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jueves, 27 de junio de 2013

Review of No te Duermas

In today's review I will talk about No te Duermas, the Spanish edition of the gameDon’t Rest Your Head by Fred Hicks made by publisher conBarba as I was able to purchase it through my involvement in the corresponding patronage.

No te Duermas is a game where is easy to notice the influence of several works of fiction, such as the film Dark City and in which the characters discover that the real world is not what they imagined with all that that entails.

A brief introduction to the Mad City

Players of No te Duermas interpret the Awakened, characters whose insomnia has allowed them to discover the Mad City, a extremely distorted reflection of the Sleeping City (considered so far as the real world, but they soon will discover that it is not) to be quite familiar but at the same time quite strange.

Inside the Mad City it's possible to wander around several places (originated through a mix of different sites in time and space) where the Awakened can encounter its inhabitants; some of them are inhabitants of the Sleeping City who inadvertently have crossed one of the portals that connect both, but the Nightmares are the most dangerous and will not hesitate to attack the characters at every opportunity.

Characters' creations and game system

The Awakened can be created answering an easy questionary made by five questions that will allow players to decide how they found the Mad City, how are their characters (from the outside and with their true motivations) and which objectives they will have at the adventure's start.

The answers to these questions will also allow them to fill up the the character sheet and decide how they will react to some stressful situations (fight or flee) and choose a pair of Talents, one of Exhaustion (allowing them to carry out a normal activity with a better chance to succeed than a Sleeper) and one of Madness (allowing them to obtain a supernatural power beyond the normal human capabilities).

Referees could also use all the info contained in the questionary to create adventures adjuestesd to their capabilities and motivations.

The game system is based upon rolling opposed dice pools by players and the referee. Awakened pool is composed of Discipline dice (character's selfcontrol), Exhaustion dice (character's weariness, that also will allow him to use an Exhaustion Talent) and Madness (chance to become mad and/or use a Madness Talent); in the referee's case his dice designate Pain and will be used to determine how dangerous is a situation or a specific enemy.

Each dice obtaining 1, 2 or 3 is a success, albeit the highest number rolled will in a specific die can dominate the situation, complicating the situation and eventually afecting the character in many ways: Discipline allow the character to recover, Exhaustion can make him to sleep (and be victim to nightmares searching for him), Madness can force him to choose between to saty and fight or flee in a psychologically difficult situation and Pain will be used by the referee to recollect Despair coins. These coins (can be markers or chips) will allow him to modify outcome of rolls in his favor; after the referee has used the coins players can also use them as Hope coins to improve their situation lowering their Exhaustion or Madness points or recovering lost Discipline.

Testing the game

This time I had the opportunity to try the game before writing the review, I did it durring a gaming session I refereed last week in the headquarters of La Cofradía del Rol (the club I usually colaborate with), and the experience was highly satisfactory; it takes little time to prepare the characters and the game can quickly improvised with a glance at the characters sheets and their answers.

The game dynamics is easy to understand (to have a summaty of the rules in the cards really helps), but should be taken into account the fact that throwing many dice not always appeal to everyone.

Regarding the game setting and the interaction between the different concepts involved one of the players commented that it reminded quite her Wraith: The Oblivion, so it can be interesting for all already knowing about this game.

In short, a simple game perfectly suitable for an afternoon entertainment.

This entry it's also available in the following languages:
Castellano Català

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