Hey everyone and welcome to Rocks Fall Reviews! on NonZero Sum Games!! The podcast Rocks Fall! is your home for the best game reviews, creator interviews, and actual play in the podcasting world! Like what you see here? Check out my podcast on your favorite podcatcher. I’m your host, Devon, and this week we’re talking about City of Mist from Amit Moshe and Son of Oak Studios.
City of Mist by Amit Moshe and Son of Oak Studios
- Game Title: City of Mist
- Creator(s): Amit Moshe and Son of Oak Game Studios
Flow of Gameplay:
This system uses a slightly revised Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA) system. PbtA is a system created in 2010 by a game designer named D. Vincent Baker for the game Apocalypse World. If you can find a copy of that game for under $100 US dollars, grab it. It is marvelous.
The PbtA system is built around collaboration. It allows the players to take what are called “moves” during the game and during combat that move the game forward in a cinematic and collaborative way with the help of other players. City of Mist is no different. Sure, there are tweaks to the system here and there, but the core concept of cinematic, collaborative gameplay is the core of this game.
So, the player makes a move and rolls some dice then works with the MC (this system’s GM or DM) and the other player characters to determine the outcome. Pretty simple.
For printable materials like character cards, go to the game’s website below and download the PDF. It’s pretty cool.
Every character gets one Character Card and four Theme Cards to use.
Character Cards: The character card contains all the demographic data of your character from the book. This includes: name, mythos, logos (cover identity or “mundane persona” as the book calls it), your crew, which are the other player characters, any story tags that your character is attached to, the “build up” meter where you track experience points, “moments of evolution” which are additional powers you get upon filling up your build up bar, and any nemeses you have.
Theme Cards: Based on the given themes presented in this book, you pick four and customize them to your character. These are the motivations, weaknesses, and drives behind the concept of your character.
Your crew (the party) gets a theme as well after that! This will essentially let you form anything from a street gang to a superhero squad to a pantheon of gods, which is pretty sweet.
From there, you start your zero session and play the game!
SO GOOD! The art not only reflects the setting but enhances it. Unlike other core books published from independent creators that I’ve read where art is only really on the cover, placed sporadically throughout the rest of the book, and varying in quality, this book is packed with full-color artwork throughout the entire book. I try to read core books for the first time from cover to cover, and in my first read-through I was consistently surprised by the quality of the art that I would happen upon as I read it. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. This book won the gold award for best interior art at the 2018 ENnie awards during GenCon this year. Congratulations, folks! You truly deserve this award.
Like most PbtA systems, the gameplay is smooth and collaborative, focusing on cinematic collaboration between players and the MC. It is very rules light but still has enough substance to keep players who thrive in worlds with rules interested, if not entirely comfortable. I’ll go into it more in a bit, but the game does have a lot of lore to deal with when playing, which makes it a bit crunchier than the typical PbtA systems.
This game doesn’t just have a setting, it has a mythology. This game is so dense lore-wise that the possibilities of gameplay are near limitless. There are boundaries, so it isn’t as boundless as say, Cosmic Patrol, but in one book it easily does what it takes several 5e lore books to do. No kidding.
You play as an awakened Sleeper. Sleepers are your average human; too focused or distracted by their own stuff to really see what is going on in the world around them. This is worsened by The Mist. An ever-present, invisible, semi-intelligent force that covers everything in a metaphorical fog. What is even scarier about this force is that it can influence events to keep the Sleepers from really seeing the world around them. So what is it that The Mist is attempting to keep hidden, you might ask? Mythos. Mythos are awakened Sleepers who receive the powers of legend.
The rift in The Mist that allows these people to gain powers also allows them to see what is really going on around them. The world of City of Mist is full of magic, legends, and gods but The Mist hides this from the average person. Once awakened, the Mythos can locate other Mythos around them and either band with them for a common goal or fight them to stop their evil machinations. There are 39 Mythos for you to choose from in the core book but an ingenious enough homebrewer can easily create other legends and myths to play within these game parameters.
There are no official supplements that I could for this set, which made me incredibly sad. But then I ran across a Facebook post by Amit about a launch event for the revised core set and additional supplements! The new Kickstarter is called City of Mist: Nights of Payne Town and it includes options to get the revised core book, an MC toolkit book, an expansion called Shadows and Showdowns, and the Nights of Payne Town story book.
You should definitely go back this because not only are these books going to be amazing, but you can get all four for a steal during the Kickstarter and I’m not sure if you’re going to be able to get these books after the Kickstarter is over because the 1st edition core book is ridiculously hard to find. I’ll include a link to the Kickstarter in the review notes below too! Back this as soon as possible!
- Easy system
- collaborative gameplay
- less emphasis on a GM
- more emphasis on cinematic gameplay
- Honestly, I can’t find anything that really sticks out as a con to me. The only consideration you should take if thinking of picking this game up is whether or not you care if a system is rules light or rules heavy, because, like all PbtA games, this system is pretty light on rules with an emphasis on player cooperation and coordination with the MC instead of players just interacting with a world the GM creates.
Overall, this game is magnificent. To try and sum it up in this review does not do it justice so please, go get a copy and start reading this book. You will fall in love with this setting and this system. I don’t want to end this with a boring number review (4.73658 out of 5!) so I’ll just leave it at this: I have searched far and wide for a system that will allow me to play as a powered character in a way that doesn’t force me to perform calculus equations in determining powers and their effects on the world around them. This book is that system. So go. Go be a hero, go be a villain, go be a legend. And have fun.
Where to Find It:
- There’s currently a Kickstarter going for a revised core book and new supplements. Find it here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sonofoak/nights-of-payne-town-a-new-story-arc-for-city-of-m
- Free game materials! https://www.cityofmist.co/download
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Happy gaming everyone!