THE POSSE - Mr. Bernards & Rittles vs. Blind Barry

I recently did an a-ma-zing two-player playtest session of The Posse, together with my housemate David Martini. I didn't have any high expectations for the two-player variant, but I have to say it blew me away, completely and unexpectedly!

Admittedly, I think the Ennio Morricone YouTube-mix we had playing in the background helped a lot, but the game text and mechanics did the real trick. I feel that Follow strikes the balance of simplicity and clarity really well, encouraging good story telling without setting the bar too high in terms of genre expectations or having to figure out how the mechanics work. The rules don't get in the way at any moment, but they do help enormously to provide solid input at crucial moments, such as during character creation and at the end of each Challenge. Very, very inviting to bring Follow to the table again (and again), with such an effective and elegant combination of fun and simplicity!

Now for the story. Our quest: bring Blind Barry to justice. In the town of Vulture Springs, Blind Barry went on a killing spree to avenge his murdered wife, and now there's a bounty on his head. We were playing Rittles, a shady 'trader' and saloon-regular, who was in it for the money, and old coot Mr. Bernards, trying to win his honor and way back into community life, after a shameful love affair 40 years ago. Rittles also needed Bernards's respect, which he did't just get, while Bernards needed to know the truth about Rittles's secret businesses, and whether he could be trusted as a person.

Our challenges were as follows:
1) Find out where Blind Barry is hiding. (Won)
2) Capture Blind Barry in his hiding place. (Lost)
3) Track down and confront Blind Barry. (Won)

In the end, we managed to track down Blind Barry and bring him to 'justice', in the form of an explosion that also killed Rittles. But not without a good dose of personal drama and interesting betrayals along the way. The sheriff got killed. Bernards's grandson Jimbo got abducted and left behind by Rittles. Bernards got sidetracked halfway through by his need for the truth, discovered an opium den in Rittles's house, and threatened to expose him to the community. Finally it was Rittles who got to Blind Barry, with the help of Jimbo and Bernards's ex-lover. In the epilogue, we see a traumatized Jimbo slowly turn into another shady type of Rittles. Because you know, a community will always have its Rittles...

As I said before: the elements introduced by the game fit the story perfectly and enriched it in sometimes surprising ways. The tension between wants and needs played out great, as illustrated by Bernards's sneaky ventures and Rittles's unexpected self-sacrifice. Also the deaths and betrayals introduced by the drawing of stones at the end of each challenge (all of which were involuntary in our case) felt like a natural and interesting addition to the narrative.

All in all, I'm super excited about everything that Follow has to offer so far, and I'm looking forward for the next opportunity to play it!
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