Friday, December 10, 2021

Rock Opera ‘79 is a cool flavor of crazy

 In Rock Opera ‘79, you play a rebel rock band out to stop The Man and his soul crushing disco. Which sounds like a crazy idea but the actual game exceeded my expectations in its craziness.


A friend of mine recommended it many months ago and I finally picked up the free version. Which is _almost_ enough to play the game but lacks some character creation rules. But was enough to fill in the setting!

(Mechanically, the game is built around draw decks BUT has this fun little rule: the players can play rock anthems or the GM, excuse me, The Man, can play Get Mellow anthems. They give bonuses for their respective sides. BUT you have to play the actual song on a device and the bonuses only last as long as the song. Cue every player adding In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida to their play list)

I went in expecting a slightly Gonzo version of the 1970s in the United States. Instead, it’s a dystopia that is sliding right into a post-apocalypse. 

Man, where do I start? After a major nuclear war, western civilization was run by a computer named SIBIL who would be right at home in a game of Paranoia. SIBIL apparently broke down, the divide between the haves and the have-nots got even bigger and organized crime has become  the closest thing to government lef by The Man. 

However, an astronaut had discovered that going into space makes you one with the cosmos. And Rock and Roll can do the same thing. The ability to expand the mind and soul and give people a level of untouchable freedom and happiness is a threat to the powers that be. So they created the Discontent Suppression Field, Disco, which is addictive and suppresses will power.

So we have literal outlaw rockers trying to bring freedom and happiness to the oppressed masses while The Man is trying to suppress free will and creativity, while civilization is collapsing.

Oh and there is a literal iron curtain bisecting the world and the Martians really are out there.

In other words, this is well realized crazy with a lot of options for the game master/The Man to take things in different directions.

Because of the setting, I will actually remember Rock Opera ‘79 and would play it given the chance.


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