16 Oct

What to say about GHOST/ECHO? The game is so minimalist that it is difficult to pinpoint specific details. This game plays to a certain kind of skill set. You have to be ready to dive in deep with no assistance at all, fictionally nor mechanically, and just start cramming pieces together to make it work. It’s feels rather like jury-rigging some strange contraption, with an even stranger tool that changes every time you look at it.

See, writing a bullshit sentence like that is almost what playing this game is like. You just have to be willing to roll with it and capitalize on the tropes of your unconscious as you rush past them.


The story we made was pretty cool, and equally confusing at times. Sometimes things go so phenomenally bad for the players that a simple situation spirals into a deep crisis in a matter of minutes. This is part because this game is simply brutal, and part because it resolves so quickly and so smoothly that a whole chapters worth of narrative can speed by in just a few minutes.

Our game managed to hit existential issues in the first hour. By the end of the third hour the crew had confronted an infoweapon that targets the nature of intelligence itself, and one character had effectively become an oversoul god of sorts. It took only three hours to get as epic as it comes. That is, effectively, a whole campaign.


The rules themselves are super open. They begin with a series of questions to which just about any answer is suitable. The setting consists of nothing more than evocative images, a list of words, and a dare to take them wherever.

The conflict resolution seems to be a proto-Apocalypse World application of the Otherkind system. This allows players to choose how they succeed or fail, which is a vastly more engaging means of handling conflict.

The rules themselves work flawlessly. But you’ve gotta have guts to delve into the unknown with no hand rail to hold onto. If you can do that, then this game is everything you could want it to be. But if you cannot get over the initial feeling of free fall, then you may not feel comfortable enough to really get to the juicy bits of this game. This is true for the players and doubly true for the GM.

One player put it aptly: “This is what I would use to play Shadowrun instead of Shadowrun.”


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