Disclaimer: This is part of a round robin review process, meaning that a bunch of designers got together and agreed to review each other’s games. I don’t know if the author of Rewind will be reviewing my game or not, but he might. In any case, I will be reviewing four other games between now and August.
Rewind is a solo or single-player game written by Todd Zircher that is basically Edge of Tomorrow (or Groundhog Day, . . . the author includes a bunch of other inspirations I didn’t know). As soon as I started reading, I twigged on the possibilities due to it pretty much being Edge of Tomorrow the RPG, and that – as you might guess by some other articles I’ve written elsewhere – got me interested.
This is also a very simple game. The rules themselves are basically covered in seven pages, and that includes some examples. Given that the rules are so short, you can imagine this is a very abstract game. The conflict resolution system is not unlike that for Apocalypse World, but without the specifics – there are no playbooks or moves.
The “timeline” mapping mechanic is straight-forward and elegant. The author does a good job of explaining it, but also provides an example of play at the back of the rules in case a reader needed more clarity. Again, as the author explains this mechanic, my mind is imprinting it on Edge of Tomorrow, and it works very well.
Is there a drawback to this game? I mean, not for me. There are those who might want an ever-so-slightly more robust system, but I really don’t think that’s needed. The example provided at the end makes me think this would work for what I would want and would work really well.
It is a single or solo game, so if there are more than two people involved, that third person will have an issue. I mean, I think one could hack this, but as the author writes, if you have more than one character who can trigger “rewinds” things can get confusing.
To me, this would work really well as a backup game for small groups. Only two people available? Cool, let’s go through a noir version of this. It’s open-ended enough that with some oracles (a few are included in the rules) even re-using a starting point can lead to different games, however the set-up for a new adventure can be really quick, so no prep is really needed.
This is a great little game – and I say little because the PDF is all of 14 pages, not as any dig. It provides a great framework for the specific kind of story it wants to tell, and everything else has been shed. That’s a design style I can get behind.
I give Rewind 4.5 time loops out of 5. There are a few editing errors and I think the text could be somewhat clearer in its presentation. Were I to rate this in value for money – it’s free – it would be 5 out of 5. Definite recommendation.
You can find my opinion of Edge of Tomorrow here.
You can find a bunch of thoughts on Edge of Tomorrow and gaming here.