Machine of Death – A game that challenges your storytelling skills in a series of unlikely demises
Man, when an idea resonates with people it resonates hard Such is the case with David Malki’s Machine of Death, created with the assistance and art of webcomic superstar Kris Straub, a game that seems to be equal parts Fiasco and Cards Against Humanity. It may not be a perfect analogy, but it’s the best one I have. In Machine of Death, players are given cards and tasked with figuring out how those things result in the death of the target. So it is, in many ways, a ‘story game’, although it uses the guise of a card game in lieu of the roleplaying game mechanics. It strikes me as the type of game that, with the right group, could be an amazing experience as each player describes how their outlandish set of events results in the demise of some unfortunate schlub. Apparently I am not the only one that sees promise in the premise because the game is seeing rather explosive support from the community. Indeed, as I write this, Machine of Death is full past four times its original, $23,000 goal. And why not? It’s a golden premise filled with narrative creativity and a morbid sense of humor. Machine of Death can be played either competitively or cooperatively. At the start of the game you get a card with the cause of death on it. From there, at least in the cooperative game, it is up to the players to define who the target of the prediction is, two pieces of intel about the target and their location. From there, the players get three cards that tell you what you have to make it happen (examples shown in the demo include open-ended cards like something that is five letters or more defined cards like a disguise). From there it’s on the players to make it happen. Once the players have worked out the plan, the group is given 90 seconds to see if each part of their plan works (a roll of three or less on a card means that that part didn’t work and a new card is dealt, forcing the players to think on their feet). At least all of that is what I was able to gather from the demo video, so I can’t promise it’s 100 percent accurate, but it should at least give you an idea. All told it looks like it should be an amazing time, especially with the right group of players who buy into the premise. If you want to check it out, go over to Kickstarter where you can get a PDF of the game for $10, a physical copy of the game for $25 or a premium, wood box copy of the game for $125.