We just finished up a game of Nod
and have very conflicting feelings about it. The game created some very cool imagery and we were all enjoying the city and its odd mysteries. Everything was going well until we realized that the Barbarian has basically zero agency in the game. It's not exactly railroading, but he has to get maneuvered in place to experience the other characters. Then, when he shows up in their realm, he has no power because they have Agency over their domain, followers, powers, etc.
The Barbarian tried to stab the Sybarite (to get fresh entrails for the Apothecary to read *AWESOME*), but since the Sybarite has Authority over his clique, he made one of them take the blow. He was well-nigh unstabbable. Likewise, the King of Worms can nay-say anything the Barbarian does in the necropolis, and the Proprietor in his establishment. The Dawn controls cats, so it's nice that the Barbarian can talk to animals, but those cats aren't listening.
Personally, I think part of the problem was the first directive to players: 1. Try to get your character what they want
. When that's combined with "If you’ve got authority over a situation, it’s up to you to decide how things go for the Barbarian," it's bad news for the Barbarian. I think if we end up playing again, we'll add directive 0: Value the story over your character. Tell the coolest story you can. Make a movie you'd want to watch.
With that you don't even need the resolution cards (which often didn't fit the situation). Just ask the group - is this bitchin? Then it totally happens.
I hope this doesn't come off negatively. We were all really intrigued by the concept and execution of the game, which is why its shortcomings were driving us nuts.
Tagging in @Steve_Hickey @Simon_C @snej