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Chill Third Edition
[9781987916089]
$25.00 $17.25
Publisher: Growling Door Games, Inc.
by Jeremy G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/06/2015 22:49:54

I was a big fan of Chill 1e from Pacesetter, not a fan of 2e from Mayfair (too much math; ugly art), and was excited about the Kickstarter for 3e. I won't bore you with more narrative of how I got here, so here's my review: it's a great game. I've run it for some friends for several sessions and we've all enjoyed it thoroughly, running different kinds of horror stories and finding that the core mechanic works well in a variety of situations and contexts. I just ran two games for mostly strangers at a local game convention and got rave reviews - so much so that some of the players from the first day bought the book that night and came back to play in my other session the next day. I'm a decent GM, but the system made it easy to get new players up to speed, contributing creatively, and with very little introduction from me.

I like games that provide players and the GM with consistency of resolution and flexibility in application. Chill 3e provides both. The core mechanic is simple, intuitive, and works for the style of game - heavy on the story and atmosphere, lighter on rolls - that Chill seems best to promote. That mechanic, and the systems related to it, are flexible enough to be applicable to just about anything the players could want or GM could devise. Much like Gumshoe, which ensures that players end up with the clues they need to move the investigation forward, Chill guarantees a "vital clue" with every type of investigation roll, regardless of how one rolls. This is a good thing because adventures are boring and frustrating when players go nowhere because they fail a roll for an important clue. Chill eliminates this possibility entirely. If the roll is successful, you get your vital clue...if it's a really good roll you'll get that and something more, and if it's an amazing roll, you'll learn even more. But if you fail you still get that vital clue, and something extraneous that might slow you down...and if you botch your roll you'll get a vital clue and a false lead, and then it's up to the player to figure out what's what. I think this is a simple, clever way to ensure that the plot moves forward while plugging in opportunities to take fate into consideration.

The book itself is very nice, although some of the creature art wasn't so great. The photos throughout the book are quite good, with some even genuinely creepy. I wish the creature art were better, but I'm not going to complain, because it's the stat blocks that I'll use, not the art. The section on creature powers (the Evil Way and 'aspects') is great, making it very easy to create customized foes. Instead of levels or HD, a monster has an 'Evil Way Score' that provides an idea of how formidable it is, and all abilities and powers are rooted in this score. It was easy to create a ghost, for example, that could do what I wanted it to do and be as threatening to the party as I wanted it to be. This should make adventure design easier.

I also think the amount of the book spent on SAVE history and current world hotspots will be very useful to me over time as I run the game, and that background was clearly the work of a passionate group of writers - I appreciate that.

If you liked the original (but realize that the rules are so so so clunky after 30 years) and want an update with a hefty dose of modern story-focused mechanics, this is a good game. If you want a horror game that's easy to run and learn, this is a good game.



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Chill Third Edition
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