Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Maid: Impressions

So, as mentioned previously, Maid was played yesterday. It was... not nearly as bad as I expected. Both mechanically and thematically it flowed reasonably well and did what it's supposed to do.

As you may have noticed, the post when  I commented on the core mechanic was at 3:30 in the morning and so I am reserving the right to retract what I said about it due to not thinking it through properly. What the multiplication mechanic does to set itself apart from most mechanics to my mind is twofold. Firstly and most importantly it means there is a real difference between a skill 2 and skill 3. Whereas a + modifier would be the norm in *many* systems, the multiplication does make a difference. That is, a roll +2 is not significantly different to a roll +3, at least not when compared to a roll x2 and a rollx3. This didn't really occur to me when I was reading the rules before play, hence dismissing it as inflating the numbers. The reality is it allows a larger range of target numbers for challenges.

Secondly, the multiplication means that anyone with a skill of 0 cannot use that skill for anything. This was quite poignant coming from what might be regarded as a 'casual' game. Many games allow bases chances for success, even if it is just the roll of a dice. It was refreshing to note that as the skills are randomly generated it was possible you were going to have to work with a character that (like mine did) had 0 in a crucial skill (Athletics in my case). This is mitigated by the fact that whenever you perform an action you describe it in such a manner as to decide which attribute you roll on. If you emphasise the physical parts of an activity then you roll Athletics, if you emphasise precision and technique then you roll Skill etc. This is the main engine that drives the roleplaying aspect of the game and it works well as you have to work out how to proceed in the way that best emphasises your 'talents'.

As to the actual game: it was fun but a little disjointed and hectic. It specifically says in the rules that it could be used as a long-term game but I can't see it working that way for any group I've played with. It's fun as a distraction between other things but unless you're really into the theme (you know who you are) the ruleset is not really tight enough to facilitate campaign play and the kooky characters (lolita assassain ninja?) and plots would probably wear thin after a while. They certainly would for me anyway. But as always, YMMV and I know a few people who could probably get a kick out of it for a good long while.

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