Saturday, April 28, 2012

Detailed Everway Review

Bob Dushay has published a detailed review of the Everway RPG. It catalogs the core Everway products (with the exception of a couple that were published  by another company, and not broadly distributed). My friend who publishes Hereticwerks recently borrowed one of my copies of Everway. He described it (rather aptly) as very similar to the Diaspora RPG; its simplicity and openness enables players and GMs to create new worlds and setting materials. The published materials in the core box set provide setting premises (such as how Spherewalkers get from world to world), a central world that binds together the multiverse, as well as the names of a number of realms. Just enough is provided to get the imagination rolling.


  1. That's quite a thorough and detailed review. Mr. Dushay is right to point out that the Fortune Deck really is something of a simplified Tarot deck. For someone who is experienced in doing readings with the Tarot, this works just fine and would actually be a lot of fun, but for someone without a background in reading the cards, a lot of the symbolism probably got missed or glossed and thus the complaint about it delivering too many binary results. It is a wonderful mechanic, the cards are nicely illustrated, and it is a great idea...but it places a huge burden on the shoulders of whomever is interpreting those cards. That seems to be a bit of a no-no for a game aimed at courting and recruiting non-RPG-ers. Requiring some level of skill on the part of your end-user means one more barrier of entry.

    The materials for this game are gorgeous. Very high production values. Maintaining those standards would have been expensive, probably still are quite expensive, especially if the current copyright-holder/producer can only reasonably expect to sell a few hundred units at best...ouch. I suspect that it is not the game mechanics, not the box, not the unfamiliar terminology or the core concepts that have made this a difficult game to is the high production values of the first print run that have set a very high bar of excellence to meet or exceed.

    It might be possible to revise the core game to work with one or more standard Tarot decks, thus making it possible for this game to return in a way that wouldn't bankrupt the would be publisher. Perhaps the current publisher might consider partnering with US Games or Llewellyn? The core mechanics are very much akin to pathworking, guided visualization, meditation and other very basic practices. That could get interesting...

  2. I never had much of a problem interpreting the Fortune Cards, and agree with you that I don't think they are excessively binary. All of my Everway players have been veteran roleplayers with a range of mechanical preferences - but all were storygamers as well. It would indeed be interesting to see how the game works for people who are new to roleplaying. I can say as a GM that the game is pretty high trust. It won't work as well for groups that have adversarial GM-player dynamics.

  3. I was curious; would it be possible to develop a scenario or run a session that began from a Tarot-like 'reading' that expanded outwards from each card dealt until the game was in full-swing? that seems like a good hook for just about anyone interested in the game, regardless of their background or previous experience with RPGs...

  4. You absolutely could, and I should try this out. That is a perfect way to combine sandbox aspects of the setting with the story game mechanics.

  5. That's a strange mind-set: to hold that something that is, for all intents and purposes, art is a straight jacket. I mean, look at how much we argue and disagree about art in all its myriad forms (painting, abstract, films, books, sculpture, etc etc)!

    Really like Garrison's idea for kicking off a campaign. It seems like a nice, gentle way to introduce newbies to it - or even RPing in general.

  6. Hi Cary: If the reference to art is to interpretation of the cards, my own experience is that players and GMs usually do just fine interpreting the words, images, etc. even when they may not understand the greater real-world mythic context and correspondences. It helps if there can be give and take and a free flow of suggestions about the interpretations, too.


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