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Tales from the Loop – playtest capsule review

So, the last year I have been on a mission to play all the games and the other day I got another one off my list. The game in question is Tales from the Loop. A game I helped kickstart a while ago and forgot about until it arrived in my mailbox the other day. When I initially took part in the kickstarter I almost backed out because it seemed like a game I would have a hard time playing as the strange little concept that it is. What one me over was the gorgeous artwork. Honestly I kind of thought that this game might not be played, at least not quite so soon, but on opening the book I was sold.

BECAUSE IT IS FREAKING BEAUTIFUL! I mean that is not surprising, as it’s based on acclaimed scifi artist Simon Stålenhag’s paintings of Swedish 1980s suburbia, populated by fantastic machines and strange beasts, but GOD DAMN! In addition, the game is also quite the neat thing. Especially the kids who are this game’s character archetypes. You can play the bookworm, the freak, the troublemaker, the jock and other familiar stereotypes. What’s cool about it is that they are so good at getting you into this warm and fuzzy childhood mode of nostalgia. As one of my players put it:

“You know the sensation as a kid, when it was summer and a phase of your life was coming to an end? The game took me back to that, before you had to grow up and were free to wander around with your friends in your own world, kinda bitter sweet.”

Fria Ligan: Tales from the Loop. Art: Simon Stålenhag. Frialigan.se.

I think this is a lovely and telling sentiment as to what the game does. At the same time, it lets you tap into the playfulness and curiosity of being young in a world with a lot of strange things going on. The art in the book and text really is very good at making this come real very easily for the storyteller and players alike. The character creation is sharp in bringing both the feeling of who the character is by including good roleplaying hooks about the character’s problems and pride. You even get to choose your character’s favorite song. Overall the character creation is amazing at making you hit the ground running. The system is pretty simple and doesn’t get in the way most of the time. Basically you have four attributes and twelve skills which you use to get a dicepool of d6’s equal to relevant attribute + relevant skill for the situation at hand. Every six you get on a dice is a success, and for most tasks one success is enough to succeed at whatever the kid is trying to do.

Generally, I think this is a really good stab by Free League at integrating some of the «tech» from U.S. indie games into their D6 pool system. It ends up being a good mix of a focused play experience aimed at making stories about young adult/kids between 10-15 solving mysteries (much in the style of Stranger Things), and a solid setting based on Simon Stålenhag’s work. Turns out that mixing a really well written setting with playbook-like elements inspired by Powered by the Apocalypse games makes Tales from the Loop a quite enjoyable roleplaying experience. In fact I’d say that it excels at telling stories about dynamic young adult characters in a very vivid environment. There is even some structure for scene setting as a good Scandinavian element (or something I recognize from local traditions).

Fria Ligan: Tales from the Loop. Art: Simon Stålenhag. Frialigan.se.

In conclusion, I think this game is really good! I love it! In fact I will take it with me to my hometown and play it with my childhood friends to relive some of the wonder of being a worry free kid on adventure. Until then I will keep the memory of seeing Ida the gang’s weirdo, Tommy the rocker and Monica the designated troublemaker, discovering what was going on with the talking pigeons with me as a very fond roleplaying experience. Judging by my player’s constant giggling and gasping, they will too.

External link: Fria Ligan – Tales from the Loop

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Outland med tydeligere spillsatsing i Oslo

Undrenes tid er ennå ikke forbi!

Ifølge Outland-kjedens egen blogg The Tardians of the Galaxy åpner det en ny butikk i Storgata i Oslo allerede 21. april. Og som ikke det var grunn nok til jubel sies det at den nye avdelingen skal «rendyrke» satsingen på analoge spill!

storgata-butikk-8508

Du hildrande du! Foto fra Outlands pressemelding/blogg-ting.

– Vi har vært på leting etter et lokale som dette lenge. Det blir for lite og trangt i kjelleren i Kirkegata, sier assisterende sjef for Outland i Oslo, Michael Kjebekk, til noen andre i Outland som har skrevet den flotte artikkelen.

– I butikken blir det først og fremst kortspill, rollespill, miniatyrer, brett og tilbehør – mye av det du finner i underetasjen i Kirkegata nå. Men det blir samtidig mer av alt. VI SKAL PRØVE Å TETTE EN DEL HULL I ROLLESPILL-UTVALGET, fortsetter Kjebekk. [Imagonems utheving].

Kjebekk blir også ansvarlig for den nye avdelingen.

Det loves ytterligere grønne skoger i form av 30 store bord til spillformål, fordelt på hundre kvadrat. Siden dette vil være i andre etasje er det kanskje håp om en noe annen ventilasjon og akustikk enn i det ellers forbilledlige tilbudet kundene i dag kan benytte i Kirkegata.

«Det er selvsagt gratis å komme og spille, unntatt noen turneringer som det koster litt å arrangere. Du registrerer deg for å få et bord, og så kan dere spille hva dere måtte ønske. Det vil trolig gå mye i Magic og Pokémon», blogger Outland om sin nye butikk.

Det hintes også om comeback for D&D Adventurer’s League!

Også mer digitalt orienterte spillere blir tilgodesett, blant annet med et område for å betrakte e-sport(?) og slikt på storskjerm, og mulighet for å streame egne turneringer og andre gode, digitale greier fra de nye lokalene i Storgata 26.

«Kjebekk tror de som først møter spillkulturen på nett, kan bli inspirert til å prøve kortspill og rollespill, like mye som at folk migrerer den andre veien.»

(Og Imagonem vil hevde at rollespill er sexy og glamorøst til den dagen det viser seg at Dovre er en multilevel dungeon).

h/t Øivind for oppmerksom lesning av Outlands blogg.

Kom mai du skjønne White Wolf fanfestival i Berlin

Imagonems venner i Pegasus går oss i næringa. Vel, strengt tatt er det jeg som går meg selv i næringa. Som ikke er så næringsrik. Nærmest blodfattig. Men uansett. Her kan du lese om fanfestivalen World of Darkness: Berlin (mai), og se Jørn fortelle om sin indre emo vampyr:

Blodig moro i Berlin

Omkring 300 fans og spillskapere samles i den tyske hovedstaden i mai, for rollespill, laiv, fest og foredrag om World of Darkness.

There is even an English version over here (World of Darkness: Berlin fan festival, interview).

berlin

Alle illustrasjoner til denne artikkelen via World of Darkness: Berlin/White Wolf.

13 off-beat horror roleplaying games

These are 13 of several games recommended to us by Google Plus users this year and last, when we asked for oneshot recommendations for Halloween horror roleplaying. Not listed in any particular order. Enjoy!

(Miss your favorite? Let us know what, why and where in comments!)

  1. Dead of Night
    A rules light and fun horror movie genre emulation RPG. Easy to get started, the prep is just a couple of minutes and then you are up and running.

    Publisher says: Dead of Night is the roleplaying game of campfire tales, slasher movies and b-movie horror. It is a game of screaming victims, unstoppable killers and slavering monsters, where the horror movie clichés flow thicker than blood and the only victory is survival.

  2. Okult
    okult

    Okult. Photo from game interior by Wilhelm Person.

    When the characters return to Hometown they realize that they have repressed the memories of something. And that something has again cast its dark shadow over the town.

    Publisher says: Okult is a rules light GM-less horror storygame, best suited for three to four players. The players take the roles of people who are a little bit like themselves, returning to a town a little like the place where they themselves grew up.

  3. Ten Candles
    Publisher says: A storytelling game of tragic horror designed for one-shot sessions. It is played by the light of ten tea light candles which provide atmosphere, act as a countdown timer for the game, and allow you to literally burn your character sheet away as you play. Ten Candles is described as a «tragic horror» game rather than survival horror for one main reason: in Ten Candles there are no survivors.

  4. Cthulhu Dark

    ten_candles

    Ten Candles, photo from webpage.

    Highly narrative, simple rules, elegant execution. Allows you to tell stories where your descending sanity is the focus. You always succeed, but there are degrees of success. Simple combat system: If you fight something, you die.

    Publisher says: Cthulhu Dark is a rules-light system for Lovecraft roleplaying. The rules are fun and incredibly minimal: they fit on one sheet of paper. You don’t need a character sheet to play, so you can start playing after two minutes of prep.

  5. Fright Night 

    Publisher says: Fright Night is a lightweight, easy to learn and quick to play tabletop role-playing game intended to evoke the feel of b-movies, slasher flicks, horror films, and even dark comedies. The players take on the role of typical, everyday people that somehow cross paths with a variety of malevolent entities that they must either defeat, escape from, or contain.

    Or, die trying.

  6. Train, Hell, M1944

    trainhell

    Train, Hell M1944. Screenshot from game.

    Publisher says: This is a macabre scenario. It deals with themes of powerlessness, abuse and body horror. There is nothing fantastic in it. Its content is not pleasant and the outcome will, most likely, be unpleasant as well. Either that is your thing or it really isn’t.

    WAR IS OVER

    The men who fought and nearly died for their country in what’s come to be known as the Second World War are bound for William C. Borden General Hospital in Chickasha, Oklahoma, a grim warehouse for soldiers who don’t fit the heroic narrative. (Log in to download)

  7. Dread
    dread-rpg-coverDread is an excellent system for horror oneshots. Conflict resolution is handled by pulling bricks from a Jenga tower, making every skill check hair-raising.

    Publisher says: Dread is a game of horror and hope. Those who play will participate in a mutual telling of an original macabre tale. The goal of Dread is to sustain the delicate atmosphere that invokes the hand quivering emotion that lends its name to the game. The thrill of a Dread game lies within the tension between desire and loss. You will take on the role of someone trapped in a story that is only as compelling as it is hostile—someone who will find themselves making decisions we hope never to face in real life.

  8. ViewScream
    viewscreamPublisher says: ViewScream is a live-action game designed for play with video-chat software like Skype or Google Hangouts.

    Three to five players assume the roles of desperate people trapped in a world of high-tech horror. (…) . The characters are separated (…) — and they need to work as a team in order to survive.

    Players never refer to their characters in the third person; they remain in character the whole time. A typical game session lasts 60-90 minutes.

  9. The Black Pram
    Freeform, free download. Publisher says: Lars and Helene are fighting for their baby’s life. Every night a dark figure with a black pram waits outside their house. It waits for them to finally come out and give him what he wants. It waits for them to give up.

    If you like movies such as Pan’s Labyrinth and Sixth Sense, this is the game for you. Keywords are mood-driven, intense, creepy and player-centered.

  10. Old Friends
    ofPublisher says: Old Friends is a freeform live-action ghost story designed for 4-6 players, with no GM. Playtime 3-4 hours.

    Back in the ‘90’s you hunted ghosts together. You used an ancient technique that reliably bridged two worlds, and you put a lot of souls to rest. Like any team you were a mess of individual flaws, contradictions and rivalry, but it worked.

    It worked until Sara died.

  11. Geiger Counter
    Publisher says: Geiger Counter is a single-session GMless survival horror RPG in which most of the core characters end up dead at the hands of a deadly menace. (free downloads of beta and alternate versions at publisher homepage).
  12. Tricks and Treats
    Publisher says: Tricks and Treats is a simple role-playing story game, designed to be played by kids and adults. It’s about a group of trick-or-treaters that face monsters which are themselves based on the kids’ fears and personalities. And the primary resolution mechanic uses candy.

  13. Zombie Cinema
    Publisher says: Zombie Cinema is a boardgame for 3-6 players, age 12+. One game takes 2-3 hours, all told. Learning the game takes ten minutes. The game is a cooperative storytelling exercise wherein the players create a story very much like a zombie movie. As my personal experience has it, about half of the time you’ll get something that is significantly better than any zombie movie I’ve actually seen.

Thanks: Wilhelm Persson, Mikael Tysvær, Anonymous, As If, the Indie+ discussion community, Rollespill.info (Elias Helfer, Peter Brichs).

An Investment Too Far? – Ensuring the future of RPGs

Campaign Masterys Mike Bourke har tanker om prisen på rollespillbøker, den globale finanskrisa og deres effekt på nyrekruttering av rollespillere.

En bekymring som noen alltid tumler med et sted på Internett, men verdt en kikk for en oversikt over tilstanden til de to mest populære rollespillene, og inspirasjon til Hva Som Må Gjøres. Lar noe av det som skjer internasjonalt seg overføre til andedammen her hjemme?

 Lenke: An Investment Too Far? – Ensuring the future of RPGs

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This is my speaker’s corner where I can rant about popular culture, geeky and general stuff that amaze or irritate me. Many things do. Irritate me, that is.

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