Kingsman, or what I learned watching spy movies

Thanks to my friend Marco’s suggestion, I invested two hours in watching Kingsman – The Secret Servce, a 2014 spy movie with its tongue firmly in cheek and lots of great stuff for us gamers.

In case you missed it, it goes like this…

So, to make this short and sweet, this is the DVD they should have bundled with the hardback edition of Spycraft – a pity the time-frame was off.

Spycraft

A lot in Kingsman is citation – the secret agency with its base in a tailor’s shop (U.N.C.L.E, anybody), the multi-function lighter (Flint), the henchman (henchwoman, actually) with metal prosthetics (many Bond movies), thick-rimmed prescription glasses (the Harry Palmer movies).
They even name-check Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer.

Game-wise this is particularly interesting – I often throw in movie references and hommages. It helps creating a sense of familiarity with the genre, it gives the players something to joke about and to feel at home with.

The storyline of the movie is also a pretty standard short campaign template: rough kid gets to go trough training, he flukes but gets back when everything goes pear-shaped and he gets to save the world.
There are a lot of worse plots for a two/three adventure mini-campaign.

Action, now.
Kingsman here creaks a little, because it has to try and stay British while doing big Hollywood – which actually means Hong Kong – action pieces.
The set-pieces are a joy to watch, well plotted and nicely filmed – they just do not fit 100% the rest of the mood of the movie.

This is an interesting issue in games – we should always try and keep the tone of the game consistent, no matter if we are playing a complicated social interaction scene or a free-for-all brawl. And considering we are playing with words, the thing should be done in narrative form.
Not easy – and yet, if the game comes together, there’s no need to worry, the thing will work itself out.

So – nice movie, the sort that makes me feel like taking Spycraft off the shelf and play.
The general mood does not fit the grittier Delta Green, but with a minimum of tweaking we’ll be able to use Feng Shui to replay most of it.

Two hours well spent, all in all.

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