Review of A Penny for My Thoughts

Henceforth referred to as Penny. It was written by ENie Award winning podcaster, Paul Tevis and published by Evil Hat Productions. If you don't know who Mr. Tevis is, just check out the cover, he is all over it. This is a shorter book around 88 pages with the rules only taking up sixteen of them. The other parts of the book are meant to help if you get stuck. It is interesting in that the book is written entirely from the perspective of a Doctor Peter Tompkins and is able to be played without reading the book first. In fact, you read the "Treatment" section while you play. This took me a little bit of getting accustomed to reading, but once I did, the book went by fast.

In this game, you play an amnesiac who is undergoing treatment at the Orphic Institute for Advanced Studies; a fictional place in the game that is run by Dr. Tompkins. You are undergoing a new experimental treatment that allows everyone in the game to see your memories and gives them the ability to help you remember. Now, for the first thing to note, this is a GM-less game. The second thing to note, is that it doesn't use dice, rather pennies and last thing, there is no real random elements to this game, it is an improv/shared narrative type game. One other thing, that I forgot to mention, it is meant to be played in about a four hour slot and is not really suited for long term campaigns.

Now, there is some things I don't like about it. First, I think it really requires the right group of people to play it. It is much more advance than some games out there. Namely, you need people that like the story aspect of an RPG rather than then the combat part. That makes it a little more complicated. Second, this is just a nit pick on my part, is that Evil Hat Productions has a PDF guarantee, which means that if you buy the print copy from your gaming store, you will get the PDF for free. This is at IPR through their pricing, if you buy the physical copy of the book, the PDF comes along with it. Well with this game, it costs extra, so I am unsure if people will be able to get the PDF free. Right now it is only a penny, but I have heard that at the end of July the bundle goes up. I wonder what that means for the PDF guarantee especially since I tend to buy my stuff off of IPR. Is this a new trend for Evil Hat?

Overall besides that, I think this would awesome game with the right people. Those same people that you would play a game of Atlas Games "Once Upon a Time" or Mongoose's "The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen". If you have such a group or just like to check out interesting games, I would check this out.