Greenville 1989 (2019)
I'm not usually a fan of narrative games. Basically things can go bad.
The first thing that completely captivated me is the graphics of Greenville 1989. The works of David Sitbon is exemplary on this game. All images have many readings and have references from all the movies or series of horror (Friday the 13th, Freddy, It, ...). That's wonderful. It is a real pleasure to see the work done and especially to be able to escape fairy worlds. Here, forget the cute and the colorful. What a breath of fresh air! It's really good to see that a publisher dares to think outside the box and propose an adult universe. Congratulations!
To pass the discovery of the images, one passes to the discovery of the game. The theme helps, and I must say that I was really taken by the atmosphere of the game. To save the group is not so easy. But what it is is, horrifically pleasant to plunge into this dark universe. Florian Fay, the author, managed to offer a theme and a real story to a narrative game. The central mechanism, which seems simple, is a great idea and works wonders. The addition of the cooperative side brings the unit a unity and a tension that is well present.
Of course the game is not for everyone. If you do not like movies or horror series, or if you do not like to release images and tell stories then go on your way, this game is not for you. Yes, it is not enough to know Stranger Thing (the reference that you find in all reviews when it is not really THE reference of all cards) to find it all the time and allow the game to offer its potential. The importance of the atmosphere and getting out of the cards are almost essential. We are not in a Dixit or a Mysterium. We must go further. In terms of mechanical sensation, we are much closer to a Fabula, for example. But more intense and more immersive.
Greenville 1989 offers an intense immersive experience, both fun and scary. But to make the most of it, you have to play with the right people. And here, the game makes sense. A success ! I have only one desire ... to return it and yet I can tell you that the places are far from fairy tales. Thank you for this very good game!
If you like storytelling, and you have a little bit of experience role-playing, you will gonna like this.
This is not co-op Dixit, which I’m sure you will hear a lot, but more an RPG. Teenagers trying to get through a lovecraftian utopia which is taking over their small town. And all you need to do is tell the story of how you got from point “A” to point “B”.
One of the first things that you will be impressed and blown away by is the graphical presentation that is depicted on all the cards. This surreal art that has elements of Pop Culture horror films as well as some Cthulhu-esque elements, all screaming at you from every lavishly caressed paint brush stroke. Putting your own twist into what you see, will help the one player that is the guide for the round. It is their job to determine the next part of your adventure. After everyone has told their story of what is depicted on their card, which is their current location, the guide will have to draw a number of random cards and say, “ok this is where you're going.”
Giving your guide enough information, not only what is pictured in your card but also what your character might do. May they be terrified and mesmerised on the spot? Will they want to uncover what that thing is in the distance? Are they scared and they wish to run away through that exit over there? All these things will help guide the Guide, to choose the correct card for each player. Because all players have to do is correctly guess which card the Guide has picked out for them. Do this 4 times and everybody wins.
This is a fantastic and quick, role-playing game that put players into horror films. Of a sort. The more imagination you have, the more fun you will have and probably win easily. But this game may struggle with those players who may be stuck in a location because they haven't guessed where the Guide has placed them next. Therefore they will have to repeat everything that they have said previously, which can be dull to some. You’ll need to elaborate a bit more and put some feeling and thought into your story. And when I say that, I literally mean tell the guide what your feelings are and what your thoughts are have your character. As they may easily be able to choose your path because there is an element in the current location of a player which matches exactly the next image they have drawn. This is an easy way out, for example, if there were balloons in the location of the player and the next cards that are revealed have one image with balloons in it... This is probably where that character is going to go.
I would recommend this for players that like a storytelling challenge, as it this will bring out the creativity in players in a way that I have never seen in any other game apart from RPG’s. Inevitably players may get familiar with this cards and will be longing for more locations and more scary creatures to tell stories about. As this small game fits into a large box which has a little uninspiring player board that the players are trying not to fall off of. And some fairly simplistic tokens that characters can collect and use to help them out on this nightmare of a game.
All in all, I had a very good time exploring my imagination, as did the other players. I would definitely recommend playing with 4 or 5 other creative minds and see where these stories will go.