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USAGI YOJIMBO ROLE-PLAYING GAME 2nd Edition
Publisher: Sanguine Productions
by Angelo P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/28/2020 08:18:15

This is one of my favorite implementations of a Powered by the Apocalypse system. It uses the Weak / Strong / Grand scale of challenge and success that I first encountered in Far Flung. I enjoy this because it enables storytelling in an intuitive way, one that fits the rising arc of escalating danger so common in stories of heroism. The "classes" feel authentic, and when I use the system I strip out the animal-aspects and just let folks assign a combination of +2 / -2 as they see fit. You could play out any number of stories and movies, from Seven Samurai to 13 Assassins to Shogun. It would be easy to file off the serial numbers and play a game of The Lord of the Rings with this; once you understand the system it lends itself to telling those kinds of stories.

Like any new system, it takes a hot minute to understand how the roles fit together. At the begining, the character abilities feel a ittle mechanically indistinct. At first I worried this would be a little boring, but it actually helped me see how the different core abilities interacted, gave the opportunity to see how Setbacks and Story Points work, etc. After a few games the special abilitis start to crystalize and the game really hums.

That said, you need to bring your own story and play this with people who want to tell a story. The mechanics will facilitate it but the narrative has to be brought to the game and all the players work together to tell that story (e.g. it wouldn't be easy to just drop them in a dungeon). If you want to tell an exciting, sincere story in the Warring States periods this is a fantastic choice.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
USAGI YOJIMBO ROLE-PLAYING GAME 2nd Edition
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Numa
Publisher: Rolim´s Brothers
by Angelo P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/30/2020 23:47:38

I've read a lot - a LOT - of rpgs in the last 30+ years. I'm amazed that people keep finding ways to surprise me, to do something new, to reinvent something familiar. I guess thats what art does, and for me, games are art. Numa a accomplishes this.

I used to really love ornate, complex games. Now that time is at a premium, I appreciate the simplicity and design of games like Whitehack, the Black Hack, ICRPG, Into the Odd and Mork Borg, with Godbound at the edge of the level of crunch I prefer. I say this because to play this game as written you'll need to learn a new system. Its not as far from classic OSR as Fate or Tribe 8, but far enough that it'll take a little effort.

Its worth it. And even if you'd rather not, the material is good enough to layer over whatever system you like. With more pages you'd have something that could rival Mouse Guard. Anthropomorphic animals is nothing new, even anthropomorphic samurai have been done. But something in this feels original and vibrant. The design elements are strong - not Mork Borg strong, but authentic, clean and imaginative.

The game play feels high stakes. There are enough modular pieces to keep players engaged, and you could run a straight samurai game out of here with minimal changes. The frogs are easy to care about, in part because they're different from us so they don't feel cuddly or cliche.

This isn't a game for everyone. I could definitely see how you might read this and not play it, and I still think you'd be glad you read it. If I only had $12 and could only get one game, I'd get more mileage out of Whitehack or ICRPG. If you want to read something fun and play something different, this could definitely be that game. There are plenty of games out there, and plenty of OSR games. This game has earned a place on my shelf.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Numa
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