XP: The Drifter’s Escape

12 Mar

IMAG0310

This game was on backup at the last RSG, so it wasn’t announced proper with the rest of the games. In case you were wondering when we played this.

I’m still trying to figure out how to make a game of the Drifter’s Escape really pop. I’ve had a few confusing sessions of this game and a a few decent sessions, but it’s not really clear to me what made the difference for each session.

But, I’m pretty sure it comes down to the Drifter much of the time. How the Drifter decides when to make a deal or not seems to set the pace for the game. On one hand, it’s pretty tough for the Drifter to be successful with a deal, so the Drifter usually only makes a deal when it’s really important to them. In and of itself this is fine, but deals are what makes things happen. A lack of deals mean the Devil and the Man have to keep on raising the stakes of each scene until the Drifter feels obliged to make a deal.

Before long the scenes get so crazy that the Drifter has no sense of hope. The player can no longer buy into the Drifter’s struggle, and then has little incentive to make a deal they have a slim chance of winning. This unchecked escalation of stakes has been present in every game of Drifter’s Escape I’ve played.

So what can be done about this?

Drifter, use every resource at your disposal. In particular, re-write goals immediately before making a deal often. You don’t need to re-write all of them, and you don’t need to do it before every deal, but take advantage of this. You need to rack up Dream quickly.

Drifter, redeem somebody as soon as you think a person can help you do something big. Remember, you also pick the deals, so you can set yourself up for assistance. But, you will need to have Dream to spare in order to keep this up.

Devil and Man, make demands frequently. This is really the only say you get in what kinds of deals are struck. Drifter, be willing to take them up on this. A Demand isn’t just an opportunity for them to own your future, it’s an opportunity for you to keep your Debt to them in check.

Devil and Man, keep a gradual and incremental escalation of trouble and danger in the scenes.

Devil and Man, when you make deals with the Drifter, your cost doesn’t need to be all bad. The more the Drifter enjoys your cost the better. You don’t have to go easy, but you don’t need to make them cringe every time (of course, the poker you play with the cost is something to consider too. What does the Drifter think is in your hand based on your cost?).

Finally, focusing on the icons of Americana lends the Drifter’s struggle more meaning than simply having terrible luck. This too may influence what the Drifter find important, and thereby influences what they are willing to deal for.

This is a curious game with a gripping premise, but perhaps it lacks a certain kind of direction to the players. It’s a journey worth taking, but you have to remain willing and open, or you may be frustrated.

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