a masterpiece i come back to regularly
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They Came To Play Ball is a really fun and imaginative game that truly captures what it means to be an Antiball player on Athabasus Station. Really takes me back to when I would sit in front of our video-graph and root for my favorite team (Go Roughnecks!) and see Amit the Forever Forward go for the net with such ferocity, never giving up!! If you're looking to really capture what it means to play the high stakes drama and passion that goes into Antiball, this one here is THE game for you!
They Came To Play Ball is an excellent Firebrands game, Adira Slattery really knows this framework and shows her prowess here. Small additions like having tokens that are bid and lost and gained throughout are really welcome to the formula that's easy to manage and understand, a great extrapolation if you've played The King is Dead! It plays on the field of being a fast and fun sports team/culture game with it's raucous Antiball Matches to it's Press Releases and also a still beautifully intimate game of growing rivals and relationships that bloom on and off the field. In the game I played I was just as excited to have been called for dinner by the star of an opposing Hellions as playing the game itself!
And all of this is to say nothing on just how wonderful the setting is, and how dripping in evocative juices you want to extrapolate on. The Eldritch Sci-Fi aesthetic is so wonderful, mixing what could be drab and horrific with bombastic and ritualistic. It's truly wonderful. Antiball itself is pretty amorphous and based on several real sports so you can really let yourself go wild even if you aren't a "sports fan." I grew up in Jersey where you can't not have opinions on Football even if you don't know anything but the teams, I will always be a die hard Giants fan, and They Came To Play Ball lets me be passionate about what I love about sports, the idea of them!
This game was released during the explosion of Blaseball, but I got to play it a few months ago and when blaseball started my immediate thought was "OH SHIT IT'S JUST THEY CAME TO PLAY BALL!!!" so if you're here because of that, this is the game for you and your friends. You won't regret it!
oops sorry for the really late reply but I think if you can you should!
It's just a bit too hard to parse without zooming in a lot, and I know it can be a problem for people with harder visual problems than me. The graphic on the side is great aesthetically, but if you need more space for a larger/less condensed font without too much work (or additional page count) then squish the space graphic to make room.
Otherwise like, yeah, everything rocks and I'm really glad you liked the review!
Watch me read through and write this review here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/693682561
Moonblind is a game filled to the brim with incredible words.
I was constantly taken aback by how evocative the text was, from the character traits to the multiple sections for tips on how to set the tone, interpreting your draw/divination, and everything in between. Whether it was game text or flavor driven prose, just great writing all around!
Some stuff I really liked:
- The divination layout and set up is very fascinating!
- I loved how encouraging and approachable it is to those who may not be comfortable with writing poetry or even just in general with approaching this game!
- The tips for writing are incredible, I love them!
I will definitely be using the tips for writing your poem in the future! I think it helps so much how much the game tells you it’s ok to rip from it, especially because the divinations themselves are beautiful 1 line poems that can help a player craft their own for the scene it is based on!
This game is worth the $10 I paid for it! I can’t wait to try it out!
Watch me read through and write this review here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/693678624
Alone Among the Derelicts is a wonderful bleak space scrapping simulator It’s aesthetic drew me in very quickly, and the first few paragraphs that set the tone really sold me on the horribly depressing journey I may find myself in. A great approachable entry point into the Alone framework.
Something I really like is how it changes or adds to the Alone framework! The lose condition sets a precedent very early, even if your starting credit-days and first salvage go really well! It’s a good addition to a game framework that could be a little unapproachable to those who need a little reminder that this is a game.
Additionally, the questions add a lot of worldbuilding and introspection to your game. This also hits those points of being good nudges to help players jump right in and get that creative brain going! I love how it directs you into a world that the author creates, but is still entirely yours.
Totally worth the $7, please consider throwing a few bucks as you download the game! I will be taking some of the stuff here into my own design if I were to make an Alone game!
Small note: The text font is a little hard to read unless I zoom in a considerable amount. It works with the aesthetic, but it makes it hard to read, especially if I had printed it out.
Watch me read through this game and write this review here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/693675613
Celestial Bodies, Orbital Mechanics is a deeply intimate character and community game. The story it’s telling is specific, but you will bring so much personal love into the narrative built together. If you like games with grand story arcs but don’t have the time, this game is perfect for you! How it tackles diaspora, community, and colonization is beautiful and thoughtful.
Some things I absolutely love:
- PLAY AS YOU LEARN!
- The Map is incredible. Aesthetically, narratively, innovatively, I love it. It’s both an actual map and frames the narrative orbit that you’ll be playing.
- I love how the roles are laid out, this game is GMless in a very nice and approachable way!
- The character table is full of great and simple ideas that go a long way, worth grabbing even for other sci-fi games!
- The halfway point is brilliantly brought on! This game knows how to take you through learning it and then asking you to make thoughtful decisions about the story moving forward and your own characters. For how much the game gives you specific prompts and has a specific story to tell, CBOM is wonderfully approachable and open to you taking the wheel
- How it treats your characters at the end of it all is beautiful and harrowing. It truly knows “living with pain past the moment of violence.”
I bought it for $15 and it’s definitely worth each buck! I can’t wait to play this, and as a designer, I will definitely be thinking about this game and how it works moving into my own stuff! Please buy it
This Playkit is already beautiful, and I can’t believe there’s going to be MORE!
Some wonderful things of note are:
- The Land of Haeth, Journeying Tools, and First Steps are brilliantly written and designed to immediately invite you into what the game is telling you it is about, both in the story, feel, and on a meta-table level between players.
- The Safety Tools are masterfully incorporated into the narrative of the game itself, down to how you’d phrase them as if you were on a walk with your friends (both in real life and in the fiction). This is a strength and tenant of Jay’s games that I’ve come to anticipate and is so well done here as well.
- All the Playbooks here are incredibly designed and thought out. I could go into each and every one of them but it’d take forever. Do yourself the favor of reading them thoroughly. You will find at least 1 Playbook that resonates with you on a deep level.
- The Poet specifically is devastating. As an artist, it spoke to me in such a haunting voice. Its mechanics can very easily be turned into its own game, solo or with others.
- All the Playbooks grow in beautiful ways. Pay attention to what they can always do and what takes time to learn. It’s intense and designed so well.
- It’s chock-full of content! Outside of the actual intent of the game, it is truly a playkit. You really do and can take what you want from this. Jay leaves the story to you, Wanderhome is truly a well-crafted system. The Traits and Nature sections of this game are intimidatingly full of content (from a designer’s point of view, as a player it makes me buzzy with excitement). It’s surprisingly OSR. I’m so excited to play with it and dig through it.
This is a game that’s more than just cute animals traveling. It is a game about growth, trust, found family, and what we take with us and leave behind as we move through life. It is a game about growing up no matter your age. And this isn’t even the full game!
Back it on Kickstarter when it comes out, please!
You can watch me read through this Playkit here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/678194391 [Jay happened to be in chat, which was really cool and added a lot of insight to their words!]
A Cry in the Deep is a very well crafted game. I haven’t played it, just read it, but boy do I like it! The theme and setting are so wonderfully, refreshingly unique that from the get-go I was sold by the concept! I’m also just a sucker for Space Whales.
Its mechanics are really tight, I was consistently impressed by how easy to grasp the format of play was! It feels mechanically tight like board games, ala Forbidden Island, with how you interact with the cards and how there’s a constant rising tension. It feels very intentionally designed to fight you, which a lot of RPGs don’t do.
BUT what really impressed me was how open-ended it is for allowing roleplay! Being able to add biomes and choosing which ones get hit by the Cataclysm is small but very strong in allowing players to dictate the pace of their game. I can see myself playing in a group that is actively fighting the Cataclysm and really leaning into the cards to win as best/fast we can OR another group where we take our time, really draw out each scene and traverse the politics of space whales in the ocean core of Europa, making specific choices to strengthen our narrative over a pressuring Cataclysm. Or somewhere in between, and I believe all styles will be really fun!
Definitely worth the $7 I paid for it, and more, from what it’s got me to think about with its mechanics! Consider tossing a few bucks upon download, you won’t regret it!
Small Note: The “In Play” section cuts off at the very end, “...and the last player to”!
If you want to see me read through this game and give my thoughts live, you can find the video here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/678200598
This game let me play a goblin who's replaced their eye with the eye of an elf master to be able to see the magical bullshit they're hiding from us.
And then did a heist to discredit a racist, dog whistling Elven Cardinal who was about to rally up the populace into an unnecessary war. It was amazing. You should buy this game!
You gotta summon those Astral Cows! The farmer really needs that spell!! Thank you for your kind words :)
[CHEAT CODE UNLOCK : PAINT BUCKET] You've unlocked the Paint Bucket option. Fill in any shapes or spaces with a solid(ish) color and OVERCHARGE the spell with that Effect! Spells with Overcharged Effects require exaggerated components, decide how a component is taken to the EXTREME!
Aw dang, it really is a perfect goblin game isn't it? Thank you so much!
[CHEAT CODE UNLOCK : TURBO MODE] Unlocks the Homing Turbo Boosters for your Junk Ship! Find bigger ships faster and ram into them to get their junk! Start the game with 5d8 for each player when rolling on for the CRASH! Phase instead of 2d8!
Thank you so much!!! This is one of my favorite games I've made in a very long time :)
[CHEAT CODE UNLOCK : BIG HEAD MODE] The Space Goblins and their Junk Ship have GIANT (bulk) HEADS! All Rascal, Rude, Rough, and Tough Traits get a +1
Thank you so much!
[CHEAT CODE UNLOCK : DEEP POCKETS] - You've unlocked the XP Trigger "This Is Our Game Now: When you want to sculpt the game but don't have XP in the XP Pool, love what another player is doing and want to reward them, or think the story will be better off but are really strict about rules, gain 1 XP. You can do this as many times as you'd like in a session."
Sand Castles does an incredible amount with how small it is! All you do to create a place, whatever you "castle" may be, draw cards, place them down and answer the questions. And the questions are as simple as "what's beautiful here?" but it goes so far. I love that places, like Kitchen, show up several times with different questions, or even more broad places + questions can be placed around multiple times. And you start to create a vague layout by placing cards down, it's not a perfect map but it's exactly what you need.
Really beautiful, and will definitely go back to it when I need to create a "building" with others. Take your map/city-making games (like Street Magic or Beak, Feather, and Bone) and zoom into one location with Sand Castles. Brilliant!
thank you so much for all the kind words! (I want to say more, but I'm truly gushing, honestly) That's a good feeling, btw. And thank you for pushing me, inadvertently, just by the nature of hosting this game jam, into writing this!
There was a vulnerableness that came over me as soon as I posted it, both in that I feel like I wrote nonsense but also I may have written my favorite work yet.
And it's not gone, not entirely, but I do feel proud and appreciated, and in a good way, seen and heard!