Last night Stu McDermid and Joe Sweeney of Deniable authoring fame got Craig Vial and I together and ran a game of the Deniable RPG for me via a Google Hangout. It was to be recorded as an example of play but due to technical issues the full thing will not likely come out. But I had a game of this RPG and it was great fun. I have not laughed so hard at a game for a long while and it was thoroughly awesome.
Their website for this game at Storyweaver.com has some great links to blank character sheets flavoured a little with an image and a bit of a style for the base character. I chose the Southern Drawl Y’all character and built up a character that is single, dating a mother and daughter (separately) who was horribly sexist, worked for Mex Tex as a waiter, lived in his 1983 midnight blue Trans Am (bog coloured on one side though) with a vice of other cowboys.
I thought I was playing to the spirit of the game but I may have pushed boundaries a little in the game. I did this consciously seeing if anyone would press the Big Red Button in game (a concept where if you become uncomfortable with content you press it and the scene shifts). I stuck to the rules of the game, always spoke in character, which on occasion was hard as I played the evil smart 7 year old of one of the other characters so switching between the southern drawl of Hank McGrits to the snotty British accent of Flower (don’t ask) the seven year old sometimes had horrible mash up issues.
The game lived up to the review I gave it. In reality we made characters and played a full “Pilot” episode in about 2 and a half hours which I thought was great. We played the theme of the main rule book, being dark humour mixed with British style that I awesomely got to parody as an American. Mind you, I may have parodied the American’s just as much, if not way more.
Stu was very keen to show me the value of the slice of life scenes. He did show that they work very well in a dark humoured game, but I expected that. I stated that I did not think they would be as valuable in a serious game. Joe Sweeney chimed in and made me almost believe they could if the slice of life scenes were to show the serious nature of hiding their actions from their real life. Mind you, in that case you need to suspend disbelief and believe the Organisation would randomly pick people off the street to do multiple missions for them untrained. This may occur, but I am fairly certain it would not be a multiple times gig.
The one thing that did detract from my overall experience in this game (and it does not apply just to this game) was the insistence that it be set like a TV show. I really do not like this in an RPG and there are more and more games that bring out the idea that you are just recreating TV show style setups. I found some of the scenes to be slow and pointless but the director, Stu, was quick to shut them down and move on. There were other scenes though that I had just warmed to the theme of and they got cut prematurely, and I found that off putting at times.
Sure, I see that to have this style game and to fit it into as ambitious a time as two hours you need to be brutal, but I feel like with a little bit more of a structure that you could achieve that and highlight was is really interesting. Heck, we did not even need to roll dice until the climax of the game and I loved that. Stu had about five minutes where he set up the premise and away we went – it was great, if only I could have explored one or two relationships a little more thoroughly.
This is an excellent game. It reminded me of the fun I have when I am playing Cards Against Humanity where I am saying and doing all the politically incorrect things. Last night I threw Britain and America both under a bus with my send ups. Sorry about that but it was just part of the fun, and that may be confronting to people. I know people do not like Cards Against Humanity because of this very reason but it is in the name of having fun by poking fun at ourselves.
Mind you, many of the people at the table would most likely have voted me the most inappropriate of the night, and many allusions to my relative evil were made, many times. Does that make me an evil human being? Possibly. Did I have fun last night – heck yes! Will I play it again? Probably, but I do not think I could run it as a Director. I just would not want to cut a scene short because I am watching the clock. Seriously, get this game and give it a try. Do not worry that I am an evil human being – I am sure good people can play it too. Keep rolling!