I love IRREPRESSIBLE!
Specifically I love the system in it and I think it could be used for other things.
For those of you who don’t have the game (yet), here’s how it works.
The group has a pool of points represented by beads in a bag. One of these beads is black (a bad bead) and represents failure. If you draw the black bead you fail and the group gets a setback. Two black beads on the same task (you put it back in when you draw it) and you’re in serious trouble.
The Games Master sets a difficulty which is the number of beads that needs to be drawn. Your skill, traits etc reduce the number of beads you have to draw, but you always have to draw at least one.
It’s pretty simple and in IRREPRESSIBLE! you share a pool but the system has a lot going for it.
There’s tension when you draw beads from the bag. There’s dread when you see the black bead. It’s adaptable to different difficulties and has the dramatic draw of your luck – inevitably – running out.
There must be a way to use this in other ways, in other settings. Maybe each player could have their own bag and the system could be extended to incorporate more traditional elements like damage, magic and so on. If you wanted to complicate matters different coloured beads or chips could have different meanings. Spells and other effects could add or take away beads. A communal pool could be drawn upon – or not, an optional addition from earned deeds.
There’s lots of possibilities to this way of doing things that preserves chance but also feeds narrative, a diceless game with the heart of a dice game.
It bears thinking about for future projects.