Thursday, December 28, 2023

Where to get it: page

First things first, a conflict of interest declaration. The author of this rpg, Peter Schaeffer, has sent me a couple of physical books over the years, and while I think you could reasonably make the argument that sending a book to a book reviewer does not constitute a bribe, if you did, you'd be underestimating what an absolute book goblin I am, and how much my copy of The Well still ranks as one of my most treasured possessions.

With that said, 1-page rpgs are my kryptonite. I've already spent more time writing this post than I did reading the rpg it's about and I haven't even gotten close to an opinion. All that stuff I said in my Alique post about feeling trolled by rules-light games is still true, but it's even more pronounced because "roll a single die to be able to narrate success" is literally this game's entire task resolution system.

But I think, overall, that uses its limited page-count well. It's got a theme (the tension between being "cool" and being "real") and a mood ("late-stage capitalism, yikes, am I right?") and even the beginnings of a setting (Amazon Prime High School). I think you could, technically, call it a complete game, even though there aren't many moving parts.

And I should probably start wrapping up now, lest I write a post about a game that's longer than the game itself. There's enough here that I could use it as a jumping off point to talk about the punk part of cyberpunk (. . . maybe it's short length is thematic? like it's the rpg equivalent of one of those sub-2-minute punk songs . . . but is that something? And even if it is, does that something rise to the level of a theme? Yes?! Anarchy!!! whatever.) but I suspect I'll have other opportunities to explore this subject.

To sum up, I feel kind of awkward saying that was "worth my time," because while that is undoubtedly true, my time investment was incredibly short. Likewise, saying "I enjoyed it" also feels . . . off. I started enjoying it, and in less time than it usually takes for me to register enjoyment, it was over and there was nothing left to enjoy.  Metaphorically, someone's asking me to plot a high-scool anime based on a toxic yellow gumball bought for five cents from a rundown gas station, and look, you can chew it for maybe a minute before it loses its flavor, but I see something potentially iconic in this imagery, so I'm willing to at least give it a shot.

Ukss Contribution: Very little setting here, but the hit rate is 100%. "Amazon Prime High" is both obvious as hell and punk as hell and that combination is exactly my sense of humor. Ukss will probably not have Amazon Prime, but it will have an educational institution with some inappropriate corporate branding.

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