Game Chef Review 27: Look by Martin Van Houtte

This review sees me pass the mark where one quarter of all the English language entries have been reviewed.


Ingredients: 8 [Dream (4), Stillness (3), +1 Bonus for Abandon]
Three of the ingredients are mentioned in the first ten words. But the question is how well they are actually integrated into the overall gestalt. Actually, they are referred to quite often, and seem to fit the milieu of the game well.

Theme: 5
The game is called "Look", and the designer indicates in the text that it is intended for playing by blind people. It fits into that angsty/catharsis school of game design which I've already indicated has a niche market in the hobby, but it does make the interesting push toward blind players, so that's something. If it didn't have that, it'd get the much lower result that I've applied to similar games.

Would I Play This?: 3
I probably wouldn't play this, but there are a few concepts that I'd consider stripping out of it for other games I'd run. I like the notion of leading characters through a number of set scenes giving them information and context before focusing in on a singles scene which informs a decision at the climax of play. I don't particularly like that a single player can destroy the ending for everyone else.

Completeness: 5
Arguably, it's a complete game. You could go through the motions with this and get a communal narrative experience from it, but like a lot of the "freeformy/jeepformy" type games floating around it requires a decent amount of roleplaying or drama experience to understand what to do with it. It's a bit more complete in that regard than some of the similar games I've read so far, but this contextual experience would certainly facilitate a smoother experience.

Innovation: 3
Everything in this game basically comes down to the point where everyone cooperates and it works, or if anyone doesn't then it fails. It's pretty nihilistic, grim-dark. Even when you win, you sacrifice something that will never be regained. I've seen it before, I'm sure I'll see it again... it's a notion that regularly does the rounds in diceless storytelling games... and it's not the type of notion that I find appealing.  

Output Quality: 4 [Language 2, Layout 1, Imagery 1]
When numbering, it's "fourth" not "forth"...sorry,that just bugs me.

Overall: 54% Pass [24+10+3+10+3+4]
Without the clear integration of so many ingredients, this might well have been in the "Needs Work" category, but as it stands it could be a feasible game if it were just cleaned up a bit more and maybe if the end of the game were resolved in a more interesting manner. Perhaps the players are seated around a table (or on the floor), during each round of questions they hold hands, and between each round of questions they choose to put forward a cubic block or a smooth stone (or two things with distinct tactile sensations so that the blind aspect still holds true). During the last round, those who put forward the round are cooperating, and those with the cube are being obstinate. The side who puts forward the most get their way, and those who put forward the least "lose".

Cubes unanimous: Humanity regains it's dreams, the characters fade as their spiritual essence refuels the dream. 
Cubes win/spheres lose: Humanity regains it's dreams, the spheres are obliterated in the backlash, while the cubes maintain their powers as spiritual guardians to the humans.
Spheres win/cubes lose: Humanity loses it dreams but retains it's nightmares, the cubes are obliterated in the backlash, while the spheres retain their powers as agents of nightmare.
Spheres unanimous: Humanity loses it's dreams and hopes, the characters are banished to a dark oblivion.

That's just the way I'd do it.


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