[Coyote Doctor] Game Chef review by Mael

Started by Mael, April 21, 2012, 04:40:20 PM

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Chef: Julian Hyde
Title: Coyote Doctor
Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IaLJqU4Wa1HtuxkF_whN5UuDG_FUpWxsT9lcFR0Q2co/edit
Elevator Pitch: Godlike entities race against time to recover the Lantern in a dying universe, while the Coyote attempts to thwart them at every turn.
Word Count: 1199
Eligible: Yes!

Well, the game is about the degenerescence of the universe, and how characters will stop the process (or not), so that seems good enough for me :)

As you don't mention the ingredients you used, I supposed that they were the four words ingredients :
- Coyote : yup, as the main antagonist
- Mimic : perhaps as the technique Coyote uses to infiltrate players group ?
- Lantern : yup, as the goal to be reached
- Doctor : could be, considering that players are there to "heal the universe", but I think it's a little stretchy (they don't really heal anything during the game, they mainly try to reach the Lantern)

Things I liked
I liked how Coyote can infiltrate the players group, and how players have to play its role one after the other.

The gate narrative construction using concepts is also a good idea - with imaginative players, that could give really interesting results, especially combined with the space and time travel.

I also liked the ending where players describe how they rebuild the universe.

Things I didn't get
I'm not sure I get the resolution system. It seems to me that the players never roll until one decides that the situation fits a Gate. They they start opposing the Coyote with their concepts, if they win they break through the Gate, if not they have to start again, another player being the Coyote. If so, that means that if unsuccessful (or maybe even if successful, I'm not sure), all players (Coyote included) lose a concept and continue to try to reach a Gate (the next one if they were successful, the same one otherwise). Is that what you had in mind ?

Outside of the Gates confrontations, it seems to me that the player being Coyote is supposed to narrate and provide the other players context and conflicts. I'm not sure about how this is meant to be done, and how the players are supposed to react. Do they just wait until an element seems to be related to a Gate ? Or is Coyote only providing the initial situation, then players narrating their characters actions, then Coyote's responding to that, until one player finds the Gate ? Can the players use their concepts to modify the context provided by Coyote before a Gate is reached ?

The concepts, while a good idea, are kind of unclear to me. Maybe that's intended so that players can improvise as they like, but some are really hard for me to get, as they are linked to the setting, like Sickness (wasn't that a Coyote thing ?), or Goddess or Gate ... there is also mentioned that players can always use Lantern as a concept, but I'm not sure how either.

Lastly, I think the part "Gates are reached when you come across a situation that at least one player thinks fits the current gate" requires some explanations. Is the player supposed to narrate why it fits the Gate ? Can Coyote react so that it can finally not be the Gate ?

I thought that maybe the loss of concepts could be due to direct failures facing the Coyote, better than being automatic?

Also, shouldn't the "Sickness" concept only be available to Coyote, as a way to "taint" the concepts of the character it has replaced?
Maybe a metagame system could be of use here, like some "Sickness pool" only Coyote can use to alter the scene.

There is some interesting ideas here, especially the concepts and the time and space travel. I don't know what are your influences, but putting aside the god nature of PCs, the part about travelling in time & space and looking for "out-of-time" objects or characters while the universe collapse made me thought about a French graphical novel : Christin & Mézières' Valérian et Laureline.

The concept idea also reminded me Walking in Shadows in Amber.

The main problem I guess is that I found the text difficult to read. Maybe you should spend some more time to proofread your game and really clarify the system and the context, and maybe playtest it - in its current state, I don't think I would be capable to run it.

Anyway, thank you for this game !