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August 28, 2009 / jadettman

murderland review

Some of you may remember that I wrote a little game called murderland some time ago. I wrote it for a contest created by Jonathan Walton which had specific constraints.

Well, it’s been a little while but Mr. Walton has reviewed my entry. Here’s the review:

22. Jason Dettman – Murderland

Premise:A police procedural in which one player is the murderer and the other players are investigators. Coins are flipped and spent to add descriptive details and bits of evidence.

Thoughts: Reading through the rules, I honestly wasn’t that excited, but the example of play showed very clearly that play could be super-fast and fairly gripping. I definitely want to try it out now. Still, I think this game would really sing if the “murderer” player just represented the evidence / lay thereof and no one at the table could actually say for sure who the murderer was. The investigators would ultimately decide who they will charge with the crime and either convict someone or not, but the “truth” of the crime would never be revealed. That would be fascinating, I imagine, and very much like what actual police work is like, where you try not to think about your doubts after you’ve convicted someone, because you have to move on to the next case.

Conclusion: Browned, but baked if you add a lot more uncertainty, I think.

It’s not a bad review. I disagree that the game would be better with more ambiguity but that’s just a matter of taste. I’ll be curious to see if his opinion changes any if he actually plays it.

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If you’re interested in reading the review directly, or providing comments to Mr. Walton, his review can be found at his blog, one thousand one, or on Story Games.

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