While dodging the packing my bags for SävCon I read ‘A Taste for Murder’ by Graham Walmsley.
A Taste for Murder is a 9×6 book at 120 pages. There are no pictures except for the diagrams used in the rules. The layout has very wide margins and huge headlines, the book could have been much thinner if a more space preserving layout had been used, in spite of the page count I read it in less than two hours.
The story takes place at an English country house in the 1930’s. The characters are visitors, family, servants or any combination thereof. As one can guess from the title one of the characters gets murdered after a while, and then story shifts into a sort of murder investigation where the victim’s player gets to play the brilliant Inspector Chapel instead.
The rules are very focused, and only deal with the intrigues at the country house as the characters seek to increase their influence over each other, and the murder investigation. The investigation is not concerned about the method of the murder, and there is no element of gathering clues, checking alibis or other problem solving involved. Instead the investigation focuses on who had a motive for the murder, the first two players to get three motives for the murder face off and the loser is identified as the murderer and taken away.
The game has no prep aside from very quick character generation and no player acts as a GM. Scenes are set by consensus, and there are a few tables that can give information like the weather at the time and so on. Players take turns acting out private discussions between pairs of characters, where they can get bonuses dice if they act in a way proper to predetermined moods. Roll dice, and then modify influence or assign motives. Repeat until the murderer is found.
The setting is very good. I didn’t know anything about the life at country houses in the 1930’s, but after reading the setting bits in the book it feels like I know enough to play stories set there.
The rules are very good. They are entirely focused on the vying for influence between the characters and the discovery of motives for murder.
The form is excellent. Graham dedicates 20 pages to an extended example of play, and there are numerous tips on how to play (and how not to play).
Will I play it?
Yes I’d like to play it. But since we would be playing in Swedish I would first have to find translations to all the various titles of servants etc, to keep the game genuine. Also there does not seem to be any character sheets etc for download, another obstacle for getting the game to the table.
theunstore.com/index.php/unstore/game/78 – ATfM page at the Unstore where the game can be bought.