Review of “The City At The Edge of Sleep”

Image Incorporation:

The images were definitely an inspiration for this game. They are well placed in the text, however I wouldn’t classify their use as extraordinarily evocative.

Most Playable:

I have several major problems in the rules for this game.

1) Shaping rolls – All actions in the game basically come down to the shaping roll. The shaping roll has 3 major steps before the dice are rolled. The player declares their action, the GM chooses which of the player’s traits would apply to the roll, and finally the GM chooses a difficulty number. My problem occurs in the second step. The traits define the Shaper’s personality, so the GM’s choice of traits acts like a judgment of the player’s chosen action. I think this would be a far better mechanic if the player could announce the traits, thereby showing how they view the actions of their characters.

2)Betting Self – The mechanic to gain memories involves the betting of Self on a roll. Unfortunately this process increases the difficulty of the roll. I think that given the dice mechanic as it is, this would prohibit a player from betting Self on already difficult rolls as this would push the chance of success prohibitively low. So as a player the only time to bet Self is on rolls that are already fairly easy to achieve. Perhaps this was the intention of the author, but to me it lacks any real punch.

3) The Act and Event structure – The Act and Event structure looks like a railroaded story. The second Act especially presupposes that the players actually decide to save the City and pursue the means to do so. The game advises the GM that they may have to occasionally push the players towards the conclusion of the Act.

Best Overall:

I really don’t have a desire to play this game, but it is within the spirit of the contest.

Published in: on March 8, 2007 at 2:22 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Thanks, Dave.

    I think you are spot-on about the Shaping rolls and Self bidding.

    In regards to the Three Acts and Events, my intent was to provide structured play. The game-in-my-head was driven by player choice, but I guess it came out railroady instead. Advising the GM to use force is laziness on my part.

    – Mike Addison

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