What precious treasure will you find in Echo Bazaar?

Title What precious treasure will you find in Echo Bazaar?
Author Tom Chick
Posted in Game reviews
When February 1, 2012

Before I get to the downside of Echo Bazaar, a text-based game set in a fantastical Victorian underworld called Fallen London, I want you to know two things. The first is that if you're going to try Echo Bazaar, the next two days are a perfect opportunity..

Read the full article

I enjoy Echo Bazaar tremendously -- I've been playing for a year, including two months in which I paid Real Monies in order to double the number of turns I could take each day. However, it's worth noting that as you move on in the game, it takes longer and longer to advance your skills, and the grind starts to set in. The writing is unfailingly wonderful, but you will occasionally find yourself reading (skipping over, really) the same finely wrought text dozens of times in a row.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to steaming across the Unterzee while fighting off Dr. Orthos's Fleet of Truth.

I won't get to play this till tomorrow, but the sense that the designer is immersed in an archaic theme reminds me of Solium Infernum.

I encourage you to pursue those nightmares. Failure, in this game, is often far more entertaining than safety.

There was at one point a PvP system called (IIRC) the Game of Knife-and-Candle. Since death is nearly invariably non-permanent in Fallen London, it was a game of stylish murder. That was really the only significant social content, and it has since been pulled - I assume for reworking.

Echo Bazaar is brilliant. I wish it were a bit less grindy at the high end, and I find the current action limits (well, pre Festival of Endless Actions) a bit over-restrictive, but the writing is so, so good, and there are things that are merely hinted at that make me shiver with delight.

Oh, I've definitely maxxed out my nightmares. And I don't regret it for a second. Oddly enough, it coincided with a couple of days of me being really sick and feverish in the real world. Coincidence? Or the mysterious power of Echo Bazaar????

This review really made our day at Failbetter. Thanks, Tom! :D

The folks talking about grind in the comments: we know. Trying to balance pacing with writing resource is a really big issue for us. And there's a huuuuge amount of content in there (about 700K words) but there will, eventually, come a point at which you've seen most of it. But we are tuning and experimenting and trying to find ways to square the circle. We've got some quite radical experiments coming up in the next few months.

"What I can imagine always looks better than what someone else has to draw."

There's an Iain (probably M) Banks quote we keep using with clients: "a writer has access to the biggest special effects budget imaginable." :-)

That's me sold. Loved King of Dragon Pass so I think this is right up my street!

I played it for several months about a year ago, and remain intrigued by it. I got turned onto it by Liz Danforth (yes, that Liz Danforth) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In working up details for my version of a Planescape DnD campaign, I know I'm going to be highly influenced by Fallen London, and plan on referring to
http://fallenlondon.wikia.com/... fairly regularly :)

Funny you should mention that. David Dunham, who built KoDP, plays Echo Bazaar. :-) And KoDP (along with Darklands) was one of our inspirations:

That is a fine summary of KoDP - much better than my own!

I've already signed up to EB and have enjoyed it thus far. Not entirely sure what I'm doing but I'm enjoying it. The setting makes me think of Kingdom of Loathing crossed with Jeff Vandermeer's Ambergris stories, which is all good in my book.

Now, how do I join Tom's clique?

Thank you, Tom! I am really enjoying this, and I never would have found out about it without this post.

Looks interesting.

OK Tom, you got my attention with the Infocom comparison. Nostalgia aside, those were some really great stories and I miss playing games like that.

I received a mysterious email from Tom one night demanding I join Echo Bazaar so he can play chess and tell me about his nightmares. Since that night, I have not stopped playing. I even became an Exceptional Friend! Have my wife Sarah playing it now as well.

I believe my favorite mechanic you guys use, that I didn't really use as much at first, is the cards. When you first start the game, there's a ton going on and you're busy building up and getting your feet wet. Once you have the hang of things, however, it's easier to lose interest in basic gameplay core concepts. The cards give a great way to switch stuff up a good bit and make the game seem fresh.

What a fantastic setting for a game. I'm very jealous of the idea ;)

Also been playing with The Night Circus and absolutely love the design. It's very minimalist and, in a word, haunting.

Keep it up, I'll check out anything you guys do!

Tom is so trying to get people to join his crew with that link.

Oh and also, way to have a house with 3 card slots. I'm still dealing with the old 2-slot one.

You will not be disappointed.

We have big plans for cliques. This whole strategy could end up working out very well for Tom.

Fantabulous review! Every paragraph is truth distilled to poetry!