Sunday, 19 July 2015

Hoard of Zĕmian Goodness - Hydra Cooperative

Not very long ago I wrote two reviews, appraising the work of +Chris Kutalik. The first was of the sprawling and chaotic Slumbering Ursine Dunes. The second review was of the excellent Fever-Dreaming Marlinko; a city supplement.

Since reviewing both works I have had the utmost pleasure of playing in one of Chris' "Misty Isles" playtests, as well as receiving an at-cost physical copy of both FDM and SUD.

Firstly, Chris' games are awesome. In the last year or so I have become quite bored of being a player. I get far more pleasure from creating and running games. The short game I had with Chris gave me faith in the simple pleasures of creating a character, and exploring crazy spheres. It was zany, it was imaginative, it was all the things I aspire to in my own games. Moreover, the experience gave me additional insights and contexts to Chris' works. On their own I initially found them to be disorientating at times — primarily due to a lack of geographic map within the work, and some in-jokes within the work itself. Since playing in one of this games, however, I understand the world and the references a lot more.

Likewise, I enjoyed the PDF copies of FDM and SUD, but having the physical products is another level. Both are around A5 size, with FDM being slightly bigger (as you can see in the photo above). They are attractively presented, and a joy to flick through. I have just started a city adventure with my current players, so I imagine FDM will be a constant at-the-table guide. In my opinion, the merits of this work are in its toolkit applicability rather than being a highly detailed and self-contained setting. It is the latter of course, but I find the work to be a great source of inspiration, rather a biblical dictum.

Do yourself a huge favour and pick up a copy of both. If I had to recommend only one, I would still go with Fever-Dreaming Marlinko. It is psychedelic and odd, but very versatile. And did I mention it was fun to flick through? 

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