In addition to math and interactive fiction, I also spend a significant fraction of my time playing board games. One particular genre of game in the rotation is the RPG-like adventure game like “Arkham Horror” or “Mansions of Madness”, in which characters traverse a map and have scripted encounters using their stats and whatever items or abilities they’ve found in their previous exploration. “Six Silver Bullets” is a game in that spirit, with the encounters mostly concerning enemy agents the protagonist encounters.

Gameplay: The protagonist is some sort of secret agent or assassin with amensia. As he wanders around game space, he frequently encounters other agents, who may be friendly or hostile. It’s unclear which on first meeting them, though he starts out with a few hints about particular agents. Although the game is ostensibly parser-based, there are a few explicit options given at each encounter. Because of its randomness, size, and amensiac plot, the game can be a bit confusing. There’s an undo feature to reduce frustration at the randomness of encounters, but it’s often unclear how to proceed in the game. 5/10.

Mechanics: Although there are others in the game, its core is the set of encounters with other agents. Those events are randomized, though the player is often given indications about how difficult the rolls will be for the various outcome. The gameplay feels a bit opaque as a result, especially with the difficulties in figuring what the player should be doing in the game. One particularly interesting mechanic is the set of titular bullets, each of which lands an automatic kill against an agent when used. 4/10.

Presentation: The terse, clipped style of the game suits its protagonist, even if it’s a bit overdone. The agents’ descriptions appear to be randomized, but that doesn’t detract from the game. Fundamentally, it feels like a board game, with randomly generated missions, randomized outcomes for encounters, and some basic state for the world. It’s a novel style of play I haven’t seen much in interactive fiction. (It’s particularly compelling to me because of the main drawbacks of games like “Arkham Horror” is its long play time, which a single-player computerized version neatly avoids.) 5/10.

You might be interested in this game if: You enjoy games like “Arkham Horror.”

Score: 5

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