the wonder of role-playing games: reviews, solo rpgs, old-school & narrative games

04 Aug 2015

#RPGaDay2015 - Day 1-5

Looks like a few day away in Germany’s capital Berlin can make you miss a meme. This month it’s #RPGaDay2015, started by Autokratik where we talk about our hobby in positive ways.
I’m compiling Day 1 to 5 in this blog post as I’m late to the party. Here it goes.

Day 1: Forthcoming game you’re most looking forward to

Cypher System by Monte Cook Games. (I hope that counts as the physical book isn’t out yet.)
I really enjoyed playing Numenera on G+ with excellent GM Markus Wagner. While I’m still not sure if I’m a fan of how the GM Intrusions work, the system overall is very neat. It’s fairly easy to learn, has heroic characters and allows for some resource management during play. The Cypher System is the genre agnostic version and doesn’t come with the setting of Numenera, so I’m looking forward to playing superheroes or adapting the new TV series Killjoys.
I didn’t back any of the Kickstarters for Numenera or The Strange, so the new rulebook will be of good value to me. (Although I still hope to score a Numenera Boxed set for a reasonable price somehow.) Cypher System PDF @DrivethruRPG (aff) (USD $19.99)

Day 2: Kickstarted game most pleased you backed

Let’s take the last 12 months and thus I’m choosing The GameMaster’s Apprentice, a card-based GM emulator and scene creator, perfect for solo play. The Kickstarter has two videos which explain how that works. The cards are a bit crowded and could have been designed more nicely, but I’m looking forward to testing out the base deck (which just arrived yesterday).
I’m a big fan of cards and have several card-related RPG tools, but this one looks the most useful to me for solo play. GameMaster’s Apprentice @DrivethruCards (aff) (Print-and-Play-PDF USD $9.99, Cards & PDF $19.99)

Day 3: Favorite Game of the last 12 months

That’s a very difficult question. I’m very much a system-hopper and I like to try out new stuff. So I’m going to settle for Whitehack 2nd edition. (I wrote a review about the first edition here).
Whitehack is a neo-OSR-game. While it’s distinctly old school it still features some newer and more “modern” mechanics. Magic is very free-form. Generally, the game is pretty lightweight but still has some bells and whistles. There are three classes: the Deft, the Wise and the Strong. As you can see, it’s very descriptive. You can create a Wise Thief or a Deft Magic-User.
The new “roll-high-under” mechanic streamlines the game further and makes it more intuitive. Additionally, rules for magic and campaign building are more extensive.
Moreover, the book looks simply gorgeous. It’s 100% without illustrations, but the typeface and layout are simply beautiful.
Whitehack is one of my favorite OSR games (along with Scarlet Heroes) so I can totally recommend this game. There is only a physical version available. Whitehack 2nd version (price ranges from USD $5.00 (booklet version) to $20.00 (notebook version))

Day 4: Most surprising game

The most surprising game in the last 12 months was Abstract Dungeon (link to my review). It’s a rules-lite indie game that’s very fast and flexible. I like the universal core mechanic and the way it handles obstacles. Players build dice pools and have to manage their resources to overcome challenges.
The game’s kickstarter looked unappealing to me and while I’m still not too fond of the visual presentation, Abstract Dungeon is a smart little game which I like a lot. This game packs a punch and I didn’t anticipate that when I skipped the Kickstarter. Abstract Dungeon @DrivethrurRPG (aff) (PDF USD $9.99, Softcover & PDF $19.99)

Day 5: Most recent RPG purchase

I just bought the Star Wars Force and Destiny Core Rulebook. Recently I had much fun with the first of the core books (Edge of the Empire). I really wanted to play this in my regular gaming group, but the proposal fall flat because folks are more interested in other games. I like the narrative dice mechanic, the Star Wars flavor and even the crunch of the system. I already liked Warhammer Fantasy 3e but the new Star Wars line by Fantasy Flight Games even made the dice mechanic better.
The books look gorgeous, full color with great illustrations. I would have liked to see electronic versions but as far as I know that’s a licensing problem. Anyway, I’m looking forward to finally having complete rules for force users. There are different Jedi careers and also different lightsaber styles to choose from. I’m stoked.