A Flames Rising Review:
First, let’s talk about what the four files are in this PDF package. The main file is the game itself, a fourteen page set-up to a story about a forgotten Hollywood set. The second file is a nine page primer for new players. Third is thirty-eight pages of character sheets. The fourth and final file is ten pages of reference sheets. Considering that the new player primer and reference sheets may have to be printed multiple times, storytellers may want to charge admission to this game to off-set printing costs. Yep, I’m still seeing no printer friendly options despite all my “helpful” suggestions with my reviews.
I find the story intriguing because it taps upon a time in Hollywood when it was still fascinating. Many of the Kindred feel the same way, ushering in the story. The thirty plus characters in this adventure (a social/mental adventure with next to no physical altercations) are a properly conceived and diverse mix of film makers, lawyers, criminals, veterans, and more. This packet is meaty in its brief span, but sticks to all the parts it requires. Too much story will never be followed by a cast of three much less thirty. Broad strokes. No railroading. No Whammies.
The new player’s primer irks me a little bit because new players may likely be overwhelmed by this intense booklet. I realize that many LARPs take place at conventions (this very PDF was born out of a SoCal GenCon convention). I also realize that, because of this, the Storytellers and Narrators don’t have time to babysit new players. Nobody would want to rehash this information multiple times. The first four pages of the booklet are things the players need to know. There may be a few too many examples of various Tests, but that would basically trim it down to three pages of hard core information. Pages five through nine are full of good information, but I’m not sure it’s required for newbies. Give the new players the younger kindred and let them learn through the game. It’ll stick with them longer that way.
The reference sheets and character sheets are required reading of course. The cheat sheets are handy little guys. The character sheets are split between the cold stats and some personality/background information about the character. I think the materials on these sheets are extremely helpful to players.
This social-heavy adventure is laced with a good story and plenty of entertainment for competent Storytellers to keep running for a night’s game.
Review by Todd Cash
Read the full review at FlamesRising.com: http://www.flamesrising.com/city-in-the-sand-larp-review-
[4 of 5 Stars!]