Review – Human, Almost

Human… Almost is a new Blades in the Dark variant by our own Egg Embry. Obviously as he’s one of the EN Publishing team we’re a bit biased, but we’d not be doing a review if we didn’t like it. The game is currently being offered for free as Egg is looking for playtest feedback given the game is still in development. He’s planning to run the playtest until winter, but even at this point the game is fully playable.


Human… Almost is a sci-fi police procedural game based on shows like Almost Human and Minority Report. Each of the characters is a police officer in an apparently utopian futuristic city that has an underbelly mired by crime. Each human officer is partnered with a synthetic one (a robot or a clone) with the human capable of using their gut and instinct and the synthetic offering an arsenal of technology to investigate the case.

The game comes as two pamphlet style brochures, one for the gamemaster and one for the player. Essentially this is two double sided pages you can gatefold into three, with everything you need to play. To avoid repetition the rules and details are spread between the two pamphlets, and so you may have to read both of them twice to get everything you need in your head. But at 4 pages that isn’t really a chore.

Human… Almost is mainly designed as a one shot, but could easily be developed into a campaign. The players and gamemaster develop a crime that needs to be solved by investigating a series of clues that are defined as the game progresses. Solving a clue is a simple test rolled on a D6. Roll a 6 and you figure out the next clue, a 4 or 5 you figure it out but it costs you something, and 1-3 you need to find a new lead. More usually the test can always lead the characters in the right direction, but a bad result means the criminal they are chasing is able to get the drop on them in the next scene.

Each character has a series of ‘tags’ they can apply in the right situation to make their tests easier. Each character has several tags, and they form the heart of their personality and abilities. They might have an aptitude for dealing with low lifes, they might have contacts in useful places or even access to useful technology. If a tag can apply to a situation it can grant a bonus, but it then used up for the investigation. Failed tests can also result in problems or criminal tags that will work against the character. They represent getting hurt in the line of duty, or possibly getting dirty with some illegal activity when due process isn’t enough.

While this may sound like just a series of dice rolls, the key to playing this game is how you choose to narrate these investigations. The gamemaster is given a pattern to follow for the investigation to help define what sort of narration might be appropriate for each scene. But you can swap these steps around or create your own depending how the story is running. Essentially, a successful test requires you to narrate the uncovering of a new clue about the criminal you are chasing. A failure means you need to narrate how you are taking a different tack to hunt them down. As you follow the case you uncover it together building the story as a group.

While a copy of Blades in the Dark will be helpful, it is not essential to play Human… Almost. You can easily run an investigation in an evening, and like many story style games it is up to you how much you narrate each scene. Egg is planning to expand the detail on the system and city to help inspire more stories, but at the moment there is plenty to keep you going.

You can pick up a copy of Human… Almost at Drivethrurpg or directly from Egg, and he’ll even do you a printed version for a small fee to cover costs. You can’t go wrong with picking up a free copy, which will give you plenty of hours of play as it is. But for the negligible cost of sharing your experiences with Egg, you can also be part of the game’s development.

You can find out more on DrivethruRPG or on

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Andrew Peregrine

Andrew Peregrine

@Corone, thanks for this review! I appreciate you taking the time to write about my game! I know it takes time to read, digest, and write about any game and it means the world to me that you took this on! :)
If you're attending Multiverse Con this weekend, I'll have a table and plan to run free demos of the game teaching how to play, providing free copies of the pamphlets, and free dice.
If anyone is interested, the PDFs of the game are also free at DriveThruRPG and Itch. If you get the game and have feedback, I'm eager to improve this playtest product!
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