Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Review: Argyle & Crew

Argyle & Crew by Benjamin Gerber is a delightful role-playing game based on sock puppets. The game draws on some basic but sophisticated elements of childhood imagination and play to create a game of whimsy and great potential. I was immediately reminded of the work of Daniel Greenspan in the area of floor time, encouraging caregivers to think about the form and quality of their work with the very young. I definitely recommend this game to parents and others working with young children or looking for a diversion, but I also think many other gamers should get a copy of this game to mine it for several other inspirations.

Character creation, using socks or paper bags or whatever comes to hand, is a concrete way to proceed, but it also could inspire interesting ideas for adult gamers. The basic game is diceless, so elements attached to the puppet create opportunities for powers and storytelling within the game itself. I have been in a couple of gaming groups where we have tried to add character illustrations and other imagery to the game, but this routinely foundered on some players' self-consciousness about their own artistic abilities. Anyone reading through the short description of character creation in Argyle & Crew would realize that it's worth another chance. This method of character creation could also be elaborated into more sophisticated forms as well.

The game also includes insightful sections on saying yes to players and about working with conflict in a game group. I would hope that Gerber would share some version of them online or in his blog. Appendices include ideas for expanding the basic game into a dice version with additional ideas for more complex, adult play.

The Argyle & Crew game is currently available in pdf form from Drive Thru, but there is a drive to raise $3000 to fund the publication of the game in full.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your review, David!

    I am loving the concept and storyline of Argyle and Crew and am looking forward to testing it out.