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Story Games Seattle Message Board What We Played › What We Played: This game ends in Nebraska (While the World Ends)

What We Played: This game ends in Nebraska (While the World Ends)

Ben R.
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 226
players: Debbie, Jannetta, Greg, Ben

We played While the World Ends, a game we'd never played before but I've been wanting to try. In a word: winner. I'd definitely play it again.

Basic overview: You pick issues kind of like Shock, make locations that directly relate to those issues, then decide which one is going to be the BIG issue that changes/destroys the world. You decide two possible outcomes and two players advocate one and two advocate the other. You also have personal goals which reflect and relate to that ending, but don't directly cause it. So you're playing out personal stories that in some ways mirror the big picture.

Our world creation was really good, which set us up for an equally good game. The central idea that as the Earth declined (global warming, etc.) lots of people left and colonized Mars, the Moon, etc. Which basically solved the problem on Earth, because the massive population drop reduced the strain on the environment. But now, a few generations later, everybody was coming back. Living in space wasn't as great as everyone hoped so they were coming home, flooding the weary Earth with unwelcome immigrants.

Everyone had great characters and hardcore stories:

Xhang (Greg) a returned colonist serving out his indentured servitude to pay for his return. All he wants is to be treated fairly, but that's more than the "natives" of Earth are willing to do…

Spike (Jannetta) is a full-blown nativist colony-hater. No really, he takes it to the limit, infecting *his own mother* with the virulent and deadly "colonist plague" the returners brought back with them. And poisoning the water supply with it. And beating a rival to death in a back alley after his sister spills the beans about his doings.

Eve (Debbie) is a seductive nun/cult leader/brainwasher of the beautific "Return to the Garden" movement. Going to space was a mistake, they say. We should have never left the Eden of Earth. Yes, Spike's the son she gave up for adoption after she was raped. And no, when Spike finds out his Mom is leads an "embrace the spacers" cult, it is not a happy reunion (q.v. Spike infects his mom).

George (me) another returned colonist, separated from his family after they were quarantined in one of the ominous "Wellness Centers" because of possible exposure to the plague. He'll go to any lengths to get them out, but it won't matter a whole lot if it turns out they're infected…

Lots of great bits:

- I loved Greg leading the indentured servant uprising in Nebraska (and getting jailed and then sentenced to go right back to space, exactly what he didn't want)

- Debbie deciding to let her character get infected even though Jannetta lost the roll, because that exactly fit Spike's fear ("lose all my loved ones pursuing my hatred")

- Jannetta having Spike infect his own mom in the first place, and then flat-out murder his rival in an alley, kind of to protect his secrets, kind of because he's mad his sister slept with her. Oh so dark.

I think I was the only one who had a happy ending, even though it completely defied the odds (7 in 8 chance my story would end in disaster). I expected to go down in a blaze of tragedy, but nope, that ominous cough my son has is just a cold…
Ben R.
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 227

I didn't pick up on it from just reading the rules, but there's definitely a tactical aspect to play if you really want to push for "your" side of the ending. There are five locations and each player character is in a different location, but that means there is one location with no PC -- in our game, the lonely atmospheric stabilizer tower in the wastes of Nebraska. Which ever side collects five tokens first ends the story and their outcome happens, but there are only two tokens on each location. So generally you'll go for the tokens on your starting location first, but to end the game it's pretty likely someone is going to have to build relationships that allow them to frame scenes in the unclaimed fifth location.

Which is interesting, because it means the location no one picks (again, Nebraska) becomes the pivotal spot for the endgame.

I think if you were a very competitive player, you could get caught up in trying to optimize your relationships to win, but really I think you'd be distracting yourself from the interesting part, which is just playing out a good story.
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