Friday Round Up: 6th July 2018
I had a conversation this week which highlighted just how often I hear or read about a game, file it away for my interests after sharing on one platform or another, and then anyone who isn’t hanging off my every word (in other words, most of the earth’s population) might never hear about it. I decided to make an effort to at least collate these each Friday for posterity and ease of access.
Disclaimer: although I’m sharing this for the benefit of the community, it’s still very much flavoured by my personal tastes, so you’re likely to see more RPGs than card games, for example. Although I appreciate and support all styles of play, I’m more likely to notice things I enjoy for my own use, so please bear that in mind. If you’d like to curate similar lists, or regularly contribute to an article of this nature, please join our team to help us balance our representation of categories, genres and approaches!
Caveats Aside, Here We Go!
Firstly, there are a number of games which have popped up in social feeds, emails, news and advertising so far this year. Some of which I have managed to download/purchase/read/play and others remain on my someday list. Here they are, just dumped into this article as I remember them, loosely categorised where I can be bothered. Whee!
Prefacing this with the fact that there are so many great free games all over the internet, all year round, like those offered by John Harper, Storybrewers or Grant Howitt (to name only a few), there are also some great deals online and instore during FREE RPG DAY each year. Below are some games I’ve stumbled across recently (in the last 7 months) which impressed me:
- Ironsworn: An RPG which allows you to play either solitairily, collaboratively without a game-master, or in a GM-guided fashion like traditional RPGs. It’s flavoursome in terms of setting, unique in terms of mechanics (despite seeing John Harper influences), and highly customisable — Your game in the Ironlands (and the lands themselves) will never be exactly like anyone else’s. The website is incredibly well done, too, laying out the basics of the game before you’ve even bothered to download it.
- Doom Realm: A solitaire print-and-play, roll-and-write fantasy crawl with great art.
- Welcome to Dino World: A Jurassic Park print-and-play, also playable solo or in a group.
I’m going to print as many free or pay-what-you-want games to give away at next month’s event like we have in the past, as well as some single copies of paid games (so as to respect the license).
This might end up reading like a list of Kickstarter projects which I’ve either backed personally, purchased for the event library or just stared longingly at as the deadline slipped past — but that’s the ecosystem we’re in right now, with tabletop gaming in a renaissance. The net result is lots of good content/design ideas are being shared, lots of new, varied experiences enjoyed.
- No Thank You, Evil! is being reprinted, so we snapped up two half-price copies, one for the games library next year, and one for a potential raffle prize. It’s a great children’s introduction to role-playing games.
- In a similar vein, we quite often hear from kids (or their elders) who want to learn to run their own role-playing sessions, so we’ve purchased a copy of The Hidden Halls of Hazakor as well. It’s aimed at 5th edition D&D, for a young first-time Dungeon Master to learn as they play.
- The ultimate Pride & Prejudice RPG, Good Society, will also be on our library’s shelves once it’s gone to print. Designed in Australia and playtested at Ettin Con, no less!
- For fans of the horror RPG Dread (or at least the way it uses Jenga blocks instead of dice), may I recommend Star Crossed: The Two-Player Game of Forbidden Love? The idea is just too cool, and not everyone can handle the delightfully component-heavy and realistic Fog of Love.
- If you’ve ever wished you could locate a 1980’s copy of the Zathura-esque Fireball Island, I’m sorry to say you may have missed it again, in the form of this remake. It’s so cool, though. I would’ve loved one but my budget would not bear it.
- If you ever wanted to play a side-scrolling 1985–1995 beat ’em up video game as a tabletop game (much like Boss Monster did for dungeon platformers), may I present Streets of Steel? Looks good!
- If you like Blades in the Dark, but want a different setting, I’m very keen on Blades Against Darkness, but Scum and Villainy is about to launch, allowing Firefly/Han Solo adventures using a similar system for scoundrels between the dungeon and the stars.
- And finally, the super-cool designer of To Serve Her Wintry Hunger is making Gather: Children of the Evertree. Post-Kickstarter copies will each plant a tree, which is nice!
That’s probably enough to keep you busy as I am with admiration, envy and regret for one week. Hope you like some of them! We’re also waiting for our copies of Thornwatch to arrive, but they’re on a ship and will likely turn up between Winter 2018 and our 2019 event. (PS: The website I linked just then launches next week, but you can find more info here in the meantime)
-Matt Horam, Con Org for Ettin Con.