Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The Delta Green Kickstarter

Well, Arc Dream have finally launched their Kickstarter for Delta Green and it is doing very well too. At time of writing it had raised over $70,000 of a $40,000 target. But I'm not backing it, despite having been a fan of the idea of Delta Green since I first read the original and superlative Convergence scenario in The Unspeakable Oath back in 1993 or so.

So why am I not backing it? It is after all the re-launch and admittedly much needed update of one of the most respected and in my view intellectually satisfying RPG lines in the history of tabletop gaming. It took the Call of Cthulhu game in a new and original direction that it needed for 1990s gaming. It has been a long, long time in returning, and has required a facelift to bring it up to date with the post-9/11 political environment.

First off, I've got a few other unfulfilled Kickstarters still out there, including Horrors of War by Adam Scott Glancy, that have yet to appear. 13th Age Glorantha is proceeding, but real-world events - the merger between Chaosium and Moon Design - raise interesting questions about how the Glorantha and 13th Age intellectual properties will work in the future. Will there be further support for that game?

Glancy has been very, very quiet about Horrors of War, only finally making a statement about why it is delayed in the week before GenCon. We have had a further update since then, but I note that he his now listed as one of the team on the DG project, while he still has Horrors in play. Where will he assign his priorities? Inquiring minds want to know. He was offering refunds to some incensed backers in early September, but communications have gone quiet again. Backing Horrors of War was a spur of the moment for me, but I'm now being a little more disciplined. Hence, I'd rather wait and see DG in the shops.

Finally, one of my problems with the original Delta Green: it is very much about a US organisation with a US national security priority. Foreign equivalents are not really the good guys either - take a look at Project Pisces in Delta Green Countdown. The games I've used Delta Green for to date have consequently involved domestic American investigations. I've tinkered with the idea of a UK campaign using Pisces, but that stops being DG, and much of the core material goes out the window as a consequence.

I'm also writing a scenario set in Vietnam in 1966-67, but that game draws on a mere few paragraphs from the original DG book, nothing more, and I am using a combination of Savage Worlds - Tour of Darkness and Realms of Cthulhu, not CoC, which is bad at replicating bigger firefights.

The launch of Esoterrorists and the Gumshoe rules engine in 2005, and the subsequent roll out of Trail of Cthulhu and Night's Black Agents using that system, have presented me with an alternative which seems to work well. NBA also has the advantage of being set in Europe, much closer to home for me, and to be honest, uses a rules system that somehow works better than the CoC original, which was itself adapted from RuneQuest. Gumshoe now has a decade of active play behind it, and many of the rough edges of Esoterrorists have been sanded off. I'm hoping to be running a play test of NBA shortly and will be able to report back on that on this very blog.

I've also had to ask myself - realistically - how often I run horror / espionage games. Do I really need to have two or three different settings and systems? I don't think so. Sorry, Arc Dream.

1 comment:

  1. There's also Cold War Cthulhu, which seems like another interesting alternative. But then I have never been a fan of DG so my lack of interest is no surprise.