giovedì 26 aprile 2012

Fourth Review: Coyotes in Dark Alleyways by Peter Borah

In the past months I've read a discussion, on a forum, about finding out a way to create a good "story-before" role playing game. I didn't follow the discussion so much, but I'm still thinking about a way to obtain that game experience. My personal answer to the question is that it could be obtainable by playing a pre-made story (or such) which is shredded in pieces between the players. This means that every player only knows his part, and the others know theirs.

This game is interistingly similar to what I had in mind: there's a protagonist (Dr. Alex Stokes), which can't fail in what he's doing. He'll have some troubles, but he basically can never fail, because he's awesome and he's a badass. The other players will take on the role of the mysteries: they'll act more or less as a GM.

Every mystery is determined by a motif (what he is), some key scenes (scenes thanks to which they can get tokens to be spent for rolls), some key characters (NPCs that will appear and that are linked to the mystery) and a motivation (a narrative element that will emerge when possible).

Talkin' about Alex's player, he'll have to fill out a questionnaire about his character's life and talents.

Just following his own guidelines everyone will partecipate in the creation of a story described as a "thriller movie" (cit.: "you are in a thriller movie, and you are a badass!"). I'm not sure that the genre is ok: with these premises and mechanics I would expect to have a pulp-like game experience. Mysteries like that and characters that can't fail (but we want to know HOW that's possibile! :P) are typical of a pulp-like fiction.

I have also the impression that the dice mechanic has some problems: mysteries start with no tokens, and they gain them only with the scenes. The problem is that these scenes may sometimes be difficult to set, so the game could stack in a situation where there are no tokens, so no conflict between players can arise. This is a criticism not supported by actual play, so I can't say if this is true.

The ingredients could have been used better in the mechianics, but I think all is ok.

I suggest to continue the work on the game: this draft may easily be transformed in a game playable more than only one time: just let every mystery player fill out a "mystery sheet". Then everyone receives one random mystery sheet from one of the other players. This way everyone will have something unexpected in hand, and will know something about what an other player has, thanks to which he's going to be able to push the story in a more determined, yet untold, way.

Work on that one ;)

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