Coyote Won’t Talk, written by Morgan Stinson for Game Chef 2012, is a rather serious game, as far as what’s at stake – judging humanity’s faults and triumphs. Four great animal spirits reflect on humanity, as the world ends around them: the Fox, the Dog, the Wolf and the Coyote (who doesn’t talk… mostly).
The text pulls you right in, seamlessly weaving a description of the rules into the first portion of the game. No meta-talk here, folks!
I liked the concept of this mystical, cosmic judgement. The symbolism of the animals was clear and appealing (especially that of Dog and Wolf). I think I would find myself at ease playing each of the roles, even though there’s so little information given. Well done.
What I found lacking was some stylization of the text. All the animals are speaking in simple, proper English. Which makes understanding the rules very easy, but doesn’t help me get into the mood and theme of the game. A little bit of colour would help a lot with that. I also felt “Docere Fox” was a bit too obvious and forced – the author trying to showcase one of Game Chef’s ingredients. Fox would have been enough for me.
The game left me wondering about the conflict between Wolf, who hated humanity, and Dog, who loved it. The game doesn’t contain any explicit mechanism to let players resolve that conflict. Perhaps the author chose to rely on the players and allow them to interpret their stories as they wish. I think I would have liked the game better if it provided some mechanics to help the players (or the Fox player) decide.
Still, this is an entertaining game that has the potential to be a really deep conversation, if you so choose. Worth a try.