The Last Voyage of the Barcosa
– Willem van de Velde the Younger, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
After play review
After playing, and thoroughly enjoying, The Last Voyage of the Barcosa, I’d like to write a few words about it.
Layout and packaging
TLVB comes in classic two pages, three columns layout, and is optimized for digital screens or printing on A4 paper. Background and font colours are fitting earthy colours with just enough bright accents to keep it interesting and pleasing.
The game is available in English and German editions on itch.io and drivethrurpg.com. The German edition comes with an alternative version, “The Last Voyage of the Bar mouse a”, a light-hearted and playful option in which the protagonists are mice. The mouse version came into existence after I posted about a funny hick up of my spell checker. That’s the benefit of playing indy games: The publisher has a connection to their customers.
Mechanics and prompts
All one needs to set the game up and play is a six-sided die. A round of playing consists of throwing a die to find out the category of the next event and throwing again for the number of the event in the chosen table. Most prompts will advance the doomsday clock, which leads to special events during the game and advances it by having you add a fixed number to your rolls later in the game.
The prompts are great. They are chosen in a way that gets the story rolling, advances it, and leads to a typical Lovecraftian solution. All prompts give enough “meat” to write a few hundred words on the happenings and are varied enough to keep the evolving story well-rounded.
I enjoy journaling games and learning new things, so TLVB was a nearly perfect game for me. Each round gave me the opportunity to learn about something new, like the history of religions in Indonesia or the history of card and dice games. The setting is great and the number and variety of prompts should make the game playable for another two or three times, which makes it a bargain.