Friday, May 25, 2018

Wandering Stars is just the start of a good idea

The Indie Megamix Mixtape has been by go-to over the last couple years when I want a quick little RPG fix. While I am in the middle of two or three longer RPG books I’m reading off and on, sometimes I want to be able to read and process something in one sitting.

In almost the same sitting, I read My Mother’s Demons, Dyin’ Day and Wandering Stars. The first two were emotionally strong works. Just reading Dyin’ Day was a little traumatic for me. Then I got to Wandering Stars... which is a party game.

That was quite the jump, let me tell you!

Okay, here’s the elevator pitch. The host sets up an obstacle course/puzzle that the players have to solve. (And by that, I mean redecorate the entire house :D) You can’t use your arms  or walk standing up if you’re by yourself. You have to touch chests for one player to use one of their arms and their eyes have to be  closed. You can only talk if someone touches your shoulder and you have to talk to the ceiling.

I have a very loose definition of RPG. Wandering Stars doesn’t even come close :D 

Which isn’t to say that it doesn’t sound fun or, quite frankly, a riot. It does sound like it’d be a lot of work for the host so, unlike almost every other game in the Mixtape, it will take a lot of prep work. Which isn’t a flaw, it’s just a necessity of the form.

What is a flaw is that two pages is not enough to make Wandering Stars a functional set of instructions. It is the form of the Mixtape format but, boy, it does not serve this game well at all. There needs to be a discussion how you develop obstacles and challenges and puzzles. Full examples of a complete setup would also be good.

Because, if you are taking the time and effort to turn your whole house into an obstacle course, you don’t want to do it purely by trial and error. A bad first experience will be your last Wandering Stars experience since why go to the trouble again?

As it stands, Wandering Stars is the outline of a good idea. As well as quite a break from deep, serious little RPGs :D

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