do not let us die in the dark night of this cold winter: firstly whatever bet existed on the length of a supplement title, it has been won. Secondly, the cover of the book is one of the most beautiful things I've seen.

Do not let us die is a mini-game for D&D-style games that focuses on a small community trying to survive a harsh winter in the wilderness.

The game requires the player characters to keep as many NPCs as they can alive, keeping them healthy, fed and warm. Doing so requires food, wood and medicine. Each of the PC archetypes is skilled at gathering one of these resources.

The players also have to manage how many buildings are being used in the settlement and how many people are in each building.

Each round a random event happens, which feels quite a lot like the Quiet Year. In generally the events are all bad, like people falling sick or having accidents. As this is a more crunch than narrative game, generally the events deplete your resources or actions and may result in the loss of a villager.
Eventually the winter ends and if any of the villagers have survived the PCs gain the reward they were promised for helping the community.

It's a delightfully weird game that nicely intersects OSR mechanics and randomness with storygaming emotion. The winter can be endured but it can never be beaten.