Marlowe 2020

Marlowe 2020 is a potentially violent drama set in a stylized "dark future" setting, similar to novels like "Snow Crash", "Neuromancer" and "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep"; or movies like "Total Recall," "Minority Report" and "Aeon Flux." Some characteristics of this genre reflected in the game are powerful megacorporations, dangerous urban sprawl, cybernetics (implanted machines that are used to enhance the human body), artificial intelligence, vast social inequality, decadence of the rich, and postmodern blurring of the real with the simulated.

Marlowe 2020 is freely available at

Basic information

  • Number of players: 12 to 24
  • Setting: Verona, Italy, at a party thrown by a local drug dealer
  • Author: Kirt Dankmyer and Jon Lemich

Cast of "Marlowe 2020"

  • Japansese Daikaiju megacorporation representatives including androids, American "Ace Eight" megacorporation representatives, Italian hostess, local police and security forces


  • Reviewer: Petter Olsen, additional comments by Michaela Aschan
  • GM: Joern Weines
  • Michaela's role in game: Sage Kennedy
  • Petter's role in game: L-6258 "San", Entertainment android
  • Venue: Fairly big private house in Tromsoe, Norway (our regular venue)
  • Game played: October 11th 2008
  • Participants: 22
  • Michaela's rating: 4- (of 5)
  • Petter's rating: 4.5 (of 5)
  • Our experience: By far the bloodiest game we have ever played, but great fun! It is difficult to explain in detail without spoiling parts of the game, but a lot of people who certainly shouldn't have been killed were killed by the wrong people for completely the wrong reasons. This will not necessarily be the case when other people play the game, but for us, towards the end of the game when the killing had already begun to go over the top, almost everyone with anything resembling a weapon went on a killing spree, completely disregarding their respective character sheets. Since there is no mechanism for dead people coming back, we enforced a 'no-one will actually die before 23.00' rule. It was perhaps a mistake to tell the players that this rule was in effect, as everyone carefully saved bullets and poison until 23.00, and then all hell broke loose. Once people became aware of what setting they were in (I won't go into details) they expected far more violence and double-crossing than what was actually written into the game, so they disbelieved anything they were told and shot anything resembling an enemy on sight. We had great fun dissecting the game afterwards, asking otherwise rational people "But why on earth did you …???' and getting feeble 'Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time' answers. From the above, it should be clear that most people _really_ got into the game and completely forgot not only that they were playing a role, but also what the objectives for that role were supposed to be. A minor negative comment that some people had was that the game had unusually strong factions (Japanese, American, Android), and (with some obvious exceptions) we didn't really interact much between factions (unless you count killing as interaction, which I suppose in a way you should). I had great fun as an android, and I had prepared carefully in advance, translating parts of the Communist Manifesto to support the right of androids, and bothering people no end with my 'Android Rights' speeches (not really part of my character, but great fun, and worked well). Michaela was a bit bothered by the closed factions in the game, and points out that some people fell out because they were not in any of the three factions (the hostess, the local police) and some people fell out because although technically they were part of a faction, they were so 'unimportant' that they were not involved in the important meetings or decisions. We do recommended the game, it but could benefit from some tweaking to increase intra-faction interaction, and perhaps something should be done to tone down the fighting/killing part (or perhaps that was only us).


  • Reviewer: queenortart
  • GM: The original writers and Andrew Zorowitz
  • Sue's role Risa Kimatsu
  • Venue:*Intercon I
  • Game played: March 2009
  • Sue's rating: 4- (of 5)
  • My experience: Well I didn't experience so much of the factioning as Petter and Michela did, it was a very intense game, although reading all the (pretty short) character sheets I am surprised that it was that intense. I was lucky to be cast against someone I knew well as my husband.
  • There was one plot that I didn't touch with a bargepole.
  • What I wrote at the time
  • "I went into this game with more reservations that any other game of my life, but ended up having a marvellous political and angsty family game thanks to my family. Just glorious ending."
  • I've saved the item card that was used in the ending, and I periodically look at it and remember.
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