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Game Chef 2012 Review: Anansi's Children

posted Apr 19, 2012, 6:28 PM by Good Idea Games
Summary: A 3+ player game, where players use the magic of words to stop the gods from destroying a world in disarray. Designed as a one-shot story, Anansi's Children makes powerful use of props to create a memorable experience.

Roses: This game is very well written. The story and the text shine with polish. The mechanics used to grant powers to the players are very creative, and I think would make for a very memorable story game.
Theme Inclusion: Very Well done. This game draws clear inspiration from Native American mythology, and utilizes the ingredients throughout the text. The Doctor ingredient is less obvious, but I see the thematic inclusion in the word powers, as players have a number of opportunities to prevent damage.
Density: Neal accomplishes a lot with the space he uses. The game's text is printed on a single side of paper, the character sheet printed on the other. Though not described in the text, I love the idea that the evidence of the rules of the game, the fabric of reality, are destroyed as the players repair and dismantle reality. That being said, I think the text is a little too dense. Rules are written only once, so gaining a proper understanding of how the game runs means re-reading the text several times. 
An extra page and some examples would go a long way towards teaching readers how to play.
Points of Improvement: I understand that the author has a goal of creating a game that fits on three pages, but unfortunately I think there's a little too much left out. After reading Anansi's Children, I immediately want to play, but then I thought about the logistics of the system, many not described, and I think it will take a few stressful scenes for my players and I to really understand how the author intended this system to be used.
Final Thoughts: I love this game. It's already been printed and included in my one-shot party kit. That being said, I'd like the game as a single .PDF download, and a third document with examples and pictures would be nice. Only the Host needs to see the examples, since the Host will be teaching their friends how play is done.