Game Chef 2011 – Quick Review of Daughters of Verona

Just to help spread the word about what I read (and it will pass the time while I wait for the lazy bastards to finish reviewing my game, damn them)

The Daughers of Verona was, according to the author, an attempt to make a comedy version of Montsegur 1244, which is a very story-oriented game about burning Cathar heretics. I’m told the original has preset characters randomly dealt out and then random story events come from another deck. DoV uses a similar idea, however the characters are just names and pictures – the game has an enormous amount of hand-waving at the moment – you are supposed to arrange your characters into a series of love triangles, villainous blockers and comic relief, and then tell the story through five acts. Apparently a lot of entrants this year read the same website about Shakespeare’s five act structure (or there’s some indie rpg that is also huge on acts they’re riffing off) because they’re all madkeen on it. In each act you have a general sense of what to establish but not a specific sense, you’re supposed to get that by choosing an event from three dealt out and a location from four dealt out. The events are quite evocative (Rumours of War, A Messenger Arrives) but still not really specific enough to help the idea-lacking. There’s no resolution mechanic, you just assign parts and “make a scene”.

Despite this vagueness the cards are excellent and the advice on structure is first rate and if I was going to randomly deal out a Shakespearean comedy, I’d use them. But it’s not much of an RPG, as it stands. RPGs need more meat on the bones. If I have to work hard, the system isn’t pulling its weight nearly enough. A nice idea at the core though. Much like with Fiasco and In a Wicked Age, it’s nice to see random encounters coming back in style, it’s just Montsegur and Daughters use cards instead of dice.

 

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