Last week I threw down the first of three commentaries on new games I’ve tried ever since I decided to go hog wild with all the gaming I could cram into my…uhm…cramming places where the games go.
Ok that one got away from me a little. At any rate, I got try a late-night punchy-as-hell run of the game Dread! All I knew about this game was that it was survival horror and involved a jenga tower to increase tension. Everyone I had known who had played it had nothing but incredible things to say about it, plus it was 2am and somehow the idea of doing survival horror at 2am that required manual dexterity sounded like a brilliant idea*
I was surprised that there was a brief bit of character creation–really just a short questionnaire to establish a little bit of who you are and why you’re there. Not that it didn’t make sense to have any, but somehow I had expected more of a “describe your character to the group” roleplay rather than the slightly more codified questionnaire I was presented with. I decided to play a total misanthrope, a chain-smoking sleazy conman who was looking for his dead partner’s half of the treasure map leading to where he had buried the loot of our last great con before he, you know, got eaten by zombies.
I’m not going to bore you with a play-by-play recap of the game–I will say it works well as a one-session cooperative story game, that it does require a GM with at least a passing knowledge of horror tropes, and that using a black jenga tower that’s known for being extra-slippery is a dick move**. It was quick, too–maybe only an hour or two total game time, and while Jenga by itself is kind of a boring test of basic dexterity and not being an engineering moron, using the wibbling-wobbling-hold-your-breath-or-lose-it-all jenga system almost perfectly emulated the suspense of really good horror. I would absolutely recommend this game to others, and am eager to try running a session myself as soon as possible.
**Seriously. Dick move. Everyone should do it.
Part idiot. Part old man. All geek. Author and artist for the Vanity Games webcomic (www.vanitygames.com), a retro-futuristic post-apocalytpic romp through a land of broken science and corrputed magic. A lover of all games, tabletop, board, video, or otherwise, and an avid consumer of nerd / pop culture.