Kickstarter Watch: Self-Standing Leather – Lite Dice Bags

With only a few days left on Kickstarter, Easy Roller Dice Companys newest project had nearly slipped under my radar. These cool self-standing dice bags not only look good but they are Gigantic, holding up to 400 dice!

Currently with 10 different patterns offered and choices of either leather or color this is a pretty awesome deal for just $19 Dollars!

Dimensions:

Size: Each bag measures 7x5x5 inches and holds approx. 400 16mm polyhedral dice with ease.
Double Clasp: The top of every bag features 2 brass colored clasps for easy access.  As shown below, this dice bag seals tightly to eliminate the risk of spills.

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This Kick has 4 days left for you to get in on it, its already fully funded and expects to deliver in June. Not a bad turn around time from a solid company with several successfully funded and delivered Kickstarters already under their belt. Check out the link below for all the details on this project.

Easy Roller Dice Bag Kickstarter

Get on over there and get in on this project if you have been looking for a new dice bag. I know I have been looking for a replacement for my legendary Crown Royal bag. I think I may have found a worthy successor.

2017 Mace Micro Review Henchman: The Game

One of the active Kickstarters I got to play while at MACE was Henchman The Game. This is an interesting cutthroat card game with a Character Skill drafting element of Deckbuilding at the start of the game.

 

Overall I see a lot of potential in this quick play game. The team behind Hull Breach is behind this project and this is a rules-light game compared to Hull Breah. I am interested to watch this project further develop.

The cards are humorous and the art is light-hearted and well done. (I have not seen any art other than what is on the KS) The goal in Henchman is to advance beyond the status of minion and become the evil overlord’s Henchman. To do this you must complete tasks and gain the most reputation among your fellow minions in an effort to become the Henchman. The players will have to work together somewhat… or they can tank the mission in hopes to edge ahead of the Minion In Charge of the Task. Both Minions and Minions In Charge have different rewards of penalties for each task. As the game moves from round to round of play the Minion In Charge moves from one player to the next.

Once your starting skills have been drafted for the most part this is the hand of cards you will have for the remainder of the game. There are one or two card options that when you finish Tasks for your overlord that can add more cards to your deck, but this ATM is not a key feature in the game. Thus why I call it a starting Draft game more than a Deckbuilder.

This game is live on Kickstarter but the game itself is in the early stages. So early that the demo we played was on blank cards with text only. It is very much in its first stages of development and some of the rules may change from the time I gave it a playthrough to what the finished product will look like.

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With two days to go they are nearly funded, currently, they are over (90% funding on KS)

My Thoughts: This is very much a cutthroat game as each minion struggles to become the overlords New Henchman. Yet even with its cutthroat nature, it is light-hearted enough that you don’t notice it too much. This is also further cushioned by the fact that in most cases both the minions and the minions in charge will each benefit or suffer from completing or failing tasks.

I found it a fun fast paced game and I think if I had more time to get the time to dig deep into the game I would have found it has several layers of depth to it. Lastly from the few games I got to play of it I think that the sweet spot for this game will be 3-5 players.

Go give it a look over on KS here

Henchman: The Game

Hands-On Review Dog Might Games Dice Tower

Once again Dog Might games return to Kickstarter with a very strong product for their fans. This time around were taking a hands-on look at their Traveler Dice Tower.

 

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Dimensions. Dice Towers measure approximately 6″ x 3.5″ x 1.75″ and are designed with a modest footprint to fit at your table. All wood is hand selected for durability, beauty, and a lifetime of gaming.

Size of Dice. The Traveler is designed to roll a standard set of polyhedral dice (where the D20 is approximately 7/8″ at it’s widest point). It easily rolls standard sized D6 dice.

Wood Options. The Traveler comes in over 20 different wood options. All Designs and Engravings are available above any Tier above Whitewood. To learn more, check out our Log Blog or take a look at our Lumber Options.

Magnets. The magnets are 0.25″ rare earth neodymium and give a satisfying snap when closed (they are incredibly strong!).

Storage. The top and bottom breakaway portion of the Dice Tower can be flipped in position to hold up to 20 dice internally.

Sculpted Design, Engraving, and Felt. Every Dice Tower (with the exception of the Whitewood tier) comes with your choice of Sculpted Design on the back, choice of Engraving on the front, and choice of Felt color. There are 30+ Sculpted Designs and 30+ Engravings to choose from.

Dog Might Games launched their newest Kickstarter at the beginning of November and sent me a review copy shortly after. It made it to me on the 10th of November just in time to make the trip to Mace Con in Charlotte North Carolina. Over the course of the next three days I had the pleasure to play and run games with new and old friends and show of this wonderful new Dog Might product.

One thing quickly became apparent, any time the Traveler Dice Tower hit a table at the con there was immediate interest in it. The box itself is beautiful and eye-catching and at the first sound of the magnets snapping together, it always drew a satisfying reaction among fellow gamers.

The quality of the wood is top notch, Dog Might Games never skimps when it comes to making a solid product. Even with this small dice tower, the box feels in every way solid and sound. By now if you have seen any of their past product you know that the sculpted designs look great on their products as they have got this down to an art. I chose the Celtic design for my review copy and I am both pleased with the look as well as the feel of the pattern.

As far as engraving work goes this was the first time I have ever received a DMG product that has been engraved before. I am pleased by the result, the engraving of my logo is crisp and easy to read from the table even with a darker wood option like the redheart tower came in.

Dog Might Mentions that the dice box has a small footprint at your table with its dimensions of 6″ x 3.5″ but the forgot to mention that these are the dimensions of your Traveler in storage version. When assembled for use at the table the footprint shrinks further to 4″ x 3.5″!  Now, remember you can roll up to 7 dice at a time in this footprint. They pushed the envelope a bit on tablespace saving with this project!
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What did the con attendees think of it? Overall impressions by everyone who saw it at MACE this year were overwhelmingly positive. Roleplaying gamers fell in love with it, Board Gamers that were playing games with dice loved it. The small amount of space it takes up was often commented on by the board game crowd. Finally, in the games, I ran during the convention, when I brought it out to show off everyone felt it was excellent. One of my players even backed the KS while we were at the table playing at the game table! Another informed me later that day that they had backed it as well. To me that speaks volumes as to the quality of this tower!

Dog Might Games says you can fit 20 dice inside the Traveler and I saw a review video where they fit 21 dice inside of the traveler and the box held them just fine. I personally only recommend 7-10 dice even though It can indeed hold more with no threat of falling out of the box.

For me, it is a matter of opinion as just one a set of 7 pollys is easily loaded into one side of the dice box leaving you with room for a couple more dice in that side. This allows you to simply snap the other lid into place and you’re on your way.

If you do indeed want to put more dice in you can but you have to set the box down and begin arranging them to fit before snapping the top into place. It’s up to you if you want to do this. I just preferred to only fill the one side.

Runkles Rank?

When it comes to my decision on this product’s ranking I started off with stacking it up against a standard dice tower. When stacked against an average dice tower it surpasses it in every way.

  • It is sturdier
  • It has a minimal table footprint
  • It serves double duty as a Dice Box & Dice Tower.
  • It’s expandable with the Component Collector
  • It does everything that a standard dice tower can do and more.
  • To top it off it also looks damn good while doing it!
  • Very competitively priced compared to other wooden dice towers.

Personally, I have to say, by itself alone you could rank this at a Nat 20 easily. When to the extra mile for $2 bucks and add the magnets to make it compatible with the Component Collector ( BTW, A Dice Tower Add-on for the CC was highly requested) You make this product a slam dunk in the trend of Dog Might Games highly customizable product options.  So my ranking for the Travelers Dice Tower is a NAT 20!

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You can find Dog Might Games Product on Kickstarter right now for a few more days by clicking on their logo below.

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Fun Note
I have a friend that has looked at nearly every Dog Might Games product I have ever reviewed, overwhelmingly he is often underwhelmed by their amazing works. Often saying things like “It’s just a box”. This time he said he gave this product his seal of approval. That’s it a home run of a review from my buddy Modoc!

 

 

Kickstarter Hands On Review: The Mimic Chest

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The Mimic Chest

At first glance, it looks like a normal treasure chest. Roll high enough in perception, and you can see that it’s actually a precision-crafted, compact, durable, magnetic transforming caddy for all your tabletop game gear.
-Polymorph Crafts.

Out of all of the blogs that I’ve written, and all of the Kickstarter reviews that I have done, The Mimic Chest has been the single most up-and-down roller coaster ride of a Hands-On review I’ve ever written.

Oh, Mimic Chest how I love you and hate you! This rollercoaster ride began with the honor of me being given one of 12 pre-release Kickstarter Mimic Chests by Polymorph Crafts. My little mimic crawled his way to me at a snail’s pace as all of the other reviewers got there before me, I don’t blame Polymorph Crafts I blame the postal service and my Mimic. I don’t just say this in jest, Polymorph Crafts themselves have humorously told us that our Mimics have personalities, and damned if I don’t agree.

Polymorph Crafts even went so far as to include a thank you for adopting your Mimic pamphlets in the box when you receive it in the mail. The pamphlet jokes about Mimics being hard to rehabilitate and that you’ll need to spend some extra time with your Mimic when it arrives so that you can imprint on each other and get along. Well, I’ll be the first to tell you that mine arrived with the spirit of Loki the trickster God in him because it sought endlessly to aggravate me in the beginning.

I was overjoyed when I  pulled my Mimic Chest out of its box, unclasp the straps, and watch it explode my hands as I tried to disassemble it properly the first time! Undaunted I picked it back up, reassembled it only to prove that my ogre hands we’re just going to break it into a million pieces a second time! My Mimic would go on to mock me until I learned just how to remove it from its magnets and assemble it properly.

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Needless to say the early going between me and my and my box was a rough one, but not without reward. With The Mimic comprised of over 200 magnets holding it together as you work with it each time you set a piece into place, there’s a satisfying snap of the magnets as they come together. As you become more proficient with assembling and disassembling your Mimic its hard not be slightly awed by the fact with the exception of the Dice Tray this thing is completely held together by MAGNETS!

After repeating this process several times with the Mimic I set up the Dice Tray and Tower. I wanted to test the sturdiness of the Tower’s magnets when a handful or two dice were rolled down it. I also wanted to be sure that when dice rolled into the tray from the tower that they would not simply bounce clean out of the tray. I was pleasantly rewarded with an unexpectedly satisfying sound that the dice make when they roll down the tower. The icing on the cake was my first single D20 roll that many of you may have seen by now, was a Nat 20!! Again, The Mimic mocked me!

As it turns out my mimic does not like to be criticized, and I’m a reviewer, that makes our relationship a tedious one. Because as soon as I found the first Flaw in my mimic, it threw a tantrum and broke on me. You see I had noticed that the coasters for The Mimic needed more magnets to keep ogre handed users like me from just destroying the top portion of The Mimic when they tried to disassemble it.

With just a few extra magnets, (I know it already has 200 magnets in it and I’m suggesting extra magnets!) The result of a few more magnets would provide the dice and pencil vaults a much stronger hold making it less likely to collapse as easily. I promptly reached out to Polymorph Crafts to point out this discovery. Polymorph kindly inform me as I was typing out my observation that they recently had discovered the exact same error and we’re already implementing a fix! Sadly, I was probably not going to be able to get the new coasters with the right magnets for my pre-release review copy.  My Mimic Chest didn’t like that answer and took it upon himself the break his carry strap tossing a bad rivet.

The Polymorph Crafts Team was quick to Send me out a new strap and since they needed to send me a strap they tossed in the improved coasters with the magnet fix as well! A few days later the straps and coaster arrived, I snapped the new coasters into place in my Mimic and at that point, everything changed. Gone were the mocking collapsing into pieces when I would try and pick it up. With my new well behaved Mimic in hand I decided it was time to take it to the FLGS for everyone to get a look at. While there the Mimic behaved PERFECTLY! 8 out of 8 times total strangers would take his straps off and full break him down and put him back together. Gone were the explosions of wooden bits everywhere. My Mimic was a whole new MIMIC!!

My Thoughts

Right out of the gate I will say this The Mimic Chest is impressive, I mean it’s a box held together with 200 magnets it’s hard not to be impressed by that! Initially, when I first opened up the box and began to use it I was very frustrated with this product. I think that fate may have intervened for both Polymorph Crafts and Runkle plays games in the fact that the rivet on my case broke. Providing the opportunity for me to get a new strap and them to send me the new coaster. Because of this simple little coaster is the linchpin in the entire product in my opinion.

The Mimic Chest pre-updated coaster was a fragile pile of Lincoln logs waiting to explode at the first chance that you would bump the magnets out of position. Post adjustments, it is a far superior far sturdier product allowing you to even grasp the top of the chest and slightly twist and remove all of the vaults at once intact, a feat that before that change would have sent wood flying in every direction.

The Vaults

The mimic chest comes with 5 vaults, three dice, and two pens. The dice vaults are bored with 7 dice slots. The pencil vault can hold four Staedtler dry erase markers or 5 mechanical pencils comfortably inside. Each of the vaults comes with a placard that has two grooves cut in it for cards. They do the job very nice job as card stands. When not in use as part of the mimic they the placard and the vaults can be merged to form a Nifty little card rack.

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The Coaster

The coaster is two pieces of wood snap together with two magnets on the inside and 10 magnets on the outside, when it’s on the box it’s these five magnets that form the arch support for the dice vault. Now I’m not a master woodworker but I am friends with a few. I know that the polymorph craft Team says you can use the coaster for your drinks. They assure me that the 5 layer laminate plywood plus the stain layers and the varnish that they will be using will be enough to protect your coaster.

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I’m not going to say they are wrong as I do not have any woodworking skills. I will strongly say that personally, I will never put a drink on my coaster nor would I suggest you do this either. This product will cost you too much money to take the risk of even a minor amount of warpage unseating your magnets properly and ruining your box I just can’t agree with them on this.

NOTE: Since I do have a “Spare” coaster I have thought that I might do a bit of a stress test with it and see how it holds up to drinks.

The Dice Tower & Tray

The Dice Tower assembles with the satisfying feel and it locks onto your tray with magnets. I rolled handfuls of dice down the Tower with no unseating of the magnets. The tray is an excellent rolling bed and I never had any dice hop out of the box when rolled down the tower.

The Strap

What can I say Polymorph Crafts are woodworkers, not leatherworkers, but they are learning. Personally, my strap did break while my box was empty. My mimic chest had a thicker leather strap that was riveted and the rivets did not seat properly resulting in blown rivets because of the thickness of the strap. Polymorph Crafts informed me that it is not the normal strap they use and promptly sent me out a new one. Since the arrival of this strap, I have put nearly 5 lbs of things in my Mimic and he has taken it like a champ.

All Things Considered, if you put any amount of stuff in this box, pick it up by the strap but I would carry it by the bottom of the box as the strap is not secured to the mimic so much as it is just wrapped around your mimic. There is some slight shifting when you try to walk around just holding it by the strap. For safety’s sake and your Mimics health hold it from the bottom if you have to carry it anywhere.

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The Wood & Magnets

The Mimic will have two types of wood, the standard Mimic will be crafted from high grade 5 layer plywood quarter inch thick with three layers of stain three layers of varnish. This is the Mimic that I have and the plywood is quite sturdy. (Above talking about it falling to pieces was not a joke) The premium mimic will be made of solid Woods like Walnut, Maple, and others and I wish I could have seen how sharp that product would have looked.

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Sadly I can’t give you a full opinion on how the finished basic mimic will look because the finished Kickstarter Mimic will be dipped in stain and varnish and have multiple layers of each. Where my pre-release Kickstarter was made to get to me quickly for review and only had one layer of each brushed onto it. Resulting in a different appearance than what will be delivered to backers. I can say this, I know that the product backers will receive will be better than my preview box.

Functionality

At the end of the day, there is only one question it all comes down to.

“Is The Mimic Chest functional?”

When I showed it to board gamers, they liked it but many of them said they couldn’t see using all of its features for any one thing. But they could see using all of its features for different things.

When I showed it to card gamers I got much the same reaction as they felt they could only use the vaults and the placards and nothing else.

When I showed it to the miniature Gamers there was interest but they were concerned where they would put their figures to keep them from falling around in the box. Sadly I didn’t have a Hero vaults to show them.

When I showed it to role-playing gamers, it was very well-received. With only comments that it was too small to put books and maps inside being their only criticism. Many wished that you could not put everything you needed for a game in the box.

So I decided to tackle that opinion and see if they were in fact right. Now I will be the first one to tell you, a book will never fit in here. Nor will you fit a large tablet inside, but it does fit a Kindle and D&D Beyond works well with a Kindle. It’s also worth noting that later this year wizard of the coast is putting out a Kindle tablet specifically for Dungeons & Dragons oddly enough.

So I grabbed up my Kindle and a bunch of role-playing products and I stuffed 5 lb of stuff inside this box! Enough for a full 4-player game and everything that the players would need as well the GM’s things. I packed in it 5 sets of dice, 5 mechanical pencils, Dry Erase Markers, A pocket fold up Maps a dozen or so dry erase cards! I also fit inside Mini figures cards of numerous variations. The Kindle as well as a stand for it and a portable battery pack with charge cord. In short everything, you would need for a game night.

So is it functional? Absolutely.

Con’s

Interestingly enough, when I started this review the cons were more about the mimic chests functionality. But these things were addressed in a brief back and forth chat with the creators. Leaving The Mimic Chests only real flaws to come forward after its structure was proven sound.

There’s is only one real thing that the mimic suffers from, and that’s it size. it’s big it’s bulky but it lacks the dimensions to hold larger gaming products that the role-playing gamer would want to take with him to game night. The Kindles a nice tablet but it’s not a great gaming tablet. The iPad Mini makes a far better gaming tablet and it’s only slightly bigger.

The mimic is also barely too small to fit Game Mastery card maps fit inside. This slight tweak would have made it a perfect case for a GM on-the-go had it been a hair bigger. Game Mastery Maps fitting in the Mimic would have provided a huge library of options for the box. That said if you are a theater of the mind group the lack of a Map is of no real issue to your group.

Lastly, because the case can still collapse if you grab it wrong and fall apart, I wouldn’t recommend storing a tablet in it unless you are very careful and put the tablet glass side down definitely.

Runkles Ranking

This ranking was not an easy one for me to come too. I had to take several things into account that I don’t normally consider during a review. In the past, with other products, I usually sent the premium version of the product to get a full idea of just what the finished product will look like. In, this situation I got a Mimic they said was a 93% complete product. That’s okay yet, in the end, it affects my rating potentially because I don’t have that last 10% for me to see in my hands. Often I am given things that are closer to 99% of the final version for review.

But it’s not all that bad because I got to see the customer service side of the company while I was dealing with issues that arose like the strap and the coaster. Their speedy response and willingness to pay attention to feedback overall boosted my opinion of the company greatly.

So taking those things into account my ranking for Runkle plays games review of The Mimic Chest is only an 11.

Remember a ranking of a 11 is Average. My Ranking List can be found HERE. The Mimic is unique, and it does what they say it does, the product has a ton of potential when you take into account the Hero Vaults. I was not given Hero Vaults to sample so I can not count for them in my review.

NOTE: The new Coaster weighed heavily in this decision. Had I finished this review with the coasters that were given to me at first I would have only given the Mimic a Ranking of a 8 at most. 

The factors that hold me down from giving the Mimic a higher rating of maybe a 14 or more are the following.  In my eyes is due to size, the unfinished state of the product and the choice of laminated plywood. The plywood is excellent but it’s just not Heirloom woods. Understandably this was done to keep costs down and make it a product more accessible. Remember in several attempts to just HANDLE the Mimic it fell apart in my hands.  Often nearly EXPLODED into pieces.

I am fairly certain that many people that back this product will probably feel that the Mimic is at least a 16 or 16 if they purchase the premium woods. Understandably this will be due to the fact that I know the finished product will be superior to what I have in front of me right now. So I can only base my rating on a sample that is NOT production ready.

I’m proud and honored that I had the opportunity to be one of 12 people to give The Mimic chest by Polymorph Crafts a review.

You can find them in The Mimic Chest on Kickstarter right now. They were fully funded Kickstarter day one! Go take a look at it, follow it, and adopt one.

Until next time gamers!

You can find their project on KS here! Let them know I sent you!

The Mimic Chest Kickstarter

Kickstarter Spotlight: The Mimic Chest From Polymorph Crafts

Today Polymorph Crafts is launching a Kickstarter for The mimic Chest. Now unless you follow Polymorph Crafts social feeds or you follow me on Twitter you probably haven’t heard anything about The Mimic Chest.

So for those of you who do not know what the mimic is, it’s the culmination of a very ambitious a dream of the Polymorph Crafts to bring the combination of Wood & Magnets together to craft something unique. The Mimic Chest is a gaming accessories chest held together by 200! magnets, that breaks down almost completely. When broken down you get 5 wooden Vaults, 3 Dice Vaults, and 2 Pencils Vaults. 5 Card trays, a coaster, a Dice Tower and a Dice Tray. Held together by magnets and a leather carrying strap.

 

 

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Runkle Plays Games was one of a select few people that were given the privilege of getting an advanced look at The Mimic Chest, there were twelve sent out and I have one. Normally this would be the part of the blog where I would burst into a full-fledged review of the product.

But there was a slight hiccup as the strap on my case had an issue and needed for the team to send me a replacement strap. Also while this Kickstarter is still alive I will be attending MACE.con and my little Mimic will be coming with me.

So instead of a one-man and maybe is gamers hands-on opinion of The Mimic Chest, we’re going to go ahead and take this to an RPG & Board Game Convention and let people play with it get their impressions of the chest. I may even do a few videos! That’s something this Blog has never seen! When I return I will have an in-depth review, as well as my thoughts and other people’s opinions on The Mimic Chest.

For now, I will leave you with two small yet cool clips of the Dice Tray and tower. Believe it or not… That Nat 20 was one take and the first dice ever down the tower… I had a pretty damn big grin. after.

 

 

 

 


Till I return, Here is a link to their KS project.

The Mimic Chest

Kickstarter Watch, DRAGONLOCK 3: Dangerous Lairs

 

Fat Dragon Games is back once more with their third Kickstarter, Dangerous Lairs! Fully funded in under a day this is going to be another great Kickstarter project for fans of D&D terrain who have 3D printers. For as much as I love my beautiful Dwarven Forge if you have been following their recent projects the price just keeps going up.

Because of that many gamers have summoned their inner crafter and in the last couple of years begun embracing 3D printing options more and more. I for one am in that crowd. I dabbled for a year as I got more and more comfortable with 3D printing and I have been stocking up on the filament to begin printing out more of my Fat Dragon goodness that I already own!


In this project, you are not getting any physical product, you are kicking for a giant pile of digital STL files. Better yet, Fat Dragon has even thrown in castle walls for free because they have received such overwhelming support.

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If you have a 3D printer or you have considered getting one this is a great project to keep your eye on. Fat Dragon has more than delivered on every one of their past projects and updated and made changes to the files as they have learned more.

Dragonlock alone is a perfect reason to back this product if you are on the fence.
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Simply for the fact that Kickstarter one did not have Dragonlock, DragonBite clips. But when the guys at Fat Dragon decided it was an improvement they retro applied it to all previous tiles FOR FREE!

Kickstarter Pre-Review: SINS RPG

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The Setting

The world of SINS is a grim harsh place where is Man is no longer masters of their world. A century from now mankind is on the very brink of extinction and struggling to survive. Surprisingly mankind did not burn in the fires of a nuclear holocaust. After the death of the modern world and the rise of a new space age, mankind was in the position to venture once more into space beyond our moon. Then the “Black Rain” fell from space and changed it all. Dubbed “Shards” this opaque void glass crystal plummeted to the earth and changed the world forever.

After the Rain, the dead began to rise and mutate into terrifying killing machines. Before the nations of the world were able to get a handle on what would come to be called the “Brood”, the second wave of death and destruction fell on mankind. This destruction would come in the form beings were called the Reapers. Reapers were beings with powers like that of gods, wielding power so immense they were capable of destroying entire military bases by themselves. When things had reached their most desperate the nuclear option was taken. The result, only one Reaper was slain, in time the remaining Reapers would vanish. To this day no one knows why.

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Mankind once more began to rebuild in their new dying world, ravaged by the nuclear scars and infested with the brood. In time, from the infected wastelands come dark heroes. Once fallen beings who were brood and yet eventually retained their consciousness and evolved into something new called “Nemissaries”.  Some possessing powers rivaling that of the Reapers of old, yet these were the beings were on the side of humanity. Nemissaries harbor a dark power and they contain a great dark power inside themselves as well. Nemissaries live in constant conflict with their dark nature.

There are places in the world free of the brood, these places exist where the Black Rain fell. The Shards that brought this horror to the world seem to repel the brood. Humanity has dug into these locations in an effort to start new again. But living near Shards has a cost.

Welcome to SINS…

The System

SINS uses its own rules engine for its game that they call the HOPE engine. HOPE is a D6 Dice pool system using exploding D6 with varying degrees of success. Target numbers are 7 minus skill level.  Your Dice pool is determined by Skill+Atribute+Fate, with a difficulty determined by the DM of 1 or more success. Each Sucess over the threshold is called an Outcome. The number of Outcome points that you get may be used to activate other effects.  If you do not have a relevant skill point the DC is 6, with double the needed target number and you get no benefit from any outcome points you may roll.

Players have 4 core traits in SINS these are Fate, Attributes, Skills, and Specialties. There are 5 attributes, 75 skills, Traits, and Qualities as well as over 100 specialty powers.

Players do not gain experience in your standard leveling up process. Instead, they have motivations that they seek to achieve. These achievements give them points that they can use to improve their character. Providing a more narrative level driven path. Thus by design even with Nemissaries possessing immense power. Players must role play to advance in level.

My Thoughts

NOTE: When I first sat down to write my review I initially had some difficulty with how I absorbed this product. You have to understand that for me this was a cold off the shelf review. I did not have a Kickstarter video or Dev Diary and such available to me. So I did not post my review at first.  Instead, I chose reached out the creators and had a talk with them to clear many of my questions up. Shortly after getting the answers to my questions the world tossed a Hurricane my way causing an annoying delay.

I decided to leave my initial thoughts in the review and add the conversation I had with the developers to the review. My reasons for this is I think many of my first thoughts are still valid ones. As anyone that were to cold purchase this product in the future would feel much like I did at first I think.

On Setting

Now I love Rifts and thrill of playing insanely powerful characters, I get Gonzo gaming and maybe that is where I am finding a disconnect. Because SINS is intended to be a narrative driven story about powerful beings in a dying world. So gonzo is not the intent, it sounds grimmer than that. According to the SINS RPG book the inspiration for the game sides with me on my confusion.
For example, some of the Inspirations for SINS are:

  • Watership down
  • Various HP Lovecraft works
  • Dracula Brom Stokers
  • World War Z Novel
  • The Walking Dead COMIC
  • John Carpenters the THING
  • 28 Days Later (Cited as a HUGE inspiration)

The setting for me is not one that I am personally excited by, I find myself more interested in the events of this setting past. As well as the characters that in this book strike me as more of an afterthought. I want to know more about the Non-Nemisareis that manage to survive the horror of this world and struggle to scrape by day to day and rebuild. Furthermore playing the lowly human in a world where you are nothing more than an insect to everything around you makes me feel the like it embraces the concepts of Watership down or works of Lovecraft. For me, its seems a stronger platform for narrative story telling than the immensely powerful Nemisaries.

CaptureYet players take up the role of Nemisaries, incredibly powerful nigh incurable beings. I just find it hard to take in the dangers of this world. When it is said right in the book that Nemisaries are pretty Blase about being wounded in the game. Unless you are struck by a fire or supernatural attacks you likely will shrug off the wounds because of you are simply immensely powerful. If a player finds themselves in dire need of healing they can even spend Focus to recover baleful supernatural damage as a standard action!

Further aggravation on the subject of wounds rested in the section about recovery from damage. You are given a very detailed explanation of how of long it takes to heal from an injury. There is an entire page of quality detailed explanation regarding the time frame it will take to heal as well as the rolls needed to recover from each stage of injury that you can receive in the game.

HealingAFTER you read all of this you are presented with a small side post “Informing you” that they are sorry to say this but this is just an example of how healing is for the normal humans in this setting. Because of this sadly everything you just read is pretty much irrelevant to the way you as a player will heal !~! OMG…

 

 

Now to be clear this is not an exaggeration, all Nemisaries possess regeneration and can further fuel that regeneration with Anima that they possess. All Nemisaries have Anima (they fuel their powers with it).

NOTE: Here is where I decided to stop and get some clarification from the creators. After reading the inspiration for the setting and the wounds I was going to need to talk to the team before I moved over. So that they could help connect the dots for me.

So I asked them…
RunklePlaysGames
I am at a bit of a disconnect with the setting and the power base of the players in a post apocalypse world that is not meant to be gonzo in style but the sheer amounts of damage that they can take make the game seem gonzo. Can  you help connect

SINS
“The world after the Fall is influenced by a need to survive, but having powers seems to.make this easier? Far from it, although Nemissaries that hold these powers can face physical pain better. But they are haunted by emotional and mental disturbances that normal humans don’t feel. With the power gained a darkness can very easily consume the player. If you play Nemissaries, you can still be hurt, maimed or killed. But you also have to stay mentally engaged and aware to avoid falling into the abyss and having setbacks or destruction. Many players will want to be powerful, we understand that, but no character type is immune to the wasteland and the dangers. It depends on what you are willing to do to survive.”

This to me helped make much of the rest of the setting a bit more clear. All Nemissaries have a dark side, a monster trying to crawl to the surface and destroy every last shred of humanity that remains within them. So in this world damage is not as important, it’s almost an afterthought. It’s more about battling your inner demons. I would compare it more to the old WRAITH by White Wolf Games. As it is even suggested that other players at the table play your dark hollow whispering things to you all game long in an attempt make your Nemissarie break. 

As to my critic on the lovely side blurb after the healing portion, they did give me a promising reply to this as well.
(I do not expect them to move anything, understand this book is already laid out and such a task would be an expensive frustrating nightmare)

RunklePlaysGames
In the advanced wounds section, you go into great detail about healing in the world of SINS and I found it well done and helpful only to find when I got to the end a sidebar that told me all of that was pointless to have read because Nemissaries heal differently. I nearly threw my Ipad.

SINS
That’s fair! We put those rules in for the sake of comprehension and for players who might want to play characters who can’t regenerate (regular humans) or need the rules for if advanced healing is necessary. Obviously, they’re pretty ingrained into the layout of the book and taking that out now would be quite the “Jenga” effect on everything thereafter, but rest assured as the next book is planned to focus on humans, then those rules will be revised, condensed and reworked for both brevity and more use!

Now, this is more than understandable about not moving things around. To do something like that could literally screw up the whole book. That aside, it is very good to know that I already know for a fact that they are working on the next book as this blog is being read and that these great rules will come into play.

My last issue that I had a concern with in the SINS system was how wounds are tracked. In SINS there are 3 types of wounds that you can receive in the game. Normal, Impaling, and Baleful. On your damage track, you will either fill in the damage take in the game with an “X” if you receive a normal wound. An “I” line represents impaling damage. And an “X” with an “I” through it if you have received Baleful damage such as damage from supernatural damage fire or void glass.

Damage Typles Normal Impaed Baelful

This drew a huge mechanical concern for me as a DM and a player as I worry about the reality that this could turn into a hot mess on a sheet where damage will flow quickly. I have concerns due to repeated erasing that confusion might arise in cases where as a player you might wonder I have impaling damage or regular damage on this circle. just a few poorly erased marks and this is a real concern. Now, this is not a tremendous issue, I suggested removing the impaled wounds and adding a check box to represent an Impaled status. Mind you this was not just the opinion of RunklePlaysGames. I asked several outside sources and all of them agreed it would be good to point this out to the creators so I did.

Do I have impaling damage or regular damage on this circle?

Just a few poorly erased marks and this can become a real concern. Now, this is not a tremendous issue, I suggested removing the impaled wounds symbol from the damage boxes and instead of adding a check box to represent an Impaled status. Mind you this was not just the opinion of RunklePlaysGames. I asked several outside sources and all of them agreed it would be good to point this out to the creators so I did.

RunklePlaysGames
The wound track concerns me with how they are tracked is X I and X+I. I have concerns as to it being easily messed up or becoming a did I erase that or not hot mess. I love impaling damage concept. Could it serve to put an impaled status above the wound track and clear that potential up?

SINS
That’s all fair and well-thought out feedback. We’ll definitely put that’s a wanted clarification to our maths and mechanics guy.

Since this discussion I had a further thought, since you can not heal past an impaled wound until the object is removed you could always place the Impaled line between injury bubbles. ( 0 I 0 ). If I were to play or run SINS, I would strongly recommend this homebrew fix if you agree with my above thoughts.

Honestly again since the book is already laid out and pretty much ready to go to print, I doubt that this will be addressed in this book. Maybe this will be addressed in an upcoming product.

Traits Qualities & Songs

Traits
Traits and skills are used to determine the dice pool a player will have available to roll.

Qualites
There are three types of Qualities in SINS. Primary, Background and Meta Qualities. Qualities are much like Feats in other games. Many of these have requirements that you must meet before you can take them.

Songs
Songs are the powers that Nemissaries use to create powerful effects in the game. Each song as six ranks each more powerful than the last. The list of songs are the following The Song of Blood, Bone, Brood, Flesh, and Will.

System Mechanics

I find the basics of the HOPE D6 dice pool system is one that I like. I think it feels smooth and once you get used to it I think there is a lot that can be done with it. It’s not revolutionary but it does not need to be. It does the job and does it well. I like the intent of the “Outcome” mechanic. With Outcome, every success beyond the target number improves the outcome of the action. In combat, Outcome can be used for added damage or optionally used to create maneuvers like disarming or pinning attacks.

Often in Dice Pool systems you only get one action per game round, unless you are willing to sacrifice a die to all your dice pools for the added effort. In SINS this is the case as well. Resulting refreshingly in a dice pool system where the player is not rolling a mountain of dice and can still sack dice for additional actions.

Layout and Art

The PDF review copy of SINS that I was provided was fully laid out with artwork already in place. So I can comment on the design layout and artwork. I can also tell you that SINS it beautiful.

Illustrated by Will Kirkby the book has a distinctive feel and that feeling is AWESOME. The book feels and looks solid and professionally presented. The only thing that I did not have was a hyperlinked PDF. But the staff has assured me that the final version of SINS will be fully linked. Trust me with a book cranking up over 350+ pages you WANT links. Many will find it hard to believe this is a first time outing at RPG design for this team. The book is highly polished and ready to go. When you pick up SINS you definitely know this is its own RPG.

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Not for Everyone

SINS is not a product for everyone, so much so they even put a word to parents notice on the inside of the book. I feel I should mention that here as well because is intended for mature player groups.

Final thought and Ranking

The more I read this book the more it reminded me of an apocalyptic Vampire the Masquerade and Wraith game rolled into one. Now that is a compliment as White Wolf is an excellent product with an excellent system.

Much like Wraith, this game is not going to be for everyone, It is designed to not be intended for younger audiences and there may be others that do not want to play an RPG as well. I have known many games over the years that love this type of game. I also have known a large number of players that simply HATED Wraith because of the Shadows. Shadows behave much like Hallows in SINS. And I think that this will turn off some gamers. But like I said this game is not for everyone.

The setting is well thought out and very well written. It is a very easy read with an excellent layout and top notch art. It is easy to see that a lot of heart and soul was poured into this product. Just for comparison back in the open game D20 system area I saw and own many printed products that pale in quality and comparison to SINS RPG.

Granted there was one technical concern I had with the product and one layout grumble but neither of these things actually have much impact on my ranking due to the fact that they could easily be addressed in an errata later. Or simply ignored because they are very minor things overall.

As I have said I would prefer to play a straight up human and you can choose this at character creation as noted in a provided sidebar but it is not suggested. This concern will also be addressed further in book two that is being written as I type this.

Taking all of these things into account I will give SINS the RPG a 14 out of 20. I wish there would have been more incentive to maybe start the game as a human and play through to your death and eventual return or stronger rules for just human players in the SINS RPG book. That and the mature setting that may have some players uncomfortable with their fellow gamer heckling them as their hollow. Keeps it from reaching a ranking of 15 for me.

D20 #11-14

(I would mention that I think this same reason is why Wraith never got a lot of traction is for the very same reason in the white wolf line.)

SINS has about 4 days left on Kickstarter and is going strong as well as more than funded.  You can find their project HERE. Head on over and give the game a look and be sure to check out their Dev Diary!

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