Lacuna: what is it like ?

edited August 2013 in Story Games
So, Lacuna is a game I flert for a long time, because Ive always found its premise very evocative. But Ive never the courage to actually buy it. Now may be the time.

So, do someone here has any experience with, or at least have read, it ? What do you think, boys and girls ?


  • I freaking love it. How it plays depends a lot on the people at the table, it can easily swing from a surreal episode of Dragnet all the way over to Scott Pilgrim.
  • Very good - clear premise, lots of hooks in the setting, does a good job of evoking a surreal Cold War spy vibe mixed with Inception sort of stuff.

    It's certainly not a purchase I regret.
  • I like Lacuna part 1: The Creation of the Mystery and the Girl from Blue City (second attempt) a great deal, and always recommend people play it the first time knowing nothing about it. But even after you know, it's still a very fine game. Indie Press Revolution has print copies again, even, and will have it in their booth at Gen Con.

    What others have said in times that are not this time:

    "Lacuna Part 1 is the first and only Cold War spy role-playing game. It is, in my view, the best work from Memento-Mori by a considerable margin, and if you haven't been paying attention, that means I think it's one of the strongest RPGs in existence. But weaklings cannot play such a strong game. I didn't say it was friendly to people who pick it up on a lark and expect hand-holding to get through their bogus habits. They'll say, "Tee hee, the funny incomplete game," and revel in their ignorant edgy-ness. Fuck them. I'm talking about the game that you only might be man/woman enough to play, and that's not a joke." -- Ron Edwards (although that was before he wrote Spione)

    "It's like paranoia and don't rest your head had a child that was abducted at birth and later showed up in a mysterious photograph associated with a string of unexplainable killings." -- Stephan Bretall

    Lacuna opening: "The sky over the Blue City was the color of a dead metaphor." -- Carl Rigney

    I also highly recommend Don't Rest Your Head by the way.
  • I had a really meh experience with it. I think my group was not man/woman enough to play it, though.
  • It's a great game. There are a fair number of threads on story-games here if you want to read some AP. Pretty much everything @Carl said.

    Also I'd highly recommend the triple play using the exact same characters: Cold City -> Hot War -> Lacuna.

    *The order is important.
  • Thanks for the input, guys. My fear was that the game was kind of "empty", both system-wise as in setting/premise. But the more I read about it, the more I feel that, while it may actually have "empry spots" (some on purpose) it seems to have a strong mechano-conceptual punch towards a very specific (unique ?) premise that feels very exciting to me.

    By the way, still on the "emptiness" issue, its interesting to note that, while I tend to really like light games, there are a lot of them that feel empty for me, mechanically speaking. I came to appreciate more the games that are light, but also possess some substance in the form of clever and/or involving rules that go beyond of mere physical simulation/resolution.

    Just so you know what Im talking about: Ive always been a fan of light games as Risus and Over the Edge, but the game I really fell in love with is Apocalypse World, exactly because it combines that lightness with a very interesting (for me) substance in the form of clever rules that help to convey in-game drama/tension and player-agency in a way that those games dont.

    Well, dont know if I made myself clear here. My english is a bit rusted. xD
  • I ran Lacuna for a campaign of about a dozen sessions. This was a little tricky, since the premise doesn't suggest where to go in the longer term. However, it was definitely fun and intriguing.
  • I ran a Lacuna campaign a couple years back that remains one of my favorite campaigns I've ever run. My specific spin on it was to take it in more of a horror direction, but I think part of its strength is how you interpret the mystery of it.

    For reference, the handouts I used when I ran the game

    Another thing I really like when I run Lacuna (regrettably rare these days) is to have a nice creepy soundtrack. Colleen is one of my favorites for this regard when it comes to Lacuna. This song was another I liked - I used it as the Spidermen theme, and to this day it still freaks my players out!
  • I had some really great experiences with Lacuna. I ran it like a monster-hunting/investigation game, but one in which the setting itself was shifty and unpredictable, and where you didn't know if you were working with the good guys or the bad guys. I created a demo scenario and a bunch of rules references a while back. If you're interested in seeing what I've done when I run the game, send me a whisper, and I'll email you what I've got.
  • Lacuna is a game I want to run but I never feel I could do it justice.

    In my ideal world if I had actual talent and infinite time, I would first plot out a multimedia interactive website, program that, and put a link in a con game description (no other desc. just the link).

    At the day of the convention game, I would hand out questionnaires that would require people to have done stuff on the website.

    Those who fail would not play at all.

    Those who pass the questionnaire, I would hand a plastic bag with their ID cards (with their faces on it, somehow) and a Lacuna pin, and start off saying, "OK, so you've passed a questionnaire at a game convention and you are talking to a Game Master who just handed you your ID card and a Lacuna pin. He is actually describing what he is doing as he is doing it."

    "The Game Master is not your friend."

    "What do you do?"

    Every time someone asks "What's going on?", I would add 1 Static.

    If no one puts on the pin, add 1 Static.

    If anyone acts in a character, aka does not act like themselves, I would add 1 Static.

    If they make me break character, I would add 1 Static.

    If they make my head implode with all this self-referential alternate reality game mechanics, they win. No rolls needed.
  • It's a great game. There are a fair number of threads on story-games here if you want to read some AP. Pretty much everything @Carl said.

    Also I'd highly recommend the triple play using the exact same characters: Cold City -> Hot War -> Lacuna.

    *The order is important.
    Whoa... that's, that's a really good idea. Thanks!
  • I've read Lacuna several times - it is like an everchanging labirynth... - every time I read this game I feel I would run it different way. Could someone provide a kind of complete introductory scenario - just to see how it is different from my own thoughts?
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