24 June, 2015

Game Chef Review 3: Mere Players by Windcaller Studios

Mere Players

Ingredients: 7 [Dragonfly (3). Dream (4)]
The dragonfly is a distinct position in the game, a prominent role, and the card referring to the player in this role are marked with clever dragonfly glyphs, but I get the feeling that this player could have been named anything.  I don't really feel anything "anisopteran" about this role. Dream on the other hand is very strongly connected into the game. This is a game of fey and dreamers, where dreams are variously a meal or an escape.

Theme: 7
This game incorporates the idea of "a different audience" into the core of the game, this is made quite clear and I appreciate the way it has been interpreted by the designers. It's not really a different audience with regard to different people who might be playing the game, but it's certainly a valid interpretation of the theme.

Would I play this?:7
I've seen games like this played at conventions for years, often as things between regular tabletop sessions, sometimes as experimental multiforms, and sometimes in the pub once the convention is over. I've even played them a few times, and know that I could quickly get a crowd together who might be willing to run through it.

Completeness: 9 [8 +1 for all the cards being present]
Everything is here for the game, it even looks like it could be easily uploaded to a Print-on-Demand company to make a hardcopy book. I've seen plenty of games available through online PDF vendors at this level of completeness. The only reason I haven't given this a full 10 out of 10 is that it probably could have done with a few more examples of play to clarify things a bit.

Innovation: 6
This reminds me of a lot of Theatesports exercises, perhaps a few of them strung together into a guided improvisational play. It's also very reminiscent of the exercises done in drama classes, but twisted into a competitive game. Then there's the ritualised phrases which remind me a bit of Polaris. So, there's a few interesting ideas put together in a way that is vaguely familiar but pushing the envelope a bit. If I hadn't seen a lot of improvisational theatre exercises, jeepform stuff, or played in experimental Australian freeforms for the past 20 odd years, this might seem really fresh.

Output Quality: 8 [Language (3), Layout (2), Imagery (2) +1 Bonus for overall package]
I certainly can't fault the language here, it's functional, it not particularly evocative or atmospheric. The layout is pretty standard, but might have benefited from more thematic font choices, maybe borders. The imagery is simple with a title image and the dragonfly glyphs, it doesn't really need more and feels understated...but there just feels like there's something missing about it. I can't quite put my finger on it (and that's why it got the high completeness score despite missing something here).

Overall: 74% Credit [21+14+7+18+6+8]
I like it, and I could see myself running this to the right crowd at a convention. I expect this to be one of the better entries according to my scoring system, it looks professional and as though the time limit was used efficiently.
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