Review: Once More

In Short…

Once More is Mendel Schmiedekamps game of reincarnation and the journey of existence. You play a group of Shades, souls who move through boan after boan, leading their many lives in order to determine where they will eventually end up. The game seems solid enough, though I wonder if moment-to-moment play is rewarding enough to warrant playing through the entire cycle, from start to finish.

Incorporation of Images

The images are mostly used to illustrate individual Boan, and while they are used well enough in those places, the fact that there are so many more Boan than images makes their inconsistent use less than effective. This is one area where the contest structure is somewhat detrimental to the game, and it probably would have been better for there to be more images in this one instance. That said, the images are used appropriately and tastefully, and the game is certainly built off of them.

Playability

This is another game that I’d need to take another read-through before starting to play, in order to figure out the resolution mechanics. They seem like they hang together fine, but they’re fiddly enough that my brain will need to see them in play before I really get them. That said, I really like the Boan’s (and I’m impressed by the amount of them included in the game!), and I feel like they give immediate and solid situation for play. It strikes me as one of those games that would probably take a couple of stages before everyone really got on the same page, but once that happens it would roll right along.

I really appreciate the guidelines for creating your own Boans, as I feel that that would be essential for playing the game more than once.

Overall

The game seems solid, but I wonder if there’s enough action from Boan to Boan to warrant playing through the entire game from start to finish. That is, I don’t really have a sense of how long it would take to play the game. It seems that, if you’re essentially playing through one or two Boan a session (if each Stage is basically a scene, it seems thats about how many you could get through in one 3-4 hour block), it could take a while to get through a convoluted Boan path. And, since the mechanical structure is the same in each Boan, I wonder if there’s enough fun in simply engaging in that process over and over again to supplement the narrative and drive play along all the way to the end.

This is a vague concern, but a real one. That said, I don’t see any reason why a group that’s really grooving on the theme and narrative content that they’re generating wouldn’t have a great time going through the entire game.

Further Thoughts

This one is really hard for me to get a sense of without actually playing it. It may also just not really be my thing. I think having a section of the text that explicates how Mendel sees the game going on the macro scale would be helpful to seeing how its all supposed to flow, and I think a running example of a group of shades going through a certain Boan cycle, tied into the descriptions of the Boans, would be really helpful as well.

-N

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Published in: on March 18, 2007 at 1:55 am  Leave a Comment  

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