I have had this one for a while now, have had a few play sessions and I don’t know.
Although there is a real dystopian side to the story presented in the book (I always look at the story presented in an RPG), it has a dictator government, but not really anything that would classify a real dystopian.
This book builds further on the “Dystopian universe” started by Coup: Rebellion G54 by La Mame Games. It is a rebellion against a government, but I feel that the government can be swapped out for literally anything. It doesn’t have to be a government. It could be another group (not even a government, and the game would still play the same, so calling it Dystopion isn’t really just.
What also irks me to some extent is the fact that you get pre-created characters that you give a name, but they are disposable. When you die (and you are going to die), you get to create a new character and you start anew.
What I really liked was the backstabbing and the betrayal that you get whilst having a spy in your midst (maybe focussing on this instead of the “Dystopian” would have been a better thing. Reading throught the book it really gave met the feeling of another Evil Hat production: Blades in the dark. Combining the two could be a really awesome combination of thievery, espionage and backstabbing.
Although they are very, very different, combining them would be nothing really challenging although I haven’t tried it yet, combining the two could be really fun to play.
Your goal here is to use your characters, created by your group, to overthrow the government. As I said, it could be used to overthrow literaly anything as to me, the government here, feels interchangeable.
The presentation of the backstory and the different classes (of which you get to choose one) feels a lot like Vampires: the masquerade. As you get differente classes that get different things done from different tiers in society, it really gave of that vibe.
I have played this with friends and although I had great fun, I am a solo gamer at heart and looked at things that could be used from this game to create a solo experience. Although the whole government overthrow mechanic is really geared at groups, the espionage gameplay mechanic, could be used in really any other game (like Fate core) that could use one.
Here is how I would use it: You create a group of PC’s which you control. You write their names in envelopes and use cards or pieces of paper and write only one that “spy” and during the game, when things get heated up, you open an envelope and play the thing that the spy has. I really love the spy mechanic.
If I would create my own setting, it would be something like Mr. Robot or any Philip K. Dick inspired setting like Blade Runner with spies that can cut you back any second.
This game is not for long campaigns but feels more like a one-of-session, maybe 2. Although it could be used like that if you have a narrative like for example (Philip K. Dick. Fan that I am) something like Man in the High Castle where another government (which is equally evil) could take over.
I like the book, but I would rather have more control and freedom. This feels like a boardgame more than a real RPG.