Per usual with all Metatopia recaps, everything presented here is based on playtest material and not final published versions.
Untitled by Jason Tocci
Presented by Jason Tocci
I was drawn to this game for three reasons. One, I'm familiar with the designer from The Gauntlet, so I'm always happy to see what's cooking from a fellow Gauntleteer. Two, urban fantasy. Three, I like tarot-based and similar prompt interpretation mechanics. This game was a lot of fun, and I'm definitely eager to see more.
I've found the term "urban fantasy" covers a wide range of tones, so on my own scale, I'd call this one a lot closer to Dresden Files than Vampire: The Masquerade. It was mechanically pretty sleek: descriptive traits, keys for advancement, conditions instead of hit points. There was a single shared deck for everyone at the table, but everyone had their own hands as well. Task resolution used only the cards, but they could be used either numerically vs. a target number or interpretively (by player choice, which I think can work well).
I think I was the least knowledgeable about tarot of all the people present, and I greatly enjoyed a discussion about different deck types and their respective suitability as a basis for the game's mechanics. It's a little thing, but I think it really highlights part of what's special about Metatopia; it may be easy to find people with shared interests, but here you know if you find people with the shared interests you're looking for, they're also passionate and knowledgeable about game design.
The playtest session was a murder mystery setup, but I don't think this is particularly a mystery game. It really is more of a story engine, which I certainly appreciate. It's pretty freeform, and I think can be a lot of fun, and part of the reason I like tarot-based games is because you can bring a lot to the game with a themed deck. I'm definitely keeping an eye on this one!
You can check out more of Jason's work (and hopefully more about this game!) at Pretendo Games, where you can find his blog and also free downloads of some of his other games currently in open beta. Check it out!