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Some Thoughts on Remember Tomorrow

Scott Dorward

Freelance Alan Moore impersonator
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Have you played Remember Tomorrow? If so any chance you could start a new thread to say how you found it?
Yes on both counts.

I've played three one-shots of RT so far, as well as the opening scenes of a PbP game, and have had largely positive experiences with it. The things I think worked best are:

  • Everyone I've played with has been able to pick up the background and mechanics really quickly. I've just had to spend a couple of minutes talking about the influences, then lead by example with the opening scenes, and it's clicked immediately for most players (except for a couple of aspects, mentioned below). Also, it requires no preparation, which is something I really appreciate in a game these days.
  • It's fast-moving and vicious. While it's not explicitly a competitive game in the way that, say, Agon or Contenders are, you are working to achieve a goal for your character in the face of serious opposition presented by the other players. The whole setup of desperate people trying to overcome grim situations gives RT a nice film noir feel.
  • The mechanics are elegant and really work towards creating something that feels like a literary cyberpunk story. Gaining Positive Conditions for winning conflicts or Negative ones for losing pushes things in all sorts of interesting directions: I may decide that I want a conflict where my character beats up the corrupt cop on his tail and takes his gun and badge, so I state that I'm after the PCon of Armed to reflect this. When we roll the dice, though, I lose, and you decide that you want to give me the NCon of Trapped to reflect being arrested and thrown in a holding cell. I suddenly need to sort this out before the Condition gets used against me to screw with my stats or successes in a conflict.
  • There are plenty of random tables to roll on for inspiration, for anything from character backgrounds to how someone falls when they're shot. None of these are mandatory, but they can help a lot when you're stuck for ideas.
  • Having a shared pool of opponents, in the form of factions or unassigned player characters, means that when it's your turn to play the Controller role (GM) you have a wide choice of opponents you can use to drop someone else in the shit. Again, this helps a lot with inspiration. Between this and the tables, I've not yet seen a game stall while someone gropes around for an idea, which is a strong selling point in a zero-prep, GMless game.

There are a couple of things I've seen cause players to stumble:

  • The Controller always sets up the scene, and this is usually a Face-Off scene, where they use a Faction or character to cause trouble for another player's character. This means that as a player, the only chances you get to advance your character's goal are in reaction to the trouble that's being thrown at you. In play, this is actually really cool, as it really adds to the feeling of desperate people trying to claw any success they can from a grim situation, but it can seem a bit counter-intuitive at first.
  • Similarly, players can be thrown by the fact that the loser always narrates any conflicts. When you win, you get to decide what mechanical rewards you get, including gaining Positive Conditions or inflicting Negative ones on your opponent, and between this and the fact that you've stated a goal for the conflict, you have a lot of influence on what happens, but the detail of how your character succeeds is always down to someone else. This has tripped up players in all the games I've played.

All in all, Remember Tomorrow is the most entertaining game I've bought this year (in the interests of full disclosure, Gregor Hutton is a friend of mine, but I'm pretty sure I'd feel the same way if I had no idea who he was). My only frustration is that it's really designed for campaign play, and I've only had the opportunity to play one-shots, but I hope to rectify that soon.
 

D-503

Cosmonaut
Validated User
Thanks Scott, much appreciated.

I hadn't fully picked up the campaign aspect, but that's the thing with indie games - it's hard to really get them just from a readthrough.

How did you do the PBP bit? Is that on a forum or something?
 

Scott Dorward

Freelance Alan Moore impersonator
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I hadn't fully picked up the campaign aspect...
From the one-shots I've played, I can really see how it would come into its own as a campaign, as you would have a lot more breathing room for characters to work towards their goals and try to thwart the Factions. It can feel a bit compressed in a single session.

There was an interesting discussion recently over at the Collective Endeavour recently about how a number of indie games are written for campaign play, but mostly seem to end up being used for one-shots.

How did you do the PBP bit? Is that on a forum or something?
No, it's just a two-player game we're conducting (slowly -- my fault) by email.
 

Tancred

All over the shop
Validated User
I picked up Remember Tomorrow recently, but still haven't had a chance to play it. I'm hoping to convince some old roleplaying mates to give it a go, as we're looking at running a shortish campaign and (if it does what it says on the tin) this should take the pressure off preparing material, as time seems at a premium lately.

I find the idea of a GM-less, no prep campaign game really enticing. I've got Fiasco, and A Taste for Murder should be following shortly, but while GM-less, both of these are (I think) designed around one-off games, so for me the campaign aspect adds that extra edge.

You're not up for posting an actual play report are you Scott? It's a couple of weeks before I'll be able to try it out, so I'm stalking anyone lucky enough to have given it a spin.:D
 

D-503

Cosmonaut
Validated User
That's a fascinating discussion. I have a number of thoughts on it, but this isn't the thread.

PBEM is difficult, pacing kills most games including one I tried to run years ago (I got the pacing totally wrong, I think it would have been fine at the table but by email it really wasn't) and the ones I've played in.

If you start another I'd be interested in possibly taking part, assuming there's space and all.
 

Scott Dorward

Freelance Alan Moore impersonator
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I find the idea of a GM-less, no prep campaign game really enticing. I've got Fiasco, and A Taste for Murder should be following shortly, but while GM-less, both of these are (I think) designed around one-off games, so for me the campaign aspect adds that extra edge.
A Taste for Murder is definitely designed for one-shots, and couldn't be played any other way without some serious modification. It is a terrific game, though, and a great read as well.

You're not up for posting an actual play report are you Scott? It's a couple of weeks before I'll be able to try it out, so I'm stalking anyone lucky enough to have given it a spin.:D
I would do if I didn't suck at AP reports. :D

I am due to have another game of it a week on Sunday. I'll try to make some notes so that I can put something coherent together afterwards.
 

Scott Dorward

Freelance Alan Moore impersonator
RPGnet Member
Validated User
If you've played Shock:, how would
you compare/contrast the two games?
I have played Shock:, but not for some time, so my memory of it may be a bit faulty.

Shock: focuses on exploring the effect of a change or a number of changes on society, while Remember Tomorrow is more of a straight adventure game. RT encourages competition between the players, and, in my experience, tends to play a bit darker in tone.

Mechanically, there's a bit more game to RT; using the resources you gain by winning conflicts to boost your own character or screw your opponent is a big part of play, and there are win/lose conditions for characters and factions. Shock: is much more about creating an interesting situation and a series of conflicts, and less about stabbing each other in the face.

IIRC, Shock: is designed explicitly for one-shots, and RT is more about campaign play. As I've mentioned, you can run RT as a one-shot, but it's not exactly what it's designed for.
 
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