I have a placeholder name for my new game – “Intrepid Histories” – although it’s not really enough like Intrepid that I want that to stick.
In any case, at this months Indiemeet I ran my second playtest, this time we followed the journey of Napoleans army as he marched on Russia.
We started again with a brief intro: The year is 1812 and Napoleon’s Great Army of 40,000 men are about to start their fateful march into Alexander I’s Russia. The map annotates the size of the army at each location and the temperatures on the way back.
(for some reason I managed to call our Tsar Nicolas instead of Alexander).
We started off again with some World Facts:
- The Irish had a revolution at the same time as the French, but in our history they won.
- The Aristocracy use magic, and consequently the revolutionaries are against magic.
- Russia used its magic to terraform its lands to be incredibly fertile.
It became clear from this that the Irish would be prominent allies of Napoleon and he has probably invading Russia for the food, as France was going through a famine without its own magic.
In a change from the last playtest we asked a question about each character to answer through play, rather than a relationship. This worked well and I may try having both in future.
I also made each journey arrow into a vignette scene, describing the journey and the lands the players traveled through.
The final change from last game was to give each layer 2 tokens they could spend to become scene framer (rather than using round robin). Once everyone had expended their tokens they refreshed. Tokens could also be used to add new facts about the world in between scenes.
What followed was a story of an enraged Napoleon slowly suffering setbacks on his way to Moscow, a treacherous Irish pirate captain, a more noble Irish siege engineer and a side plot where one of the French troops was discovered to have magical powers and was captured by the Russians.
When we got to Moscow we found it was a floating city (in the sky), although our magical soldier managed to sink it and the Russian court was forced to flee, but not before unleashing a supernatural winter on the lands, causing the French to have to go home.
On the way home the Russian aristocracy were shown to be cannibals, our heroic soldier/mage was burnt at the stake for being a witch, Nicolas killed Napoeon in a duel and most people died of the cold.
Plenty of twists and turns, with more villains than normal (like the last game) so I’d say it was a success.
I’ll try relationships and questions at character creation and I think spending tokens to state new facts will be rolled into vignette scenes (of which you can have multiple). Apart from that I just need some more scenarios. So far I’ve had these suggestions: Xenophon’s 10,000, Magellan or Cook’s journey around the world, Cortes and the Conquistadors and investigating the Cleveland Torso Murderer, but other suggestions are welcome.