Blades in the Dark: First Look

I’ve been carefully not-reading the updates for this ever since I backed it up. I broke that fast today with the version 4 quickstart rules that Harper posted.

It looks awesome! Is it still being called a PbtA hack? Because man it has drifted afield of that. Mostly the dice thing is different, which is maybe a shallow evaluation (that vampire one is diceless and it’s still a hack). Also: no moves! Just skills! That seems like A Big Deal.

Lots and lots of interlocking moving parts. Are folks running this straight out of the quickstart? Jason Morningstar I know you’ve been campaigning for a while — are you just using the public(ish) materials or is John giving you more to work with?

I’m elbow-deep into Urban Shadows for a while but one of my secondary groups might enjoy this. Just wondering how playable it actually is (it looks fine).

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0 thoughts on “Blades in the Dark: First Look”

  1. I took the opposite tack: deep dive on v1 and then ignoring it until its proper release. Blades does what I liked about The Regiment: it bolted a lot of very interesting rules onto the PtbA chassis. As you say, though, Blades seems further away from Apocalypse World than The Regiment did. 

    The scope of the game has expanded beyond its inspirations, Thief and Dishonored, if the activity in the G+ community is to be believed. I now think that Hindmarsh’s Project Dark will be the go-to game for those seeking a TTRPG version of Thief. Blades in the Dark looks like a fantasy-crime game now, like Tarantino meets Shadowrun (sorta?). That analogy isn’t quite on the mark, but I’ve got to go eat dinner. 😉

  2. It reads like it’s heavily fixated on the caper and not so much on the inner lives of the characters. True? That’s fine, no judgement, just playing catch-up.

  3. Other than the big words, in what way(s) would you characterize the game as literary, Cam? I want to get on the same page.

    For me, I easily conflate “character driven” with “literary” but that’s super lazy.

  4. It’s drifted very far from pbta, though a familiar reader can still see those roots.

    We played a short campaign of the… second? draft. Really enjoyed it.

    It’s a game that plays best when it’s played very much RAW, and that doesn’t always match the instincts of players. I found myself saying “You’re planning again” to my players a lot.

  5. It is what I expected out of PbtA games, most of them are just hackneyed but a few take what AW can teach and do something new. This is one of those games.

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