Posted on June 23, 2005 by Flames
White Wolf’s Mind’s Eye Theatre challenges us to enter a world just beyond the mortal senses, to look into the shadowy mirror of ourselves and find a world populated by the supernatural — vampires, mages, and others wage an eternal battle for dominance and survival. Choose your role in this World of Darkness … are you a defender of humanity, or a predator of the night?
Mind’s Eye Theatre (MET) currently occupies the dominant position in the LARP market with good reason. The system is simple to use, yet complex enough to cover a wide range of actions a player may wish to accomplish during the course of a story. The game rules dovetail nicely with White Wolf’s setting to create a game uniquely suited to the social interaction necessary for a LARP to function. The sheer diversity of MET’s setting and game material provides ample subject matter to create a story for any type of player. Whether your troupe prefers intrigue, battle, mystery, politics, or suspense, you will find it with in the World of Darkness.
Each product of White Wolf’s MET line offers a glimpse into a new facet of the supernatural world, and a new theme for players to explore within their stories. Perhaps one of the most compelling aspects of the LARP system is how the designers used different supernatural creatures to explore very human themes. Ultimately, players are forced to look deeply into themselves to tackle some of the most difficult questions of philosophy. What does it mean to be human? What is good and evil? These are the themes which truly make MET a game of ‘Personal Horror’.
The MET system is not without its weaknesses. The system seems to work best when there are a sufficient number of players to drive the social dynamics of the game. Too few players causes the game to lose portions of the politics and intrigues which are deeply woven into each product line, and so necessary to drive certain themes within each setting. Too many players creates a complicated logistical nightmare for the Storyteller running a game which, ultimately, dwells upon the impact of themes on each individual player. The more people who enter the game, the harder it is to make the game ‘personal’.
Second, players and Storytellers will invariably want to ‘cross-over’ different product lines in order to explore all aspects of the supernatural entities within the World of Darkness. While White Wolf’s system appears to be cohesive across the product lines, but the truth is that each line was originally meant to stand on its own, and thus any attempt to cross the lines leads to several conflicts in game balance. Storytellers and players wishing to introduce multiple lines into their story must be prepared to handle minute details of game mechanics in order to keep things running smoothly. More recently, White Wolf has begun to tackle this issue, in response to player request, but difficulties still exist.
With rich setting detail, complex and emotional themes, and a diversity of choices to cater to any player type, the World of Darkness offers a darkly lit canvas upon which a Storyteller may paint his or her drama. Combined with a simple to use system, Minds Eye Theater is a excellent choice for exploring the humanity and horror within us all.
Reviewer: Tony Pileri
Look for Mind’s Eye Theatre eBooks at RPGNow.com.