Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/09/26/tabletop-review-creation-the-world-building-game/
la création du monde… quelle tristesse. Une nuit sombre et colère… J’ai créé mes craintes. « Fin !
[cue the opening bars of Carmina Burana]
O Fortuna, velut luna, statu variabilis !
Welcome to Creation: The World Building Game where players create, with or without the aid of a GM, one or more worlds.
I was ready to trash this game. It looks like it was made in WordPad, it had less than enthusiastic reviews on DriveThruRPG, and I didn’t think 17 pages was enough to cover the subject of world-building as an RPG in and of itself. However, I liked it a little more than I thought I would. Here’s the basic premise: the players are gods or goddesses of varying power (depending on how many Creation Points they have) and create various things on a world or in the universe. Sounds cool? Certainly.
First off, it’s painfully obvious that this is an amateur effort. The text is in a conversational High-School-essay style, it meanders, the examples reek of young-minded fantasy clichés (“An example of a … artefact is an armour that prevents the wearer from ever dying and they are constantly healed as long as they wear the armour, the armour itself can never be destroyed” which comes from an example about gods creating artifacts in the world), and overall the game is about making stuff up around a table (unless you decide to incorporate the rules for a single die-roll to determine combat between gods). I’m not knocking diceless roleplaying, but I’m knocking diceless roleplaying.
Second, the things that you can do as a being of immense power have no rules of their own as to how they work out. I guess you just talk about them, describe them, and say what they do, which again is making stuff up around a table. Of course, RPGs are about making stuff up around a table, but the making of the stuff is within and governed by a framework of rules and usually is in keeping with a storyline that some plucky GM has drafted for the session if not the campaign. So anyway, say you create a monster on a world somewhere; the rules say that the monster can do whatever and can be killed by a certain amount of heroes depending on how strong it is etc. but there are no rules governing that part of the game. Wait, another god can create a Hero to slay the monster! Yes, the rules do say that, however they also say that the Hero has free will and may refuse the command of his higher power to go and slay that monster… so who gets to say whether or not he does? I don’t know, the book does not say.
So what did I like about the game? I like the concept. I like the simple rules of making stuff with a set amount of points, and there being a mechanism for getting points back based on how well you describe (or roleplay I suppose) the action that your god is taking. I like the range of actions that was thought up, everything from “Create food staple” to “Plane of existence”, and more. There are some neat ideas here, and in its present form I think it is playable, but not really that interesting to me. I can sit around and world-build all I want without any rules (as this game is perilously close to being without rules) either in a group or by myself, then have players play in that world, so why would I want to impose rules on my world-building? This might be a fun exercise for imaginative youth, even though some of the ideas you can get into might be a little mature (e.g. creating prophecies, underworlds, race, ecosystem), maybe some folks in the young teens would get a kick out of it.