Trouble at Twin Palms Review

by David Lee

Trouble at Twin Palms is a Murder Mystery Freeform Game set in the Firefly Universe. The game takes place in the Town of Twin Palms (specifically the local watering hole), the residents have taken great care to restrict the use of advance technology within the immediate area. One set of Colonists had even gone as far as to live in tents and follow the American Indian way of life.

Each of the twelve players are given a range of goals to complete before the night is up. These characters ranged from the standard law enforcement characters, to the mysterious out of towners. The additional of the Native American Indians (kind of) provided some interesting situations, from the simple fact that their culture was different and had varied ways of dealing with things than the rest of the town. Three Feathers (Dave) was very disruptive (in a good way). I don't think there was an hour in the game when he hadn't accused or tried to kill someone. Of course this was in character since being the Chief of his tribe this was no doubt how he dealt with matters amongst his own people. As is generally the case with these games the true goals of each character is not revealed until the night, this is to put everyone at the same level.

One of the elements that perhaps did not work as well was the High Noon I assume this was to ensure players survived till the final duels. However, some players didn't wait till then mainly because there were other ways to off someone without making it a public display and the fact some people just couldn't duel that well. Further more while the Reaver attack was fun and provided some excellent role-playing, it was not entirely necessary mainly because I enjoyed the talking more than the fighting. Also the attack conflicted with the secondary goals of control firearms and ban future tech since both were necessary in defending the town. On the other hand it did give the Sheriff a tough call to make which is always nice to have when you're role-playing. While it's nice to have variety in these kind of games, the stronger elements of the game i.e. the talking and investigation work can sometimes be undermined by this variety.

I played Dan the Deputy Sheriff (Sharp as Moss), I found it very enjoyable to play him. The way he talked and how he interacted with other people came very easy for me so props must be given to the GMs for giving me a suitable character. He was also very fun to play, which is essential in an role-playing environment. I especially enjoyed the internal conflict of following my Ideal or my childhood sweetheart, a choice between the law or love. Almost felt like I went though a character arc of some sorts, which reached it's climax when Lucy (sweetheart) challenged the Sheriff to a duel. Thankfully he declined, but it would have been interesting to see what I would have done if they fought each other. I could go on about the symbolism of that duel but that would take a while. Anyhow for a simple minded guy he was quite a complex character, so thank you Mark and Mark for giving him to me and hopefully other people got similar situations to play with.

In conclusion this was by far the best free form game I have played. Thank you to everyone involved for making it what it was. I hope everyone had just as much as fun as I did or more. And I look forward to playing the next one, maybe without an attack, just to see how it goes.

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