4/52 New RPGs: The Quick

I’m on a study project to improve my understanding of roleplaying games. To this end, I already have two reading projects, A Game Per Year and An Adventure Per Year. This is the third, with the goal of reading or playing 52 games made this year or last year. Originally I considered making this “A New RPG Per Week” and that’s where the number 52 comes from, even though a weekly schedule is probably not within my abilities.

The cover of the 2018 roleplaying game The Quick.

The Quick is a new Finnish roleplaying game for playing Nordic Noir ghost stories. Nordic Noir is a genre of crime fiction from Nordic countries often dealing with the bleak side of a well-ordered society.

Designed by Ville Takanen with Petri Leinonen and Teemu Rantanen, The Quick is also an attempt to combine roleplaying game design ideas from sources like Apocalypse World and Fate with the Finnish style of play where character-based play and a strong GM are important.

From my perspective, this was the most interesting quality The Quick has. I’ve attempted to convey my own take of the Finnish style in my game Chernobyl Mon Amour but The Quick does it in a much more subtle and probably more accessible way.

One thing The Quick does is codifying basic GM technique into Moves. Lost of games have GM Moves of course but here they just happen to be Moves expressed in terms of a play culture I also share. GM advice in roleplaying games is often fluffy and vague so this sort of concreteness is welcome.

An example of a GM Move is the Interruption. By using this Move, the GM adds a difficulty or a complication to an ongoing scene. An example is having the cops pull over the characters for speeding when they’re in pursuit. Another is Introduction, where the GM introduces a new supporting character into play. The Cut is even more foundational, of course.

The characters are called the Quick, people who have figured out that death and trauma create harmful manifestations that must be resolved. Otherwise they’ll keep causing pain.

The game is built on archetypal elements like The Firm and The Family. They form the basic framework of it’s fiction but can take many forms depending on the actual specifics of play. The Firm can be many different types of firms, based on the needs of a specific game.

Personally, I only really grasped how this archetype-led method of world design worked once I read the example adventure included in the game. Because it showed practical instances of the archetypal concepts, it also demonstrated how you’re supposed to use them in practice.

The Quick is a toolbox. It invites you to pick up the elements of genre and structure and fill them with specific Nordic Noir game ideas of your own.