[Let’s Study: Unknown Armies] Review of Book One: Play

Unknown Armies is one of those books that would survive a bookshelf purge after a post-New Year’s viewing of “Tidying up with Marie Kondo”. It sparks the same kind of perverse joy on reading that puts me in the same bewildered headspace as I felt after I’d finished Grant Morrison’s “The Invisibles”.

I feel that it has something to do with how the Unknown Armies team of writers were able to tap into the “just maybe…” school of thought, those weird plays of imagination when you entertained, even for just a fleeting moment that if you wanted something enough, reality would play by your rules for once.

The outcome is a mechanically clever, easy-to-run game whose rules tie in strongly with the themes. There’s no fat in the mechanics, it does exactly what it needs to do, then it gets out of the way, letting players experience (second hand) the depths of madness and sacrifice necessary to manifest their wants on the world.

I’ve mentioned before on twitter that Unknown Armies deserves to be required reading in a “How to write an RPG” seminar, and I stand by those words. I highly recommend Unknown Armies for any GM, even if you think it might not be your thing, you’ll find something to amaze you in these pages.


If you’re interested in picking up Unknown Armies, you can grab their stuff over at the Atlas Games Website

You can also purchase PDF copies over at DriveThruRPG!

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