Sunday, April 1, 2012

Don't Rest Your Head on Kindle

Woah. I keep letting this blog slide. I really need to stop doing that.

This week, I discovered that a weird little indie game I've always wanted to check out, Don't Rest Your Head, was available on Kindle for only $5. That's well within my range for impulse-purchases, and with barely a thought I clicked "Buy it now."

And it's just as weird as I expected.

The rules are very, very abstract. You don't have that many stats, and it looks like most things can just be described rather than rolled, which is nice, but I do like having some clear, statistical definition for my characters. The setting of the Mad City is absolutely wonderful, and easily the most interesting urban fantasy setting I've seen since, well, Geist: the Sin-Eaters.

Unfortunately, it's a flawed product that will probably not see much use in my game groups. The formatting on the Kindle Fire is a little wonky, and I don't know how it is on the regular Kindle. There are weirdly long spaces between some sentences, and some of the blocks of text are really, really bunched together, making it harder to read. The included summary sheets and character sheets are, frankly, useless, because you can't zoom in, and they're really tiny.

Considering how easily the Kindle manages pdf's, like my copy of Barrowmaze (so good) and my set of the DCC RPG beta rules (totally my new standby fantasy game until the real thing drops in June), it's weird that an actual Kindle document seems so fiddly and hard to handle.

It's a really cool game, though, and I think that if you have a dead tree copy of DRYH, this very cheap version of the rules on Kindle would be a great supplemental thing to have on hand, due to the Kindle Fire's merits as a gaming tool. At this point I don't go anywhere near a gaming table without mine. Though the table of contents is, for some reason, all the way in the back of the book, looking up a rule really fast on the Fire would be a great thing for the GM, and the players could use the GM's physical book as a reference tool (because let's face it, players never buy the games the GM runs).

Honestly, based on the strengths of the game from what I've read on my Kindle, I'm more inclined now, I think, to pick up a dead tree copy of DRYH. My group isn't huge on indie games, but enough of us love Dark City that a game whose author commented that it was hard to keep the game from looking like a straight-up emulation of that fantastic film would be an easy sell for a one-shot game.

And at $5, I really do not regret checking out this cool, weird little diamond in the rough.