Friday, September 4, 2020

Some PnP are just mad experiments

 A Thousand Years of Blood is an odd duck. It’s a solitaire Print and Play game from a 24-Hour contest. Not counting the rules, which aren’t that complex, all you need is the pocket mod booklet that forms the game, a pencil, a six-sided die and an eight-sided die.

The concept of the game is bigger than every other aspect of the game. In A Thousand Years of Blood, you are an escaped biological experiment who is trying to assassinate Kirchner, Hitler’s super-powered successor. In actuality, that consists of solving three mazes that have random elements added for each game.

The pocket mod booklet consists of a title page, a character sheet, and the three stages, which consist of instructions how to randomly place guards and lasers and such and the board for the stage. Your character consists of hit points, a movement rate, an amount of damage you can do and two special powers like speed or strength.

After you create the random set up, the game is deterministic until you reach Kirchner on the last stage who has A random action each turn. Each turn, you can move and attack in either order. Then, if you are in range of enemies, they attack. No rolls to hit. If you or the enemy are in range, damage. 

Like I said, this is a seriously minimalist game. The boards consists of a grid with some lines drawn in and you draw in letters. It brought back memories of ASCII games from the prehistoric ages of computer games like the original Rogue.

And, I have to admit, I found the game pretty easy. Since everything is laid out in the first two stages, they are just puzzles that aren’t too tricky to solve. Kirchner’s random movement and attacks makes the third stage more interesting but there’s a chance his rolls won’t actually affect you.

But... I openly admit that games that are free, as opposed to published, get more leeway from me. And A Thousand Years of Blood was made in a 24-hour contest and apparently never revised after that. From that standpoint, I can forgive a lot of the weaknesses in the game. I mean, the game works. Give me 24-hours to makes a game and I don’t know if there’s much danger of the game being functional.

On the one hand, the game borders on being solved. The art effectively doesn’t exist, which is beyond fine in an abstract game but this is theoretically ending a super Nazi’s reign. On the other hand, it uses almost no ink, takes a minute to make, is a cute use of a pocket mod and is an interesting game experiment. 

I have seen better uses of pocket mods as games. (Assault on Goblin Hold is a good example) And A Thousand Years of Blood is really a dancing bear of a game, more interesting that it exists and works than fun as a game. It’s absolute fluff but it doesn’t pretend to be anything else. It will probably just get one or two more plays out of me and I’ll be done. But it was an interesting little idea to look at.

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