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Story Games Seattle Message Board What We Played › Powderkeg Island (The Quiet Year)

Powderkeg Island (The Quiet Year)

Nathan S.
user 59524552
Seattle, WA
Post #: 1
So we played this game a long time ago. Something like December 8. I know it was Mike, two other people, and myself. I'm sorry I forgot everyone! I lost the slip of paper I had with our first names.

So we played the Quiet Year. I was drawn to any game that featured a map as a central element, so I was grateful Mike facilitated.

We started off drawing an island. There was a mainland nearby, and another island a little further off ocean-side. Our resources were Fresh Water, Firearms, Defensible Positions, and Violence. We gave these a -, -, +, and a - respectively, with tons of defensible positions being our main strength. We started off considering how peaceful we were. We had a temple to the sea Goddess guarding the entrance to our nice harbor. On the opposite side of the island was a "bloodsite" where some horrendous act had occured and that presently reminded us why we don't fight amongst ourselves. I should also mention our island featured a rather large volcano. It wasn't currently going off, but the surrounding dirt was mucking up our water supply. Our last starting features was a fort we had constructed that overlooked both the harbor and the coastline on the other side of the island that faced the mainland.

The first two seasons had a number of interesting highlights. We found an ancient water pump on the far side of the island (relative to our harbor) and began solving our fresh water problem with it. We also took a weird fog as a blessing and found the courage to build a number of canoes with which to explore. We heard strange noises from the mainland, so we built an auxiliary wall/footpath. Some of our canoes were swallowed by a giant sea serpent, so we built a watchtower to gather more data. Some packaged food washed up ashore. A foolish young girl decided to build a saddle to ride the sea serpents. Her project was quickly shut down by a pragmatic community. The biggest highlight was the other island we explored. We found a raided village and its only remaining occupant: a small child. We later found that this site had running water, so we set up shop there ourselves. We were worried about another raid so we set up beacons that we could light on either of the islands (one beacon encountered complications and was never finished). Another survivor, who the child identified as a"bad man" showed up. He confessed to betraying the village when he was found alone and threatened by the raiders. We told him to run to the fort if they showed up again.

The Summer was pretty dramatic. Strange, monstrous, guardians were found unmoving on the shore of the mainland one morning. They vanished the next morning. We sent an expedition party, but they were unable to land because it turned out there were TONS of sea serpents nearby, not just one. We also learned the raiders had sea serpent tattoos on their arms (the kid or the bad man told us). The foolish young girl somehow hung herself at the Bloodsite while she was planning on throwing a surprise party for the village. The rest of the town mourned for a moment as a result (not really). To explore in the face of the sea serpents, we decided to build war canoes. Finally, one night a barrage of exploding shells fell upon the island, destroying our auxiliary wall and half of the unoccupied island. Some kind of weird glowing cylinder also fell and lodged itself half-buried into the sand. We scurried around our fort and discussed if we should stay or leave. We stayed for the moment. Then, our volcano erupted and destroyed half of our harbor, including our old water source, our beacon, and our temple. We were lucky the docks were saved, as the next turn we finished our fleet of war canoes. That's when we drew the end-the-game card: with part of our island kicking off to live on the other settlement, part of them holing up in our fortress to defend their home, and a contingent of warriors kicking off to either get obliterated or to maybe give the sea serpents a good rousting.

This was my first game of The Quiet Year, and I enjoyed it. I heard that the designer already took out the cards that have the potential to end the game super early, and I support that decision as our game came to a very sudden halt. I enjoyed how the projects, declarations, and discussions molded the flow of the game. I also liked how you could say things like, "We've each had members of our community keeping watch on the tower, how many sea serpents have you seen?" instead of directly addressing a project underway or responding to a card. The responses to the questions aren't too constraining but shape the narrative.

I enjoyed drawing the map, but it felt awkward when the event cards had us introduce a character. It was a little awkward to have a stick man labeled "bad guy" next to our temple because that's where he washed up. I also feel that contempt and conversation dots were underutilized by the ruleset. Taking contempt tokens sort of confused me. No one was really doing anything that warranted taking contempt, so our game had somewhere around 6 contempt total. I don't know how you would have much more unless you were playing with a really confrontational and uncompromising player, and in that case I might not want to play. I don't know what that would look like, except something silly like, "Screw you guys, I want all the food over here to myself!" Their doesn't seem to be many reasons why I would take contempt, and there isn't much cause to spend it either. So, next time I play I'll try to pay more attention to contempt tokens.
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