Hey, remember Ocean?
September 2, 2011
The Above 49 blog did a little review on Ocean (as well as Dread, Lady Blackbird and Fiasco) awhile back. Ocean never really found an audience when it was released 2 years ago, but sales have been picking up slowly (very slowly) over the last few months. I’m actually really proud of teh game, but I designed it and released it during a period where I just didn’t want to do any promotion.
Anyway, here’s what they had to say:
is a GM-less game, meaning no one player is responsible for setting the stage, providing a challenge or anything else. Because of this, playing Ocean
feels as much like an improv game as it does a tabletop RPG (as I mentioned before
, improv and games go well together). The conceit is everyone wakes up wearing hospital scrubs with complete amnesia in some kind of facility. You soon discover the facility is underwater and there are some kind of hostile creatures in the facility. The players’ communal task is to discover who they are, what the facility is and what those creatures are. Oh, you know, and then escape with their lives if possible.
Overcoming challenges (or failing to do so) provides other players with “credits” they can cash in to reveal a clue about one of the above three unknowns. And by reveal, I mean make the entire thing up. Getting three clues reveals the truth of the thing and answering all three questions means the survivors, if any, can attempt to escape. Because it truly is collaborative storytelling, it really is like improv where you have to say “Yes, and …” to the other players’ contributions. Pulling everyone’s disparate ideas together can be a bit tricky, but we managed to pull it off more or less in the game we played. That sensation of taking someone else’s idea and building upon it in your own way is very interesting and satisfying. Vaguely reminiscent of shared construction in multiplayer Minecraft except it’s stories instead of structures. More abstract than other tabletop RPGs, but also uniquely enjoyable.