Monday, September 26, 2011

Review: Maid

I wrote the previous review to get to this one.  I should write a couple others, but this was rattling around my head first.  Largely because I'm interested in running it again.

So this game called Maid was on my radar for a long time.

Now, I'm not an anime guy, or even a Japanese culture guy — I recognize the vast majority of my consumer electronics to be Japanese in origin, and sure, samurai are kind of cool (but the Ainu are cooler).  Oh, and Shinto is pure awesome.  But that's about it.

Okay, maybe it's more accurate to say I'm not an otaku guy.  The Japanese have a neat history, and some of the modern stuff is cool in a "hey-look-at-this-neat/weird-thing" way, but it's not a thing.

Despite this fact, there was something about Maid that wouldn't let go.  I like anything weird, and after a certain point, I had a setting that used and parodied anime tropes.  So, after a few years of running into this game, I bought a copy a couple of months ago.

I really want to run this game.

Much as expected, this game caters to meido and the harem genre.  That's hardly surprising, and is the main reason why I didn't buy it sooner.

What is surprising is that the game actually sounds fun to play.  Sure, it's meido and harem anime.  But it's also a typically Gygaxian chart-laden affair (as in old editions of D&D, character creation is basically random) with strains of Paranoia throughout.

To explain: you're a maid.  You serve a Master who, while not necessarily inept, needs maids to continue functioning.  By serving the Master, you gain Favor points.  This is the experience system, as well as your "power source."  If you want to do something special, it probably costs Favor; likewise, if you want to raise your stats, it will cost Favor.  If you make a mistake, your Master might dock you Favor.  If you hit zero Favor, you're fired.  Clever players turn this arrangement into Paranoia by running circles around the Master, and undercutting other maids while bolstering their own careers.

As a default light-comedy game, "death" is nonexistent.  When a maid hits zero hit points, she throws some sort of temper tantrum before recovering and returning to her duties.  As a result, being fired is more severe than "dying" — but triggering a Stress Explosion is a good way to lose face and get fired.

More interesting than the bizarre political environment and weird anime tropes, is the versatility of the game.  When you read a game about maids, you assume a certain arrangement.  However, some of the sample games detail other genres and rule tweaks: one game casts you as a demon's lieutenants, and you are guarding his dungeon from greedy adventurers while he is away.  Another places you as shrine maidens guarding a shrine against the horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos.

Basically, you can play any game where a group is organized by a patron.

If this sounds remotely interesting to you, you can go look for the game on the Maid site, which also has additional information and downloads.

1 comment:

  1. I have nothing substantial to add, other than I want to play in any incarnation of this game you may run. Unless it turns out to completely blow, but I somehow doubt that. It is, of course, all about running it with the right people. Not every group is going to fit.

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