05 July, 2015

Game Chef Review 35: Followed by Dragonflies by Phillip Anthony Wessels

Let me preface this in the same way that I did "American Dream" by saying that I think hacks of existing games are a lazy design practice, and I've stated my disdain for making everything an Apocalypse World hack numerous times over the past couple of years. Despite this, I'll try to keep this review as open minded as possible. 

Seeing a second Apocalypse World hack in a game design context just reinforces my disdain for lazy design practices. Sorry.

Followed by Dragonflies

Ingredients: 6 [Dragonfly (4), Stillness (2)]
It's clear that Dragonflies are the central element of this game, and the game cleverly defines characters according to the dragonfly myths of various cultures around the world. I'd like to see a bit more depth regarding this. Stillness also seems to be an important element to play, as certain dragonfly archetypes gain bonuses when they engage stillness as a mode, while others gain benefits from moving.

Theme: 3
This is another game that sits solidly in an existing niche...well, actually it straddles two niches of gaming, neither of which I'm particularly fond of. It's a hack, and Apocalypse World hack at that, and it's one of those half designed games where some of the pieces have either been left intentionally void to allow the players to "fill in the blanks", or it's just unfinished/lazy design work. One fits into a definite existing audience, the other requires a specific niche audience before it becomes playable.

Would I Play This?: 1
I could put zero here, and feel little remorse. But there are a few interesting ideas in here that I've been toying with lately. such as physical movement as an element of play, so I can't say completely that there are no elements of the game that I'd include in something I'd run.

Completeness: 4
I'm guessing you need to be more familiar with Apocalypse World to fully grok this, I'm familiar with the basics, so "moves" make sense, and so does the rolling mechanism, but there doesn't seem to be much about what the players and characters actually do, or what the game is about. Those are the "big three questions" generally left unaddressed. So I certainly can't call this a complete game.

Innovation: 3
This incarnation of Apocalypse world uses d8s rather than d6s... anything else innovative about it... I'm looking hard..... hmmm... not much luck.

Output Quality: 5 [Language (3), (Layout (2), Imagery (0)]
The language is about what I'd expect, it's descriptive where it needs to be, but there's just not enough of that description. I do like the layout on the quarter pages, but it's a bit confusing how this all goes together, especially with a minimalist rule set. No images to score points.

Overall: 41% Needs Work [18+6+1+8+3+5]
I really think there's a good premise here, but the follow through leaves a lot to be desired in my opinion.
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