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Game Chef 2012 review: Fin de Siecle

posted Apr 23, 2012, 8:30 PM by Good Idea Games

Summary: A Victorian sort of X-files, players are investigators charged with researching improbable inventions of the time. The game uses a very simple system of conflict resolution that is sure to keep things moving quickly.
Roses: The world described by the author is compelling, and the system is simple enough to lead directly to quick play. In addition to choosing the common attributes, players invest their points in their characters general approach to trouble. This provides a nice narrative seed to describing a scenario.

Density: The author makes excellent use of the space, providing both a (very simple) conflict resolution system, and sample adventure in the space provided.
Ingredients: The ingredients inspired aspects of the sample adventure, but I do not feel that they are very strong. Doctors feature prominently, and the magic lantern creates a physical idea of something, more than the real thing (a mimic, as it were). Ultimately, it seems inappropriate that the killer (weapon?) in these cases is a mimic coyote. Given the themes of the story, it would be more appropriate for it to be some sort of fantastical monkey man, or other conjecture of evolutionary design. 

Points of Improvement: At the beginning of the text, you describe as success as <=, and failure as >=, leaving the reader to guess what to do if the die roll is = the objective value. However, later on you suggest that  only a roll of < is a full success. I suspect there is a typo there. A little more expansion of the system is appropriate (but only a little), as character health and damage is never discussed, and the players are often times at rick of physical harm.
Final Thoughts: I like the cut of your jib! This game is well written, very fast and easy to read, and provides an interesting world, with a mechanic that reinforces the game's themes. Well done. 
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