June 18, 2012

[Kickstarter] Durance

A couple of days ago, taking advantage of the RPG DAY, I played a demo version of Durance, the new game of Jason Morningstar, the author of Fiasco and Gray Ranks.

It was fun, although the randomness of the table added a little drag to the story. Like Fiasco, Durance is a game that cannot go wrong but, with the right people, can go way better.

If you like Fiasco or you don't know it, Durance is the game you must support now!

Durance is designed for 3-5 players and can be played over one or more sessions with very little preparation required. Players assume the dual roles of Authority and convict colonists trying to survive on an outrageously hostile planet. The thin veneer that separates the two classes tends to erode during play, raising questions about corruption, justice and mercy.

One cool thing about Durance is that, like Fiasco, you generate the setting and characters as part of play. This step takes half an hour and results in an exciting, unstable collection of characters mired in a grim and equally unstable setting you helped to devise.What will your colony be like? What dismal horrors does the planet it is carved out of have in store? And, most importantly, who are the people who are marooned there?

The hierarchy of status and position, called the Ladder, is central to the game. Players will author and control two characters ("colony notables"), each one from a different class and station.

Gameplay is fast and loose. You'll take turns in the role of Guide, asking questions about the cast of miscreants and ne'er-do-wells you've created and seeing them answered by your friends around the table. Those answers are always flavored by savagery or servility or some drive unique to your colony, like harmony or control. In the end, your friends will always surprise you.

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