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Episode One : Patriot Broadcasting Review

By June 12, 2015Reviews

Read the full review here

This Megagame was put on by a couple of Cambridge game designers, following the success of their local replay of Watch The Skies. It was called Mirror State, and it centered around a US Presidential Election. And an apocalyptic cataclysm that we wouldn’t discover til mid-game (if we were lucky).

The room was well fit out. To my delight, there were three giant screens with scrolling news feeds. Rather than print or Twitter, the debate at the last megagame, the game design team had created a bespoke platform, with a headline and 300 characters of story. The text was a bit small, but I wasn’t worried about news making it to the people.

I’d brought three different devices with me – my laptop, phone and tablet, and I would post new stories from all three before the day was done. I found my enemy archrival and quickly sized him up. He had a laptop. He would be weighed down by it all day. Technology was on my side.

As a Media Player, the live-stream of updates was a different feel to a printed version. The emphasis was on speed over accuracy, so we ended up with fast news, not factual news. Whether press is a player role or a control role is a subject of debate in my mind, and in this game it felt somewhat more like a control role, with little in-game benefit for fact-checking, journalistic style or roleplaying, aside from the personal satisfaction.

As a Megagame veteran (of about seven or eight games), there’s always the worry when trying a new game from an untested designer. Will it match up to your expectations? Will it be a challenge? Will it be fun?

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Mirror State was one of the most gripping,
exciting, terrifying and immersive games I’ve played.

Aside from a couple of pacing issues, and a few logistical errors that are always going to haunt the first outing of any event, it was incredible.

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