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The Between
by Dmitry Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/03/2021 02:40:32

Well, there is three main reasons I adore this game.
First, it's one of the best investigation games I've ever encountered and I love that genre and made some digging. Second, it's oh so very well themed and all of the touchstones really touch my heart (Penny Dreadful, From Hell, good ol' Dickens and all his gory victorian friends). Speaking of touchstones, there is one more book that really comes to my mind when I play/run The Between and it's Night in Lonesome October by magnificent Roger Zelazny, couldn't recommend it to you more than I do. And, last but not least, it's very tightly and neatly packed that is a very valuable feature beacause so many times sparkling and creative but poorly designed and written RPG book caused me and my gaming group sufferings. Luckily it's not the case here. So give it a try and don't forget Season 2 DLC - it only makes things better.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Between
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The Between
by Amanda M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/03/2021 01:44:50

My first review! How exciting!

What can I say other than I am full on obsessed with this game? I've played two different playbooks in campaigns so far, and one in a oneshot. Heck, even at one point my character got sucked into a different dimension (a different The Between game run by the same keeper) and I dealt with mysteries my original team had already dealth with.... and even with the same mysteries nothing is the same! You would think a game with a set number of mysteries would have limited replayability but not with this system.

So this is a game that is based in Powered by the Apocalypse style play and PbtA games are generally not very crunchy. This game is not crunchy at all, but it has a huge amount of power behind it regardless (if lack of crunch makes you worry about lack of backbone or power!)

You have the Day Phase (where the players try and clear conditions/de-buffs by triggering certain Vulnerable Moves or find out more information about the mysteries, or really anything they want to do!). The Dusk Phase is mostly for mechanic reconciliation - some playbooks require rolls here before going into the Night Phase, like The American (who is a werewolf) who must roll to see how were-wolfy they will be in the Night. The Night Phase is where the only time players can resolve threats (the campaign goals) but choices are more risky and moves are more dangerous at night. The Dawn Phase is your reward for surviving the Night.

I love that you can choose light or heavy narrative play, especially the fact that the #1 rule is you cannot reveal backstory to anyone (not even the keeper) unless it's triggered by the game mechanisms. It adds a delicious layer of drama, very similar to a book or TV show.

The Carved from Brindlewood style of mystery solving was something that took me a session or two to get the hang of, as I'd never played anything like that before. Basically, the Keeper has a set of clues they will give the players when they manage to earn the clues, but the players are the ones that interpret them - there is no "campaign answer" to a mystery! A clue can appear in different games and have totally different meanings. It's highly effective because you can tie the clues not only into the mystery at hand, but into the greater story as well.

The playbooks are a LOT of fun - none of these people are "good" people by nature. And how could a good person operate in a place like Hargrave House anyway? You can, however, give your character solid story arcs very easily, even "questionable morality" to "good person". Or, if you prefer character light games, you can limit the dimensionality of your character. As long as you have a backstory it really doesn't matter! (Although it's MUCH more fun if you have an interesting backstory! Make a complicated character, you will have a good time with it!)

The Unscene is a fantastic element. During the Night Phase (which belongs to the Keeper) the players narrate pieces of a story happening in London that night that have nothing to do with the characters or mysteries at hand. However it has everything to do with building the tone, setting, and FEEL of the world you are operating in. The Unscene is the world building AND the timer for the Night Phase - when you as players can actually get things done. It gives the players agency over the world outside of their characters and that's not something that happens in most TTRPGs.

I could go on and on but I am not a writer or a critic (hence my lack of reviews!) but this game is really special and I can't wait to see what other people do with it!

LOL okay a quick edit: I just posted this and scrolled through previous reviews... and my Keeper has reviewed! Steph J! They said: "I keep running this game overtime, three hours quickly becomes four, and we've almost played to five".... but that is OUTDATED. Once we had a 9 hour session. It was amazing. I don't think a 9 hr session is the norm by any means for this game - just this group in this particular instance.... but, well, it was a long and bonkers session and I will never forget it because it was amazing :)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Between
by CODY E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/02/2021 10:43:27

This game is so slick. The tools/mechanics for gathering clues and solving mysteries are so simple, making for smooth-as-butter play. You don't have to be an Agatha Christie to run this AND your players will feel like Sherlock Holmes when they crack the case. It is a win/win/win.

This makes for a great thematic, short series and when you fall in love with the mechanics (you will) you'll be looking for ways to hack them into every other game you run.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Between
by Dmitrii T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/12/2021 11:07:40

Замечательная, необычная и в чём-то даже революционная игра. Глубокое погружение в тему и удовольствое от процесса обеспечено! Подробный обзор можно прочитать в блоге Рыжего Библиотекаря! https://telegra.ph/The-Between-Bulvarnye-uzhasy-za-vashim-stolom-10-04

The Between is an excellent, unusual, and in some ways even revolutionary game. Deep immersion in the topic and the pleasure of the process are provided!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Between
by Michael V. V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/11/2021 11:30:20

The Between is dripping with atmosphere, sensuality and barely constrained ferocity. Every character sheet is dripping with detail and outlines a roller coaster ride of a character arc. Become a motley collection of oddballs and monsters, seek your own pleasures, and occasionally intervene on behalf of the Crown, but know that the flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long. Get in all the sex, blood, decadence and puzzle-solving while you can!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Brindlewood Bay
by Dmitrii T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/11/2021 08:37:35

Великолепная, очень атмосферная и оригинальная игра. Очень здорово передает истинно детективные переживания, и при том ограничивает героев в ресурсах, что для детективов не очень типично. Спасибо!

--

It is a great, very atmospheric, and original game. It conveys the authentic detective experiences very well, and at the same time, limits the heroes in resources, which is not very typical for detectives. Thanks!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Brindlewood Bay
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Brindlewood Bay
by David E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/11/2021 07:55:32

Short review? Brindlewood Bay is my favorite TTRPG.

It solves the problem of emergent mystery storytelling in a way that is as easy to use as it is fun to play (and it is very fun to play). The titular setting is a beautiful blend of cozy and mysterious / mundane and creepy that is relateable and exciting all at once. The book isn't a long read, only because the system is just so efficient! Every aspect feeds into the narrative building and tone. Do yourself a favor- make your best grandma-self, and solve a mystery in Brindlewood Bay!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Brindlewood Bay
by Daniel Q. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/11/2021 07:27:07

A great investigation game from Jason Cordova. I found the Between first and that lead me here to Brindlewood Bay.

It's very innovative in its collaborative investigation mechanic and will be how I run RPG mysteries from here on out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Between
by Andrew C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/26/2021 16:12:18

Amazing atmosphere, very intense roleplaying. Really enjoying this, only issue may be that we sometimes felt like 4 seperate 1 on 1 roleplaying sessions.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Between
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The Between
by Jacques v. H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/14/2021 06:42:57

Beautifully illustrated, professional layout and stellar writing. What more could you want? The setting and the rules are all extremely clear, and the designers go out of their way to make your first session as easy as possible. But the book also includes advice for how to write your own threats and storylines, either for publication or home use, which makes it even better than I could have expected. Stellar, stellar work. Can't recommend this highly enough.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Between
by Judd K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/16/2021 23:42:34

Evocative, innovative and fun.

I can't wait to play it more.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hearts of Wulin
by Luke W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/27/2021 22:26:11

Hearts of Wulin is amazing. I personally rank it as the best PbtA RPG I have come across, having pipped out Masks for the top spot. It really showcases the power of PbtA design in a simple and elegant fashion.

My main 3 highlights are:

  1. Instead of bonds/strings, each PC has 2 entanglements. These are effectively a bonds that are directed at a PC/NPC but another PC/NPC is in conflict with it i.e. PC1 loves another PC2 but PC3 does not not approve, or PC1 feels guilty about doing something secretly to hurt PC2 and PC3 knows about it. This is essentially the triangles that Masks talks about a lot in the GM section. Having them in PC creation basically generates PC focused story and drama from the get go.

  2. Each PC and NPC has a scale. If you fight someone above or below your scale your lose or win respectively and only roll dice to determine the nature of the loss or victory. Stories as a default are about the PCs identifying the big bad and then needing to find a way to raise their scale so they can have a chance at beating them. This again provides for instant story and drama and can be used by the GM to define the duration of the story by determining what the PCs need to do to raise scale. For a one-off, PCs working together may be enough to raise the scale, but in a campaign it may be training or an item obtained by a quest.

  3. The last is the Inner Conflict move. This is triggered when a PC is confronted by their entanglements. You get XP for rolling it. On a 10+ you keep it together, on a 7-9 you must flee or mark an element (damage), on a 6- the GM makes a move. This is the central move of the whole game and basically initiates the cascading effect of PbtA's "yes but" dice system and gets you to play to find out what happens early and easily. As a GM, you can literally drive the game forward by just having entanglements confront the PCs.

I also like how the PC has 5 elements for attributes and if you mark them (take damage) you can no longer use that element. This includes the element that the PC uses for combat. This also triggers a cycle of the PC needing to seek ways of recovery through certain other moves that helps generate drama and story smoothly.

Its also really good that the rulebook has two variants in it. The first is for courtly wuxia (think Game of Thrones) and the other for supernatural wuxia (Chinese Ghost Story). Each variant gets 1 or 2 new moves that are quite powerful. Courtly wuxia has social duels and supernatural wuxia has confronting the unnatural. Each playbook also has a new archetype option and a new move that adapts the concept to that variant.

For a 230 page journal sized rulebook, its gives the source material impressive coverage.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hearts of Wulin
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Nephews in Peril: New Mysteries for Brindlewood Bay
by Michael K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/23/2021 11:31:43

This is an essential supplement for running a full Brindlewood Bay campaign and is a great supplement for a one-shot or short campaign.

I love Brindlewood Bay. The 80s procedural aspect melds surprisingly well with the sense of increased menace, and the adventures that parody different cozy (or not-so-cozy) TV shows are a blast. However, I am not a sitcom guy, and I really do need at least 1 page of material to work from to run an adventure. Enter Nephews in Peril! Based on the info in the back, a full campaign runs 10-15 sessions, followed by the wrapup session. This batch of reliably excellent adventures fills out that space nicely.

I would definitely pay for another supplement of 3-5 wrapup sessions, just because I'm better at showrunning that writing.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Nephews in Peril: New Mysteries for Brindlewood Bay
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Brindlewood Bay
by Adrian H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/14/2021 04:39:02

I love this game which is based around a unique and highly innovative take on how to run mystery scenarios in TRPGs. This also is the perfect game to introduce your friends to role-playing games, as it runs great as a one shot, is great fun because of the setting and all the TV references, and is particularly well suited to intrigue people who are less excited about the typical sword and sorcery fantasy settings of most TRPGS.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Brindlewood Bay
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The Between
by Stephanie J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/25/2021 12:57:36

I just love this game. My players love this game. I keep running this game overtime, three hours quickly becomes four, and we've almost played to five. I keep getting asked how this game is this good, this early on. Every part of the game contributes to the story. My favorite phrases are "The Day is yours, but the Night is mine." and "You are not allowed to tell me(or your fellow players) anything about your backstory unless you have a move to do so.". It's such a wild approach to have a very freeform player driven Day phase while a very intense gm driven Night phase. As well as having backstory insentivised through mechanical benefits.

Atmospherically I compare this game to a fine glass of wine, mature, sensual, and a required taste. It's intense, gorey, and honestly pretty sexy. Still it's very easy to adjust the game to your comfort level of how intense it gets. All threats have the same structure, and it does take you step by step as a gm how to create everything from scratch. It takes you by the hand for running session one; it practically runs itself while making you look like a genius in front of your players. If you have struggled with gming before, I would reccomend this game as at its core is an excellent resource for understanding how games work.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Between
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