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The Agency
by Idle R. H. P. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/08/2012 04:54:06

The Agency is a nice little rules-lite storytelling game of Sixty's inspired spy action and supernatural horror. The book is brief (only 64 pages long) but as a lot of things that happen during the game are left up to the players judgement and tastes, this isn't a problem. There is a simple yet solid set of rules here to keep the Director (GM) impartial and fairly dictate character success or failure.

One of the interesting mechanics here is the Threat Pool; this is a pool of points that the Director takes from to create the threats, hazards, and opponents that the characters face during the story. The number of points in the Threat Pool is determined by the number of players in the game, meaning the difficulty level instantly scales for different sized groups. Threats in this game are rather abstract and individual opponents are not given statistics. The Director simply starts with a number of dice that represent the danger level of the threat, chooses a number of special abilities for the threat, and selects three skills that can be used to defeat it. The open nature of the rules allows the same mechanics to be used for a wide variety of different dangers allowing the Director to focus on the story instead of remembering lots of different rules. The Threat Pool is also the game clock, as a number of Threat Points are allocated to each scene and those points are taken away as the PCs achieve successes. When the number of Threat Points in a scene reaches zero the scene ends, and when the Threat Pool is completely empty the PCs have completed their mission.

If I have one complaint about this game, it would be the lack of examples of play. There are a few, but they are fairly short and didn't really help clarify the rules. Still, this product gets a solid 4 stars and would make a great game for players who enjoy more narrative systems.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Agency
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