Category Archives: News & Reviews

First Impressions: Beyond The Wall

hodgson-coverYesterday evening I had the chance to create my first character for Beyond The Wall by Flatland Games. I have a digital copy of this fine game on my harddrive but alas I haven’t had the time to give it a closer look. So I was glad about being given the opportunity to actually play it.

Beyond The Wall is a very interesting D&D retro-clone which combines elements of old-school gaming with a couple of more recent ideas. The rules mechanics are clearly based on D&D, while character and setting creation reminded me of what I’ve seen in games like Apocalypse World or various Fate games.

You start creating characters by picking one of the available playbooks. I chose the Self-Taught Mage, which turned out to be a pretty cool choice. But the other playbooks are definitely as interesting. After that you can note down your starting stats. In my case, my character had an intelligence of 12 and all other attributes started at 8.

The next step is rolling on a table from the playbook which tells you something about your childhood. In my case I found out that my father was a stern but fair watchman. This also raised a couple of my character’s attributes. This step was done by every player at the table. The important part is that everyone in the group knows the story of the other players since the members of the group are meant to be childhood friends.

During character creation we slowly revealed more information about our characters’ backgrounds. Each step provided each character with more story details, improved their stats and provided them with skills, items, and spells. During several steps the players were allowed to add a place to the town map or write down an important person. All these information is later used by the GM to generate an adventure.

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Kickstarter: Packs!

Today I want to point out to you the Packs! Kickstarter campaign. Packs! is the English-language version of the German indie RPG Ratten! (engl.: rats) in which you play … rats. Personally I am not so fond of games in which you play anthropomorphized animals of any kind, but a lot of my friends just love the game.

The upcoming English version will contain rules for two systems: Savage Worlds and the original rule system which has been developed for Packs! in the first place. Especially the original rules are very easy and quick to learn and play.

08a49ebfd899c16e1c313fff9dd11015_largeThe pledge levels of Packs! are pretty reasonable. You can get the PDF version of the rules for a $10 pledge and for just $40 you get all the digital stuff funded plus a nice hardbound book. There’s even a limited leatherbound edition! Shipping is free to the EU and the US. Everyone else has to add $50 to their pledge for shipping, which sounds pretty high, but is probably unavoidable.

Packs! is definitely a solid game, and the new support for Savage Worlds may be interesting to fans of the system, so if you love playing rats and experiencing weird and creepy adventures from a new perspective, then have a look at the Packs! Kickstarter!

Review: Mutant Year Zero

imageMutant Year Zero is one of the games that took me completely by surprise. I faintly remember that I read that Modiphius was running a Kickstarter project for the game, but I for some reason I didn’t give it a closer look. Recently a friend reminded me of Mutant Year Zero. He has been one of the KS backers and was totally blown away by the final game.

So I started doing some research. Mutant Year Zero is the latest edition of a decade-old Swedish RPG franchise. The more well-known Mutant Chronicles RPG has actually been developed from an earlier edition of the Mutant game. The latest edition of Mutant has been created in 2014 and is published by Modiphius, which you probably know from Achtung! Cthulhu.

This review is based on the PDF version of Mutant Year Zero, which has been provided by the publisher for the purpose of said review. Thanks again, Chris! The digital edition is available from DriveThruRPG and contains not only the core rules but also several sheets, handouts, and two Zone maps.

The first thing you’ll notice when you pick up the game is that it looks totally awesome. The comic-style artwork fits the setting perfectly and the layout is top notch. I know that substance is more important than style, but in most cases style is what gets you interested in a game in the first place. The production quality of Mutant Year Zero is definitely on par with Fantasy Flight Games or Paizo products.

Seal of ApprovalSo what is Mutant Year Zero about? The subtitle “Roleplaying at the End of Days” actually gives it away. It’s the post apocalypse. Humanity has screwed up big time and the vast majority of Earth is a radioactive wasteland. But some pockets of humanity remain. The “People”, shephered by the Elder, have survived in a place called the Ark. In Mutant you play one of these people. And as you might have suspected every player character is a mutant.

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