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Polish story gamers, tell me about Wydawnictwo Portal
edited November 2009
I came upon this company called Wydawnictwo Portal and I'd like to know more about their games.
Their url is:
A postapocaliptic game set in the US in mid-21st centrury. Very MadMax-y and Fallout-y. Very good writing.
Dark Fantasy game about standing up to one's moral principles in a wicked world.
Setting is the strongest element of both games. The countries in Monastyr and "home locations" from Neuroshima are distant relatives to Vampire's or L5R's clans. The worlds of both games are full of easily explorable conflicts.
The third games, Rzeczpospolita Odrodzona, "The Republic Reborn", is still in the making. It's a sibling game to Neuroshima, set in Poland after the apocalypse. The country is struggling two wars: against Germany ruled by a rebel military AI and mutated Russian army. Since most of wars Poland fought were against one of the two, it's build around loads of tropes present in Polish culture. I don't know any more details since the game has not been released yet.
('Rzeczpospolita" is a direct translation of latin respublica, and we use it to refer to Poland and to Poland only. For other republics out there we use word "republika".)
In addition to those, Portal publishes some indie games. You have probably heard of De Profundis, which was published in English a couple years back (and, from what I'm hearing, the second edition is on it's way). The other games in this line so far are "Kiedy Rozum Śpi" - Polish edition of Don't Rest Your Head, and "Cold City" - Polish edition of "Cold City" :-). More are in the pipeline.
A couple years ago, Portal publish "indie-like" game "Frankenstein Factory" - parody of oWoD games and the only game with a screw as a part of system, and Polish edition of "The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen"
Portal also makes board games. I don't think it's the place to discuss them, so I won't. :-)
Do you have anything in particular you want to know?
(The Neuroshima Hex board game is really cool - especially for 2 players; 4 gets a little random).
I just found the website via geekdo.com and I liked the art and the names, thought they looked interesting. Too bad I don't speak Polish.
What's Frankenstein Factory and Monastyr like, if you have the time to explain them in depth?
Frankenstein Factory is a fun, beer-and-pretzel game. Dr Frankenstein has set up a production line in his Castle, where his Creatures are being assembled. The Creatures terrorize the Village nearby. Players create their Creatures using scissors, paper, glue and the screw. The book contain couple of pages of body parts - legs, arms, heads, torsos - to copy. Players cut out the pieces they like and glue them to the character sheet. The parts has their ratings which are used to test (legs: running, balance, arms: manipulation, combat etc). Creatures can operate in two modes: when the brain is kept in place, they can think well but are clumsy. When the brain is loose inside a skull, the Creature is more agile but has problems thinking (or the other way around. I don't have the book by me at the moment). The screw is used to reflect that - players can screw them or unscrew to indicate which mode their Creature operate in.
FF works best as a light convention game. It's too limited to support long-running campaigns.
Monastyr, on the other hand, is a serious game. It was marketed as a game for more mature players, who are beyond their jolly hack-and-slash years. The religion of the world plays very important role, it permeates the whole culture. Every of dozen of so countries in the world interprets the religion in their own way (which, of course, can lead to conflicts). The God's adversaries (demons, or deviria as they are called) are constantly trying to bring people to perdition, and Darkness is a real threat. It has it's own secrets - huge Cathedrals, monuments left by ancient race of Rodians, which are scripture and places of worship at the same time. The name of the game comes from them ("monastyr" is polish word for Greek monasteries).
Characters are nobles - officers, priests, diplomats etc - who made a mistake in their youth which led to their fall. They were great careers in front of them but it all ended due to the mistake (which is defined during character creation). Now - in the game time - they decide to stand up once again and struggle for what they believe in.
The world's technical level resembles baroque, so think "musketeers" in terms of buildings, rapier duels and clothing. The book - especially full-color hardcover - is gorgeous.
I like the game very much, but the system is... horrible. It doesn't address topics of the game (well, maybe duels are an exception), and it is hard to use (a personal opinion, mind you).
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