Geek Girls Rule! #158 – Echo Bazaar by Fail Better Games

I spend a fair amount of time trying to figure out what to blog about, since a large portion of my time is taken up with actual work and I do not get to live in my geeky little world 24/7.  Believe me, this is a bitter, bitter disappointment to me, and I do what I can to mitigate this by filling my office at work with tons of nerdy crap.

However, it just dawned on me that I’ve been playing this awesome browser based game for over a year now, and aside from mentioning that mostly what shows up on my twitter feed is the snippets I tweet daily to increase my actions, I haven’t really talked about it.

So, now I’m talking about it.  You can find the game at this link.

Echo Bazaar won the Escapist’s 2009 Best-Browser Based game.

I think this is adorable.

The premise is that this London is the fifth Fallen London.  It’s a very Victorian setting, involving urchin gangs, devils, bohemians, high society, cops, and disgraced royalty.  You begin the game in New Newgate Prison.  You start out by taking actions to build up to escaping and starting life in the fallen city.  You get to choose your gender and a silhouette representing you.  You start with nothing, and get to take actions based on cards that come up in your deck.  In the course of the game you build up your four stats by completing actions on the cards and in the storylines unlocked in various locations around Fallen London.  The four stats are:  Dangerous, Persuasive, Watchful and Shadowy.  As your stats climb, you can do more and more actions.  But even when you fail you get an increase in your stats, something of which I highly approve.

As I said, I’ve been playing this game under the GeekGirlsRule twitter for about a year now, and they’re adding new content all the time, new locations, new storylines.  I have maxed out my Persuasive stat, and I’ve managed to retain my soul, and only die a couple of times.  Death is not a setback unless you want it to be.  I’ve also started another character under another twitter to explore options I did not take as my original character.  They’ve done an excellent job of keeping plotlines and action descriptors gender neutral as regards your character, which I appreciate.

You have a set number of actions you can take per day, and you start each day with ten.  You can tweet snippets (or post them on Facebook) in order to get an additional ten actions.  After that, your actions refresh at about 1 every 6 minutes.  Your cards refresh at a slightly slower pace.  You can also purchase “Fate” in order to do more things, and have more storyline options.  I have, in fact, purchased fate in order to take advantage of these benefits.  And this week, they’ve decided to reward folks who have bought fate by giving them extra actions this week.  And I’ve been burning through those puppies like mad, going through the storylines at the new location Mahogany Hall.

Javagoth laughs at me when I’m playing and say things like, “Damn it!  No, I’m keeping my soul!” or “Well, crap, there goes another urchin.”  Apparently my mumbly non-sequiturs are highly entertaining when taken completely out of context.

Starting map of Fallen London

There is also part of the game I have not participated in yet, the Game of Knife and Candle, which is competitive between players.  As I haven’t played this part yet, I can’t really say how well it works.  But a lot of the other interactive options, such as inviting other players to join you to lower your nightmares, or do something intellectual work pretty well.  It populates  your list of people that you can interact with from your Twitter or Facebook friends list, depending on which you use to sign in to the game.

I highly recommend Echo Bazaar if you like text based games.  I usually wind up using my initial ten actions, then letting it sit while I do other things online or around the house, and then taking a bunch of actions all at once.  The storylines are entertaining and interesting.  They artwork is steadily improving, and is sweetly cartoon-like.

Remember, the Geek Girls Rule Geekiest Tattoo Contest!  Also, you can contact us on Twitter and Facebook.

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