Tuesday, January 15, 2013

RPG Review Recess - ADGNEPSEF555

There are games that aim for madcap adventures, zany action, and lots and lots of puns. None of them have managed, or probably ever will manage, to match Advanced Dimensional Green Ninja Educational Preparatory Super Elementary Fortress 555: The Grade School in the Suburbs Surrounding the City at the Center of the Anime Multiverse (though most people just call it ADGNEPSEF555 for short). The title itself should really be all the disclaimer that you need that this is a silly place, and that's quite alright because its based on the most popular cartoon series there never was.

The mechanics of the game are pretty straight forward. You have three subjects on your character's Report Card that represent kind of large general fields of knowledge. There are Math & Science, Physical Eduction, and Social Studies. What makes each student unique is their Elective Courses, which can range from Heavy Weapons Mecha to Bam-Fu and their Curriculum which are against tailored to the character in question. You study what you want at ADGNEPSEF555, and you come out on top. Of course, there's always room for improvement so there's always a subject that your character doesn't do very well and they starts out with an F in that subject.

Each subject is rated from from F to A+ (or 2 through 12 if you're a numbers person) and you have to roll equal or less than that on your K-12 (or 2d6 for those numbers folks) roll when you want to do something that relates to one of the subjects you have. It a rather simple system that doesn't get in the way of any hijinx that might ensue from your character's activities.

Oh! One more thing. If you're going to play this game, you're going to need a lot of candy. I mean ... a lot of candy. Each character has a Snack Score and a Snack Ability that usually involves eating, throwing, singing the praises of candy. You spend snacks to automatically succeed at a roll even after failing the roll. You can activate your snack powers. You gain snacks when you do something awesome, and you can eat them because the universal game mechanic is Candy is Delicious.

That being said there are some things that make me turn my head sideways wondering why. There isn't a character creation section in the book. There are 72 pages of pregenerated characters that you can choose from, and they're all funny and interesting but they really aren't going to be your characters. If you're one of those people who absolutely want to make your own characters then this is going to be a big irritation point for you. In keeping with the game you can see all the jokes, and references, that abound in the book. There's the Chosen One, The Ninja, The Mecha Team, the Snobby Wealthy One, and so on and so on. There's a grand total of 36 pre-generated characters to choose from.

The other thing is that there really isn't much there to help decide what you want to do with the game. There's a pretty extensive view of the school, the town and the multiverse but there really aren't the kind of plot hooks you might want to find if you're uncertain about what to do. You can gleam this information from the very detailed secondary character descriptions that they give you, which are very much in line with the descriptions they give you about the setting.

The book is done up in that "guide book to your favourite thing" I'm sure everyone has had in their lives. The one that shouts out "Fun Facts" about various things you could read about, or might possibly want to know. The art is a mix of the incredibly talented to the scribbles of players, though they say that right in the book, and it totally fits with this idea of the "guide book" that runs through the game. Most of the Incredible Art comes from Avery Liell-Kok, who I have a personal fondness for and did the art in another amazing game you may have heard of, and it's very much in keeping with what the book is trying to do.

Finally, if you find yourself at convention like Origins or Gen Con, then it behooves you to try to make it to one of their convention sessions. There's nothing so amazing as watching Akira Barnes and Jason Pisano run this game. The table is full of Candy, the players are laughing and the energy is palatable. Of course, this makes me feel that I personally don't have the effort it takes to run this game, but Jason and Akira say in the book that the game takes on a life of its own. It would be one of those things I'd love to hear from people, if the game does what they say it does and the players just keep the energy going. With such a simple system it's a posibility, but just watching what they do is amazing and should be witnessed at least once in your gaming life.

ADGNEPSEF555 is one of those games that is full of fun, whimsy, pop culture references, and puns. The system is simple and easy to pick up and doesn't get in the way of doing anything ridiculous, because it really can't which is great if you don't want to spend a lot of time fiddling with rules. However, if you really dig character creation, need a lot help coming up with plots of your own then the game might not be your cup of tea ... or piece of candy.

That said, if you want to get the book ... I suggest the colour version. The art is probably just fine in B&W but the colour version really pops.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Mythender - Releasing Jan15th

I reviewed Mythender a while ago because I had got a copy for donating to a charity bundle ... I can't remember exactly what bundle at the moment but I got to check it out and I felt it needed a rewview.

I'm reposting it because Ryan Macklin just tweeted out that he's going to be releasing it to the world for free on the 15th of January.

He's been convinced to add a tip jar to the link, please feel free to put money into the pot.

Firestorm Ink's Fan Box