Game Review : Shock

Let me be very very clear. Game designers and publishers should NEVER review someone else’s product.


Regardless of my position in the industry, I am a competitor. We are all competitors.

We should NOT be reviewing a competitor’s product.

That said, last night, I played a story gamed called Shock by Joshua Newman. I have been wanting to play it for years, but people had said bad things. Sadly, I don’t think it’s held up well since its release because the set-up is so long and could easily be replaced with oracles. But the game is run, the dice resolution smart, and the theme right inside my wheelhouse. But, seriously. It took 90 minutes to prep a 90-minute game.

Needed to be shorter on the front end and longer on the back-end.

But. If you like science fiction (not sci-fi) that deals with real cultural and social issues, this game is smart.

5 thoughts on “Game Review : Shock

  1. science fiction is the structured work of socially aware authors presenting metaphor of present issues through the lens of future societies. sci-fi is the genre/veneer of space ships and far off galaxies devoid of social context or cultural relevance. think vonnuget vs. lucas.

  2. Hey Jim, I’m glad you finally got to play a game of Shock! Set-up time and play time are largely variable on the players, not the mechanics. We ran scenes quickly last night, but they could easily go on for twice as long. For me, at least, the world-building is as much a part of the game-play as the RP and conflict. As far as replay goes, the long and involved set-up ensures that each game will be as unique as the players making it. But to each their own 🙂

    1. I agree 100%. And you comment is much longer than my review. I was trying to avoid going on and on about the details of what we did. Trust me. I loved the set up and could have talked social science fiction all night, even after you told me to stop. But, there’s a fine line between guidelines for social discussion and game design. And I think the game works because the people playing it are awesome, not because the game is awesome.

  3. As for scene length, I think microscope lends itself to very long scenes as they explore the depth of a world and its history. 75% of microscope is overview, so the scenes need to be longer. But Shock’s scenes (and maybe this was my fear of being a ball-hog) felt they needed to get directly to the conflict at hand. I especially enjoyed the characters you developed and quickly realized that my protagonist was not fun to examine. That might be why my scenes were so short.

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