Well it had to happen sooner or later and despite much procrastination on my part I finally got to run a playtest of my Monkey the Storytelling Game (which I’m more or less certain is going to be the final title) yesterday for my regular Sunday group.
The two players, Rob and Mr C play in my regular HeroQuest game, which they are having a whale of a time in, and are also quite into D&D. Monkey has some similiarities to HQ, in many ways it is a simplifed HQ lite, so they picked up the system quickly. They also have a reasonable interest in the orient, which meant they absorbed the background of the game pretty quickly.
Character generation went very smoothly, taking about an hour and a half. This was mainly chat about the setting and concepts, rather than explaining parts they had got stuck on. Both players quickly formed concepts, a demon hunter and a cunning fox spirit, after I explained the possible back ground to the player immortals (each player runs an immortal who is out of favour with the heavenly authorities and trying to redeem themselves). In fact they pretty much worked through the character generation chapter without much input from me. Which means that I must be doing something right on the writing front!
I won’t go into detail about the plot of the adventure, since I’m going to use it as my introductory adventure, but the game mechanics went smoothly and much to my amazement actually worked!!! The card drawing mecanic that the game uses worked straight out of the box and we got to play the game that I envisioned almost ten years ago when I first read the book and thought, hey there’s a rpg in this. To say I’m chuffed about this is an understatement 🙂
Sure there’s some polishing and clafication needed. The Fortune system, were players get to hold extra cards in fortune hand which they can subsitue for lower cards in their Action Hand (which is used to resolve actions), needs balancing. How the immortal’s Weakness works in game needs clafiying and a system for ‘bickering’ amoungst the player immortals, a main feature of the book, needs implementing. Also I need more examples for the magic section. Rob and Mr C were happy making up their powers, but I still think players less familiar with the setting and more used to having clear examples and rules would get confused.
This playtest game in many ways has been a milestone. For years I have been timidly working on it, not sure if it would work let alone match up to my lofty expectations. Yesterdays game exceeded my expectations and gives me the shoove I need to get it finished for its October release!!
My next milestone, after cleaning up and adding the bits that came out of this playtest, is to circlate the rules to other groups for playtesting since its highly likely that my playtest was very ‘protective’ (which is a software development term for a test conducted by the developer where only the posistives of the system are considered and the negatives are overlooked).
If you are interested in the game, here’s a quick five page introduction
Monkey Preview – Pdf