10 April 2012

A review of In Between (Polish version)

I was browsing the posts over at RPG Kepos and discovered that their Polish translation of In Between has been reviewed, and positively at that.

The review was from a blog named K20 and got a score of 3 our 5 which, if I understand the comments, is a pretty good score coming from this particular reviewer. One of the issues that the reviewer had with In Between is that The Wasteland was too empty and with too little direction. I can’t say I can disagree with this, The Wasteland acts as a gateway in the game. The players meet each other there, learn about the afterlife and in some cases may become involved in a conflict with a demon. While I can’t see removing The Wasteland phase from the game as it is by far the most evocative aspect of the setting, I can certainly see putting a little more flesh on its bones.

The second issue that K20 brought up was that they felt that the demons are an unnecessary component of the game. I’m not sure I can agree with that one. The demons fill three roles in the game, the first is as a threat to the characters. The demons are there to add an element of danger and drama, something that can pose a threat in all of the phases of the game. The second role they fill is as a balancing mechanic. They exist to counter exorcists (and vice versa). Finally, they provide an alternate path for players to take in the game, they answer the question of “What happens when I do evil/selfish things in the mortal realm?” In fact, through playtesting I soon found that players wanted to be able to go down a darker road. A lot of the demon rules did not exist until version 2 of the game, prior that they had mostly acted as set dressing. So no, I don’t agree that they are unnecessary. Players want to have that darker option, even if they won’t use it. They want to know what happens if they don’t try and redeem themselves. If someone wants to play a game more centered around personal exploration, without the threat of demons (and possibly exorcists), then I think they should go right ahead and do it. It’s very easy to houserule out that portion of the game. Perhaps I should talk a little about that in an Optional Rules/Tweaks section. The Polish version of the game actually has a section like that where the translators added a few house rules that they like to use and I see no reason not to add it to the English version.

The final thing that K20 didn’t seem to enjoy was that the game is GMless. That’s far from surprising. Story games, especially GMless ones, are a very small niche of the RPG world. In this case the reviewer likes to have someone in the role of GM to guide the game, they aren’t interested in sharing that role. That’s fine, not everyone enjoys sharing that role and I can’t hold matters of personal taste against the reviewer.

Those things out of the way, it was still a positive review of the game. The reviewer thought that the mechanics were solid, the theme was interesting and the game was entertaining. Perhaps not to their personal tastes, but entertaining nonetheless. I’ll chew on their criticisms for a while and see if I can make the updated English version even better.

Speaking of the English version: yes, it is on the way. I haven’t forgotten about it, I’ve just been busy with other things. Tweet, the fellow that did the layout for the Polish version, supplied me with some layout and logo files that will make this the nicest version yet. I also have the revised set of rules that was hammered out in the back and forth during the translation. This means that the Polish version is actually more up to date than English version because they translated from my in progress new edition and not from the published second edition. Layout work is slow going, but I hope to have this finished up sometime in the summer.

1 comment:

  1. Great post.I shall say that he importance of a technical translation being accurate and efficient can indeed not be overstated. Especially in the ever faster moving world of globalized business, successful information and technology transfer within multinational businesses can make the difference between win or lose.



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