Sunday, July 21, 2019

Reunification

Reunification is about a society being divided and then reunited with individual storylines reflecting families and groups that end up on either side of the divide.

The obvious examples are the Cold War east-west divisions of countries and colonial-era border drawing of colonies and states. Places like Germany, Vietnam, Korea and more recently divisions like Crimea and South Sudan.

It has a kind of strange pitch for a tabletop game as players are not allowed to talk to one another until the end of the game. This is because they are playing members of a family that have been divided by war. Instead the players communicate by "letters" or rather abstractions of letters that a written on that storygame staple of index cards or scraps of paper.

The game is set in the year before reunification. This idea of the "last year" combined with the silence at the tabletop reminded me of a Quiet Year. The letters though echo the letters that form the core of Slower than Light from the 24 Game Poems collection.

The final year is divided into four seasons, each season each character writes a letter to another character and annotates the reply with a one-word reaction.

At the end of the first three seasons there is a random event which each character responds to.
After the final season the players can talk to one another again. Each character is discussed by the other characters in terms of the feelings they have towards them based on the letters that have been received.

With the feelings that the family have towards each member having been discussed there is one last general discussion of whether the family can be reunited as the country is brought together.

It feels like quite an odd game mixing a whole bunch of different things together; random events, non-verbal communication. I think therefore the kind of groups it might work worth are a little unusual. Groups used to game poems would be fine, those with no conventional roleplaying experience also fine.

Those looking for a more traditional fair are going to be disappointed. It also lacks any meaningful game mechanics. This is a game that is purely about people's feelings.

For me this feel's like a back-pocket game that doesn't demand to be played but is worth remembering the next time the right opportunity presents itself.