Fighting aliens in post-war UK - a Mephisto review
The Fate World of Adventure The Ministry is about a familiar theme: the struggle of a secret government force against alien forces - but in new packaging. The players are the agents of the eponymous organization, the Ministry of Rocketry, which in 1950s Britain tries to neutralize the dangers posed by alien invaders secretly. In this setting, the aliens act not as conquerors attacking Earth with their flying saucers but as a background threat using their powers to infect or take over humans. Among the aliens introduced in the book, one thus also finds some variants that seem pretty familiar - be it the plant-like cocoons used to replace humans with alien duplicates or the spider-like creatures that dock onto the brains of their hosts and take over control.
The idea of the setting is to transfer the action to post-war England, which is deliberately presented as a gray and dreary background where the population is primarily concerned with their work and has little time for anything else. The backdrop with the war damage also presents a gray and bleak picture.
Rules-wise, the book presents systems for aliens taking control of hosts and expands the takeover of humans through rules for conflicts between resulting mobs. Of course, there is also an adventure here for immediate play, where the player characters get directly involved in happenings within the English royal family.
While the basic idea and setting are very exciting from my point of view, the presentation did not convince me that much. The bleak setting is only touched upon and not followed up in the adventure. The listing of the English cities, their size and their mechanistic impact for infection and mob rules are a bit too rule-heavy and schematic for me. On the other hand, the ideas for the aliens are quite exciting. Still, the adventure, in which the English royal family is immediately involved in the events in a very drastic way, does not fit well with the setting in my view either. In my view, The Ministry offers a good basic idea but does not fulfill its potential.