Jan 202023

I enjoy the heck out of journal games. Most of what I write is for public consumption but when I play a journal game, I get to write purely for myself in a way that is very liberating. It reminds me of how fun writing should be, and that is a healthy reminder when I am knees deep in a project that doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon.

Of the journal games, Thousand Year Old Vampire is the Rolls Royce of games. A physical copy is about $50 and that is worth it. You get a book that looks and feels like a worn journal. There are two hundred and twenty prompt,s, meaning each game is going to feel very different. There is space to let you actually write in the book which is a decadent touch and I one I fully appreciate.

As for the game, you write as a Vampire and lived through ages. This is the right kind of vampire. There are no clans of elders and a complex social stratus of rank and prestige. These Vampires are rare and special. There are other Immortal creatures in the world but they are to be feared and avoided, just like you. You are a killer and the people you journal about will most likely die at your hand. Or be the death of you. The prompts give and they take away, but mostly take away.

The brilliant idea that drives this game is the concept that ancient immortals forget things. You will write your experiences but as you gather more memories, you begin to pick and choose which memories you let fade. Diaries can help hold more memories, but a diary is just a physical object and those can be lost just as easily as a home, a job or your suspicious mortal friend. As a man who struggles now to remember important details from ten years ago, I fully sympathize with a vampire struggling to remember something from a hundred years ago.

This mechanic does an interesting job of changing your character in ways that I rarely see in fiction. How does a personality change if they forget that they murdered their first love? What does it mean that a character forgets the Immortal that tormented them for fifty years? I used to see the loss of memory as a detriment but I got to tell you, I was jealous of my vampire forgetting about the time he betrayed his only human friend.

It has been a delightful experience. The best compliment I can give is that I find myself wanting to tell people about what my character has been through. It reminds me of the excitement I feel when I am playing a really good tabletop role-playing game. I am invested in my character and watching him triumph or suffer is equally enjoyable.

If you like journaling, I highly recommend you treat yourself and get this game. Just do it before you forget I said so . . .

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