Popular roleplaying game publisher Nounium is finally set to release their latest title, Edition War, which promises to shake up the modern RPG landscape. You may remember Nounium from 2010’s Drudge, in which the player characters were data entry experts working for a soul-crushing but ultimately mundane bureaucracy. Drudge was a smash hit on release, though high-level campaign play proved to be frighteningly repetitive. Will their next project follow suit? To find out, we caught up with Mikhail Jorgen, Nounium’s lead designer.
Thank you so much for speaking with us. What can you reveal about Nounium’s upcoming game?
My pleasure. Edition War is a brand new kind of RPG; rather than being collaborative, it’s entirely competitive. The ultimate goal for each character is to advance your Allegiance: the game or edition that you love more than anything in the world. You have to really argue for it, though of course there are a few rules to determine how effective your argument is.
Can you talk a bit more about the setting?
Of course! The reaction to Drudge showed that there’s a lot of passionate debate online that erupts whenever there’s a change to a beloved game. We knew we had to tap into that. After months of reading forum threads, blog posts, and comments on review sites, we think we’ve really captured the flavor of those online arguments over which version of a game is objectively the best. The result is a crunchy, rules-light single-session game whose setting can only be described as “a dystopian low-future digital-fantasy nightmare”.
Let’s talk mechanics. There are just two stats on the character sheet.
Yes, there are two stats: Volume and Reason. In a general way, Volume is the measurement of how loud you are and Reason is the measurement of how much sense you make. It’s a binary system though, so as your Volume goes up, your Reason goes down (and vice versa).
What does a typical session look like?
In a session, each player is advocating for their Allegiance. As they do, it fills up their Righteousness track. This gives them a form of energy to spend on bigger, louder, or even more reasonable attacks, though in practice we haven’t seen too many people take the latter route. As one player makes an attack, the other players can jump in and counter or add to it. It’s kind of a PvP free-for-all, really. And there’s no limit to how often people can add on, so you can just keep stacking the same arguments and attacks, on and on, endlessly, until one player has proven, indisputably, that the subject of their Allegiance is the greatest of all time.
Wow, I can already feel my blood pressure rising. Should people even buy it?
Well, our tagline is: “Anyone can play, but few will win…the Edition War!” But honestly, we’ve got a lot of major changes we’d like to make, so I’d probably wait until the second edition.