The Beast of Burden comic, by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson has a write up on Amazon that matches the game we played perfectly:
Welcome to Burden Hill — a picturesque little town adorned with white picket fences and green, green grass, home to a unique team of paranormal investigators. Beneath this shiny exterior, Burden Hill harbors dark and sinister secrets, and it’s up to a heroic gang of dogs — and one cat — to protect the town from the evil forces at work. These are the Beasts of Burden Hill.
Renee has made a wonderful game here. It’s a Powered by the Apocalypse system where you play the dogs and cats of Burden hill, keep other animals (and humans really) safe from harm.
And it is so good.
Night, the black cat who had lost someone once and now watches the streets very carfully making sure no animals or children are playing when fast cars might be coming through. A longer by nature, except…
Rugby, the boxer puppy who was so full of energy and had been saved by Night. She adored night, fawned over her, would never leave her alone, and always followed her lead (my playbook was the Tagalong).
Flapjack, the extremely yippy Pomeranian who instantly flattened like a pancake the moment there was trouble or danger. He was our alarm system!
The Colonel, a British Bull Dog who knew just about everything there was to know about things.
Shadow, the wise dog was a shaman figure who know the ways of the old ones and could call on their magic.
(Note, because the game followed along with the story from Animal Rights, or at least used the same situation, to avoid both spoiling the comic, and Renee’s games in the future – YOU SHOULD PLAY THEM – I’m going to be very vague here, but all these things are true.)
A puppy was missing.
Horrors were found.
Anger drove our Beasts to action.
The perpetrator was punished in kind.
Renee did such a good job with this game. The animal playbooks and moves were fantastic. The fiction and mechanics dovetailed amazingly well.
I had such a great time playing Rugby the eager to please puppy who took a very dark turn midway through the game. When she came back to Night with her head hung low apologizing for being a bad dog, and Night told her not to apologize, that she did the right thing, that she did the thing a cat would do, it was uplifting to Rugby, but it was also an incredible treat for me as a player (Thanks so much for being my mentor Jeremy!)
The Beasts were all so good. I loved how flapjack shrieked when their was no danger but flattened like a pancake the moment he sensed a threat. The way The Colonel walked around town like a boss, and the way Night both disdained and respected us was wonderful.
That fucking owl. The shadow of death in the night!
What could have improved
Because of copywright issues, I suspect Beasts will never be more than a fan creation, which is a shame because it’s so good!