Playtest #1 of TYOV Review Version 1.0

So, I finally found some time to play through TYOV using the review version of the rules on the game’s Kickstarter page. I’m going to be writing up a post from the point of view of my vampire (in a truncated version of the extensive Experiences I crafted during the process).

In the meantime, here’s my impressions of TYOV:

It definitely was an intense and personal experience. I enjoy writing fiction, so maybe I’m biased. Some critics might consider this game the ultimate “story game,” and those who don’t like that sort of thing might be critical of TYOV. Personally, I hate the whole partisan bickering over “types” of roleplaying games. Vive la difference and all that. Any roleplaying is good roleplaying, in my book.

Anway, I greatly enjoyed playing through the game! I did indeed find myself mourning the loss of Characters and Memories, as promised by the game!

Here’s some questions and other thoughts that occurred to me during my playthrough:

First, here’s shots of my character sheet and two pages of my journal of Experiences:

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As you can see, my character sheet got quite cluttered, and my Experiences were a bit longer in places than the recommended “single evocative sentence” suggested in the rules! But I couldn’t help myself! I found myself compelled to embellish the story. Anyway, give yourself a lot of room to write!

I found myself wishing, initially, that there was a “procedure checklist” of some sort for what you should remember to check when fulfilling each Prompt. But as I played, I found myself getting into a groove: Read Prompt, craft Experience in connection with Memories/Characters/Skills/Resources, check to see if you have to create a new Memory from Experiences (three Experiences create a Memory), move Memories to Diary if necessary.

I made sure to group my Experiences by numbering them (first with asterisks then with Roman numerals) to keep track of the Memory making process.

I made notations next to new/crossed off Traits, putting the number of the Prompt next to the new (or checked) Skills, Resources, etc. so I could keep track of when I gained/lost them.

My initial rolls were negative numbers. My very first roll was – 3. So, if I’m starting off at Prompt 1 and counting backward, would that take me to Prompt 79, which tells me my character found a way to become mortal? Is the game supposed to be able to end on the first roll/initial rolls?!

Can one voluntarily use a Skill or Resource even if a Prompt doesn’t call for it, in order to serve the narrative, or to somehow alter the results of a Prompt to make it more of a positive outcome/stave off disaster?

Speaking of Skills, can a character have the same Skill multiple times? That might be handy to have, but it might also be a bit of cheatery. Not sure…

Can a player choose to forget new Memories as they are formed as needed, rather than sacrificing older, existing Memories?

I definitely felt tension as my Memories and Diary filled up! It’s painful to know that we only can have one Diary at a time, and it only can hold four Memories! The angst of it all!

One of the biggest issues I had was worrying about how time was advancing/passing. The rules state things like “Occasionally strike out Mortal Characters when you realize they must’ve died of old age, at least every four or five Prompts.” I found myself wanting a hard and fast rule/method for tracking time (even thinking I should have made a drawing of a timeline) but I decided I was maybe being a bit to literal and pedantic. So I just decided to keep track of how many Experiences I was racking up and made the choice to advance time by about 100 years or so after about five of them.

Related to the advancement of time, there were also Prompts where I decided to advance time significantly more than just one century, because I found like I wasn’t allowing for enough time to pass between Experiences and I wasn’t anywhere near the early 21st century. I estimate my playthrough brought me about to the year 1000 AD.

[Edit: I forgot to mention, my character Nour was born sometime around 1490 BC in the New Kingdom period of ancient Egypt…so that might be why he only survived to 1000 AD…but still, it should be possible to survive longer, I think…again, if I hadn’t been as conservative in my estimation of the passage of time…]

Again, this was a great experience and I can’t wait to play through again!

One thought on “Playtest #1 of TYOV Review Version 1.0

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  1. The following is a response from Tim, TYOV’s creator, which he originally posted at the game’s Kickstarter page:

    So the playtest rules leave some folks unclear about Memories/Experiences.

    A Memory is an empty slot that can hold up to three related Experiences. You start with five of these slots available for use, giving you room for up to fifteen total Experiences (again, these Experiences live in groups of up to three in a Memory slot).

    If you “lose a Memory” you strike out all the Experiences in that Memory slot. You can then refill that Memory slot with new Experiences. If you “move a Memory to a Diary” you copy the contents of that Memory slot into a Diary slot (or just mark the Memory as now being in the Diary). You now have an empty Memory slot.

    I’m really going to hammer this out in the final text, making dang sure it’s super clear. There’ll also be better examples.

    “Can a player choose to forget new Memories as they are formed as needed, rather than sacrificing older, existing Memories?”

    No. The Memories must be pre-existing, though you can forget a recent pre-existing Memory.

    “My initial rolls were negative numbers. My very first roll was – 3. So, if I’m starting off at Prompt 1 and counting backward, would that take me to Prompt 79…” Nope, you can’t go back beyond the first entry. You have are very likely to encounter Prompt 1 when you make your first roll.

    “Can one voluntarily use a Skill or Resource even if a Prompt doesn’t call for it…”

    Mechanically no. You only change a Trait when you are called on to do so. You should, however, be using your Traits to flavor your answers when appropriate.

    “Speaking of Skills, can a character have the same Skill multiple times?”

    I can’t imagine this being fun. It’s not a game where you scramble for mechanical advantage.

    “I found myself wanting a hard and fast rule/method for tracking time…”

    Yeah, this just ain’t fun. And, ultimately, fluid time is a feature not a bug. I’m completely fine with players imposing their own systems on this, though–it doesn’t break anything.

    I know that I was having a vampire wander around an 18th Century Middle East for a long, long time. I realized a Prompt would best be answered if it was the 1940s, so I went ahead and made it the 1940s. It works.

    I enjoyed these questions that Nour’s play through generated. Thank you! Let me know if I can make things clearer.

    Tim H

    Liked by 1 person

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