Have You Played… The Yawhg?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Get thee to a tavern house. The Yawhg puts you and some friends into a fantasy city on the brink of a mysterious disaster and asks you to roam around doing whatever the hell you like. You don’t know anything about this looming apocalypse (and you never will) except the name – the Yawhg. You have six weeks before it comes. What will you do? Spend the whole time drinking and gambling, clearly.

It’s a fairytale story with a hint of the Ant and the Grasshopper. Each player takes their turn going to whatever location they feel like – the arena, the hospital, the slums, the palace. Here they are assaulted with some decision or event. Maybe leeches break free from the hospital, maybe you build up your strength in the pits of the arena, or maybe you just bet on other fighters. Your strength might go up, or your money, or your charisma. These stats are important for the end of times. After six turns, the Yawhg comes and every player gets a little story about how they fared in the ruins of that event.

It reminds me a lot of pen and paper game, The Quiet Year, which is about drawing a map of a town and getting yourself and your fellow villagers prepared for the arrival of the ‘Frost Shepherds’. But unlike that game of scribbling and silliness, this actually shows you what happens afterwards, as a result of your actions. Maybe you become the leader of the survivors and start rebuilding the city plank by plank. Or maybe you become a traumatised alcoholic. It’s consequential storytelling at its prettiest and demands to be played at gatherings and demi-parties.


  1. Tiax says:

    How well does it works as a local multi-player (coop?) game?

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    gritz says:

    I had never heard of this but it sounds really great. However, the metacritic for it is extremely disheartening.

    The near unanimous sentiment is that it’s “too short” and not worth the price. I thought we were at a point where only the most hacky critic resorts to the old “dollar per minute of entertainment” canard, and yet they all seemed to get assigned to this game.

    • malkav11 says:

      A game of The Yawhg finishes in maybe 10 minutes, and there’s not enough variability to replay more than a few times as far as I can tell. It’s an interesting novelty, with good art and writing and if it were like, free or maybe $2-3 bucks or PWYW or something, it would make a lot more sense. Or if it stood up better to replay, it would be a perfectly fair $10 game. As it is it’s in an awkward place.

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        Arnvidr says:

        In my experience, replay value is quite big. Sure, if you replay it a bunch of times in a row, you’ll start to see stuff you’ve seen before, and the fun is gone. Try to bring it back out with a different set of friends though, and it won’t matter to you that you’ve seen some stuff before, because the emerging stories are still a lot of fun.

        • malkav11 says:

          It only takes about two plays to start seeing repeated stories.

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            Arnvidr says:

            That’s not my experience. If you make largely the same choices every time, the same shows up, but there are several possibilities for every choice you make, and there are not enough characters (max 4 players) to get through all the choices in one round, so plenty of variations. Plus, the order of choices matter, so even playing the exact same scenarios in a different order potentially gives you something completely different.

            Obviously it’s not for everyone, as you don’t seem to like it, but I have about 5 hours played on steam, and no plans to uninstall.

          • malkav11 says:

            I do like it, actually. I think it’s a cool experience for two to three play sessions. So, about 20-30 minutes. I just wouldn’t recommend it at the current price. If it were a free webgame, I would be talking it up to everyone I met.

            You only have 8 choices each turn and you have potentially four characters, so you’ll be repeating choices quite quickly even in a single session, and while each choice has a small range of events that randomly occur afterwards, it’s not wide enough to avoid repetition setting in almost immediately. You are correct that outcomes can be quite different based on stat checks, your decisions, and ultimately the order of encounters, but not reliably so and the really dramatic changes aren’t encountered frequently enough to be worth repeat plays just to see if you might run into one unless you have a high tolerance for repetition.

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            Aerothorn says:

            Personally, I’ve gotten more out of The Yawhg than most games I’ve played $50 for, so I consider it a steal at the price. This is, again, just in local co-op though. A real bonding experience for me and a friend, lots of laughs, lots of “oh my god I can’t believe that just happened.”

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    Ninja Dodo says:

    It’s quite charming but on replaying I found it repeated the same beats too much even with different choices and characters. Definitely worth playing at least once though.