I played Engine Heart (which I keep trying to call Gear Heart by mistake) last night at Guardian Games. The game master, called ‘The Programmer” in Engine Heart, was a great guy who ran a fun little game set in a post-apocalyptic future Portland.The system uses a simple d10 system that was easily understood and quick to jump into. Once we understood what our attributes stood for, it was easy to figure out how to do anything we wanted to try.
The evening was full of hilariousness as our bots attempted to make sense out of the strange world around us. Our group consisted of a five bots under the benevolent guidance of an AI named Eve. AIs in Engine Heart have all the “mental” stats and none of the physical stats as they are usually housed in computers instead of mobile bot bodies. Our home was a disused mega church and Eve was tasked with it’s overseeing maintenance. Eve sent us to scavenge solar panels and to repair the local network so that maybe Eve could access the internet again.
The fun thing in Engine Heart is roleplaying the point of view of a bot with limited understanding of human concepts. Your HumanCom score reflects how well you understand humans and human-related things. For example, we stole solar panels from another AI in charge of a Buddhist temple. The other AI was defenseless, so we ruthlessly scavenged 8 solar panels from it’s building while the AI protested uselessly. As we left, the Buddhist AI warned us about bad karma. Our group concluded Karma must be a type of bot the AI was going to send after us to take back the solar panels we stole. We never saw another bot chasing us, but we were certain Karma was a dangerous bot and we were on constant vigilance for it for the rest of the game…
There was much more to the game, we puzzled over human things like money and a gun, traveled across town, rode a train, negotiated with police bots, and pondered why humans never recycled their parts like bots do. The game was cut short when we ran out of time, but every minute of play was fun and I am looking forward to playing the system again.
You can learn more about Engine Heart and get the game at their wiki.