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Hamlet's Hit Points $8.00
Publisher: Gameplaywright
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/21/2012 17:12:04

In Hamlet’s Hit Points, venerable game designer Robin Laws describes a method of breaking down narratives into a series of “beats” falling into nine different categories. Laws uses square and arrow-shaped icons to chart at-a-glance the progress of any narrative. Three long examples—Hamlet, Dr. No, and Casablanca—illustrate Laws’s method. The analyses are fun to read and convincing. However, I was disappointed with the advice section, which seemed rather thin after the rich analytical meat of the book. This book is very good, but I don’t think it quite lives up to its press. At the end of the volume, I felt that I had learned a new way to describe what goes on in a story (including an RPG campaign’s storyline), but not really how to “lay compelling track for an emotional roller-coaster,” to quote the DTRPG product description. The book is engaging and enjoyable; the benefits of the system aren’t as obvious as I expected them to be, and I think the publisher exaggerates when describing the book as “an indispensable tool.”

[4 of 5 Stars!]