Hurray for insomnia! I got through my first reading of The Sprawl last night and I’m liking what I’m seeing. Observations and whatevers:
* Reminds me a lot of a PbtA-ized version of Blades in the Dark in many ways: heavy procedural focus on jobs, heists, gigs, etc. Also like Blades, it looks like you need to work to bring the non-job game into play. Other Blades tech: competing you’re-fucked/you’re-done clocks that can get ticked. It’s one of my favorite BitD bits so yay.
* It has these Key-like XP triggers called Directives, which I like very much: basically two things that, when you engage with them, you get an XP. It’s a little programmatic, as PbtA tends to be, in terms of narrow thematic focus for each playbook, but it looks like this is where the not-job juice comes from. Have to see it in play.
* I just want to run a game with four or five Driver playbooks now: The Dom, The Brian, The Letty, The Mia, and maybe The Roman.
* I’m not super sure how many times you can really run the game before it gets a little stale! I’m basing that on what looks like some procedural resistance to introducing non-job content into the game. Yeah so while there’s these Personal Directives that are XP carrots, there’s no formal between-job play time in which anything happens. The play order is super explicit: you get the job, you do the legwork, you do the job, you get paid. There’s no downtime phase. So it’s on the players to chase their extra XPs (they’re also getting XPs for completing stages of the job), and I guess on the GM to remember what everyone’s Directives are. I’m super curious to see how it plays out.
* Love the Agenda, Principles and the Threats. The Headline Threat (some big force-of-nature type thing, like a disease or a societal shift) is particularly tasty, nice job on that one. The Corporate clocks look great. All that stuff looks functional and on-point.
* I kind of bounced off the Matrix rules. It’s a whole separate section — as it should be, no complaints — and for whatever reason I kind of glazed over. Cyberpunk 2020 damage maybe, dunno. Concerned as always that a free-standing hacking system means folks sit on their hands while the netrunner has fun, hope this isn’t the case because it’s singularly responsible for putting one of my favorite genres on my don’t-play list. But it looks like the netrunning is supposed to create real-world effects that your non-hacker characters react to, which you know…good common sense solution.
* Nothing jumps out as a deal breaker or problem. Lots of stats and I don’t loooove that. Iffy outside-the-gig content engagement but I might be wrong about that. No questionnaire to line up a relationship map! That bums me out, and I can’t eyeball just how well the existing system works: it’s a round-robin thing where you describe an awesome job you led, and then everyone else on the team chimes in with how they helped. Ehh…I like the Headspace procedure better, although it’s long as hell.
This goes on my run-soon list!