what i been reading
some ttrpg reviews
some ttrpg reviews
Hey guess what here are some dope games I have read recently. I thought maybe you’d like to hear about them!
An as-of-yet unpublished game by ~laika in which you play the members of The Velvet Underground trying to survive being locked up in Andy Warhol’s factory with a Psycho Killer. It is a no-dice-no-masters game, so it is diceless and collaborative, and I think it’s just really dang cool.
The setting and the characters! Haven’t you always wanted to play Lou Reed in the 1960s struggling with his own inner demons and relationships while literally and or metaphorically trapped inside a Talking Heads song?
12 out of 12 Campbells Soup Cans
A Queer Game of Disco & Cosmic Horror
Okay so it’s 1979 and there’s this isolated, queernorm little beach village where weird, paranormal things keep happening and it’s up to you to sleuth around and investigate and figure out what’s happening
It’s got this great pulp novel, kind of supernatural vibe that I love. Also the setting feels very fleshed out and vibrant.
12 out of 12 gay dime store novels
At times both really simple and really complicated.
For character creation, just fill in the blanks: “I am an
The bulk of the book is a repository of descriptors (your adjective) and focus (your verb), both of which grant you bonuses and features. Your noun is your type, one of warrior, adept, explorer, or speaker. You can further customize your type with flavor. e.g. you can add technology flavor to your adept if you want to be some kind of Shadowrun technomage.
So on the surface, super simple. But with a surprising amount of depth and nuance.
Which brings me to the mechanics.
Okay a simple 3 stat game, right? Your character has Might, Speed, and Intellect. Each is represented by a dice pool, the size of each determined by your build out.
Well actually it’s a 4 stat game because there’s also the all important Edge, which allows you reduce the cost of reducing difficulty.
The beating heart of Cypher is the gamble / trade off of spending dice from your attritute pools to reduce the difficulty of tasks.
I have seen the basic premise of this mechanic—skill/attribute as a dwindling resource—ripple throughout other games such as Sean F. Smith’s Quarrel & Fable:
It also reminds me of what I consider to be the prototypical dwindling dice pool game, The Pool.
Additional points of interest:
Difficulty scores: every task and foe is given a difficulty number between 1 and 10. The target number (roll d20 equal to or higher) to accomplish that task or defeat that foe is that number times 3. e.g. for difficulty 3, roll 9 or higher. For foes, hit points are equal to difficulty.
Special rolls: as opposed to just a 20 being a ‘critical success’, 17 - 20 are all special rolls that grant you a little something something extra. Isn’t that nice?
It’s a wholly unique system that is really simple and elegant, with a whole lot of underlying nuance and complexity. Reducing your core attributes for situational advantage is a whole mood.
12 out ot 12 cyphers
A really dreamy game based on playing tarot card Archetypes. Just dripping with flavor.
The dream world. I’m a sucker for this kind of thing.
12 out of 12 major arcana
I’m always excited when I see a new game from kumada1. They are an extremely prolific creator of small (and not-so-small) games usually in the cute and or surreal genre. This is a game in the “Tall Lady Castle Game” family of comedy games about miscommunicating and misunderstanding desire and longing.
The dice mechanic is super fun. First roll 16 six-sided die. Discard all the 1s. Then discard all of the number you rolled the most of (or choose randomly which number to discard) and answer the prompt for that number. Repeat. So the game is super quick. It’s over after 5 tosses of the dice.
The premise of the flirty rescuee and the oblivious rescuer is just so darn cute. And it’s really fun to throw 16 dice!
12 out of 12 surreptitious glances
A complete GLOG ruleset with some fun classes. Really thoughtfully written and laid out. I keep reading and rereading it mostly for the templates (classes).
The templates, specifically the Amazon, which is kind of a barbarian / beast master archetype that has “Big Cat” magic dice. It has old school Thundercats flavor that I love, and really flavorful Cat Doom tables. I would love to play this.
12 out of 12 big cats
A bleak but surprisingly beautiful game about a wanderer exploring world that has moved on and eventually confronting an Adversary. There is one character that players take turns playing. When you’re not playing the character, you play the world or the chorus.
“Leaping to Conclusions.” There are restrictions around discussing motivations and lore even as you play to develop these things. Players use the “leaping to conclusions” to secretly develop these points. A very interesting way to explore the shared character and the setting that is collaborative while also keeping things mysterious and unexpected
12 out of 12 hopeless demises