Steampunk Australian nationalists! One of them is even named Matilda! I’m interested already. So let’s see what “Stuff and Nonsense” has to offer us.
First, the premise. We’re one of a group of Australian nationalists in the Victorian era, fighting for the independence of our state. We get to choose which of the group we want to play as, and the magic system gives us different advantages which might mean success or failure depending on our choices.
It’s an intriguing premise with a lot of potential.
Unfortunately, I don’t think it really lives up to its potential. A lot of the text feels very perfunctory, like placeholder text awaiting further elaboration. One result of this is that, although the different playable characters are described in ways that make you want to play them, we don’t really get a very good sense of what it means to be any of them. Another is that various plot threads don’t seem to be satisfactorily followed up–the inventor who could become our ally, and the appearance of Charles Dickens as one of the antagonists … these things are brought in as though they should become important plot elements, but nothing ever happens with them.
And it actually is too easy to max out a character’s potential by collecting all of the available magic advantages.
It really is as though we are, in fact, dealing with a sketched plan for a much longer game instead of the game itself.
But as I said, it’s a great premise. The characters as described in their bios are attractive to players, being so distinct that you just want to see what the world looks like from their different vantage points. But I think all this potential will need to be developed a lot further. If this were Introcomp, it would be right up there at the top of my list of games I want to see finished.
Half-boiled eggs, very runny; bacon, soggy and chewy; baked beans, straight out of the can; black coffee. The makings of a good, hearty breakfast, but maybe you want to put it through the heat a little more before serving it up. At least the coffee is fresh, and that makes up for a lot.