Mar 252016

I’m a big fan of Fate Core. I’m also a huge fan of it’s Granddaddy, Spirit of the Century. So when Evil Hat started asking for playtesters for Shadow of the Century, you better believe I jumped at it! And I’m very happy to report that me and my group got into the playtest. So Deadlands is taking a break so that I can test this lovely little game.

So far I’ve been jumping around in the text a fair bit, and finally sat down to do a full read. But before I get dug in for the night, I wanted to post a few first impressions about the playtest document. I’ll likely do a larger writeup once I finish and digest all of the rules, but right now I’m excited enough to toss a few random ideas at the wall. Here’s what I’m loving right now:

  • The introduction. In just four short pages, the book brings you up to speed and gives you just enough information to get you really excited. As a player, I get excited. As a GM, my mind is already spinning. Just some really great stuff.
  • The flavor. Dear God, the flavor! As I read, I can totally hear my stereo blaring some Toto or MJ. Neon lights glow in my eyes and I can just feel the denim jacket on my shoulders. For gamers of a certain age, this text is a shot of pure adrenaline and nostalgia right to the heart. The references to 80s action and TV are all over the place. This thing was so obviously written by someone who knows the decade well and clearly has a lot of love for it.
    • Note: I should state that I’m a member of Gen-X and I grew up in the 80s and 90s. I have a great deal of nostalgia for stuff like this. I still giggle and smile whenever I catch a rerun of Magnum P.I. or MacGuyver. To a large degree, this game really speaks to me. Which probably makes me incredibly biased. And the rest of my group is all very much in the same age range. We can totally talk the tropes as easy as breathing.
  • Modes are back, and better than ever. With just a few small tweaks, they took what was a little confusing and made it much simpler. I simply adore how much simpler this has been made. My wife, who had a little trouble with Robo’s modes, immediately understood this version.
  • I sat down and thought of some of my favorite 80s heroes – I could make every single one with what’s in the book. Heck, you can even make Knight Rider right out of the book. Which is good, as JE is going to be playing a Knight Rider expy.
  • Montages. They. Are. Amazing. They’re sort of like Brainstorms from Robo, but different. They create special aspects that can be invoked to do special things. And they’re totally, utterly spot on for the 80s.
  • At first glance, the GM advice is all very solid. Especially for folks who didn’t grow up in the 80s.
  • VHS. There’s a game term that abbreviates VHS. I am tickled pink.

More to come when I read more. Gotta be ready for our pitch session next week!

Oh, I do know one thing. The game is set in Hawaii. The PCs will all be working for their mysterious benefactor, Robert Masterly. They will be badgered by the caretaker, one Jonathon Doyle MacGuffin III, Baron of Perth. I gotta do. For Oma (one of my fondest memories was keeping my great grandmother company after school; she loved Magnum P.I.)