HokieStone Posted August 26, 2022 Share Posted August 26, 2022 The old thread only came up once in a while, but when I went to look for it, I found that it had been closed...so new thread time. Tuesday night I had the chance to play the published version of "My Father's Work" from Renegade Games, by designer TC Petty III. I had played this in a prototype form several years ago, so I was eager to play the final product. As a disclaimer, I know TC personally, and this was certainly a monumental project for him to undertake - and Renegade certainly went over the top with production values. The conceit of the game is that the players are the sons/daughters of a "mad scientist" in the 1800s, who were bequeathed an estate, and some knowledge of the "masterwork" he was working on. The game goes three generations, so by the end, you will be portraying a great-grandchild of the original mad scientist. Players are dealt randomly a "masterwork" at the start of the game - things like a time machine, the "monster" (i.e. Frankenstein's monster), etc. You will want to try to complete that by the end of the game to gain the points associated with it - other things during the game will gain you points, but the masterwork is by far the highest value thing to complete. During the game, you will complete other experiments of various difficulties, and there is sort of a tech tree of experiments you must complete - you have to complete 1 "A" level experiment to complete a "B" level experiment, 2 "Bs" to complete a "C", etc. You do this by a fairly standard worker placement mechanism, in which you will collect things like chemicals, animals and bodies. You also collect "knowledge" in different areas, which you can use for experiments, but also record in your journal (which gives you permanent knowledge in that area, and bonuses as you advance along knowledge tracks). Your workers consist of you (the scientist), your spouse, servants, and caretakers (think Igor). There are worker placement spots both in town, and in your estate - and some workers can only go to certain locations (or risk penalties). The miniatures a cleverly made, where you snap them into different shaped bases which determines who they are. That gives players maximum flexibility on which miniature to use as themselves, as their spouse, etc. During the course of the game, your actions could drive up your insanity, as well as your "creepy" level, and also affect the anger level of the townsfolk, who may eventually decide to pick up their torches and pitchforks and come after you. The game leans heavily into Victorian horror tropes...up to the point of being almost tongue-in-cheek about it. Between each generation, players reset different tracks like insanity, and will start over with resources. Now...the thing that really sets this game apart is that it is partially app-driven. There are three scenarios in the game, each of which has their own little box with secret components that you don't open until the app tells you to. The app also drives the story of the game, and each scenario has 8 different endings. The board - or at least the portion displaying the town, is actually a binder full of maps, and as you make decisions during the game, some buildings may come and go, and the app will tell you which page to turn to for the new map. There are also times where players will read portions of the story to just themselves based on decisions they make, and that information may (or may not) help them in the future. My understanding is that the different branching storylines can be wildly different even withing the same scenario. We played a scenario about disease, where at the beginning of the game, the town is suffering a yellow fever epidemic. Our choices caused the storyline to branch into the supernatural, but I think there are some versions of the story that will be more "realistic". Note, this is not a "legacy" game, per se - nothing is permanently altered with the game pieces. I enjoyed the game quite a bit, though I'm not without a few criticisms. The actual gameplay is pretty straightforward, but games are a lengthy affair - on the order of 3 hours. This is primarily due to all the story-telling. The app reads the beginning of each generation to you, but after that there is a fair amount of reading the players must do. A lot of it is public, so having someone who has a flair for the dramatic to read it out loud is helpful - it is certainly written with that Victorian era feel. Again, I've only been through one branch of one scenario - and the story held together..."OK", I would say. There certainly seemed a few times that it was just a little bit disjointed, but not enough to really affect the feel. I ended up winning by a fair margin, and I think it was because I just picked a certain path based on some of my specific readings, and just leaned into our story a bit more, but it was surprising when I was awarded some significant bonus points that the other two players did not get. Note, my friend who had brought the game had already played 4 or 5 times, and it had all been the same scenario - this did not seem to afford him any kind of advantage. I'm hoping to convince my son to play this weekend. I may try one of the other scenarios. They did have some delay in getting the app out, and it doesn't seem to work on all devices yet. Unfortunately it doesn't work on my iPad, so we had to play using a phone. But, this is certainly a pretty unique game, and I look forward to digging into the storylines deeper. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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