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Game Chef Review: Into the Void by Kira Scott

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Into the Void by Kira Scott

Into the Void employs some great, simple mechanics to tell the story of a doomed crew on a mission to save Earth from catastrophe. Each player manages a collection of traits to forestall madness, as the pressure of deep space slowly drives every crew member crazy.

For the most part, the game’s mechanics are awesome and convey the setting well. Each player gets a number of inner traits (how you see yourself) and outer traits (how others see you) that can be used to gain bonuses on challenges. Win challenges and your crew gets stronger; lose and slip into madness, eventually turning on your own shipmates.

These simple mechanics set up all the right kinds of scenes. Players try to survive in a hostile environment, but the real danger is losing their sense of self in the face of deep space. I can easily imagine a game in which my character, tired of the hallucinations he’s facing, decides to kill everyone else on the ship!

That said, I think that the main room for improvement here is in the design of the scenes themselves. A lot of flexibility is given in how scenes are set up and taken down, and I worry that it would require an expert GM to keep the game moving quickly enough to ratchet up the suspense. In addition, elements like the Space Logs (monologues from the characters) are really neat, but I’m not sure they would work with less experienced players. I think some more structures with the middle of the game could make the project a lot stronger.

In some ways it’s hard to be objective about Into the Void. While the mechanics are completely different from my entry (Our Last Best Hope), it has enough similarities in scope and content, drawing from many of the same inspirations and employing many of the same tropes. Needless to say, I think its premise is a lot of fun, and I recommend that everyone give it a shot. Great game!

2 thoughts on “Game Chef Review: Into the Void by Kira Scott

  1. Mark! That’s funny that we had the same “stuck in space on a ship to save earth” idea! I guess space is the first place my mind goes anymore, I’ve been obsessing about the ideas in these movies for a bit recently, and game chef was the perfect opportunity to use them given the ingredients I pulled. I’ll have to read yours now and see how they compare! Neat!

    Thanks for the thorough review! I agree, the scenes do seem a little nebulous. I think it’s partially due to how structured the rest of the game is in comparison… it kind of feels like you want instructions on how to structure the scenes too? That and I have the tendency to trust people’s competency in scene framing, and I don’t want to be too hand holdy or “do this type of scene exactly this way” type of thing. I do think I’ll have to add something to flesh out how scenes work though.

    Do you think that the space logs would be difficult for new players because they leave too much room for freezing up with all that narrative freedom? Like, too much pressure to supply a monologue?

    Thanks again!

  2. Hey Kira! Thanks for stopping by to comment.

    Sunshine is one of my favorite movies of all time, and I think a roleplaying game based on these kinds of concepts could totally be a good way to draw new gamers into the fold.

    I think the issue with the lack of structure is that it’s not clear how you’re supposed to “get into” or “get out of” a scene. Fiasco makes this easy by giving each player a spotlight, and then letting them choose the scene or the outcome. I think some mechanic like that would make Into The Void a little tighter.

    As for the space logs, I think it’s a big burden for new players. It’s probably a good exercise for them, but maybe you could give them some tips on how to do one well? Or a focus that keeps them from freezing up?

    Overall, great game! Thanks!

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