Review: Misspent Youth

Note: This review was also published on RPG.net.

Misspent Youth coverMisspent Youth is a game firmly anchored in the subgenre of story games. The players (the Young Offenders, or YO) and gamemaster (the Authority) work together to answer a series of questions about the setting and characters to create the setting, then play out episodes in which the Young Offenders fight off an oppressive, corrupt, or abusive Authority and generally stick it to The Man. What will they sacrifice for their ideals?

Disclaimer: I received free print and PDF copies of the book so I could playtest and review it.

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Game Recap: Harbor City Afternoon

Harbor City News

News we haven’t made up, really.

Gunfight at Harbor City Prison

One prison guard was killed and several wound this morning when a firefight broke out at Harbor City Prison. An unidentified woman claiming to be a lawyer for the Highway Kings biker gang apparently smuggled several firearms into the prison. Reports are mixed on whether she was attempting to bust the Highway Kings out of prison or kill them. A dozen members of the motor cycle gang were killed as well as a super powered member known by the name White Lines. The super powered biker calling himself Skull that lead the group that took the deputy chief of police hostage on Wednesday, as well as the mystery woman, vanished in the chaos. The police have warrants out for both suspects and anyone with information about the attack or their whereabouts should contact the Harbor City police department. They are considered armed and dangerous.

Giant Robot Attacks School!

Yesterday a giant robot calling itself Omnipotron and claiming to be an alien invading Earth attacked the Jean-Baptiste Lamarck grade school. Despite the Mayor’s announcement and the events of Wednesday and Tuesday several ‘heroes’ arrived to battle the robot as well as the recently formed police Unusual Situations Group. While many children were injured in the incident the only serious injury was to Captain Lewis, commander of the USG. Even with most of his team defeated Captain Lewis was instrumental in bringing down the robot. He is presently hospitalized but reported to be in good condition. The robot turned out not to be an alien invader or a rogue Garibaldi or Goliath Corporation robot but a robot vehicle built and piloted by a local inventor. As a minor the perpetrator’s name is being kept out of the press but sources indicate that the U.S. Army weapons development group is attempting to recruit them in exchange for a commuted sentence. Seahawk, a local professor and part time ‘hero’ was arrested at the scene for vigilantism. His lawyer is arguing that he was just pulling children to safety and that his actions fall under Good Samaritan laws. Also identified at the scene were masked vigilante The Confessor and Bitch Seat, wanted in connection to a series of homicides related to biker gangs.

Deputy Police Chief out of Intensive Care

The deputy chief of police was released from intensive care this morning, though he still remains hospitalized. The deputy chief was one of fifteen people held hostage at Anne’s Restaurant on Wednesday. Only two cooks managed to escape the situation unharmed. The other hostages were hospitalized with the deputy chief and four others, including two children, critically wounded. Members of the Highway Kings biker gang lead by two super powered individuals calling themselves Skull and White Lines took the hostages demanding the release of their fellow gang members in exchange. Several members of the Highway Kings had been arrested Tuesday in a gunfight and firebombing of a bank in downtown Harbor City. This was the first test of Mayor Pennywise’s new Unusual Situations Group, a team of veteran police officers equipped with high technology weapons donated to the city by the Garibaldi Corporation. Unfortunately several ‘heroes’ lead by the Brick intervened and almost brought down the building resulting in hostages being shot and buried under rubble. After the incident, the Brick and well known ‘hero’ the Ultimate turned themselves over to the police.

The Brick Recants Actions as Vigilante

Today the ‘hero’ known to the nation for decades as The Brick spoke before a crowd at city hall announcing his retirement. “After many conversations with Mayor Pennywise I have come to agree with him and regret my actions as a vigilante,” said the Brick. “People with powers should pursue less dangerous activities. Put their abilities to good use in trades like construction.” The Brick apologized to the people of Harbor City and the hostages harmed by his actions and their families. He said that he was giving up vigilantism and encouraged others to do so. “If you have to continue fighting crime, please take up the mayor’s offer and get police training,” he implored his fellow ‘heroes’. According to counsel the Ultimate, also arrested after Wednesday’s incident, will fight the charges. A nationwide letter writing campaign by the Ultimate’s fans is already underway.

Playtest review: Danger Patrol!

Last night we tried the beta playtest version of Danger Patrol.  Created by Seattle game designer John  Harper, Danger Patrol is a quick-start role-playing game where players take the roles of pulp science-fiction heroes.  Character creation takes only a few minutes and play is quick and fairly simple, revolving around elements of danger added on-the-fly by the players and game master.  This is a great match for the Emerald City Gamefest Thursday Night Open Game sessions or a pick-up game among friends.

Style

The game is still in beta testing so there is no lavish production.  It’s a neatly laid-out PDF document with a ’30s science-fiction look, but the only illustrations are icons, examples of use of dice, markers, etc., and a head shots of “Professor Bradbury” and “Danger Cadet Billy”, the narrators (or the Clippies) of the game, answering the questions expected from readers.

The writing is clear and kept short, and the information is well organized for quick reference.  There are many useful checklists and cheat sheets, such as the list of the “stuff you need” to play (what types of dice and how many, markers, tokens, etc.), the step-by-step character creation process, the scene sequence, the “GM jobs and threat move” page, the list of “heroic actions”, the rules summaries, etc.

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Game On!

Happy New Year and new decade, gamers!  It’s 2011 and once again I ask: Where the heck is my jetpack? my Moon Base? my time machine?  Until they materialize (ha-ha), I will have to continue gaming, I guess.

What did you play this past year?  What do you plan on playing in the coming one?  In 2010 my own game time and access were much reduced, but I got t try a few new system and continue with other games including:

  • Green Ronin’s Dragon Age
  • Pelgrane Press’ Skulduggery
  • Evil Hat Productions’ Dresden Files
  • Triple Ace Games’ Sundered Skies for Savage Worlds
  • Contested Ground Studio’s Hot War
  • Ronin Arts’ vs. Outlaws
  • Black Library’s Dark Heresy setting, in Pinnacle Entertainment Games’  Savage Worlds system
  • Moon Design’s Heroquest 2, in the Holistic Press’ Fading Suns setting

2011 started with a new episode of Dresden Files yesterday and it looks like more Savage Heresy, more Dragon Age, and a mini-series of Shadowrun 4 will cover the next few weeks, at least.

What about you?

Game Summary: New Blood- Issue 6

New Blood

Issue 6

Violence Solves Everything

With Don and the Bronze Umbrella in costume, the locals mostly clear out of the bar when the heroes walk in. The Huntress is outside watching for gang members.

Down the street, Whale-Watcher is enjoying her entrée.

The Huntress sees the entire gang coming down the street. Some go to the front of the bar, others to the back where she is hiding. Just as the Weasel orders spaghetti, one of the gang members throws open the front door, yells “It looks like you Corlione’s have started playing dress up too!”, and hurls a Molotov cocktail into the bar.

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Game Summary: New Blood- Issue 5

New Blood

Issue 5

More New Blood

Veronica and Caroline sit on a bench talking. Veronica tells Caroline that the police will be coming soon. Caroline says that the police are jerks and will probably blame her for all of this.

Outside the Huntress has Morko let her out of the SUV. Morko actually has an appointment for his day job and goes off to take care of that. The Bronze Umbrella pulls up on his bronze motorcycle, but has no idea what is going on. Don Manuel recovers from the fear effect and goes to talk to the SWAT commander. Given that the police are not supposed to be consorting with heroes and that Don is not exactly in tune with the mindset of American law enforcement, the SWAT commander ignores him.

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Game Summary: New Blood- Issue 4

New Blood

Issue 4

Berserk Button

Whale-Watcher and the Trouser Weasel approach the mall but are stopped by the police. While Whale-Watcher tries to convince them that they are heroes and should be let in, the Weasel recalls a clothing display inside from his job as a secret shopper and teleports into some leather pants. A mannequin appears in the Weasel’s pants outside by Whale-Watcher, who is not amused.

Needing a vehicle to get the mall, Morko walks into the street and terrifies a poor man driving an SUV. He careens off of the road and barely avoids hitting a tree. As the driver runs off, Morko takes the car and has the other heroes pile in. Morko sets off for the kid’s house to pick up Don Manuel.

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