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AlessandroAD

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A member registered May 21, 2016 · View creator page →

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The Short:

  • This game is delightful and oozes character.
  • The dexterity-based mechanics make the game immediately intuitive and easy to teach.
  • The extra rules stack on like deliciously absurd pancakes, amounting to a surprisingly filling stack of a meal in the form of a possible one-shot RPG.
  • 10/10 It's well worth your 5 dollars and time.

Ghost Kart Racers is one of those tabletop games that you start reading and immediately the Diddy Kong Racing lobby theme pops into your head. And by that I mean I've literally never read a tabletop game that has ever instilled that in me until now.

The pseudo-Japanese Horror theme feels like a fresh take on the tried and true genre of kart racing games... And also y'know the whole fact that it's a kart racer you play on tabletop (or, if you're like me, the floor). It even has optional charm rules that add the same kind of chaos that items do in kart racers.

This feels rife for a possible one-shot (yes, it has optional RPG mechanics that are clean and flavorful) or just a good time with your board gaming  buddies. Additionally, if you're reading this at 2 a.m. like me and very interested to test out what playing a lap is actually like, you can run "time trials" against yourself trying to get the best possible score on different courses you lay out for yourself.

All in all, if this game has caught your eye, you're probably the target audience and will enjoy its absurdist and playful nature~

**For the sake of transparency I'd like to say that both Racoons and Cyberpunk both hold a very special place in my heart. With that said...

You may be reading this comment/review asking yourself, "Is Cybergaze a good game?" To which I would compulsively blurt out that "Good" would be a vast understatement of this feast of crunchy yet simple mechanics that are all blended seamlessly in a strong and cheeky allegorical theme.

The first thing that needs to be said is that the game requires a full six players and will make that worth your time. No one is the GM (though a natural GM may arise as the role shifts between missions) and having an eclectic cast of 'ccoons is an essential part of the story telling. You'll also each be making the world and scenarios collaboratively as you go, something which makes this delightfully low-prep and great for groups that comprise of a lot of creative players (or like my group which is mostly comprised of GMs who pass the baton).

Cybergaze's core mechanic is a simple roll-under system paired with a tracker that makes health management a game unto itself. Stacked on this are a myriad of smaller mechanics that can affect these rolls and a plethora of clocks for tracking their consequences. This along with Victory Points (yes there's a cheeky Victory system in a co-op game, as per the game's theme) and a fairly straight-forward downtime / upgrade system combine to create an amazing Tetris of interconnected mechanics that never feels overwhelming.

What ties all these smaller bits together the best is some phenomenally layed-out Character Sheets and mission trackers. These sheets pop with style and keep everything very manageable.

This is all enhanced by Cybergaze's distinctly dystopian vibes crossed with a layering of 50s silliness and the omnipresence of Raccoons to keep it from getting too dark. My favorite mechanic in the whole book may be the requirement to linger on the trash and filth of the Dump you and your compatriots live in, in sharp contrast to the Mega-Corps' pristine Ultra-Spires™. There's a real sense of melancholy and oppression that the game provokes to undertone its cyber-theft with-mild-fantasy bombast.

All in all, I can't recommend this game enough. It has enough prompts and solid rules to be good for more traditional players, but enough bend and open-endedness to thrive in a group of creative ones...

Also, Raccoons and Cyberpunk?!?! How could a person not love this??

Divination is a strange thing-  From what I've gathered it's deeply intimate, deeply subjective and relies a great deal on interpretation. So too is that first shy spark of romance. "It Is Written" masterfully blends these two genres in an incredibly truncated, yet cuttingly evocative one-page ruleset. 

You know a game is good when it can inspire that meek nervous lump in your throat that can only be summoned by the expectant look of a dazzling stranger. This mood is only further reinforced by how the game has you build a deeply liminal setting where the winds of Fate blow freely.

The way each game ends is perhaps what gives the whole experience the most kick, as it ramps up the tension of each and every dice roll. All in all if you're a fan of romance, divination or fast yet impactful solo RPGs, this game is more than worth it.

This game is so simple and yet so deeply evocative. If you're the kind of person who grew up loving animals or watching stuff like The Most Extreme or playing with biology in games like Impossible Creatures, I can't recommend this game enough! 

Delightful doesn't begin to describe the kind of wonder this book's prose, mechanics and animal-splicing art inspires. The whole system takes a maximum of two minutes to explain, and character generation and evolution is as rapid as it is intuitive. Mechanically, a lot of the game hinges on Player and GM creativity, so if that's your kind of thing you're in the right place. 

It should be noted that this game feels like it would shine best in a kind of adventure setting (as combat is pretty abstracted and lethality seems mostly absent). If you're looking for an explosive one-shot or a longer campaign with a group whose creativity seems unstoppable, this is a system that is well worth your time!

If I had any Wishlist features for this game's future it would be some kind of Roll-Table attached to its amazingly varied Appendix, to help with Players who get paralyzed by limitless decisions during an evolution. Other than that, I'm excited to see where Overgrown may go in the future!

Harper's Quest is the kind of thing I could imagine myself playing while waiting in line at a convention. It's rules-light, easy to explain (especially to those familiar with TTRPGs) and hinges quite a bit on GM creativity. For some people that may be less your thing, but personally I adore games that do the math part for me and allow me fill in monsters' aesthetic details with whatever comes to mind. This is helped by the clean layout (especially on the adventure sheets) which keep everything truncated and manageable. If you're looking for a bite-sized OSR dungeon crawl, this is definitely worth a look!

The Short of why this game is amazing:

  • Evocative Musical Theme
  • A Sense of theologically cosmic dread
  • Well Fleshed out setting
  • Mechanics that highlight drama and player expression
  • Stunning layout that ties it all together and helps hammer home the mood

Reading this game gives me the same vibes as when listening to the Evangelion Entry Plug Sound: It captures that uniquely 90s flavor of elegant mecha that all at once is awe inspiring and dread inducing.

The musical theming here shines most of all, with stats being musical terms and spells being literal songs. It's immediately intuitive, yet feels fresh and evocative.

The setting is perfectly fleshed out, focusing on the broad strokes of themes, mood and technology while letting GMs and Players hash out smaller personal details on their own. Frankly the setting alone is enough for me to recommend this game, but the way it pairs with the systems to create a truly inspired world is awesome (in the oldest and newest sense of the word).

Character creation practically begs for player customization and expression, while still maintaining a level of mechanical depth that's refreshing to see in a fairly rules-light system. Duets in particular are a stand-out mechanic, allowing other players to boost a song's cast.

What's perhaps most amazing here is that there's actually no art of the mechs or angels themselves in this book. Yet through Blazing Hymn's stunning layout and intentional prose you'll almost instantly have a clear picture in your head about the kind of world you're stepping into.

If this game has caught your eye, I can't recommend enough that you pick it up and give it a read!

Thank you so much for this lovely feedback! I'm glad the roleplaying elements are sticking and that it feels hefty enough to feel worth its hour run-time, while light enough to feel like an easy plug-and-play!

https://alessandroad.itch.io/demoncrawlgothic