Story-collectathon Where The Water Tastes Like Wine now has a free companion game, Fireside Chats, which falls somewhere between expansion and demo. The new release includes sixteen fresh stories, each told by one of the main characters that returning players will recognise, as well as the existing first chapter, so new players can get a feel for what to expect if they go on to purchase the main game.
If you did already play Where The Water Tastes Like Wine, Fireside Chats will feel familiar, like catching up with an old friend (or sixteen) after some time apart. The tales they tell are the same kind as they ever were; shining a light on different, often overlooked corners of American history. They cover everything from a man stumbling through a dust storm in search of whiskey to a wily cathedral builder who tricked the Devil himself.
For new players, it’s a smart way to package the experience, focusing on the beautiful storytelling you can expect and cutting out all the travel time that separates them in the original release. That walking was one of the things that Adam didn’t enjoy back when he wrote our Where The Water Tastes Like Wine review, though it’s been tweaked multiple times since, so those who do decide to purchase the game for the first time after enjoying Fireside Chats may find it less arduous.
Having said that, the walking time felt to me like a space for reflecting on each tale, which is lost when you can click through them all immediately. You could speed read your way through this new set in about 30 minutes, but it’d be much nicer to savour them over a cuppa, especially of an evening now that the nights are drawing in.
[Disclosure: former RPS columnists Leigh Alexander, Cara Ellison, and Emily Short were part of the game's writing team.]