Art Preview: the Value of Memories

Posted: December 2, 2011 in artwork, games, Memories & Madness, storytelling
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I thought I’d post up another of the stunning interiors for Lost Days of Memories & Madness by George Cotronis today and talk a little about another aspect of the game, this time the memories that make up the core of play. Once again it’s such a shame not to show the art off in colour, even though it’s in black and white in the book.

As I described last time, at the heart of elven culture are their memories, some of which are their own, some of which are stolen, traded or otherwise acquired from others. These memories make up the core of the game as well, defining your character and what he can do in a conflict in much the same way as a skill, trait or aspect might in other games. The difference is, memories are written on index cards and over the course of the game can be traded, stolen or lost, so not only do the elves change what they can and can’t do, they also change what they know and who they think they are.

Memories are all created collaboratively at the start of the game in a process known as Memory Creation. Each player takes it in turns to write a memory on an index card and these are then put in the middle of the table. Players take it in turns to bid coins for them, with the winner not only getting the memory, but also setting its value as the amount he was prepared to pay. The higher the value of the memory, the more dice the player gets to roll when it comes into a conflict, so these memories can become highly desirable and the subject of frantic bidding.

Almost all of the game play centres on these memories, whether it’s an elf’s hunt for new, exotic memories or his quest for answers to the questions a memory might have posed, a player attempting to ‘acquire’ a memory from another character or an elf’s descent into madness as he slowly loses his memories over the course of the game, and whenever a player gets to take his turn it’s inevitably to the memories around the table that he’ll turn his attention first.

And it’s how a player goes about this that I’ll talk about in my next post, when I’ll give a quick run down of the conflict system and how those juicy memories can be leveraged to assist an elf in his ambitions.

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