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Minireview: Alpha Complex Nights 2 (Paranoia)

Like the first “Alpha Complex Nights” book, Alpha Complex Nights 2 is a scenario collection. Well, “scenario duo”, to be more exact. The 64 page book consists of two scenarios which both share the theme of putting the PC in charge of something – with predictably bad results for everyone involved.

The first scenario is “The Communist Cafeteria Conspiracy”, where the brave (or not) Troubleshooters are put in charge of a huge and expensive cafeteria complex. What could possibly go wrong? The scenario features weird mind control devices, suspicious “French” food and chefs, invasion by the Armed Forces, Infrared revolts, and other normal everyday Alpha Complex events. It’s a fun romp, though it does go pretty far in the “zany” direction at times (the ingredient list needed for a certain recipe is… not “Straight” material). I liked the structure here; the PCs get quite a lot of freedom to choose their actions, but certain events happen at certain times and (naturally) most choices the PCs can make only make their predicament worse. Classic Paranoia, in other words.

The second half of the book consists of “Viva La Revolution!”, where the revolution actually happens. Well, kinda sort of (there is an amusing back story about the how and why of things). The PCs suddenly discover that they are in the middle of the People’s Glorious Revolution, and get the choice of heading the People’s Glorious Firing Squad or being put in the laser sights of said squad. Most PCs will probably choose the “avoid getting shot” option and start deciding the fates of various Enemies of the People. Naturally enough, all decisions made by the PCs will have repercussions later, and the Glorious Revolution doesn’t seem all that stable either. Another good scenario, with classic “screwed no matter what you do” choices to be made by the players… with the extra bonus that not quite all the choices result in doom. Smart or lucky Troubleshooters can navigate this one without running out of clones, even though they are yelling Communist slogans one minute and professing their love for Friend Computer the next.

It’s not a huge book, but both the scenarios presented here are quality ones (assuming you want the “Classic” style of play) and the price is right. Recommended.

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