(P)review: Speakeasy

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bla4New York is one of those places that is crawling with “speakeasies”. I cannot stress how popular they are here. Yes, alcohol is legal here, it’s not the Prohibition Era. No, they’re probably nothing like the Prohibition Era speakeasies, because I have yet to encounter a bar that serves their own moonshine made out of wet socks. From going through a phone booth in a hot dog place (Please Don’t Tell) to going to the back room of a Five Guys burger joint (the Garret) to going behind an ATM (Cash Bar, which is closed now). The speakeasy is one of the more seductive places to go if you want to splurge your money on $14 cocktails for the night. But screw all this talk of my alcoholic tendencies. What we’re here to talk about now is the game, Speakeasy.

While there’s been a boom of Werewolf and Avalon-style games recently, it seems that Speakeasy really took the genre and ran with it. We initially had some trouble getting enough people together to play. It’s difficult enough to drink with other people, now I have to scrounge up a gang of them? Well. Yes. Like the other games that I have just mentioned, there are two groups: the Mob and the Feds. However, unlike the previous games that I have just mentioned, each person gets a password of the assigned team. They also get dealt three point cards, a role card and one person from each team will get a Rat card. During play, players can also purchase power cards for a point card each.

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There is also a Moderator who is in charge of all this stuff that’s going on. They have control over the point cards and info sheets and so on. The Moderator is to provide different characters different pieces of information (whether you want to close your eyes and thumbs up and thumbs down or whatever). At the end of the game, the Moderator tell the teams to separate into their assigned groups. They will then see which team wins with most passwords from the opposing team, the team’s final number of point cards AND if the team can guess the rat’s identity (which counts for the most points).

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We played the game with 6 players, not including the Moderator, so we were given two passwords. Note to self: never let Herb moderate anything when he doesn’t have his glasses. He can’t see shit. Second note to self: If Herb is ever playing, he will cross out the password and change it to “poop”. He deliberately stared me down while handing me the card. While the game was to last sixty minutes, it felt like it was only around thirty. There was a lot of yelling and pointing fingers, which I really enjoyed. At the end of it all, I felt I had accomplished more with this game than with Werewolf (sorry, I get really bored with that game, especially in big groups). While this plays out in the same vein as Werewolf, I felt that I had more flexibility in movement and communication, similar to when I played Two Rooms and a Boom.

With that said, I also really enjoyed the story-telling aspect. It could’ve been because I really enjoy improv or LARPing or whatever, but I think that this would’ve been played better with everyone in costume, drinking something other than coffee. Me being the badass Corrupt Politician that I was, I believe I needed a suit and a cigar. And a glass of thirty-year old scotch with a perfect sphere of ice. Senator ain’t got shit on me.

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If you ever get the chance, check it out! Their Kickstarter is up right now and has funded, but help them reach all their stretch goals! If you’d like to try out the game, here you can find their PNP file.

Hope you enjoy the game as much as I did and tell us what you think!

~meeplesex
Jen