Wednesday, August 30, 2023

I hope I am being too mean to In This World

 One of my most important RPG experiences in the past ten years has been Microscope by Ben Robbins. Part of that is because almost all of my RPG gaming during that time has been long distance and Microscope was wonderful in a play-by-email format.

So, when I saw that Ben Robbins had another project, In This World, I backed that Kickstarter. While the final product hasn’t been produced, I have gone through the early-release base rules and I have to admit that I have been underwhelmed.

I won’t go over the actual rules since that would actually be giving away the game. But you go around the table, round robin, building worlds. The twist is that you take a basic concept and subvert some of its basic tenets. (In this world, dragons are plants BUT they still eat princesses)

And before I get critical, I had to say that is a terrific concept. Easy to understand and implement while still open to lots of possibilities.

So here’s where I felt In This Word fell short, albeit possibly only in the basic, early release rules. At the end of the game, you will have some worlds that are laid out as bullet points.

That’s where other games like Kingdom or Microscope or The Quiet Year begin.

I do love me a world building game but part of the experience is doing something with the world. Building up on the initial idea. Seriously fleshing things out. Roleplaying scenes in the world. In This World feels like setting up for a game of Microscope. In This World feels like something I’d find in an anthology, not as a standalone product. 

And, yes, I’m being incredibly unfair. The final product, with all its bells and whistles, could and hopefully will assuage all my fears.

I sincerely hope the finished product proves my fears entirely wrong.

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