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Game Chef 2012 review: Aokigahara

posted Apr 23, 2012, 7:40 PM by Good Idea Games

Summary: A 2 player cooperative narrative inspired by Japanese myth, Aokigahara use a card-based system to help players tell a gripping narrative of their duo's final journey.
Roses: It's very simple presentation and structure make this a simple game to play, and the very rich setting will make it a great game to listen to. The characters are compelling, and the scene descriptions are vivid. 
Density: I think Julia makes good use of our limited space, constructing a story game that will play out in about an hour, give or take. 
Ingredients: Julia uses all the main ingredients in her story, with a little flexibility granted to coyote. mimicry plays a common role, with the use of masks and demonic possession playing a common role.
Points of Improvement: I like the story being told, but it's a little disheartening to go into it knowing that the characters have no control over their fate. That being said, knowing how a story ends doesn't mean it's not worth hearing. There are many opportunities for players to create a compelling narrative. Maybe the theme of Fate can be brought up in the narrative? Additionally, it might be appropriate to warn the reader not be read all the way through the text prior to play, otherwise, make it a point that the players know how it's going to end from the very beginning.
Final Thoughts: This looks like a compelling and simple story game. The simplicity is it's greatest strength, as it will be easy to share with newcomers, and with little equipment and planning. I would be very interested to see this as part of a series of similar games.
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