Game Chef 2011 – Last Reviews

As promised, the reviews of the other three finalists. Bit short because well, life has not been kind to me of late.

Globe Records by Mike Olson is basically a freeform/LARP, as in it’s about pre-written characters with differing agendas. It’s set in a record company where the major players are all Shakespearean characters – Lady Macbeth the current big star, Juliet the new talent, Hamlet the flakey poet, Richard III the power-hungry boss. This is a fun twist on Shakespeare, crossing the familiar with the new for both fun (grungey Dane’s band is called Sea of Troubles) and good drama (who wouldn’t want to see Tricky Dick go up against Lady Mac?)

It uses a cool mechanic like Smallville’s where the strength of your relationship determines how many cards you draw (and thus how likely you are to succeed) and also uses Smallville’s relationship statements.  The values of relationships can shift back and forth as the game goes on, allowing for a nice organic LARP flow, although like most LARPs I imagine it wouldn’t play out much differently each time – EXCEPT for a lovely little mechanic that generates three different plots each game. What’s clever about this is the authors model soap operas by having one plot just starting, one developing and one hopelessly convoluted. I really like the idea of starting with some stories already well underway, and drawing not just a random event, but what happened next, and then after that. Classy and stealable!

A Midsummer Night’s Scheme by Nat Barmore and Caitlin Doran has a very clever set up worthy of its very own play. Titania and Oberon have come down to check if any of their fairies have gotten attached to any mortals. They must prove they haven’t by playing a prank on mortals to impress their lord and lady. This is done by picking the appropriate fairy magic stat related to the prank and rolling against the appropriate appreciation stat of the lord and lady, and the more you succeed, the more points you get, leading to a final winner. If you’re going against your own favoured mortal, however, you get a lot fewer dice to roll – but if you still win, you get a lot more points. There’s also a few stats that can shuffle up and down, as you get closer to your mortal or to the mortal world.

It seems to work and is nice and complete, but it ended up leaving me a little flat. There are a few suggestions for what your fairy might be and who your mortal might be and how they all ended up together, but it’s all a bit vague in the execution. And you have to do a lot of heavily lifting as a player – invent a fairy, a mortal, a relationship, and then weave every other players’ mortals together at the same time and place and come up with some amazing prank – without any real help from the system, which just does success and failure. It was the opposite of so many others – excellent structure and clear rules, but no scaffolding or verve. But these things could easily be added with a bit more time and of course, space.

The Lost Years by Matthew Nielsen is very clever indeed – it made me smile the moment it opened with an in-setting letter to the new time agent. In another universe, Shakespeare’s life was different, and so were his plays, but that universe never really existed. So some of the characters from those unwritten plays have been recruited as Time Cops to guard the most important person in history from time criminals. That man is Shakespeare, and he’s at his most vulnerable during his “lost years”, when no records exist of where he was. This is a great concept for a game – a clear, direct mission, with obvious badguys, but you can put the story anywhere in the medieval world. Likewise you can play anyone, as long as they are the kind of figure who might appear in an unwritten or changed play. A lot of chargen is “I want to be like guy X in a movie, but if he was Y” and now you can do that. Play Hamlet with less whining or Lady Macbeth after she ruled all of Scotland.

I also really love the mechanics. Of all the games I read they are the simplest and easiest but cover pretty much everything. Every character has three stats: Comedy, Tragedy, History. Comedy is used to make things better, Tragedy to make things worse and History to keep things the same. This is to be interpreted harshly – killing a bad guy counts as tragedy, as it is a destructive and bloody end, even if it leads to good. Players roll d6s equal to each trait to do things, but can also spend traits to do Dramatic Editing, with History modifiying the past, Comedy the Present and Tragedy the future. Tricky to adjudicate but a lovely balance between having better rolls vs making defining statements. Also, characters get bonus dice or points back if they act against Shakespeare’s protection and rather for themselves, because being from plays, they have implicit goals. And there are two types of goals – things they want and things they have been scripted to do. Whining or not, Hamlet has to die, and with such a high Tragedy score he has lots of points to spend but recharging them means taking actions which drive him towards that death.

I have always adored the idea of playing characters who are caught up in stories beyond their control and in the history of gaming, this is the best mechanic I’ve ever seen for it. I am going to steal the hell out of it, combine it with Walk the Line and write a whole game about being stuck between what you want and what the story wants. Which is not to say the Lost Years doesn’t do an excellent job on its own – it’s clever and unique, it works, it’s clear, it’s simple, it’s fun and it’s just full of understanding of the right amount of control/freedom balance to produce excellent gaming opportunities, in both system and setting. Forsooth was probably more shakesperean, but this one I think is the best game. The setting alone deserves the gong, and it may be the heart of my next con adventure.

And we now return you to your regularly scheduled lives, already in progress. Until next year.

Game Chef 2011 – The Judge’s Analysis and My Replies

Found a moment to go through the analysis from the excellent judges, which may provide insight into the design process. Or something.

Dr. Walton says: I am drawn to his clever concept, though it seems much more born from sci-fi film than from Shxp plays. The presentation effectively employs quotations from key characters and plays, as well as apt and articulate allusions a couple of times. The use of constables and clowns and curses feels Shxpn. But here is a major problem for me: though his list of female names reveals familiarity with the host of women characters in the plays, it is not clear to me that the traits identified really match the characters presented in the plays. At this point the Shxp names seem more like window dressing than based on the true nature of the cast in the plays — a disappointment.

Shaving a thousand words off a document is not easy. One line I lost explained that you rolled three times on the table, not once. This is why the 3K limit was pissing me off so much, because I had to constantly gamble about what might be obvious and what might not. It is no surprise this confused Dr Walton as experienced gamers were also confused. It is fair that the Shakespeare fell away as time went on, because I couldn’t reconcile being a shakespearean woman with being able to be sufficiently awesome, because he doesn’t write them that way. However, I think doing a thematic approach rather than a literal one is a good way to make a Shakesperean MMORPG. Some kind of Elizabethan Disneyland where you meet Mr Romeo and Ms Juliet does not a good game make, it feels contrived and controlled. What you want is a free and open space that intersects with Shakespearean themes and language so his world doesn’t seem alien. Baz Lurhman’s R&J is a fantastic example of this: he creates a world where everything shakespeare says makes sense, because guns are made by Longsword gunsmiths, so characters can say “Hand me my longsword” and sound like gangsters. Alternate settings, for me, are a better way to engage with the language then explaining what medieval England was like (because who cares?).

Master Chef says: Overall, I’m more positive on this game. I think dad read each line of the table as representing a single character, not names, curses, and blessings that you mixed and matched when creating daughters, but his concern still stands, I think, because you could easily generate a Juliet that was “Wicked” and “Musical,” for example. In my mind, the main difficulty on the game side of things is that so much of the wordcount is spent on describing different aspects of the setting that it’s less clear what the daughters actually do: what play actually consists of. If the daughters are rare and often traveling alone to avoid notice, how do the PCs interact with one another? How is play structured? Who determines what the next scene or focus of play is about?

This is kind of what I was talking about in my previous post. Most of these questions can be answered “in the way they normally are in roleplaying games”. I should have mentioned (rather than implied) that the Daughters team up because rebels often do, for strength in numbers, but play is structured like 99% of rpgs – the players say what they want to do, and the GM responds. Did we forget this somehow? Or was I wrong in my conclusion that I should design for experienced roleplayers, and thus avoid the “how to play an RPG” section? I’m not whining here, I’m trying to figure out if perhaps the judges should be explicit about the audience the author should address.

As for what the daughters do, I did end up a bit short on that, but I figured the genre selection would help, as would the list of story hooks: “Like any rebels of the space lanes they elude their pursuers, free captives, aid other rebels, seek resources, smuggle cargo, help the stricken and defenceless, strike back at their enemies and generally seek adventure where’er it may be found.  ”

In some ways, I really like that this is an outline of a game that players can build on, something like Ghost/Echo or Lady Blackbird, but I kinda want less description then — if the players are going to be responsible for putting the game together — just a sentence or two on each important bit of setting and the instruction to cut loose and have fun with it.

Well, with 3K words you have no choice but to summarise. I wasn’t going with fill in the blanks, of course, except about the interpersonal issues that Tam so wonderfully spotted. I perhaps need to be less detailed on my settings but I wanted to cover all the basic questions of what Daughters can and can’t do, because I find restrictions make good gaming. An interesting quandary that a lot of my fellow designers simply avoided by making their setting implicit or very simple or already established. World design and Game Chef are rarely friends, methinks, looking back on other entries…

Or, if that’s not what’s intended, maybe some more concrete suggestions on what to do once play begins. A few more specific thoughts: If numbers below five are frustrating to play, why create a rule that makes them pretty common?

Because some people don’t mind having low stats, of course. And actually, rolling less than five on 4d6 add the highest two is pretty unlikely, not common.

What happens if you fail to make your roll? You can’t violate your programming? So…nothing happens?

The attempted action fails. You cannot punch the guy (effectively) or steer the ship away from the asteroid.

Or you have to do what people tell you to? What happens to daughters who have violated all their programming? They become NPCs, but what does the GM (there is a GM, right?) do with them? I’m not sure the tension between wanting to rebel and wanting to avoid violating all your programming is an interesting one because it’s unclear what violating all your programming actually means.

Now that’s an excellent question that I should have fleshed out a bit more. I’m guessing that Daughters consider the Unsexed to be a kind of enemy, and vice versa. I think the Unsexed probably end up not unlike the Reavers of Firefly too – so devoid of any mercy they become self-destructively savage, or so determined to exterminate all men that they are hunted on sight. Shall have to think about it.

Finally, it’s the GM’s job to make the PCs fall in love? How do they do this?

An excellent question that I ran into with about half an hour before the end of things. I realised I should have had a mechanic for it, and had no time to design one, nor space left to fit one. But again, this happens “in the usual way”, ie by the GM going “you fall in love”. Well, usual for my table.

What do you do with the enemies and foils?

And again, the answer here is “what you normally do with enemies and foils in an RPG – use them for plots”. I’m not whining, it’s just striking to me as a rpg writer that people might not know what to do with these things.

I feel like, if some of the extensive description was cut down, some of these more concrete details could have been addressed.

Absolutely. In hindsight, as mentioned, detailed setting design is a dangerous trap; it eats your word count without providing some fundamentals.

Overall, though, a very strong submission (that’s already being played, excitingly enough!) and one that gets major props for trying something outside the Elizabethan milieu, which was much more common in this year’s entries than I was expecting.

That’s interesting. Given the paucity of non-period versions, I was actually surprised so many WERE Elizabethan. Although I was amused when somebody wrote “The Tempest in Space” as an entry, because after Forbidden Planet I can never think of the Tempest as being in anything else BUT space. But I’m weird.

In our recent phone conversation about the games, both dad and I thought that, for this game to move forward, it might be better to cut free of most of the Shakespearean trappings and just go for it. I’d definitely be interested in playing it sometime, in any case.

I’m glad my game was thought-provoking. That really is an incredible, flattering thing. And I think yes, some of the language will fade away as I finish developing it. That’s the thing about design – you can’t always control where it goes, especially when you have no time to go back and try a different path. You go where the river takes you, even if it takes you away from the conditions of the contest!

And seriously, this is excellent, thoughtful feedback that will help me build a better game – as will the fact that it keeps making people want to play it. Thank you once again Johnathon and Dr Walton, for your comments, your time and thought, and for running the whole thing as well!

Game Chef 2011 – Better Than Winning


We didn’t win, but then again, given that

– I was probably one of the few people for whom entering the contest placed me at a high risk of suicide and so literally had to balance my health against continuing

– I only had about three days to work on it because of work

– The day before I wasn’t even sure I would finish

– It was my first year

I was still

– A finalist, one of six in 66

– One of only two games that got 4 out of 4 recommendations from reviewers

– I have already had a fan submit a written adventure

– I have already had somebody start playing with their group

– I have already got some great feedback, including this incredible actual play, which is the most anyone’s ever said about any of my work

– I learnt a lot about design and how I design

So I’d call it a win. Tomorrow: I’ll go through the feedback of Jonathon and his dad.

Game Chef 2011 – The Winners

The winners of this year’s competition have been announced: they are All’s Well That Ends As You Like It, and Forsooth. Congratulations to their designers!  I hope to soon provide reviews of all the finalists to throw more feedback at the deserving, but for the moment, just the winners:

AWTEAYLI is a kind of weird combination of Cluedo and a LARP, where you act out a dramatic scene (and maybe have a stat comparison roll-off) but who is in that scene and where it takes place depends totally on who walks into what room, which is determined by rolling D6. This is okay because the board – yes, a literal board – is a kind of squished-together Shakespeare-land, with a beach, a forest, a throne room, a chapel and so forth all a few moves away from each other. Like a LARP everyone has a distinct character to play, although these are just archetypes (the Identical Twins, the Rightful Ruler, the Virtuous Innocent etc) with unique powers and goals to achieve, one tragic and one comic (Get Married or Die, Reclaim Your Throne, Marry Someone Who Hasn’t Woo’ed You) and cool mechanics for influence (wooing and duelling) and magic items (which can be switched with another mechanic for nicking stuff).

A LARP with a board is certainly an interesting concept, one that kind of flies in the face of traditional LARPing (which is fine – face-flying is always good for design, even if it might not get people to play it). Likewise I think it would break people’s brains at first to be in what is ostensibly an RPG but be unable to say “I go to the Chapel and talk to the Priest” and instead having to wait for a die roll to get them there…assuming the Priest doesn’t roll in the meantime and shuffle off to the Beach. The connected nature of the map means you can usually catch the person you want, but not always WHERE you want – which can be a huge deal as only some rooms have Arrases for spying, some rooms make duelling much harder on the instigator and you can only get married in the Church. I like the idea of randomness in outcome and story generation coming from a board, even if I’m not sure this one would work perfectly.  Half of LARPing is generally getting you and character X in the “Quiet Corner” to discuss your secrets. It’d be kind of fun (and potentially infuriating) if you couldn’t control who you were talking to at any one moment. Definitely worth developing!

Forsooth is similar to lots of the entries in that it’s a guided improv session with some Shakespearian rules. People take on 1 or more characters, each with a level of narrative import. Like in many entries (again this is probably an indie trait I’ve only just stumbled on) one player sets the scene and this role passes clockwise. Unlike some others I reviewed, Forsooth resists the temptation of making complex rules of who can enter and when and how. It’s just “play the scene” – but it also provides some structure to that. It reminds you of how to not negate in improv, if you get stuck you can ask others for a Line, and the best actor in a scene can get an Applause chip.It also provides the important support of idea lists – random selections of character traits, scenes to choose from and messages to arrive, to keep the ideas churning.

If there is a conflict, highest narrative importance wins or the scene-setter breaks ties. If you want to guarantee killing somebody, you can do it once, with a soliloquy. If you want to negate something somebody else said about the plot, you can do it once, with an aside. Clever shakespearean names for clever rules that deal with the actual nature of improv play. Combined with the random events, this feels like a very good and very complete improv game. You could hand it to an improv troupe for a fun evening OR for a way to build a whole show around Shakespeare (not the only way, of course). Because it also has a “character sheet” with goals and numbers on it, it might even lure people from roleplaying into improv. It requires a lot from the players, but it provides a lot to help them in just a tiny word count.

For my money, Forsooth is the best of all I’ve read – it’s Shakespearean, it’s complete and it’s robust. Ultimately it does little beyond say “put a few characters in scenes and make them either marry or die by the end, now improv it” but it adds just enough to make that seem less daunting and a blank page without drowning it in unncessary complications. However, it does rely on its target audience being pretty well versed in improvisational technique, even if it still has a tiny resolution mechanic. Now this is fine because improv and roleplaying overlap a LOT – but it leaves a lot of the less-improvy types out in the cold. Sometimes, specific games risk losing general appeal.

Of course, not everyone is going to want to play a game of robot prostitutes, but one thing I tried to do with Daughters is allow it to accommodate a whole range of play styles. But more on that later…



Game Chef 2011 – Daughters of Exile makes the finals!


Well, out of 66 entries (a record number), each reviewed by 3 or 4 people, 11 got 2 nominations and 6 got three (or more). My little effort places in that latter top group, meaning I’m into the finals!

There isn’t really a prize, indeed winning tends to doom your game to obscurity and stasis, but it’s nice to be appreciated. Of the three people who read my game, all three of them thought it was the best one of the four they read. Those are good odds.

Game Chef 2011 – Boys from Oz 2

Michael Wenman’s The Great Bard has a lovely conceit, whimsically and wittily told: you are all Shakespeare’s theatre company, making up plots while the Bard himself snores drunkenly in the corner. To do so you randomly generate a setting, a chief protagonist and a style, then proceed to construct scenes using the game of Thirty One. Each new card dealt out adds a description to the scene, and the highest hand gets to tell how it concludes. Distinctions can help raise or lower the value where appropriate, as can the strength of your relationship with other PCs, and the suit of the cards tell you what humour an action is aligned with. Cleverly, nobody plays the protagonist, and everyone else is simply trying to influence him as minor characters, as well as achieving their own dramatic endings (dealt out as cards). You work through the Act structure (again!) until the appropriate questions are answered and then have a denouement.

I love a rigid strucutre, I like thirty-one and I love the idea of playing the non-protagonist characters. I also really like how strength of relationship matters regardless of whether it is positive or negative – nemeses are just as important as true loves, and both more important than casual pals. Unfortunately, the game is kind of incomplete. It’s not clear how distinctions really work or how tokens are awarded in relationships or precisely when the humours of the protagonist are changed, or how precisely the cards give scene elements – and many other things indeed are equally unclear. But at least what structure it does have avoids the handwaving or “just do a scene” stuff from other contenders. I like rules light games, but I never consider that an excuse for shortcuts or lack of structure!

Like everything Wenman does, it looks gorgeous and reads like melted butter, and has some kind of insane graphical and gamer genius to it. Hope to see it finished, or moved along some more.

Game Chef 2011 – Props to my Boys from Oz

In the midst of my reviewing duties I forgot to check out my fellow Stockaders’ work:

Blood Tragedy by Timothy Fergurson is interesting. It’s a competitive storygame that seems like it could be played very quickly – like in twenty minutes, which is nice. Players choose a way they will die, a fatal flaw and who they might be in the royal court, and get 10 points in their stat. Each Act they have set duties – reveal a plot, have it foiled, build a new one etc – that they must complete, and basically one scene each to do it in. Each person gets to set a scene and if he doesn’t put your character in it, you have to roll to get there, and if you come on stage late, you’ll be at a disadvantage. So you’re generally going to want to pitch up your scenes as being all about you. Then you basically talk until somebody says or does something you don’t like, at which point you can roll off your stats plus a d10.  There’s some complex rules about modifiers that I won’t go into and could use a table (it gets fiddly on the details), but you get the idea.

I like the idea of trying to kill yourself, and nice strict acts, in these regards it reads a lot like a theatresports game (and you’d need that kind of creativity to keep the momentum going). Unlike theatresports, however, it rewards blocking, because you win by denying your fellow players a way to die, or to die as they wished, or to get a word in edegways in a scene, or to not have their plans confounded. Some of these can be broken with die rolls, but since losers lose the stat they add to these, I can see a downward spiral leading to not much fun. I could be misunderstanding the rules though, I had a bit of trouble pushing through the middle.

I really like the concept of this, especially the idea that the setting and characters are disposable but the act structure is inescapable, and the inclusion of a simple scoring mechanism to build a winner, but the execution isn’t quite there. As it stands I think it might just collapse under abuse – but on the other hand, I’ve never liked competitive RPGs because they always tend to encourage blocking (like Robin D Laws’ Pantheon) and that just seems a way to kill story. I may yet be convinced, and I’m glad Mr Fergurson put the idea in my head again.

As an aside, many game designers were very very big on act structure, and while I’ve always love Shakespeare’s strucutre, I’ve always also liked how invisible it is in action. I find it interesting how many people chose to take the act structure and case it in stone as meta-rules. Does that come from reading plays more than watching them, or an emphasis on his act structure at school? Did everyone read the same wikipedia article?  Curious.

Game Chef 2011 – Another Review

From Benjamin Branson

The worldbuild for Daughters of Exile is magnificent. I love the space opera setting and the feminist perspective; it reads a lot back into Shakespeare’s work in a clever, evocative way. The art and design is gorgeous as well. I have no idea how you did this in a week.

The most notable areas for refinement are the mechanics. I couldn’t figure out what some of the Curses and Blessings meant: “Learned” is pretty clear, but “Lithe”? Similarly, it wasn’t clear to me how using a virtue could help adjudicate between daughters in case of a conflict. It might help to choose more specific Curses and Blessings for the characters with which people are going to be less familiar; even if we don’t know what Katharine’s virtues mean, we know who Katharine is. Also, though I can see why you didn’t have space here, including a sample game would go a long way toward elucidating what kind of situations might require checks, how checks work, and what sort of role the GM plays in establishing conflicts and stakes for the characters.

Lastly, the “fey” and the “gods” could use a little more explanation: I couldn’t tell what kind of entities they might be.

I think the kinds of stories you can tell in this world are great, and with a little more structure, you’ll have something exceptional. As it is, I’d be excited to play this game.

Game Chef 2011 – Star-Crossed Lovers and Durance

These are my last two assignments.

Star-Crossed Lovers was probably my favourite, not least because it seemed the most concrete (no handwaving here). Players take the roles of suitors trying to woo the daughters of a rich patriarch – but they must also woo their father as well. The daughters care about the passion of their beaus, the fathers about how wealthy the son-in-law will be, and you go through the game earning points in each category by risking the last points you got in the hope of earning more – although the goal is not to have the MOST points but for your scores to be as close as possible, so your love is equal to the suitability of your marriage. Also nicely, there are set rounds (through the five Acts) when certain scenes work better than others, and we get a nice progression through a Shakespearean structure (eg in Act 4, you find out a secret about your background, so the Patriarch now knows you are richer than he thought, so you get +1 to impressing him). The only problem with the game is the only way to distinguish each suitor is whether they start with more Passion than Wealth, and a mechanically-unbalanced classification of their Humour. At least it is an attempt though, and if you fix this, this looks like awesome fun. What I think I like the most about it is it has fortune at the start. There’s none of this “set a scene, tell a story, roll a die if it matters” or “a messenger arrives and then you make up the rest” – the rules say You’re At a Party, you’re Suitor A trying to impress a Daughter or a Patriarch and then you roll and then the roll helps you come up with ideas. Plus the GM/Patriarch gets to have a lot of fun in a supervisory role, which is what I like too.

Durance is not eligible this year, not sure why. It didn’t end up having much to do with Shakespeare so maybe that’s it. Instead its a tale of a colonial planet settled by convicts, with the planet being far more hostile than anticipated – ie its Australia. The game focusses on the chain of authority – or rather two chains, the legal, from Governor down to enlisted guards, and the illegal, from the Dimber Damber and his lieutenants down to the weak as dirt prisoners. What you get then is a prison drama like Oz – brutal and bloodsoaked and full of bullies. Characters break their promises to themselves and conflicts are resolved with dice labelled Servility, Savagery and Desperation (highest wins, ties causes Random Events to occur instead, from a cool table). It’s one of those “frame a scene, maybe roll a dice” thingies which again lacks a bit of concreteness (and shares the GMing around, each turn somebody else gets to set the scene and just sit back and watch, which is, for me, the whole reason I am a GM, so I don’t have to do, just enjoy as an audience) but at least here it is very very clear what the game and each scene is going to be about. Shared world design and character design (your neighbours give your characters his oaths) complete a very polished package. It’s dark and bloody but if that’s your thing, it’s worth a look.



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.