Wednesday, 26 December 2018

The Two-Star Generic RPG Design Method

Want to make a tabletop roleplaying game but don't want to engage any creative thinking? Well the Two-Star Generic RPG Design Method is for you!

Yes, in twelve easy steps you too can create a completely uninspiring roleplaying game which is bound to earn at least a couple of thousand dollars on Kickstarter from a bunch of well-meaning gamers who don't know any better!

Best of all, the Two-Star Method is completely free! After all, you've already seen it a billion times.

  1. Create a core system. (For OSR games you may be able to get away with three or four core systems, depending on how far you wish to lampoon the genre.) The best place to put this core system is approximately page 207.
  2. Take the six Attributes from D&D, remove one or two, rename a couple of others, and add Perception and/or Luck to the list.
  3. Settle on a Skill list (though you may rename them Abilities if you like.) Link each Skill to an Attribute somehow and maybe even divide them up into multiple categories. Somewhere around twenty Skills is great, although if your game is made in the '80s you'll want about 200. Alternatively, if your game is trying to impress Jason Morningstar or Ron Edwards just leave empty spaces and let the players fill it in themselves after giving a few vague examples such as "Sharp As A Knife," "A Cat Has Nine Lives," or "Roast at 180 Degrees Celsius and Baste Every Ten Minutes." Don't worry; one day they're bound to respond to your comments on their blog posts.
  4. Adapt the Attributes and Skills to suit a bunch of different fantasy races. Elves and Dwarves are no-brainers. If you're going to have half-orcs you'll probably want to overlook the whole... umm... yeah.
  5. Decide whether your game is going to have classes. Either way, justify your decision by make snide references to another popular game that took the other route.
  6. Design a combat system. If you included combat Skills in step 3 you may think most of your job is done, but don't become complacent. Here's where you get to make a weapon chart and make sure your favourite weapon is the best (anything that you trained in for three lessons when you were nineteen is a bonus.) Also, remember to make grappling rules either useless or overpowered.
  7. You're now going to want to go back to character creation and include a bunch of subcategories to make combat work. Health points! Movement scores! Resistance modifiers! You'll have a lot of fun here. Don't forget to call them something like "Derived Ability Ratings, or your DAR for short." Oh, and now you'll need to remember whether to spell it "defense" or "defence" though if you aren't going to pass your game by an editor it doesn't matter much.
  8. Everyone wants versatility, so include a system to allow PCs some kind of individuality. Call these Feats, Quirks, Merits, Edges, or something like that. Only allow starting characters one or two at most, but make sure you include one or two hundred to choose from so that it takes the best part of an hour to read through them and decide which one you want. If this system becomes unwieldy, just claim that it was always optional.
  9. Add a magic system. Divide magic up into several types depending on flavour, but make sure to include necromancy, illusion, something for paladins, and something that casts fireballs. It might seem wise to include a game system where players can design their own spells, but not only is that rather advanced game design but it means you'll miss out on getting to pad out your gamebook with 200 pages of spells that you've designed. This not only makes your game extra expensive (ka-ching!) but it makes you look diligent and creative. Even better, you can market it as a bonus on your crowd-funding, and even add an extra hundred as a stretch goal!
  10. Throw in a list of stats for monsters. Orcs, wolves, dragons, zombies, liches, minotaurs, giant spiders, and ogres should start you off nicely. 
  11. Add a character sheet. Make sure anything that will be constantly updated, changed, or erased is in the centre of the page so that when it inevitably wears through the player will need to replace the whole thing and not just an edge or corner. 
  12. Pay good money for up to ten good pieces of art to put near the front of the book. Litter the rest of it with random sketches you got on the cheap from mates.

Oh, and a thirteenth step as a look into our advanced class:

13. Spend three and a half minutes on an index. Nobody will ever use it anyway because your rules explanations are just so clear and intuitive.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

The Spotlight

A little video showcasing a few of my nerdy toys and particularly a little lantern I call the Spotlight, which has become one of my favourite roleplaying tools. I may go into more depth in future if I feel inspired. Forgive my horrid cold, by the way.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

On humour in RPG design (notes)

I've been working on a comical D&D setting, which means I've been thinking a lot about humour in relation to roleplaying game design.

I've finally decided that there's three principles I'm sticking to going forward. I'll go into depth on them another time, but for now I just want to get them down in writing.

1. Roleplaying games are already funny
Humour naturally occurs in roleplaying, so we merely need to give ourselves the license to allow it. We often avoid allowing silly situations and comments because it would affect the tone or theme of the story, but a comedy game gives us an excuse to allow these antics. There's very little we actually need to do to run a comic game, and trying too hard to be funny is a certain way to ruin it. Which leads us nicely to...

2. Humour is inherently contradictory
Explaining a joke is never funny. We are as amused by repetition as we are by surprise. What I find hilarious you might find repulsive. Comedy is filled with irony, and the drudgingly familiar can become absurdly alien when viewed from another perspective. And where there is comedy there needs to be the contrast of danger.

3. Laughter is magical
Magic is not a science, and nor is comedy. But it is nevertheless a powerful force, filled with enchantment and wonder. An honest laugh is a magical thing and should be delighted in. You can't put laughter in a box.

These are of course incredibly broad, but they're my guiding principles at the moment.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

200 Word RPG Challenge 2017 reviews (part 3: T until end)

This is part 3 of 3. The other parts can be found nearby.

THINGS BEYOND

PbtA pitch for a setting where religion holds out against eldritch horrors. Nice to see a game where religion isn’t the bad guy. Some nice ideas.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

TROLLS

Actual trolls trolling each other about their appearance. Basically a morality game, but I’m not sure if it’s meant to be played seriously or comically (gameplay mainly comprises of insulting each other.)
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Great
Verdict: Good

Take a Drink: the Roleplaying Game

Drinking game mechanic where you have to drink more the harder the task is.
Concept: meh
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: meh

Taking a long way home

Music-based character creation using lines from random songs. Intended for long journeys, much of the journey may be completed by the time character creation is finished; may have been better to have actual gameplay based on the music instead.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Tales from the Lost Kitchen

Anthropological improv using kitchen implements to discover the truth of the past.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Tales from the Wild West

Tall tales and nerf marksmanship in a frontier saloon. Each story escalates Monty Python-style. Also includes a spin-the-bottle game.
Concept: Good
System: Great
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Talking Sticks

Find a stick, tell its story. Really nice apart from the problem that longer sticks always win, regardless of story.
Concept: Great
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Tall Tales and Tankards

Ah, this is how to incorporate a drinking game into storytelling! Munchausen silliness and interruptions all incorporating the use of drinking and clinking.
Concept: Excellent
System: Excellent
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Excellent

Tears in Heaven

A bunch of dead martyrs have a party, hoping to become saints. Like a saintly frat party. Lots of charts to help run and design the game, but if it ain’t your thing they’re unlikely to help.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Terrible Village

Bidding and bluffing game about trying not to be responsible for why your village sucks. Somewhat confusing mechanics, but it seems to work.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Thank You For Sharing

Friend A mentions a thing they like and Friend B spends aaaaages bitching about it. Then A creates a piece of writing and B gushes over it far too much. Sadly, the gushing may seem a bit manufactured, but the bitching might not. Nice try.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Thank you for the feast

Dinner party game of poisoning and attempting to guess whodunit to you. Unfortunately, there’s very little in the way of tactics or motive, so the game itself is a bit shallow. Fun, but shallow. (See The Banquet.)
Concept: Great
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

The Ark

Pitch for a spaceship setting. A really nice pitch, but there’s no game or frame here.
Concept: Great
System: n/a
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Flawed

The ArrrPG

Roll 1d10, add 2 if skilled, beat opponent’s roll. Add difference to damage.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: Ok
Verdict: meh

The Banquet: A Mealtime RPG

Another game in which you intend to “poison” your fellow diners (like Thank you for the feast) but this one has more tactics and various mechanics to force people to eat. Rules of etiquette offer a load of fun.
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Good
Verdict: Great

The Basic RPG

If you’re going to make the simplest roleplaying game ever, it needs to be perfect. With that in mind, the author should have used a semicolon instead of a comma.
Concept: meh
System: Ok
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

The Beasts Shall No Longer Walk This Earth

The players hunt a beast. I love the descriptors for both hunters and beast, but the d10 mechanic isn’t inspiring.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

The Bengleflaarg

Alien invader suburban comedy game. Very entertaining.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

The Bridge

Nice idea where two players are lovers and a third player is the distance between them, which is a beautiful setup. The tools at play don’t do a lot for it, though.
Concept: Great
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

The Chinese Room

Newly awoken AIs explore the world around them. The central question, of course, is what kind of choices and observations will they make. A simple d6 mechanic helps offer a basic interactivity, but it’s hardly thematic.
Concept: Great
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

The Chronicles of…

Improv storytelling where any player may interrupt and refute or elaborate another’s tale. No real mechanic or game, but perfectly fine. A “no-frills” story game.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

The Circle

Teenage witches are fun. The card mechanic is less fun, though it suffices. This is a setting that could have used a tarot deck.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

The Council

Gods vote on a new ruler, but one will betray them all if elected. A hidden role game at heart, but no tactics to assist gameplay.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: Ok
Verdict: meh

The Creation

Another gods game where they create life and imbue them with their essence. Use whatever system you want.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

The Day They Came

What begins seeming like a bleak tale of the end of days becomes a weird take on Chinese-whispers cum Telestrations. Rather original and quite entertaining.
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Good
Verdict: Great

The Deep Dark

Roleplaying is supplementary in this dice-based resources game. As a simple board game, it isn’t bad.
Concept: Ok
System: Good
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

The Delve

Collaborative dungeon dive. A lot of unclear elements (examples of loot and when to add extra dice would help.)
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

The Devil on my Shoulder

Wraith-ish Shadow mechanic with cards.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

The Domino’s Delivery Crew RP(za)G

Silly little metagame where you play create a gamer and play a random game from this competition all within the time it takes to have a pizza delivered to your home. Certainly worth reading at the very least.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Great

The Dreamer

Interesting concept where you enter someone’s dream and try to coax them out of a nightmare. The Dreamer’s emotional state is subject to your manipulation, but the multiple d6 method is fairly arbitrary.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

The Dreaming Giant

At first it seems just like a pitch, and a very good one at that. But this game has one of the best and subtlest of mechanics I’ve seen in any game; the lessons from stories create the means of progressing through stories. Masterful!
Concept: Great
System: Excellent
Execution: Great
Verdict: Excellent

The Duel

Ah, a Prisoner’s Dilemma about a duel, where the history of it is revealed during play. Very nice!
Concept: Excellent
System: Excellent
Execution: Great
Verdict: Excellent

The Duelin’ Blues

Music games often get unfair criticism for requiring a high degree of talent/training in order to play, but a lack of accessibility shouldn’t mean such games don’t have an audience. The use of cards as cues is fair, but the ruffian is far more inspirational and maybe another chart could be made to reflect that (aces are cops, Kings are kingpins, Queens are jilted lovers, etc.)
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Good
Verdict: Great

The Empire won the war, but the people lost

A really nice fantasy concept, but the d6 system thrown on at the end is simplistic and forgettable.
Concept: Good
System: meh
Execution: Great
Verdict: Ok

The Filigree Prince

A flirty little game of rhymes and innuendos, with a tantalizing setup. Definitely for a group that doesn’t mind a bit of tease and… playfulness.
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

The Four Gates: A Mindful RPG

A system based on fur pillars of mindfulness. Only advisable for certain types of game (Pilgrim’s Progress comes to mind) but could be adapted for some kind of holy or ascetic magic powers mechanic. Interesting.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Ok

The Futility of Unrequited Sentiments

3 player game of uncomfortable discussions about feelings and the history between lovers. Might actually be easier with more players, but not sure if easy is intended.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

The Game of Magical Thinking

A writing game for one player in which a letter is Sacrificed every paragraph or so until the author is unable to continue. Fits the themes of grief very well, and though a story is told it should be noted that no role is being played here.
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

The Goblin Warrens

Inverse dungeon crawl with each player controlling five goblins apiece. Each is represented by coloured d6 defining their major attribute, which is cute, but the gameplay comes down to literally throwing goblins at problems. Fun, but needs something more to be really memorable.
*NB: that something more might possibly be the 200 word adventure the designer has created for this game on another website. However, in the interests of purity, I can’t consider it when reviewing the competition entry.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Ok

The Great Work

Tarot deck storytelling about creating a wonder. Bit of a shame if some other Alchemist draws your endgame card instead of you. Would be nice if the cards that advanced you closer to your goal had a game effect to that end.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

The Haints’ House

Two-pronged d6 game mechanic with “and/but” mechanics. Play monsters, deal with humans.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

The Hands of Rasputin

Roll dice, add points for roleplaying, beat target… but what dice? And how many?
Concept: Good
System: Flawed
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Flawed

The Heist

Simple loot’n’scoot game with d6s. You can make the game harder for people if you want, but generally you’ll want to work together for fear of screwing everything.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

The Hero Heads Home

Classic Tolkienesque fantasy in reverse. I think that the second act might not be as good as the first, but that’s a minor quibble.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Great

The Hero’s Last Stand

An interesting alignment mechanic disguises d8-mod-beat target. It seems you might not want to be too Reckless.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: Good

Verdict: Ok

The Heroes’ Journey

Storytelling game to incorporate while on a Geocache hunt. Nice to see this tool used, but there’s not much more to it.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: meh
Verdict: Ok

The Holy Mountain

Interesting little roleplay about pilgrims with various restrictions, which are each broken throughout play. Has some direction, but is it enough?
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

The Human World

Hilarious concept where four broken robots explain an ordinary environment to a child. Each robot has a different agenda and the child picks which is correct. Wonderful!
Concept: Excellent
System: Excellent
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Excellent

The Island of Derring-do

Cards go in piles and are used to overcome obstacles. One interesting mechanic ensures you keep changing tactics, which is nice.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

The King and its Mute Jesters

Charades with a lick of paint. Could have been more.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

The Last Day

Q&A based game of character and story creation, which seems really best for one player. Very evocative, though.
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Great

The Last Dragon

Seasonal dragon sim. No real need to roleplay.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

The Last Summer

A heavy game of discrimination, hatred, despair, and death. Blackjack core adds some tension, and we all know that the house always wins, don’t we?
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

The Life of Paul

Tell a tale of a regular Joe (or Paul, as it were.) Roll high to introduce good things, roll low to introduce bad.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Good

The Manor Game Farm Purge

Animals in a zoo try to survive the night. Breaking character results in failing tasks, which might result in the GM having to be mean and arbitrary. Great setup, but needs revising.
Concept: Great
System: meh
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

The Marketers

Funny improv game where players try to come up with amusing marketing strategies for a stupid product. That’s all great, but the random d6 mechanic falls flat.
Concept: Great
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

The Mug Is Half…

Coffee drinking chart. Made for amusement rather than actual play, but if you ever need to roll to see how a character’s coffee affects them, this is your plug-on.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

The Orb

Character web based around a MacGuffin.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

The Orpheus Trail

An interesting afterlife journey on the highway to hell, but there’s slightly too much that remains vague about the game (Sinning, in particular.) I like the premise, but I need more.
Concept: Great
System: meh
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

The Outsiders RPG

Urban supernatural conspiracy drama with a d6 mechanic that isn’t awful, but hardly thematic.
Concept: Ok
System: Good
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

The People You Meet On The Graveyard Shift

Minimum wage sim with random rolling that can see your life improve or end prematurely on a whim. More a lesson than a game, and a bleak one.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

The Perfect Moment Is Now

Card mechanic which seems pretty uninspired, but I do like being able to discard all options in order to play the one of your choice, which is a decent cog. The time-cop pitch would make an interesting conflict for a team who has to continuously prevent people from assassinating Hitler.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

The Petitioners

Character creation charts to help build a petitioner, but only one chart helps build anything about their motives and needs (which is what the story seems to actually be about.)
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

The Places Where I Found You

Intriguing storygame where every player contributes something different (with one merely drawing pictures.) A really interesting ghost story dynamic.
Concept: Good
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

The Protector

Exploring the line between rumour and reality, where a mysterious protector may not be all they appear. Though I usually don’t like arbitrary card mechanics, especially binary ones, this is perfectly reasonable. However, I’d like something more than what amounts to a coin flip at the end.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Great

The Quest for the Object of Desires

Roll a d6, get higher than a 4 (or 4+ if skilled.) Fail three times and die. Succeed five times and win.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

The Rapid and the Raging

Solve problems by becoming more powerful. A driving game where shifting gears shifts the power level of the power fantasy. Power, power, power!
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

The Sorcerer Supreme!

Spell creation chart is pretty nifty, but the d20 mechanic isn’t so hot. Really like the chart options and it has a lot of potential. Better than Vancian magic any day.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

The Spirits Somnia

Dream delving game. Roll 3d6 and try to hit the target number dead-on.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

The Stars Are Angry

A die-drop game (yay!) with a map of the Earth (double-yay!) Whaat you roll and where you roll have an impact on the story you tell. Nice work!
Concept: Excellent
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Excellent

The Suits RPG

Nice idea about professional magician mercenaries, but the card system is tired.
Concept: Good
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

The Tale

Munchausen-esque stories of initiates challenged on their quests. Not bad, but not new.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

The Tavern at Dungeon Level 200

Hospitality staff try to get the missing ingredient in a dish to serve to a monster. Roll a d6, beat 4+ for partial success, 6 for a full success; roll two dice and choose for advantage. The idea is wasted on this.
Concept: Great
System: meh
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

The Tavern of Tall Tales

Collaborative storytelling with custom cards each containing opposites, but only a few such cards are given (players are expected to make the rest. Would have been nice to see 50-100 words knocked off the document to give us a better starting list. Regardless, not bad.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Good

The Things We Do For Love

Collaborative storytelling over an argument with the interesting twist that a player loses if they contradict anything previously established. A very simple mechanic, but a good one.
Concept: Good
System: Great
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

The Town of M

Very simple game of a town and the laws, expectations, and norms expected of inhabitants using M&Ms as the core mechanic (in a couple of different ways, which is great Citizens can fight back against the leader by flipping their M&Ms, but lose any they flip. A clever leader could make this game amazing.
Concept: Excellent
System: Excellent
Execution: Great
Verdict: Excellent

The Trial

Based on the Kafka story, this is a bidding game for narrative control where the Accused is kept in the dark. Has potential.
Concept: Good
System: meh
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

The Tribe

Stone age adventures where a language is made in-play. Limiting out of character speech would be essential, and some form of miming mechanic would have assisted this. With a bit of tweaking this will be great.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

The Trust

Would be a much more interesting game of corporate greed if the actions of the Corporations and their Factories actually affected the People player in some way, giving them an agenda.
Concept: Great
System: meh
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

The Truth of the Stars

Another wonderful die-drop game about making constellations and myths to support them. Beautiful!
Concept: Excellent
System: Excellent
Execution: Great
Verdict: Excellent

The Victory Circle; A Nano-Larp

A choose-your-own-atrocity scripted larp with a lot to say about who writes history.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

The Village

Oh what a beautiful, tantalizing pitch for a story here. But it’s all a pitch. I love this setup, but where’s the tools?
Concept: Great
System: Flawed
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Flawed

The Wake

A lovely improv story about the death of a mutual friend. Players effectively challenge each other to relate a memory or thought as sincerely as possible.
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

The World of Retail

I love games set in everyday situations, but the randomness here doesn’t help the game.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

The awakening of Asrya

Reanimated dead seek to find their purpose in death.
Concept: Good
System: meh
Execution: Ok
Verdict: meh

The day we were Free

Bidding game of narrative control where players are psychiatric inmates. Having two kinds of thematic resources is a cute touch. Needs something more, though not sure what…
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

The faithful few

Temple priests fight using cards and dice. The setting adds nothing to the system, and the system tells no story. Not exciting.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

The fuel is gone

Alien style horror which could be great, but it’s hard to tell because the map of the ship requires formatting that got damaged in reformatting.
Concept: Good
System: Flawed
Execution: Flawed
Verdict: Flawed

The killing action

A system to track motives for killing in regards to a murderous character. Regret is well done, but Hatred needs just a little tweaking.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Good

The labyrinthine library

An excellent storytelling device using Scrabble tiles. This is actually the best use of Scrabble Tiles I’ve seen in an RPG.
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Great

The stars going out, one by one

Lovely setup, 1d6 beat target drops the ball.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Ok

The story of my life

An improv storygame for those spending a lot of time in a queue.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

The world is ending

Write down disasters, write down resources, challenge players to overcome your disasters with their resources.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

There Is No Way Out Of This Arena

Whittle down a gladiator’s hit points until they die.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

They’re just dice, right?

A short story about adventurers. As fun as it is, it isn’t what the contest is about. Thanks for the story.
Concept: Flawed
System: Flawed
Execution: Flawed
Verdict: Flawed

This Is Not an RPG

Word game which builds to help tell a story, but how many sides are meant to be on this spinner?
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Thomas Crown Affair RPG

Cat and mouse format between a thief and an investigator, but apart from a scene breakdown there isn’t a lot to go on. It takes more than a plot description to make a systemless game.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: Ok
Verdict: meh

Those Last Moments

Juicy five-minute writing exercise.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Those Who Fled

Underdog survival rpg. 3d6, beat target, add mods. Better than some.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Time Travel Start-Up Company

Ruthless PvP roleplay of time-travelling entrepreneurs involving a domino mechanic. Sadly, the roleplay is cosmetic to the system.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Time To Run

Asymmetrical “netrunning” game where you can introduce a non-action scene in order to break up the mundane gameplay.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Tiny Tribe

Smurftastic idea, but the system is incredibly vague as to be almost nonexistent.
Concept: Good
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

To Alex!

Friends reminisce over a friend’s death. There are a few games of this type in the competition but this is one of the better ones, if not the best.
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

To Sea In A Sieve!

Nice to see a game based on the nonsensical works of Edward Lear, but 2d6 roll under attribute shows a lack of imagination which the rest of the game aspires to.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

To Serve A Monstrous Empress: A Sacrifice

Dark game of offering tribute to an uncaring mistress. Unfortunately, there’s no deviation from the narrow plotting; some kind of competitiveness between the supplicants would have made this game much better.
Concept: Great
System: Ok
Execution: Great
Verdict: Good

Too Many Love!

Attempt at a competitive romance game, but the system is merely serviceable.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Too Much Bubblegum: More than you can chew!

Fast game of player elimination with an alien abduction theme. Fun way to waste some time.
Concept: Ok
System: Good
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Good

Tracy Is Dead

Use traffic and different coloured cars to help recount a story of a deceased friend. Nice to see a “car game” in the competition.
Concept: Good
System: Great
Execution: Good
Verdict: Great

Transient Global Amnesia System

Revolving narrative game performed in whispers so that only two people know what’s happening at any one time. It’s any interesting mechanic, but doesn’t see full potential here.
Concept: meh
System: Ok
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Translation of Cave 7 Pictographs: First RPG?

Basic d6-based system, but the charm lies in the primitive explanations. Unfortunately there are better caveman games in the comp.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Great
Verdict: Ok

Trapped in Deep 7

Work together to repair an underwater vessel before you all. The use of a jigsaw puzzle and actual exploding pressure seals makes this something special. A great minigame for a more intense larp.
Concept: Great
System: Excellent
Execution: Great
Verdict: Excellent

Trash Pandas

Heist game with the interesting twist that you’re all raccoons. The characters are cool and each has a simple special power, though some seem better than others. Sadly, the story is cosmetic and the system does little to inspire, but everything else is great.
Concept: Excellent
System: Good
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

Travelling is not so easy…

Travelling simulator with a random encounters chart. Could be useful plugged onto a larger game.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Treaty at the Stones of Black and White

A way to add a variant endgame onto Go. As I’m only passingly familiar with the game, I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Good

Triad – Deckbuilding Game

Pitch for a deckbuilding rpg, but it has a long way to go. Incomplete.
Concept: Ok
System: Flawed
Execution: Flawed
Verdict: Flawed

Tripping Over Yourself

An odd idea where the players play the various body parts of an adventurer, combining their 2d6-beat-target rolls to succeed. Might be good for a Voltron style of game, but it just isn’t exciting.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Triumphs and Disasters

Largely a solo writing game based on a line from a famous Kipling poem.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Truth, Lies and Bullets

Truth or Lie game of Russian roulette. Simple, but effective.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Turing Story Machine

Storytelling with cards and a token where story elements can be changed or erased. So much time was spent on the presentation of the game that user-friendly game mechanics were sacrificed. Nice try.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Tyrze, a MMORPG

Pitch for an MMORPG, as the name suggests, and sadly not what the competition is about. Best of luck.
Concept: Flawed
System: Flawed
Execution: Flawed
Verdict: Flawed

Ufology For Beginners

It might only be a simple d20 system, but the way it uses your name as both a benefit and a hindrance is fantastic!
Concept: Good
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Good

Ultimate fantasy (or is it?)

Harem simulator where your harem is bound to fall apart.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Ummenbach

Basic card game of elimination where two players will end up marrying in order to preserve peace. Story is cosmetic.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Unanimous

Collaborative game of survival where it is in everyone’s best interest to vote for you to succeed. So you will.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Under the Mountain

Storytelling game of dwarves and their mountain. It’s supposed that your group will be victorious, so the mechanics are more about storytelling. Using coins for the core system works for greedy dwarves, and gaining coins for playing NPCs is nice.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Unknown Kingdoms: The Footsteps of Marco Polo

World-building with a deck of cards, which is nice, and I can even cope with the 2d6-beat-card-taarget for this, since it allows you bonuses for previous places discovered.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

VOICE

Yet one more “godly” game, but this one focuses on their creation which is played by one of the participants. The gifts of the gods are the very essence of what this entity becomes, and it in turn helps to give the gods their own identity. Very clever game.
Concept: Excellent
System: Great
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Excellent

Vain Superheroes

Superheroes gain Fame based on the difficulty of the obstacles they face, so wouldn’t it be best to go out and beat up lots of low difficulty street thugs so that you’re at less risk? Maybe that’s the point. 3d6, beat target, gain target as Fame if successful.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Valkyrie Girlfriend

Dating improv about a human and a Valkyrie. An entertaining premise.
Concept: Great
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Valor: The Dimming Flame

A system for testing the resolve of paladin characters. With a bit of tweaking it could be a serviceable supplementary system, but as a stand-alone game it’s missing something.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Vegas

Ooh, a really biting game played over the phone over multiple days, which is a treat. The relationship between the two characters is strained, and there’s a lot to love here… except that it just needs one more little spark to truly ignite. Maybe a promise, or a set of codephrases… Whatever it is, it’ll shoot this into another class.
Concept: Excellent
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

Vestalia: Girls Just Want To Have Fun(ding)

Luck-based dominoes game. You’re priestesses (yay!) managing accounts (err…)
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Vigilantics

Wonderful premise with the world’s most mundane superheroes is let down by an equally mundane (but less amusing) d6 system.
Concept: Good
System: meh
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

WAR and FAITH

A rather silly game where you get to roll dice and set fire to stuff. Viscerally fun, but no elegance.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

WITCHFEELS

Cybermagic spellslinging with one of those two-tone d6 systems (where you roll higher than your stat to do one thing and lower to do another.)
Concept: Good
System: meh
Execution: Good
Verdict: Ok

WORTHY

Character creation/epic storygame telling of an adventurers first quest and how they have changed over the years. Q&A format, and rather nice.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Great
Verdict: Good

Wannabe Legend

Supers game with the two intriguing stats of Succeeding and Impressing, but the d10 mechanic they use is underwhelming.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Watch Out! Heartfelt Magical Girl Clash!

A tale of emotion-fuelled girl-warriors and their adversary. The use of colours is great, and the idea that the Adversary needs to be overpowered through emotion is intriguing, but I can’t help but think the Adversary should be able to have some tricks to adjust emotions too. Also, all Girls feeling the same emotion is a more satisfying finale than the easier alternative. A lot of potential.
Concept: Great
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Weapons of Legend

Create funny weapons for each other, justify why yours is the best, vote to see who wins.
Concept: Ok
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Werewolf

Try to balance your Wolf and Man sides. System is vague and uninteresting, I’m afraid.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Wesworld

A three-act Wes Anderson story with some vague storytelling guidleines, but the real star is the d12 character creation chart. Forget the storytelling advice and give me a couple more charts!
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

What Could Go Wrong?

The best heist game off the competition! Every roll invests every player, which is fantastic! And it gives me a reason to bust out those zocchi dice that see far too little playtime. A lot of games have been trying to pull off the complicated heist caper, but this one does it in style.
Concept: Great
System: Excellent
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Excellent

What The #@*$ Happened Last Night?

Hangover-style amnesia where you slowly piece together the night through improv. The phone call partway into the game is a highlight.
Concept: Ok
System: Good
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Good

What You Carry

Afterlife game were you roll for random equipment, hoping to get a lot of gold stuff. Roll d20 vs GM”s 3d6 roll.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

When the Fire Dies

Very thematic game about the last fire and the world that is about to end, but I’m not big on the token voting mechanic. And does the number of matches change depending on the number of players?
Concept: Great
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

When the Wolves Come…

Great game for hiking, whether it be urban or rural. Scout for locations, supplies, and information so that your group is prepared for when the wolves come. Easily adaptable.
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

Where’d It All Go Wrong?

Heist story gone wrong, with tokens to take over narration and add detail. Nothing fresh, but nothing bad.
Concept: Ok
System: Good
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Good

Whip

Argument roleplay for a very select kind of roleplayer (you have to be willing to suffer actual physical pain.) In order to interject you must suffer the forfeit, refuse to do so and the character walks away. As much as this is an interesting concept, I think it might need something else as well to give it some depth (such as a way to inflict pain on the other, or to suffer the forfeit while not responding, etc.) Not for everyone, and not meant to be; I’m personally very glad to see some kink in the competition as it’s an important facet of the roleplaying spectrum.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Whispers in the Dark

A “turn off the lights” game using a flashing d20, but the result on the die face is less important than whether it flashes or not. Though an elimination game at heart, eliminated players still get to participate, which is great. A basic mechanic for the d20 face would have been welcome, though.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Who Am I To You

Charming collaborative improv/writing game about a couple in a relationship. Scenes gain inspiration from a romantic playlist and at the end of the playlist you read each other’s hidden notes. A nice game, especially if you have similar music tastes.
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

Who killed? – Game about investigation

A deduction game using the cards of a standard deck with some fascinating ways to interpret them. However, one important rule stops mid-explanation leaving the game unfinished. I really want to know what that rule is!
Concept: Great
System: Flawed
Execution: Flawed
Verdict: Flawed

Why We Hunt

A nice little warm-up roleplay with a few simple storytelling mechanics. Worth tweaking (I’d limit the first four attributes to a choice of two of them, for example.)
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Good
Verdict: Great

Why Do I Need A Name?

So much potential in such a little game! A new intelligence asks questions of the rest of the players and begins to learn. This is all about what you bring to it, but so much can be brought to it so easily. Wonderful central concept and well presented.
Concept: Excellent
System: Excellent
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Excellent

Wilder

Lost people try to find their way home. The initial choice out of three advantages was nice, but it just gives you a +1 to a d6 roll. Standard walk in the park, really.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Witch Hunt

A nice pentacle character creation leads into a die-rollin’ combat simulator where allies can assist. Points for having the star, but less for not really saying what escaping does for Air, or how protecting works for Earth.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: Ok
Verdict: meh

Wittgenstein’s Monster

Cobble together rules from random gamebooks to create an unholy abomination. See RPG Gumbo for more comments (basically the same game.)
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Ok

Wizard Journal

Collaborative writing game about a bunch of wizards and their world. Includes a tarot deck mechanic without boring us to death about it, thank goodness! Simple and solid.
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

Wizards of the Tome

Brilliant game where players have spellbooks with spells based on chapter titles of actual books. The GM runs a module based on chapter titles of another book. Brilliant!
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Excellent

Word Wizards

Wizardly spellcasting with Wikipedia as the core tool. Could be fun. The Word Dive rules are good, especially with the ruling about Wizards getting a bonus when the GM resorts to it.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Good

World of Stats

2d6, add mod, beat target, tell story.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Xenia

Silly party game with a lot of love going for it, as long as you have the right person playing Zeus. With one or two small twists, this could be a winner.
Concept: Excellent
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

Yammer

Improv game of fast talking. The referee is in for a difficult scoring time.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Ok

You’re a Werewolf but it’s Not a Full Moon

Sweet little alternate reality game that you and your pack can enjoy over a week (maybe longer.)
Concept: Great
System: Excellent
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Excellent

Your Honored Guest

Collaboratively creating a personality… or is it? Maybe this is a very different form of exercise, and it might be important for the group to establish that at the start. Some of the “funeral wake” games show how this form of game can have a firm theme, and maybe this needs a stronger one.
Concept: Ok
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Your Journey

Travelers who must keep on moving, but can visit for a while. The narrative mechanic is fairly standard, but the character creation is very nice.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

You’ve Been Screwed

Marooned on an alien world. Take it in turns to answer questions from a decent d12 chart, work out what happens, and then describe the future.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Zagyg’s Ancestral Words

Pick words from a random ist of common D&D elements and build a story around them. Includes a double d6 mechanic, which seems to fly in the face of the inspiration (surely d20s would be more appropriate.) Not sure why the game isn’t called Xagyg’s Ancestral Words.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Znaroks Rocks

Word game about a coach who can only vocalise with profanity and insults. Might be fair to allow the occasional “the, them, those, there” words to help matters along. The secondary challenge of having to interpret the instructions is a gem of an idea and improves the whole game.
Concept: Excellent
System: Great
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Excellent

Zone-side Picnic

Go to a park and make up stories about what you find. Encounter a fellow player and you can try to kill ‘em.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

[REDACTED]

I love redacting parts of character sheets, and [REDACTED] does it very, very well. Though I don’t normally like a simple d6 system, the way this game manipulates it is clean and clever.
Concept: Great
System: Excellent
Execution: Great
Verdict: Excellent

[TECH]: Boldly Go (a starship simulator)

Spaceship command sim using a lot of blackjack.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

[a collaborative system of creation]

Absolute genius. Pour wax in water and turn the creations into a shadow puppet cast for a story. Brilliantly done!
Concept: Excellent
System: Excellent
Execution: Great
Verdict: Excellent

Xamurai

Funny setup with all these alliterative -amurais who are defined by their letter, but the random endgame disappoints.
NB: actual game title uses a crossed image instead of an X.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great