1st of December: Legacy: Life among the Ruins

A Powered by the Apocalypse game about families surviving in the generations after the Fall.

Author/Designer: James Iles

From: Apocalypse Engine Bundle

Legacy is the illegitimate love-child of Apocalypse World and Microscope: A game about families surviving in the generations following a great apocalypse, laying the old, advanced society in ruins, and leaving people to make their way in the mess that’s left behind, digging out old technology when they can. The game is intended to take place over a series of ages. Throughout the ages, each player will control a family as it develops, creating a particular family member to play in each age.

My impression: The first thing jumping out at you when leafing through the book is the wealth of full-colour, very evocative images that saturate the book. They are not strictly necessary, and they would make it more difficult to print out the text for use at the table (a print-friendly version of the pdf might have been nice), but they definitely make the idea of the game come alive. Particularly the images of the different Family- and Character playbooks really communicates what each is all about.

I bought this bundle, not least because I was really curious about the concept of the family playbook. It is a way to do a powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA) game that I haven’t seen elsewhere, and it sounds like a really interesting adaptation of the system. As it stands, the families clearly provide the flavouring of the game, the Character playbooks being much more about providing a certain function for the family. I like this concept, and I quite like the different Family playbooks, as well. The Character playbooks seem a bit more bland to me, but that’s OK; they are not the main focus of the game.

Unfortunately, it feels like the game has negated this part of the game a little too much. I have only skimmed the game book, and as such, I may easily have missed something. Still, I have a difficult time telling you precisely what you’ll be doing with the character and why. Encountering threats to the family? Sure. But where do they come from? And why are all these characters going at it together? What if one family has a radically different objective to the others this age? Do we then tell two parallel stories, bearing in mind that an age is supposed to take 2-5 sessions? I lack some more guidance to help me – either as player or as GM – kick off the action of the age.

That’s a pity, because the rest of the book indicates a careful attention to making the book accessible to beginners, particularly to GM’ing PbtA games. The game is complex, but I think the mental barrier to entry is lower than for, say, Apocalypse World itself.

How would I use this book: I do like this game, and I would not mind trying it. Unfortunately, it seems like the kind of game that needs a good number of sessions for it to really fly, and that is not likely to happen any time soon. And if I got the chance, I have other things I would probably prioritise: Apocalypse World if I wanted a post apocalyptic game, Kingdom if I wanted to tell a story of a community, Microscope if I wanted to tell a story spanning long stretches of history.

As such, I am most likely to only ever use the book as inspiration, stealing the concept of the Family Playbooks to use in another game, whether PbtA or something else.

Advent Calendar: What my bundles held

In Denmark, we have a strong tradition of advent calendars. They’re in the TV, on the radio, on the internet, all over the place, for both kids and adults. And they are also in the role-playing blogosphere: over the last several years, several Danish bloggers have run advent calendars, posting a series of posts on some topic leading up to Christmas. I sort of did it last year, but I didn’t follow through on it. This year, though, I’ve decided to do an official one. The title of it is: What my Bundles held.

See, over the last three years or so, I’ve bought a surprising number of Bundles of Holding. 24, to be exact. Which fits with the number of December days until Christmas Eve, which is what we celebrate here in Denmark.

A Bundle of Holding, for those who don’t know, is a bundle of role-playing books, sold together at a low price with a percentage of the money going to a charity. The concept was inspired by the Humble Bundle, which is the same thing, but for computer games.

You can pay what you want for the bundles, but the more you give, the more you get. Bundle of Holding usually has a minimum price that will give you access to some components of the bundle, while paying more than the average that people have paid up to that point will give you more content. In that way, there is often an incentive to buy early, before the price goes up. No matter what the average is, you always get a pretty good deal – sometimes even the average price is below the price for the more expensive parts of the bundle. That means that it’s tempting to buy the bundle if there’s one thing you are interested in, and a few you are not actively disinterested in.

And so, long story short, I’ve ended up with a bunch of bundles with loads of books I’ve not even looked at. And that is what this bundle is going to do: I will go through the bundles, and select one book from each that I will look through and give a very quick review of. I’ll describe what it is, what my immediate impression of it is, and what I might consider using it for. I might also mention other books in a given bundle that I find to be an interesting honorable mention.

The posts will go up here at some point during each day. Feel free to comment on the posts if I’ve misunderstood the book, or if you have questions or comments about them. Also, happy December!

Welcome to the new home of Filemonia!

Hello all! For a long time, I ran my blog, Filemonia, over at the main WordPress site. Lately, however, it has sort of lagged a bit. I’ve been busy, I’ve not been playing a lot of game, and I haven’t been in the groove.

But now, I’ve got my own site! And I’ve got some stuff in the works that will (if all goes well) mean more stuff to post here. I won’t spill the beans just yet – but stay tuned!