Sunday, 14 May 2017

200 Word RPG Challenge 2017 Reviews (Part 2: L to S)

This is part 2 of 3. The other parts can be found nearby.

LEGO GM-less Roleplaying Playset for All Ages

General rpg template.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: Ok
Verdict: meh

LOADING READY RUN

Great premise and a functional (if generic) system. Steps up a rank on presentation.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Good

Labrynth

Creepy exploration with an interesting idea in GM duties being allocated in regard to proximity. Like many mazes, it doesn’t actually seem to go anywhere.
Concept: Ok
System: Good
Execution: Ok
Verdict: OK

Lacrimae Rerum

Rather depressing little game which is pretty much a study in disappointment and failure. Effective, but not a lot of fun, and that’s the entire point.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Ladies Night – a game of supernatural romance

2d6 rpg about female supernaturals, but the theme is purely cosmetic.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Last Cigarette

No review for this game as it was written by this reviewer. If pressed, I’d maybe give it no better than a Good verdict, possibly Ok.
Concept: -
System: -
Execution: -
Verdict: -

Laughter or a Lit Flame: A Hack of Renga

Literary game, based on Japanese renga poetry (haiku and waki,) illustrated perfectly through the rules presentation.
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Great

Lawsuits & Litigators

Cute idea about adding rules to a game session, but why all the grandstanding if the dice are just going to resolve the argument anyway?
Concept: Good
System: meh
Execution: Ok
Verdict: OK

Legendary Heroes

Card game of stealing victory points.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Let Me Live

Dark little improv game where you have to convince the arbitrary Judge of why you deserve to live. Not sure if this is meant to be done with fake personalities/memories or real ones.
Concept: Good
System: meh
Execution: Ok
Verdict: OK

Let’s Eat Kevin!

Hilarious little argument game where the devil’s advocate just doesn’t want to get gobbled up. A simple idea, but so good!
Concept: Great
System: Excellent
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Excellent

Liar

Controversial game in that the other player doesn’t know a game is happening. Studies the process of white lies and the morality of them, but it really shouldn’t be a game. The important questions at the end show that the designer is aware of the ethical issues involved.
Concept: Flawed
System: Flawed
Execution: Good
Verdict: Flawed

Liber Mortis Palace

Game of chance with an undead theme.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Lighthearted Friend

Another anagram game and a sequel to Jack the Ripper, but for adults only. Though a bit naughtier than Jack, it has the improvement of having to guess the content of the original sentence, which is a fun twist.
Concept: Excellent
System: Great
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Excellent

Limbo, the otherworld

Nice underworld setup with a fun hide-and-seek mechanic, but then stalls.
Concept: Ok
System: Good
Execution: meh
Verdict: Ok

Lineage

Step by step character creation of a family line for use with your choice of storytelling device. Solid.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Little Magic Shop

Collaborative magic item creation. Useful tool and possibly very amusing.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Great
Verdict: Good

Living With Humans

Balance the mundane and mythic sides of your life. D6 mechanic with stats that get out of control.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: OK

Lock Stock and Two Smoking Coffins

A performance game where you have to pick Dracula through a “tell” but I can’t for the life of me work out how the game is meant to work. How do “tells” work?
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: meh
Verdict: OK

Long is the Way, and Hard

Two player bidding game for the fate of a mortal’s soul.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: meh
Verdict: Ok

Looking for new recruits!

Star Trekkin’ redshirts just keep dying. Important rules for death placed in the Author Comments section, which is unfortunate, and the game loses points on that.
Concept: Good
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Lorfea: tiny kingdom, BIG problems

Character web style of world creation where ganging up on an enemy is the way to beat them. Could be worked on to get great results.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Love Language

Simplistic storytelling where you need to achieve three important character arcs. The actual “traits” are quite good elements to build a character on. Could be the basis of a great narrative game, but isn’t one yet.
Concept: Ok
System: Good
Execution: meh
Verdict: OK

Love is Pain, Dearest

Love triangle storytelling based on the colours made from mixing food dye. A wacky idea, but the scene prompts make it work. Really sweet.
Concept: Excellent
System: Great
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Excellent

Lovecraft Lightest

Call of Cthullu mega-lite.
Concept: meh
System: Ok
Execution: meh

Verdict: meh

MECHANICAL ORYX

Evocative rpg of robot relics. Nice mechanic where being nasty is easier than being kind, and doubles on a roll creates difficulties.
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

Magic for Sanity

2d6 system that lives up to the title; roll above your Humanity to cast spells, below it to do mundane stuff.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Magical Elemental Girls Excel!

College superstudent shenanigans where the elemental powers are based on the periodic table and not antiquated mysticism. Much, much more can be done with the idea, but this is a good start. I hope the designer builds on this premise. The system also holds up.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Magical Spaceship Adventures

PbtA Spelljammer.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: Ok
Verdict: meh

Magistrate Maggie

Judge Judy party game with a lot of silliness done in a very clever way. Maggie’s ability to detect lies is wonderful!
Concept: Great
System: Excellent
Execution: Great
Verdict: Excellent

Manic pixie dream girl

Short, sharp and self-admittedly nasty little game about a downright horrid relationship dynamic. Hidden abilities and objectives keeps everyone on their toes.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

Many Players, One Adventurer

Take turns to control the adventurer until you achieve your hidden goal.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: OK

Marked

Draw magic symbols on your arm to combat your opponent. A great idea, but rather subjective, and no real reason to attack at all.
Concept: Great
System: Ok
Execution: meh
Verdict: OK

Mashup

Genre-collision setup with a nifty explanation as to what to do when primary player or not.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Maslovmania

Based off the idea of fulfilling Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The hidden turn idea is promising, but I’m really not sure how well the game would work in practice.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: OK

Masters of the universe

A purely luck-based system lies at the heart of a game designed to illustrate the ridiculousness of a luck-based reality. Theme and system match perfectly, and the “praising” is the icing on the cake.
Concept: Excellent
System: Excellent
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Excellent

Maximum Efficiency

Possibly meant to be titled “Maximum Inefficiency,” the game adds a die roll to what could be simplified as “come up with the most ridiculous solution to a problem.”
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

McMurdo Station Interns

Drama in Antarctica with a drinking-game plugged on a hat draw. But does taking a drink overcome the problem?
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Ok

Measured in Cups

Relationship story shortened into the time it takes to drink some tea. Not quite as good as te other “tea games.”
Concept: Great
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Meddling Kids

Kid detectives to the rescue. Run of the mill task system, but the random mystery chart is really good.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Medium Heavyweight

Great premise, with ghostly gamblers controlling a boxer. The hidden action cards and majority-rules mechanic both work well. The player politics between rounds could be thrilling. With more hit points and players, this could be up there with Werewolf/Mafia.
Concept: Excellent
System: Excellent
Execution: Great
Verdict: Excellent

Melody & Memories

Troubadours revenge! Collaborative Q&A of the background is more fun than the card-based core mechanic.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Ok

Meltdown – Your Last Battle

Draw water out of a glass of melting ice to increase your die-size. Should have a theme about ice wizards or snow giants or something. The die mechanic left me cold (hurr hurr) but the ice thing is pretty cool (I’ll stop.)
Concept: Ok
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Mementos: A journey to the subconscious

Inception-esque psyche-delve where the target numbers don’t change but the number of dice do.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Memoriam Ignis

Wizards sacrifice memories for power. Literally burning away parts of your character sheet is a great mechanic, and fits well with many other flame-based ideas in this year’s entries. Just needs a slight more direction for the Spellmaster.
Concept: Excellent
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

Memories

Elderly sufferers of dementia deal with the loss of their memories. Subverts regular improv storytelling by not allowing previous statements to be built on, to an extent.
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

Memory Palace: a character study in reverse

Use a book and a room to illustrate the memories of a person. A simple idea, but an effective one. The designer offers a lot of creative freedom, but enough form to guide you.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

Mercenaries from Anyworld

Go anywhere, do anything, roll positive die, subtract the negative die, add stat, beat 0 to succeed.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Meta Game: Universal RPG Supplement

Universal rpgs are all about the system, so they need to be really good. Though the core mechanic here isn’t really good, there are some interesting metagaming effects (such as forcing the GM to show their hidden rolls.)
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: Ok
Verdict: meh

Mic Drop

Social media game following a rock band’s most disastrous tour ever. Quite entertaining and could be easily expanded into sequels (next album tour, greatest hits, etc.) Simple and effective.
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

Micro Kittens

Kittens try to get adopted. Die allocation method.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: OK

MicroCrunch Universal RPG

Mainly combat mechanics. Roll 3 or under to succeed; the worse the difficulty, the higher the dice.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Might Makes Right: Muscle Marines in Space

Meathead space-marines where you arm-wrestle the GM. More clever than it appears.
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Great

MiskatonicU

College drama-comedy with a Lovecraft slant, of course. You get to make your own classes, which is nice.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Modern Olympus

American Gods-esque death match. The choices for modern portfolios are frequently bizarre. D6s.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: Ok
Verdict: meh

Momento

The story of objects and how they all came together. Competitive storytelling in that you need to vote for best storytellers at the end.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: OK

Monikers & Masks: The Super Day-Saving RPG

Superhero and villain charts for random character/villain creation which you could port to any supers game you want. The charts are actually really good, but the system thrown on at the end is less exciting.
Concept: Ok
System: Good
Execution: Great
Verdict: Good

Monster Slayer Academy

D6 success counting system, some basic ideas, and off you go. Better take some Tracking or you won’t have much of a game.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Monster’s Baby Walker

Unfortunately the author’s English isn’t quite able to properly convey what seems to be a fascinating idea about a person reborn as a monster.
Concept: Good
System: none
Execution: Flawed
Verdict: Flawed

Monstrositea

Conversation game about charming monsters. A funny idea.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Moth

Sweet little movement game perfect for dance or drama classes.
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

Mother nature called

Spirit animal politics. Nicely presented.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Moving On

Simple little ghost rpg with the nasty little twist that you’re trying to sabotage your fellow ghosts, though the endgame isn’t consistent with that concept.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Murder is Simple

Gumshoe drama where working together helps (though I think working alone fits the classic misanthropic noir detective better.) Nice moveset, though.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Muscle/brains/gut

SPR mechanic where ties escalate the eventual result, which is neat. Neanderthal setting.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Musical Mages

Use a song title, artist, and album to create a spell, wizard, and experience. Really cool, but I advise a house rule against greatest hits albums.
Concept: Great
System: Excellent
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

My Alibi

Murder mystery with players stating alibis, but the rules regarding item cards don’t seem to work (how can you deal three to each player when there are only as many as the players plus one?) Endgame is a little confusing, even after several reads.
Concept: Good
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

My Imaginary Friend

Lovely little piece about childhood and imagination. The three player dynamic is a treat, and calling dibs on narrative control gains traction when you’ve got to use it immediately or lose it.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Great
Verdict: Good

Myrathine

A pitch for a one-player rpg. The whole plotline is laid out, and the ideas are really quite good. Full of spoilers. Requires you bring your own system.
Concept: Great
System: meh
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Mystery Mansion of the Mad Wizard

Board game with cards and a few d6s. The narrative elements seem optional.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Ok

NATURE PLANET

Documentary crew shenanigans where failing results in bloopers, which is very funny. But the d8 mechanic is tired and it seems a lot more fun to play the Host than the Cameraman.
Concept: Great
System: meh
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

NO TIME: A GAME ABOUT FAILURE

Tension simulator where you need to allocate resources to tasks as a team. Not sure if this is meant to be a fast game or a long one. Needs just a touch more focus.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Nakama: A Card Game of Magical Girls

Card game where four princesses beat up monsters. Seems like the players will always end up victorious. (Side note: when designers mention songs in their notes I make a point of listening to them. This one was enjoyable.)
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: Ok
Verdict: meh

Naming and Alchemy

A board game at heart, this game requires tiles not explained nor supplied with the document.
Concept: Good
System: Flawed
Execution: Flawed
Verdict: Flawed

Nathan

Isolated cabin horror tropes with a whole heap of cool mechanics and ideas, but the end result is a bit unfocused. The individual components are wonderful, though. It’s a shame because I really want this to work, but it’s one good edit and playtest off the mark.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Never Say Die

D6 rpg with assisting mechanics.
Concept: meh
System: Ok
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Night clubbing

The more drinks you drink, the harder the difficulty and the worse the consequences. Sadly not about clubbing night monsters with baseball bats L
Concept: meh
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: meh

Nightblind

Clever little game where the GM can lie, but can also be called out on it. If the player is wrong, they take on GM duties. The mechanics fit the theme perfectly.
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Excellent

No Coincidence

Almost a Doomed Pilgrim hack of lonely travelers with a Dark Tower edge. The final showdown is simple but tense. Very nice.
Concept: Great
System: Excellent
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Excellent

No Mistakes, Only Deeper Plans

Heist game where everyone wants to be the sole profiteer. Jumping between planning and execution is cute, and the fact that failures are always part of the plan is excellent. But how do the bonuses you get on a 10+ work?
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

No set

Players write aspects of a culture or race on paper, the papers are randomly allocated, start roleplaying. Very little focus or direction other than “keep it beautiful.” Insert favourite system.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: Ok
Verdict: meh

No…. your friends

Dinner party game of social signals and guessing cues. Fun for the length of a meal, as intended.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Normaleware

Android infiltration rpg with an interesting way of programming available actions.  Lot of good thematic mechanics working together well. Bravo.
Concept: Good
System: Great
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Great

Oathbreakers: Deviant Warlocks

Token manipulation game with candles, but nothing really seems to be anything other than cosmetic. Best part is announcing at the start what social norm you broke.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Of Light

Word game of revitalizing a dying god. Not being able to repeat key words is a great concept, but the die randomizer isn’t as exciting (though it isn’t egregious, either.) The candle is thematic and appropriate.
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

Office Party

Party simulator with the great rule that the boss is the player who brought the most booze, but the horrible rule that they get to drink the least of it. The d20 mechanic does little for me.
Concept: Good
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Olympian Courts, Mortal Woes

Another 200 character rpg. A Greek god framework for petitioning the gods to make amends for their ways. Like the other 200 character games, you need to fill in a lot of blanks, but this is one of the better pitches of them.
Concept: Great
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

On Cuddling Dragons: A Primer for Beginners

AHAHAHAHAHAHA! One person plays a perfectly un-cuddly dragon; the other tries to cuddle them. Game recommends taping bulky and awkward things on your dragon beforehand. Brilliant!
Concept: Excellent
System: Excellent
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Excellent

On Divining Oneirography

Use automatic drawing to discover the location of a lost dreamer. A relaxed “interpretation game.” Letter format is lovely.
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Great

On the seventh day Gods had finished…

Divine world-creation game where you are constantly helping another God, but you still want to win. A couple of unanswered questions about pedantic game details remain (how do I award myself points fairly, how do we select random Gods, etc.)
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

One Last Job

Card and dice game themed around a heist. End condition requires certain cards to have been played.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

One-Night Stand

Observations, expectations, and desires are challenged and tested between first-time lovers. A mature game which could be plugged on to other dramatic systems. The d4 might be a little too random, but it gives direction, at least.
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

Only One Shall Win

A Zelda-esque theme disguises a cunning little game where everyone wants to land the final blow on an enemy, though too much in-fighting might see everyone dead. Could be fun once or twice, but the simple tactics might be exhausted quickly.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Ok

Open Mic Dungeon Night

Create rhyming spells to overcome challenges.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Operation: Doomed

Tense game of dice stacking where a collapse can end in doom. Has obvious parallels with Dread, but stands on its own merits. The chart for penalties is a great touch. Doesn’t use the classic board game Operation, which is a slight shame.
Concept: Good
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

Operation: Dragon Hunt

National Parks teams of dragon hunters. The system is a little obtuse, largely relying on a chart, and a bit of a trudge to read. Not particularly inspiring. Also doesn’t involve the classic board game Operation, much to my disappointment.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: Ok
Verdict: meh

Opposystem

Lovely character creation method where for every strength your character has another character must take its opposite, forcing the team to collaborate. The die system alongside it is simple, but perfectly fine (rolling three dice and picking the middle seemed weird at first, but the idea has grown on me.)
Concept: Good
System: Great
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Order of St. Aloysius

Nice to see some unusual attributes in this monastic game, where Christian virtues are key to success. The balance of the virtues is nice, but I would like to see some examples of problems. And what stops a player creating problems specifically designed to take advantage of a monk’s weaker traits?
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Other Lives

Card-suits symbolize themes, you build the story to… suit.
Concept: meh
System: Ok
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Our Ancestor’s Secret Wars

A random character creation mechanic, but the true highlight here is the pitch; tech families competing and collaborating to counter ancient threats. Reminds me a lot of Mage; the Ascension, but has a mood of its own.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Our House will Survive

Noble Houses compete for prestige and power, but it all comes down to d6 rolls. The key resources (Knights, armies, etc.) have little explanation or guidance.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Our Last Summer

Coming of age drama with an excellent blind-draw mechanic using a pack of M&Ms. This is how to pull off a game with a blind-draw! And I’m a sucker for edible games.
Concept: Great
System: Excellent
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Excellent

Our Precious Ghost

Telling the tale of how you lost your best companion. Hard tasks are impossible unless you expand on the relationship with the deceased.
Concept: Excellent
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

Out of the Dark World

Stranger Things-ish rpg where you can never fight but you can run and hide. Diminishing pool of d6s means you want to avoid rolling as much as possible.
Concept: Ok
System: Good
Execution: Ok

Verdict: Ok

PROTAGONIST

Shared character with revolving fiat, influenced by your little shoulder angel and demon (my terms, not game terms.) D6s with occasional d4s.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Great
Verdict: Ok

PUPPY DAY: A happy game wherein everyone wins

Pet adoption card game where the person with the most unwanted pet has to say why it’s the most special, which is sweet. Probably most fun when you’re actively trying to give people crappy pets.
Concept: Ok
System: Good
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Good

Pack Mind RPG

System to run a collective rather than an individual character. Pretty much just combines trait totals for the target numbers and treats indiviuals as hit points.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Paintball: the RPG

Some basic d10 mechanics resolving a gunfight, with range modifiers for different guns and bonuses based on a vague concept of telling the GM about your cool background. More about an actual gunfight than paintball.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: Incomplete
Verdict: meh

Pantheon: a game for narcissists

More divine roleplaying, with a few archetypes and their roughly defined abilities presented before letting the reader run free. Not a lot of direction.
Concept: meh
System: Ok
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Parasite Vector

Quite a bizarre premise, what there is of it. Sacrificing body parts allows certain effects. Possibly needs a lot more words to get the designer’s vision across properly.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Party Wizards

Arts and crafts game where you get to tear apart Magic cards and create stories and spells with the pictures. I especially like creating a map with pictures, and the fact that the game ends about the time the first person gets bored.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Great

Pasta Master

Eating contest where every one-on-one bout has a slightly different sauce. Love these edible games. I bags bacon!
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Pasteur: The action RPG

Though it involves a fun blend of themes, this is a dungeon crawl rpg. 2d6 minus Defense equals damage dealt; adjust hit points accordingly.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Pavlov’s House

Sniper wargame set over a 15 minute time limit. Looks like a nice concept, but a few too many questions remaining (does rolling extra dice lower the time limit, how long must be spent describing things, how many red dice may be rolled.)
Concept: Good
System: meh
Execution: Ok
Verdict: meh

Performance Issues

Each player gets to play a different character each portrayed on screen by the same actor. An optional rule says you always fail unless you act in-character, which is nice to have formalised.
Concept: meh
System: Ok
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Petty Crimes

A poker-based game telling the tale of a band of criminals, but the system gets a little lost. And why does each player need their own entire deck? Seems unnecessary.
Concept: OK
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Pirate Tails

Ask players to guess what your tail is like and what it does. Pick your favourite answers. Next player takes their turn.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Ok

Planetary Realtors

Improv game with a randomized set of tables to help the story. Has a strong theme and firm framework. Classic theatre sport.
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Great

Playing Cards RPG

Draw a card, get 5 or less after adding the difficulty and then subtracting your attribute score (which could be wildly unbalanced.)
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Pocky Lips

2d6, add stat, beat 7 (or critical hit on 7 exactly.) But the big draw here is how cool the base attributes are (Smoking, Cutting, and Clicking.) Later on, the coolness gets a bit much, but there’s just enough around to raise the rating a notch.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Ok

Poet Glorious

More haikus, but this time it means war! To the game’s credit, it actually puts a game into the poetry, which some of the other haiku games haven’t managed.
Concept: Great
System: Excellent
Execution: Great
Verdict: Excellent

Power Chord: A Musical RPG

Battles with effects based on the lyrics of songs, interpret as you see fit. Doesn’t quite have the entertainment and tight focus that some other music games have.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Praetorian

Card and dice game of increasing influence, but the random draw at the start could be utterly unbalanced, along with the fact that everyone might end up being on the same side and not know it until the end. But it could be fun.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Prankster’s Dillema

The final line of this game puts the much-needed nasty into what until then seemed a pretty tame game of keeping quiet and sending texts. The phone aspect is a rather thematic gimmick, but I’d also like to have the game include private meetings with the students in turn (maybe with a prefect rule or something to stop collaboration while the other students are left alone.) Regardless, this is a great game of trust and betrayal.
Concept: Excellent
System: Excellent
Execution: Great
Verdict: Excellent

Pressure – The Disaster Movie Simulator

Big pool of d6s to spend on overcoming challenges. Critical failures become more common as the story progresses. Archetypes have special powers.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: meh
Verdict: Ok

Prime Directive: a game of not screwing up

Scripted setup for first contact with a good range of options, but the offered resolution is a formality. Worth plugging on to another space trekkin’ game.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Great
Verdict: Good

Purgatory

Battleground between Heaven and Hell with a d6 system where you want to roll low for orderly actions and high for chaotic ones. Has the obligatory 666 infernal critical, of course.
Concept: meh
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: meh

Purgatory House

Haunted house elimination horror with a blackjack mechanic, but do you simply disallow escape attempts until one player is left? Would be nice if eliminated players could take on some kind of GM duties.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Quarantine

Despite the rather dark theme, the base mechanic is a simple resource management dice game against the clock. Could make a great card/board game with themed event cards and the like, but as a roleplay/storytelling game it is merely serviceable.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Queen_killer

Hidden role game with a bunch of great elements, but the “worthy” mechanic seems broken. Is there a way to become the new ruler without having the worthy card? What happens if the worthy character is murdered early on?
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

R, the WorldDevourer and the infinite sadness

Toxic relationship between an alien entity and the mortal agency which keeps it in check. A lot of unstated framework, but just enough to infer most of them. At least there’s no dice or cards. Despite the name, this is not a Smashing Pumpkins album.
Concept: Great
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Good

RLS (Real Life Superheroes)

2d6, roll under stat minus difficulty. A lot of derived scores and it’s all a bit ugly.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

RNJesus and the 12 Diceiples

Risk vs reward magic system based on gambling. But for a game that talks about “dice-iples” why is the main example one about using cards? Requires a GM with a good idea of fairness, probability, and humour (especially because they kinda have to invent the system on the fly.)
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

RPG (Random Parable Generator)

One player plays the main character, another player tells the story, a third player handles mechanics and disputes. A different take on the group dynamic, splitting GM duties so that the storyteller can be a bit more competitive, it seems.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

RPG Gumbo

Entertaining concept of diving into random obscure roleplaying books to find appropriate rules every time one is needed. The resulting mess could be very amusing with the right collection (such as my own) but it would be better to have the most awkward and inconsistent rule being able to trump narrative control. Wittgenstein’s Monster is the same game with a better name.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Racer

Three stats, roll d10, best margin of success wins. Not sure what the Talkin stat is meant to do.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

ReWritten

Experimental super-soldier tries to break out of the lab. Character sheet (and thus the identity of the main character) constantly changes during play, which is great, but the d6 mechanic is nothing more than serviceable.
Concept: Great
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Redeemer: World Changing Role Adoption

Less a roleplay and more a guide for life. There’s no game here, and no storytelling, just a desire to fix the world, so I can’t really review it. But love to the designers; it surely would be a better world rocking these virtues.
Concept: Flawed
System: Flawed
Execution: Flawed
Verdict: Flawed

Reign over Hell

Prisoners dilemma game for devils and demons.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Relentless

Slaves have a communal pool of d6s which increase as scenes progress. Not sure how slaves are removed from play so that only one is left. Ambitious, but ultimately lacking.
Concept: Good
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Remember the Glory Days?

Really nice idea about retired superheroes recounting past experiences and arguing over the details. The writing mechanic is great because you get to have a keepsake afterward, but I think there may be a misprint or two (shouldn’t you be writing on pen over completed lines, not empty ones?) Regardless, very nice.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Repair Bots!

Nice space robot concept with a purely luck-based die mechanic which punishes failure and rewards success without mercy. The tone and style are top grade.
Concept: Good
System: meh
Execution: Great
Verdict: Ok

Reteller

Clever storytelling game of retelling a well-known tale but trying to avoid words that others have claimed whilst also getting every detail right.
Concept: Good
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

Reunited And It Feels

Ooh… Silent roleplay using ambient mood to create the current dynamic between two PCs, played in public. Could be short and sweet or really complex. A study in subtle and sensitive roleplaying.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

Rewrite

Segments of an authros’s psyche argue over editing the sequel to a best-selling novel. Though there’s a hell of a lot of good here, there’s also a lot missing which is obvious when you read the author’s notes. A great idea, with a lot of potential shown, but this was never going to fit into 200 words and it shows. That being said, it isn’t an entire failure either. Please expand!
Concept: Excellent
System: Good
Execution: Great
Verdict: Good

Rise – Hack - Fall

Hackers vs the Corporation, with a resource management system for the hackers and a number-logic game for the Corporation. A bit hard to tell how this would go without an ideal number of players stated for the hackers. Too many and they’ll win easily; too few and the Corp has it in the bag.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

River, Typhoon, Coursing River

Wandering warriors seek their thing (namely running the GM out of Energy points by rolling contested d6s.) Easier for the players to win the more of them there are.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Road Trip

Car journey roleplay with the arguably the worst passengers ever.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Road Trippin’ on a Playlist

Car journey playlist game where you’ve got to select travel music according to your character (where I think it might have been better to build your character upon the songs…)
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Roommates From Hell

A horrid household dynamic. Especially love that when every character is introduced you write down a reason why you hate them (genius!) Simple, accessible, and just plain good.
Concept: Great
System: Excellent
Execution: Great
Verdict: Excellent

Route Clearance

Storytelling track to help tell the tale of a military bomb-clearance team travelling through Afghanistan.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Rubble

Encounter problems, try to achieve goals. This could be a very good game if it explained how or when to cross “things” off, or how to introduce Danger.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Rule of 3 Digits

System built around the idea that you will always roll one of three results. Don’t roll badly at character creation or you’ll not be having much of a fun time.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Rules Lawyers

Rules creation and adjudication process under a principle of common law. Not entirely sure if it is a roleplaying game (it could largely just be considered a social contract) except that rule 8 makes me wonder... It makes me wonder a lot…
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Great
Verdict: Good

Russian Roulette

Thematic enough with dangerous Russian mafia and the job going south, but not sure how the prompts work.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: meh

Verdict: meh

S.P.Q.R.

Two teams compete against each other for power and among themselves for leadership. Despite using SPR as the battle system, I kinda like it, although there does seem to be largely no point to winning any of the minigames within the experience.
Concept: Great
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Good

SHAKESPEAREAN WORLD

“it’s gm-less apocalypse world but shakespeare.” True that.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

SMASH THE SYSTEM

Fun dice-stacking core mechanic which could be easily expanded into a larger game. Needs a little more than the 200 word limit allows for, but is quite promising.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Great
Verdict: Good

STUDIO RETROSPECTIVE

Improv game about interviewing a famous actor and watching clips from their body of work. Would work best while trying to throw spanners in the works. Great game to play before an audience.
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

SUPERHERO RPG

Better stats have higher dice, no coaching on powers.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

SYSTEM

Bleak game about corrupt systems and those caught in its cogs. The Ideals at the core are great but the PbtA 2d6 mechanic bores me.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Salting the Earth: A Nano-Larp

More of a choose-your-own-misadventure story illustrating the horrors of land mines. Players get a few limited choices and possibly a coin-flip, but there’s no real need to play it live.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Great
Verdict: Good

Scrye and Rescue

Nifty setup of child agents trying to save other children in Narnia/Wonderland/etc. A whole bunch of interesting ideas and a decent core mechanic of trying to pair die results, but the game needs more than 200 words to explain properly.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Secret Hearts

An interesting idea using colour wheels, but there’s a few unanswered questions. Rewarding the Fey for clear roleplaying is good, but it could mean that the roleplaying becomes overly obvious or histrionic.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Section Seven

Combat squad with pools of dice and escalating target numbers. Some sample difficulties would help, and giving some characters other than the Stooge a plot twist would have been nice.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Segmentation Fault

Black Ops team shenanigans. Nice charts, complications, conditions, roles, and whatnot (missions are a particular highlight. But we’ve all seen the system before.
Concept: Ok
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Sentence Dungeon

Quick and easy way to create a dungeon. The base conflict system is discardable, but the use of random sentences to create dungeons is nice. Unfortunately, created dungeons will be linear; worth expanding.
Concept: Great
System: Ok
Execution: meh
Verdict: Ok

Septem Memorias

1d12, add stat, beat 7, but only the GM knows your stats because you have amnesia (not sure how you can’t work out your Body stat, though.)
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Shadows

Ghost game where you need to find out who murdered you before the shadows get you. A simple setup, and could incorporate mortal NPC players well if desired.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Good

Sharing our Past

Conversational game where you get to talk about your character. The format encourages you to ask questions about each other’s backstory. Pretty much giving players permission to do something they love doing anyway.
Concept: Ok
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Shonen RPG

Roll d8, add stat, beat target; if you fail, you can draw a random card from your deck and add it to the total. Card deck also acts as health.
Concept: meh
System: Ok
Execution: meh
Verdict: Ok

Shopkins Party

Randomly draw toys from a bag to help create the story of a birthday party. Intended to be played with young children (such as my niece, who loves these Shopkins things.)
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Show and Hell

Disturbing show-and-tell improv piece. “Random image site” in this case should be read as “find some disturbing images online and try to freak each other out.” Darkly humourous.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Shuffles & Skeletons

Card-based fantasy roleplay which is a lot better than most. Still rather dry, though.
Concept: Ok
System: Good
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Good

Signed Away

Cover parts of your character sheet so you can’t use them, but uncover them if you serve your demonic patron. A decent idea, but not much detail. Needs a lot more.
Concept: Good
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Situations & Explanations

A bit like Once Upon A Time the rpg. Make your own cards, build your own story.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Six Days Remain

Final days of magic college, so visit your haunts and bid farewell. Like playing a season finale. Plug onto your favourite system.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Six Shot

Russian roulette simulator with roleplay cues per chamber.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Snitch

Tricky little game of bluffs and lies where the only real failing is that the die roll at the start could make or break the game. Might be a good idea for the mobsters to know the total value of the evidence against the group, which would make the plots more intriguing. Very nice.
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

So You’re Becoming A Dragon

Interview improv between an experienced older dragon and one about to undergo transformation. Light, breezy, and approachable.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Great

So You’re Being Hunted

Running game where you determine who’s hunting you through analyzing sensory data.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Great
Verdict: Good

So here is the Scenario

Storytelling guide for revolving narration. Fundamentals workshop.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Sonder

Use dominoes to tell stories about random real people. Domino numbers determine wordcount. Gets points for using the term “rhizomatically.”
Concept: Excellent
System: Good
Execution: Great
Verdict: Great

Songs for empty apartments

I like games that use musical band dynamics, and this uses it in a way that directs conversation and narrative. There’s a little lack of clarity at times, but the idea is sound.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Sonnet 155: A Murder Most Foul

Collaborative poetry writing where you create a sonnet together to tell a tale. The rules document is likewise explained in iambic pentameter. Cute.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Great

Space Amoebas on Vacation

You have limited actions expressed as verbs, and limited ways to change them. Though I like the principle, some more balance and example words would have been nice.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Space Cowboys

Card-based rpg based around matching suits. Although perfectly workable, it seems odd to be working for the Blackjack Network and not having any blackjack mechanics.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Space Debris – A Chore-Playing Game for Two

Spacewalk simulator using dizziness, holding of breath, blindness, and random events when people pass by. The asteroid shower is good, but discussing stuff back home doesn’t seem to fit this game, really. Almost there, but not quite.
Concept: Great
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Space travel with babies

Travelers on a spaceship make small-talk, which is nothing special, but the fact that each player has an actual baby in their care whose activities are considered in-character adds the spice. Some more direction in social cues would have been nice. I recommend adding at least one player who doesn’t like children in order to get the most out of the game.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Spelling

Create spells by combining symbols with your fellow spellcasters. Obstacles are overcome with your ability to form such spells. An option to use colours to add aspects to symbols is a gorgeous touch. Not complete, but your group will quickly work out how to formalize it.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Great

Spin the Bottle

High school drama where bottle-spinning determines who sets the scene. Getting points on relationships works well, especially how Crushes work.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Spiral

Roll a die to determine success or failure, move that many centimetres along the spiral, introduce weirdness to the story. Thematically nice, but a bit underdeveloped.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Splice

Poker game of card collection. Win and your deck gets bigger.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: meh
Verdict: Ok

Squamous

Bidding game where other players get to make your life difficult, and you theirs. The theme is passably fun, but the core system is quite solid. Naturally, the comic Lovecraftian vibe is always going to get players.
Concept: Good
System: Great
Execution: Good
Verdict: Great

StarFry Adventures

Gorgeous little setting about fast food employees at a galactic diner. Uses a “drawing straws” base where you pull fries from a bag and the longest chip gets narrative control. Nice. The text is brilliant.
Concept: Great
System: Great
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Great

Starship Basilisk

A little dice game of fixing a starship. I actually played this as a one player game and seemed to blitz it, I think; I used the engines three times to get out of there which I think might be a victory. It’s hard to tell. I didn’t bother repairing the escape pods because they didn’t seem to do anything. Despite not having a victory condition, I enjoyed it, but it is missing a couple of important rules. So close to greatness!
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Ok

Steam Burst

Team of engineers on a steampunk mech. A couple of mechanics, but a lot palmed off onto your GM.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Steampunk Serial

Pitch for a steampunk murder plot about a killer who remembers their past lives, but there’s no real mechanic here (even though 3d6s are mentioned.) The main PC archetypes are given a brief overview.
Concept: Ok
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Stones

Caveman roleplay with d4s. Though not an exciting system, it’s functional and does its job well. The highlight is the document’s voice, which is utterly primitive whilst still being perfectly capable of explaining everything clearly.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Great

Stop Reading to Lose

One player game. One of the most original pieces this year, using the limitations of the competition to great effect. Quite powerful, though the ending is a little sudden.
Concept: Excellent
System: Excellent
Execution: Excellent
Verdict: Excellent

Storyboard

Create a cartoon of characters heading off to the promised land, with the funniest options always winning. Endgame conditions are excellent.
Concept: Excellent
System: Great
Execution: Great
Verdict: Excellent

Stranded In Space

A simple theoretical game where you’re asked what you’d take to make life more comfortable if stranded in paradise. Optional game variations are fun.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Stranded: forcing time for thoughts (1p)

12 turns of adding details to your old life before finally deciding if it’s worth going back to.
Concept: Great
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Strands of Fate

Competitive roleplay of two gods and their pawns. The main mechanic is pulling a thread until it snaps and the player with the longer piece wins, which works well with the concepts of fate and destiny. The character creation at the start seems purely cosmetic.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Good

Strange Room

Wake up in a strange room, invent details, vote if there’s a dispute. Try to achieve tasks by rolling a d6 with the highest roller gaining narrative control; successes grant hope, failures bring despair. Hit 4 in either to trigger endgame.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Strange Wallets

Tell a story using the various cards in your wallets. Certainly much better than using the suits in a deck of cards. A pity that other wallet contents such as photos and money aren’t accounted for, but a small oversight.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Great

Strongman: Authoritarian Fun For 3+ Players

Political party game of eliminating your opposition. Could possibly be better if there were agendas thrown into the mix. Also, what happens with the 100% rule when only two voters are left and both protest?
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Ok

Suits

Simplistic card mechanic. I’m guessing players discard cards after use, but no such rule exists, so you might as well play an Ace every action. Add your own setting.
Concept: meh
System: meh
Execution: meh
Verdict: meh

Superkid – a game for one adult and one child

Make up a story where a child player is the hero. They can perform amazing stunts in the story by completing actual tasks and challenges in real life. Requires one or more child players and a GM, technically…
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Good

Superstition A PbtA Add-on

A way to gain luck tokens in PbtA, basically conferring advantage or disadvantage.
Concept: Ok
System: Ok
Execution: Good
Verdict: Ok

Survivors on an Uncharted Island

Lost, the rpg. Build upon characters, locations, and events with questions, occasionally rolling a d6 with outcomes decided beforehand as a group.
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Good

SwordBearer’s Dirge

A fellowship sets out on an important journey, but the true challenge comes from party conflict. Expect betrayal at any moment (but especially if you’re weak.)
Concept: Good
System: Good
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Good

Symbiosis

Silly little game about playing various organs in an alien body. Work together to overcome obstacles or the body will shut down. Seems like there’s little reason not to cooperate.
Concept: Great
System: Ok
Execution: Ok
Verdict: Ok

Sympathetic

“Voodoo doll” prop helps you to tell a tale of pain, vengeance, and remorse. Could bring up some serious issues with some players.
Concept: Great
System: Good
Execution: Good
Verdict: Great

Sync

Players swap Emotions and Memories hoping to eventually end up with their predetermined favoured combination. Unfortunately, the game seems to be missing something to give it actual soul.
Concept: Good
System: Ok
Execution: Ok

Verdict: Ok

2 comments:

  1. I am thrilled to see that you read and enjoyed StarFry!

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read an review all of these. It was certainly a daunting task and it means a lot to everyone to know that someone read my game.

    I can't wait for your articles on ATGN! I hope you highlight your favorites in various categories (such as character creation, strange randomizes, etc.)

    ReplyDelete
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