Amaranthine – A Review
This is another great game from Machine Age Productions. Despite coming to this game with the expectation of it being rather rules light and being wrong, this game has a lot to offer and a lot to bring to the table.
PROS: The setting is absolutely amazing. The idea of walking around as a closet immortal, only to realize what you are when you run into another immortal, is great fun. The way the Amaranthine remember their past lives makes this game very interesting and very collaborative. I like that. The game also uses a Relationship Wheel mechanic to help track how your Amaranthine feels about the people who are important to him/her. The Relationship wheel is full of narrative interest and is a wonderful tool to know instantly, at a glance, what your character feels about another. The cues it gives you make it so easy to glance at the wheel and run with roleplaying and have the interactions between characters be vibrant and ever-changing. The writing in this book is also top-notch. I especially like the in-character little descriptors for the Maneuvers as they bring a lot of color to the world of the Amaranthine and really make it pop. Amaranthine is also released under the Creative Commons license, so that makes it super easy to share it with your friends and get them excited to play it. And they will get excited. The mechanics provide a tiered complexity so you can choose how much you want them in your game. The mechanics support a narrative style game with minimal dice rolls.
CONS: The book is a bit large, weighing in at 212 pages. Most of the pages are pure text and, while the text is very well written, it can get tiring to read and read, and read. Especially since the mechanics are a bit complex. It took me two reads to wrap my head around them, but once I did, I saw the elegance of the system. I also thought that several of the images were unfinished and really took me out of being immersed in the book. Most of the images look very finished and descriptive, but several were in a loose, watercolor painting style that didn't draw me in.
All in all, I think this is a wonderful game and give it 4-stars! I definitely recommend picking it up and giving it a go with your game group. The game really appears to focuses on inter-character drama and makes it exciting to see what else happened in your character's past. This is a high quality game that you don't want to miss.
[4 of 5 Stars!]