Review: Spirit Quest

Spirit Quest by David Miessler-Kubanek
A RGP of adversity and enlightenment among spirits over the fate of your tribe.

By chance, I’m reviewing another game by the same author as Coyote Pass, using the same ingredients. It’s an exercise in seeing one group of ideas spread in completely different directions (of course, that makes it a microcosm of Game Chef on the whole, I suppose).

“You may spend as many Courage tokens on dice or to make rerolls as you wish.” That’s the line that sold me on the mechanics, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s the most important sentence in the entire document. It encompasses the simplicity of the rules, the efficiency of the narrative system, the power of the Totem and the risk which they have to undergo in order to wield that power, the threat of the Coyote, and the very, very frightening tightness of the economy, for which success now can so easily translate into the death of the tribe down the road. It’s a good line. It’s a game in and of itself.

Okay, I’ll complain a little… calling the tokens “Courage” feels like an arbitrary way to make them fit the ingredients. Though Totems are, by nature, being courageous by making this journey, I don’t feel it defines them the way it does, say, the coyotes of Coyote Pass. Something like Faith or Followers might make more sense here… but such is the nature of writing to fulfill ingredient lists.

I like being a spirit representing an entire tribe, but I’m uncertain the world these totems exist in. Are we entirely spiritual entities, existing in a metaphysical world, or are we, in some way, bound to the real land… which is to say, could we follow the totem’s progress on a map? I like to think of it as being a bit American Gods, in that the Totems are as much people as they are spirit animals, walking both worlds at once… and I suppose I’m free to think of it that way, but I’m curious how you intended it.

Beyond that I don’t have much to say… it seems like this could be an extremely entertaining narrative experience, and of the games I’ve read, it feels the most complete. Oh, some polishing, some examples of play, and a fair amount of testing could all be used I’m sure, but the crux is very strong and, at the end of the day, that’s what makes a game shine.

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