Rage, Rage by David Miessler-Kubanek
Rage, Rage is a game about the “last chance for hope in the face of futility and madness,” and the game delivers by using a variety of fears, hopes, and madness-inspired mechanics to draw out high drama from the players. Reading through it, I was struck again and again by the elegance of the framing of the game, ideas that draw the reader more into the world of darkness and madness without precluding hope.
I was particularly struck by the way that character generation develops a wealth of complex relationships around the table. By clearly tying the hopes and fears of my character to other characters, the game prompts me to think about my character sees others, and I can see great scenes coming out of the tensions that are established by the material.
Yet, the way that the game actually works isn’t quite clear to me. Each mechanic seems interesting and compelling, but after having read through the game a few times, I still don’t understand how it actually works. It’s as if there is a page missing that helps the players and GM understand how to move through the Chapters so that a coherent story comes together. In some ways, this reads more like a way of generating a story as a one-player game than it does as a multiplayer RPG. The example setups at the end help a lot, but it’s not quite enough to make sense of how it plays.
Overall, I think Rage, Rage has some great elements that could be easily expanded into a full-length game book. In fact, I think the game’s greatest weakness at the moment is the low word count; there’s lots here to build on for future incarnations of the game.