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General Forge Forums => Endeavor => Topic started by: Troy_Costisick on March 14, 2007, 04:02:25 PM

Title: [Outtage RPG Contest] Review of Comedy Blackout
Post by: Troy_Costisick on March 14, 2007, 04:02:25 PM
Comedy Blackout Review
By John Laviolette

Game Summary:

The game begins by explaining what “blackout” means in comedic circles.  That’s great because I would have had no idea.  The background really helps in understanding the rest of the game.

The game sets up play according the sketches and scenes- like you were on TV.  Very PTA.  Characters in the game take on stereotypes.  At this point, people might freak out and go, “Stereotypes!  How horrible?”  And then you read.  These are TV stereotypes that are on every night on TBS or WGN.  Nagging wives, nosey mothers, dumb dads are all in play, and that’s great.  Nothing wrong with poking fun at pop culture.

On page three starts an example of play.  This made me very happy.  Examples of play are key to understanding the designer’s intent for a game.  Reading it really let me know what his vision for the game was.  It was easy to follow and looked like fun. 

The resolution system seems a bit tedious.  It involves flipping a number of coins and taking actions according to how many head results you get.  There’s no way to tell unless you actually play it, but the nice thing is that you can use the coins as token to tell how many actions you have left.  Actions can be in the form of gags, props, or situations that advance the scene.

The object of the game is to progress through a sketch (which is described as an extended joke) by adding props and pulling gags as desired.  Players have to risk props and gags to get what they want which adds an element of tension (and fun).  A scene will end under two conditions. One of the characters reach his goal or everyone passes on the same turn.  If the players like the way things are going, they continue with another scene.  If not, they move on to a different sketch.


Okay, here’s what I like.  I like that the author tackles comedy here.  IMO, that is SO underdone in RPGs, especially indie RPGs.  I like the fact that he basically narrows the focus of a game like PTA to just comedy and gives the players a lot of tools for creating their own comedy.  His knowledge about improve and/or comedic writing is obvious.  I can really see people having a great time playing this game pretending to be on SNL or Friends or Scrubs.  John, you’ve got the beginnings of a very fun game here.  If you choose to pursue it, I think you will really like the results.