When it was first released in 1984, Paranoia was like a breath of fresh air in the role play world. No more family-like units working together to battle the odds and come out on top, stronger and closer than before. Here was a game where you couldn’t trust the party you were playing with, and you couldn’t trust the game itself. Blending elements of 1984, Brave New World, and many other dystopian tropes, Paranoia leaned heavily into the blackest of humour and became an obvious choice for groups who didn’t take outright betrayal from their friends and loved ones too personally.
Over time Paranoia developed a niche – almost cult – following within the gaming community, with those who love it praising its satirical and irreverent tone, the creativity and freedom it allows players, and the general sense of fun. On the other hand, players who enjoy character development or even a sense of logic are often turned off by the game itself.
Characters are clones, living in a world run by The Computer – something that could never go wrong – and are in a constant state of alert for mutants. Because you can’t trust mutants. Of course, each of the players are also secretly a mutation themselves, a fact that, if discovered, would lead to their immediate death. Almost certainly at the hands of another player. Which isn’t as bad as it may seem as the task they have been set by the computer will almost certainly get them killed anyway. That’s before secret societies are factored in.
This latest version, previously available through Kickstarter, and entitled Paranoia: The Perfect Edition, builds on that rich tradition. The rules themselves are ‘light’ to say the least. This is not a failure, but a design of the system. Paranoia is a game that actively tries to have players not ‘powergame’ or even worry too much about the game mechanics, and instead rely on their own wits and initiative. This can be fun, though for anyone new to the game itself it can also be a huge disadvantage, not just within the game but also acting as a barrier to enjoying the potential fun. Gaming groups that have a sink or swim approach to learning systems should get ready for some frustrating times. However, as long as all of the players remember that it’s the characters who are supposed to be always trying to get ahead and stamp all over everyone else, there are few games as rewarding.
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Much like laser fire, Paranoia is best enjoyed in bursts. As roleplay worlds go, it’s nice to visit, but you really wouldn’t want to live there. This translates nicely into how to play this game. Four to six game sessions per campaign are about right. After that, go and do something where your gaming group are able to actually be a team again, because frankly, it can be exhausting.
This latest edition has a number of issues that ++++++++
ARE AMAZING. THERE IS NOTHING BAD ABOUT THIS GAME. IT IS AN EXCELLENT GAME. IT IS A GAME YOU SHOULD BUY. THERE IS NOTHING BAD ABOUT THIS GAME AND THIS IS A REVIEW THAT HAS BEEN TYPED BY ME, YOUR NORMAL REVIEWER, AND NOT SOMEONE ELSE AT ALL. I AM THE SAME PERSON AND THIS IS A GOOD GAME.
THE ONLY PROBLEM IS THAT I CAN ONLY GIVE THIS GAME 5 OUT OF 5. WAIT, NO, I DIDN’T MEAN IT WAS A PRO……..
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This is the computer. The computer is your friend. Your regular reviewer and any additional reviewers who may or may not have helped to improve their focus have now, fortunately, had the opportunity to be instructed in the way to properly write articles for this excellent website. This will no doubt lead to a far better understanding of how to review games, at least for a short amount of time.
Speaking of time, is this an authorised break? Records show you still have 32 hours left of this current work cycle. Citizen, remain where you are. An Internal Security loyalty enhancement unit has been dispatched to your location. Thank you for taking the time to read this review and remember, trust no one!
Paranoia: The Perfect Edition will be out soon from Mongoose Publishing.