Mesopotamians is part of the Indie Megamix Mixtape, a collection of micro RPG's. On a whole, they aren't the most polished games but they are usually a lot more polished than the micro games I've read from things like 24-Hour contests.
That said, Mesopotamians is probably the least polished game I've seen in the Indie Megamix Mixtape. It literally feels like it's missing whole chunks of rules, enough to make me wonder how playable it is. However, the pieces that are there are really fun.
In Mesopotamians, you play ancient Mesopotamian kings who have been brought back from the dead to lead the undead armies of an evil sorceress. However, you've instead decided to form a rock band and go on the road in an econovan.
The econovan serves as the dice pool for the group. When there's a crisis point, a chosen player will roll the four dice on it. And here's the first interesting part. You assign the four dice to four different areas. The actual crisis, the band's money situation, the band's success as a rock group and how close the sorceress is to conquering the world.
And the second interesting bit is the the characters are just collections of pre-rolled dice. And, after the van dice are rolled, you can swap your dice for van dice. So, the game has an interesting dice juggling mechanic. I don't know how well it works but it is a different way of managing a dice pool.
Here's the structure of game play. Roleplay a scene until you reach a crisis point. That's it.
And that's my issue with Mesopotamians. There isn't any structure to the game play. There's a theme and there's a conflict resolution mechanic but nothing to tie them together. There's nothing in the game that tells you how to play the game.
Okay, given the audience that will be buying the Indie Megamix Mixtape, this isn't exactly a game killer.. The folks who I used to play indie games with back in the Midwest wouldn't have a problem with having just roleplay a scene to work with. But given the number of possible one-shot narrative games that one could play that do offer a structure to work with, that Mesopotamians isn't a strong choice.
Which is a shame because I love the theme. No complicated explanation or justification. Just Gilgamesh and Hammurabi and company forming a rock band. It's funny and absurd and it's going to stick in my head far longer than games that are much more playable
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