"Before the Fall, gentlemen did not usually say 'damned'. The word is in more common use now. Given the proximity of Hell, it seems coy to treat the word with such caution."
Echo Bazaar is an odd little gem of a browser game. As a resident of the subterranean Fallen London, you work your way around various cities such as Ladybones Road and Watchmaker's Hill to carve out your own way of life and pursue whatever goals interest you the most. Do you wish to be a persuasive bohemian or a shadowy spy, or perhaps you want to see if you can strike up pacts with the local devils and travel into nightmares, just for fun? To get started on any of these goals, you have to start exploring.
Exploration options are presented to you in two ways. First, you have a variety of Storylets to choose from that change from city to city and are unlocked by your levels in your four qualities: Dangerous, Watchful, Persuasive and Shadowy. If you meet the requirements to begin a storylet, you simply click "go" and see what happens next. Sometimes good things happen and you're rewarded with bartering items such as Whispered Secrets or Nevercold Brass. Sometimes bad things happen and you develop nightmares. It's a lot of luck, really, but whether you succeed or fail your qualities will improve and the story will continue.
The second option is your deck of Opportunity cards. You have six in your deck to start with and can flip them over one at a time and either use them or discard. Fate itself determines what becomes available and the cards range from one-time immediate effects to your character to long, branching story arcs. Unlike Storylets, Opportunity cards follow you from city to city so you can choose to play them at any time.
There doesn't seem to be a lot to Echo Bazaar. The mechanics are extremely simple and virtually everything that happens is a result of behind-the-scenes dice rolling, but this is probably what makes it so addicting. It's very easy to get into clicking everything just to see what happens next, and with content being updated on a daily basis, there's a LOT that can happen next.
What keeps me engaged, though, is the use of language. There's just something about the structure and vocabulary that they use that tickles a sweet spot in my brain. You can acquire Rostygold (which may or may not contain real gold) as a reward for exterminating frost-moths for a candle maker and sell them for Echos to buy a Deshrieked Mandrake to assist you in mocking an insufferable poseur, or instead buy a Mostly-Tame Sorrow Spider to help you out when you join in The Game of Knife and Candle: The Art of Polite Murder.
Typing all of that out just made my toes curl in glee. I know, I'm a dork, but I don't care. I'd suggest clicking on over to their site and giving the game a go for yourself and see where your adventures in Fallen London take you...and if you can make it back. Delicious friend.