Home > Game Chef, Game Reviews, RPGs > Game Review – Therapy by Charles Boucher

Game Review – Therapy by Charles Boucher

As mentioned in a previous blogpost, I will be reviewing some games as a part of the Game Chef 2012 contest. This is the first review.

Introduction

Therapy is a text-based roleplaying game for three players, intended to be played in IRC, forums and other text-based media. In fact, the game strongly discourages face to face contact, since the nature of the game involves some secrecy that could be lost with that.

As the title suggests, the game is about therapy sessions between Doctor and Patient. The third player, GM, organizes these sessions and awards points to the players.

Since the game involves some secret elements, such as the nature of the patients condition, this review contains SPOILERS and should not be read if you plan on trying out the game. Unfortunately that also means that you hardly can know what the game is about unless you read it. That being said, the GM has access to all the information on this game.

First Impressions

After reading the introduction, I wasn’t really interested in the idea of play-by-post style approach, since I have always been more keen on having the chance to actually meet with other people while playing these games. But after reading into the second “playbook” (a character profile), I realized that there is a reason why the author opted to go for text only.

While on the surface, the game is about therapy of the patient, it is actually about fooling the Doctor. This is a rather interesting twist, but it might have some unforeseen issues rising amongst the players.

Pros

The idea of having different roles for the characters is not really a new idea, but I really like what the author did here. Having Doctor and Patient play differently is a nice way to make the concept work and it gives the game some sort of an unique twist.

One of the things I really like is how discussion driven this game is. Not only it makes the game feel more like a therapy session, but it also shifts the focus to player interaction rather than GM narration.

Cons

There are not many rules to this game (except the rules of secrecy),  but I feel that they don’t fit the game as they’re written. First of all, the idea of the patient having three stats and dividing points between them sort of takes away the narrative power of the patient.

Also, the game isn’t clear on how these “problems” or “opposition” are played. The GM is advised to “determine what the forces arrayed against the patient do”. But the game lacks clear definition on the exact nature of these events and how they’re actually supposed to be played out. The funny thing is, the game probably works just fine by giving the Patient and Coyote free narrative rights to answer the Doctors questions.

Conclusion

The whole concept of the game is intriquing, and I feel like I want to play this game. But I have a feeling that as the GM, I would have to make some small changes to the game to make it truly the game that it tries to be. It surely is playable as written, but as mentioned above, some of the rules feel a bit uncooked. But with a bit of a polishing, I feel that this game could be surprisingly fun way to play with friends who you don’t get to meet very often.

If you’re interested in the game, it can be found over here.

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  1. April 21, 2012 at 5:35 am

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