Kickstarter Watch: Invisible Sun by Monte Cook Games

Monte Cook Games is at it again. I am sure most of you have already heard about this two days old Kickstarter that has already reached it’s funding goals. It comes out the gate with a High-end entry buy-in of $197. But you will be getting a High-end deluxe product.
This game also has a Directed Campaigning option that has an entry level of $539 dollars but gives you and your group directed story ideas and props from Monte himself !

Invisible Sun can be played anywhere and is a game of secrets and magic. The art is amazing and I am sure Monte is going to deliver on another great product. Sadly there is not at this time a PDF option for this product so if you want in your going to have to open up your wallets. But be assured, When you set the black cube on the table your players will know you are not about to play a normal game.

a379f78c31269b3e6c51515a33958e12_original

For $197 you get what has pictured above. And for  $539 you will get to partake in the Directed Campaign by Monte as well as any stretch goals this project reaches. I have a feeling they will reach a lot of them.

Even more, if they decided to open it up to PDF backers as well. This will be a fun one to watch!  Myself I will not be backing this project unless it offers a PFD options. It is out of my personal price range. But if you can afford it I envy you!

 

Invisible Sun, Kickstarter & Questions. Unlocking the Secret of the Black Box.

 

The new RPG from Monte Cook. A game of surrealistic fantasy, secrets, and magic played both at the table–and away from it.

 

Well, here we are day two of the Invisible Sun Kickstarter likely hours from the project being kicked. Likely before you read this Invisible sun will have achieved its quest for $210,653 funding target. At the moment of this blog being written, they have just soared past 196k. This is not the first time that Montey Cook and Crew have shattered funding goals and Likely will not be the last. So what makes this different?

A number of things, Foremost the price tag. The buy-in for MCG Invisible Sun is $197+Shipping. This level garners you no stretch goals or input on the project. You just get it. That’s it ! Now I know how that sounds, buy you are getting a boardgame/wargames amount of stuff.

a379f78c31269b3e6c51515a33958e12_original

I will also point out that on the Kickstarter itself wargamers have commented that comparable projects have still come in within the low $100.00 ranges. So to see the price tag on this for the physical product was a bit of a shock to many. But not enough to keep it from being kicked. So far 173 backers have jumped on board. With nearly $37,000 dollars of their funding coming from under 20 backers! Astounding, Congratulations MCG.

So what is this game that has backers throwing down hundreds of dollars for all about? Well, that’s the secret, It’s a secret. Everything about the game thus far has been very mysterious. With the insistence that what we will experience is new and innovative. All of this is very compelling, but is it worth a risk of just under 200 dollars? That is going to be up to each of you.

But if you want the stretch goals you are going to have to up your game. Because $197 is the price of the ticket to ride. To unlock stretch goals you have got to be willing to shell out a  staggering $539 bucks! WOW. So what do you get at that level of buy-in ?

  • A copy of the game
  • The Directed Campaign
  • All the Strech Goals books and other items
  • Medallion
  • Sun-Based Secret

So.. um yeah what is all of this ? Well, the game is pictured above. The Medallions are nice and the Secret is different depending on what day you actually backed the project and what level you backed it at.. So Unless you Back at the $5,912 dollar level you will not get all of the Secrets of the Black Cube. Wait.. No, you only get one of the three unique secrets from this level of backing. So interestingly enough even the highest level backers won’t know all of the secrets. Good news the Secrets are not something you have to have for the game. But the theme of the game is Secrets. So the Pokemon trainer in you might be hard pressed not to try to learn them all.

The Directed Campaign is described for us as follows.

Those backing at the Control the Black Cube, Master the Black Cube, and Merge with the Black Cube levels gain access to the Invisible Sun Directed Campaign. For twelve months (starting when you tell us you are beginning your campaign, within one year of delivery of the game), Monte sends you new material, sometimes in electronic form and sometimes as a physical package. This includes adventure material, campaign advice, handouts, props, and special physical items. It’s like Monte himself is your GM coach, providing step-by-step advice and aids for your campaign as you run it. We’ll even send your players intriguing mystery packages tied to the campaign that are keyed to their character.

We’re very excited about this option. To summarize, you will get:

  1. Access to an Invisible Sun website with updates, forums, and other information.
  2. A year of monthly downloads with adventures, art, maps, player handouts, and new and interesting mysteries and secrets related to the setting.
  3. Four physical packages sent to you over the course of that year with props and cool stuff you can use in the game.
  4. Five packages sent to your players to get them more deeply invested and involved in the game.

So we could summarise this into for 342 dollars extra you get the stretch goals and a year-long “living campaign” Directed by Monte Cook.

Okay, So let’s take a look at some of the things we do know. We know the game will take place in three phases. We know we need the board for the phases and we need the hand I guess to hold a card ? And there are a lot of other bits and bobs that it looks like the game will make use of. We know that when the game is played has several modes. The Modes are as follows.

Action Mode: The first mode, called the Action Mode, is the one with the greatest focus on detail—it’s where everyone is sitting around a table (real or virtual) and the action is being tracked round by round so that every player gets a turn before anyone gets a second turn. This could be a fight, a chase, or a tense moment of negotiation. Most roleplayers are very familiar with this mode.

Narrative Mode: The second mode, the Narrative Mode, is also familiar. While no one is tracking things carefully in rounds or strictly managing turns, everyone’s probably still at the table and the GM is managing the actions and outcomes. The game might use this mode to handle travel, investigating an interesting area, resting, commerce, or casually negotiating with NPCs. There are still die rolls to be made, points to be spent, and so on, but probably not with the frequency of Action Mode.

The first two modes go hand in hand, with play naturally moving from one to another. The group might travel to an enemy sorcerer’s citadel using Narrative Mode, and then switch to Action Mode as they enter the citadel and deal with her magical wards and strange guardians. Both modes can be thought of as “table play,” because they take place, obviously, with everyone gathered at the game table.

Development Mode: The third mode of play is a bit different. It’s called Development Mode. It doesn’t take place at the game table, but away from it. It can involve one player or many. It can involve the GM, or it might not.

Development Mode usually just involves a single turn of a Sooth card. You don’t use dice in Development Mode. Even character sheets probably aren’t really necessary much of the time. This mode might involve the player(s) sitting down with the GM, or it might be handled through texts sent back and forth, perhaps using the feature in the Invisible Sun app designed exactly for that. The app also makes it possible for the GM to turn a card and send it to the player(s), indicating how any interpretation inspired by the card influences the outcomes of their proposed actions

So let’s take a closer look at Development Mode. This is the new feature where the game is integrating play away from the table via an app. So that you can virtually continue to play anywhere. With or without your GM by the sound of it. This is also being touted as one of the revolutionary aspects of this game.

Jump to 2:08 for an example of how this would play out in one scenario.

But for the Dubbing this as “A New Way to Play RPG’s” Might be a big of a stretch. I think I can site RPG group after RPG group that would be willing to come forward and attest that they have been running their games this way for years. This is just the first game that openly tells you to do this. ( I may even be wrong on that)

So in reality what we should be talking about here is the App. Because it is the App, that you use in the away from the table portions of Invisible Sun. So looking back on MCGs experience with Apps brings up some concerns. First off the Numenera Character Creator App is not without its flaws. And only comes in at a 3-star rating. But I will tell you as one has had this App since the beginning. It started off on very shaky grounds. And for many GM’s and Players was useless for the first year it was out. Not until recently by many, it was even considered worthless.

Why do I bring this up ? Well, much like the vaunted Trapdoor Tech was creating an electronic App for all things D&D. The Implication here seems to be that the App will hold your Character sheets, Game Notes, Sooth Deck (that also acts as Dice ? ). I bring this up because at 3:14 were told.

Sooth Cards: In side-scenes, Players dont need their character sheets or dice. Everything is handled with the app.

What’s more is the video goes on to tell us that with these rules, and the specific functions of the app. Players can play in traditional mode with everyone around the table or away from the table, and online play sessions are not only viable but the specialised rules greatly enhance the entire experience? The players play whenever and where ever is convenient.

BECAUSE NOTHING SHOULD STAND BETWEEN GAMERS AND THE GAME. 

WAIT A MIN !!! ????? 

Hold up rewind… let me get this straight. You want me to back your product at 197 dollars because you want to make a beautiful Delux product. And you don’t want to offer a PDF version of this product. Because most people have assumed that all of these things much like board game components are needed to play the game. Yet in reality, all that is needed is the rulebook and the sooth deck.

If you doubt me watch the above video again. It is even spelt out for you. The Players will be able to play anywhere in Traditional, Development or narrative modes.

I HAVE UNLOCKED THE SECRET OF THE BLACK BOX. 

The secret of the black box is the only things standing between gamers and this game is 197 dollars.

Notes: I am a HUGE fan of Monte Cook Games. I can line up scores of people that will tell you that I am one that stands from the rafters and shouts praise at this company. They are good people and they make quality products. I am happy for them that they have crushed their goal.

I will never argue that the proposed product is likely worth $197 

I was one to echo their statement of Groups should by games together. It is a good for everyone and makes life easier on the GM. 

I just am baffled why this product has no PDF level of backing. Why it has such a backward message. The last part of the video says it all. MCG wants gamers to play games. But they have turned a blind eye to their fans that seem eager to flock to their newest product but either can not afford it or would be crushed by overseas shipping of the Cube. 

This was posted a few days later in the in response to the questions of PDF on the Project.

Unlike other products, a big part of this game goes well beyond what you can put in a PDF—all the components and secrets in the game are physical. However, the game does come with a PDF of important setting and rules information for easy electronic searches (this PDF is not intended for an initial read-through, but rather to be used as a handy reference tool).

Also, it’s worth noting that the Developmental Mode is designed so that it requires nothing but the app (or the Sooth Deck). The rest of the game is designed around the other cool components to help convey the difference between the modes. So play at the table revolves around the components—the cards, the Testament of Suns, the Path of Suns, the tokens, and so on. They aren’t “extraneous” in the Action or Narrative Modes.

Kickstarter Watch 7/27/16 Tablescapes Dungeons – Modular RPG Dungeons

Secret Weapon launched their Mine themed modular plastic dungeon tiles Project just the other day and in the first few hours they were fully funded. This one has my attention for a few reasons.

First! As well as the BIGGEST reason.. The scale is comparable with not only Dwarven Forge but, Fat Dragon Tiles !

Its got a great price point!  With this project were not looking at tons of options or bells and whistles just plain old Give them  X and they will give you Y and if they get enough money they will add in Z !

Simple, Elegant, Beautiful .. and I LOVE IT !
We need to see more kickstartes like this again!

 

 

 

Burning Games FAITH RPG-Review

Recently I was given a copy of Burning Games Faith RPG for review. The game had come across my radar but at the time I was working on my Rifts Review.  Fresh off my Savage Rifts review I was able to give the game a once over for a review. Well, I gave it much more than a once over and I am pleased to present my review for you all today of FAITH the Sci-Fi RPG.

FAITH.Logo_

To start off FAITH is something of an enigma wrapped in a conundrum. On the surface, FAITH is a Roleplaying game presented in a box much like a board game. When you open the box and look inside you become more certain that you have a boardgame. You have several decks of cards, equipment, counters, and tabs as well as player boards and a rulebook. Yet that is where the “boardgame” ends. Everything that remains is a very unique and pleasant take on a roleplaying game experience.

The look of the game is beautiful rivaling that of Fragged Empire and may even use the same artist. Surpassing it only in the pure volume of art. Once you look at the massive amount of artwork that has gone into the project its hard not to agree that this game will look amazing at the table. Anyone walking by your game as it is underway would likely scoff at you if you told them you were playing an RPG. Visually it is impressive eye candy, as none of it is required to play the game. But without it you lose a part of the feel of the setting that Faith is trying to capture. As the creator says

faith-rpg-box-pictures_0006_Capa-0

“Faith is a game that brings art to the table with cool enemy and equipment reference cards. And a simple yet powerful card mechanic that allows players to manage their luck.”

The character board is a unique and interesting way of making a much more artistic character sheet. You can use a normal character sheet if you like or do not have the boards. The board reminds me of a better thought out version of the Shadowrun Crossfire board game cards. With the cards, the whole thing makes for a beautiful experience at the table.

So what is FAITH?

FAITH is a sci-Fi RPG, where the Gods live side by side with technology inside the “Labyrinth”. The Labyrinth is a gigantic web of wormholes that interconnects the universe. Allowing for travel across the vastness of space. In that vast space, there are several races to be found.

There are five races in the world of FAITH,

THE CORVO
Hyper-expansionist, technologically advanced, and individualistic species. Once the dominant force in the Universe, they found their Achilles heel in the Iz’kal, with whom they share a tenuous peace while undermining each other with black-ops and guerrilla warfare.

THE IZ’KAL
Collectivist, highly bureaucratized society ruled by the totalitarian and hermetic State. They join their minds in hyperlink to communicate. Former conservatives, they are now forced to expand to keep up with the Corvo. They survived a centuries-long oppression by the Korian (now extinct).

THE RAAG
Nomadic, clan-based species. Their home planet Heimis is covered in everlasting frost and snow. They travel the Universe in ice fortresses looking for supplies. They retain contact with the Iz’kal, once enslaved by the same oppressors, the Korian.

THE RAVAGER
Savage step-species that feed DNA to their Queen to create new spawns. They roam the Labyrinth looking for new genetic material. They are prone to internal conflict as dangerous Heralds rise to power and try to overtake their current Queen.

THE HUMANS
Rose and fell as a civilization centuries ago. They resorted to subsistence until the Corvo found them. Since then they are highly sought after as mercenaries, security contractors, and bodyguards. The terrorist group known as The Human Front seeks to regain former glory and independence, often allying with pirates and criminals.

What about the Gods ? 
In FAITH the gods take an active role in the world but they are only able to affect the world through their followers. So each god has a strict code of conduct that must be followed or the player will lose access to their Divine Upgrades. This can be significant so it is in a player’s best interest to pick a god that suits how they wish to play their character. Or look to change gods as part of their story at some point.

 

FAITH is a roleplaying game without dice?

FAITH’s mechanics revolve around the use of cards. Each player has a hand of illustrated playing cards, which can be used to resolve actions and confrontations during game. This system allows for “Luck Management” gameplay to arise: players can decide when their “bad rolls” happen (by playing low cards) and when the moment has come for their characters to shine, playing their highest cards and succeeding against all odds.

In addition to using cards to resolve actions in FAITH. FAITH also uses the “Yes and” mentality as part of its core mechanic. Meaning any action that a player wishes to do is considered to be an automatic success unless it is “confronted” by another player or the GM.

If a confrontation occurs then you make a skill task check. Or proceed to combat depending on the reason for the confrontation. Combat is at its core a series of skill tasks and handled the same way as a skill related test. To complete tasks you have 7 cards in your hand, 8 if you are a human. Your attribute that you have related to the task determines how many cards you may play to resolve a task. Your skill gives you a bonus reflecting how good you are at that task.

Here is an example of FAITH combat in play.

There are six different attributes: Agility, Constitution, Dexterity, Faith, Link, and Mind. There are also numerous skills, including, Ballistic, CQC, Hacking, Initiative, Survival, Cunning, Piloting, Athletic, Eva, Medical, Technical, and Profession. Each of these skills is intended to cover a very broad spectrum of what you can do with each skill. Ballistic for example, covers all forms of weapon usage from shooting, reloading, aiming and suppressive fire and so on.

One key thing’s that I find very interesting in FAITH is how actions are handled. Actions should only need one “Verb” to be described. If the word “and” is included this probably is going to require more than one action to do and take several turns to be able to do. Their template is

I [verb] [preposition if needed] [target]”

Example:
I shoot the guard. I move behind cover.
I dodge towards the door. I hack Ed’s thermal visor.
I reload my weapon.

 

Sessions & Scenes & Leveling up are also worth mentioning in FAITH. In a game of FAITH you do not refresh your discard deck between scenes. This is due to the Leveling Up mechanic. Once a player has exhausted their deck and needs to reshuffle this is the point where the player may gain experience. His fellow players will decide from his gameplay what skills are best for him to level up. He then will shuffle the deck and gain two experience for advantages.

One concern I have is that to level up you must exhaust  your deck of cards and need to reshuffle. This worries me that between games the players must keep their current discard deck separate from the rest of their cards as the games go on. I think a divider inside the player deck would make this easier from game to game but for players that do not have the players decks might be a minor annoyance.

NOTE: It has come to my attention that this is no longer the case and level up is no longer dependent on exhausting your deck. I love when a game system is proactive in this manner. I believe as I was doing research and reading for my review it was an old YouTube video that I got this info from. Thank you Burrning games for not only reading my review but being quick to tweet me and let me know of this change! 

 

Runkles Ranking?

Well, this one took some thought. I really like a great deal of the game and the cards and character board are innovative and really make the game pop off the table adding a ton of depth of immersion to the gameplay. This is all good but not everyone will  have the cards or character boards. I found myself in this situation. I could have printed out the cards and the boards if I so chose but in the end, they are just extra parts to the game.

Foremost to be a good roleplaying game the game must be able to stand on its core Mechanics and play well not just look good. If you pull out standard Character sheets and poker cards and play FAITH. Does it still play well and is it still fun? That is the biggest question I have to ask myself when I look at this game. As looking at other reviews I think I may be the only reviewer that looked at FAITH this way.

My verdict, yes at its core stripped down from all the extra bells and whistles that FAITH comes with to make it look so beautiful at the table. It is a good game. Congratulations Burning Games!

In the case of Burning Games FAITH RPG I give it a Runkles Rank of …

D20 #17OUTSTANDING! These products are major successes. Any product with a rank of 16-19 is a cut above the rest. These are must have products. Often products of this level strike a chord with their audience. They are literal page turners that you find yourself reading from beginning to end.

 

With the high level of awesome art wrapped in a solid and interesting play mechanic that removes much of the randomness of standard Dice system. This is a great addition to a gamer’s collection. Also, this would be a wonderful introduction tool to bring board game lovers into the RPG hobby.

 

 

 

Rifts for Savage Worlds-Impressions

Rifts_Site-300x250Well, it’s about that time. We only have a few days left until Savage Worlds Rifts is a reality! Like many of you, I have been chomping at the bit to get any and all the info about it I can. This has been a fun Kickstarter to watch as it progresses as they release lol teases along the way. But the worst part for a fan of both systems like me. I just leave you wanting more and MORE!

That is itself might be the best part of this project. The hungry fans are a sure sign thus far that it looks like they have to take care to make sure they did this project right. Always a good sign when it comes to translating the spirit of a property from one to another. I say translating because remember this is not a conversion from one system to another as much as it is an homage or a labor of love.

Well as this last weekend was on us I had a moment of silly clarity dawn on me… I have reviewed many many Savage Worlds products and yet… I never even asked if I could get my hands on a copy of the book for review ! Facepalm moment. So I did just that, I quickly reached out to my friends at PEG and they were more than happy to provide me with a book to review !

As this blog is posting now I am reading the book that was provided. My review of the provided Rifts book will follow soon. I can tell you this thus far. The book feels like Rifts if the rifts books were done today. The art as you can tell from other images already released is RIFTS. And the flavor of what I have seen thus far Feels like RIFTS to me. That is quite an accomplishment by itself.

My review of the Savage Rifts Players Guide is Comming Soon!

PayPal will No longer Protect Crowdfunding

Well, fellow gamers it seems that the day many of us thought would eventually come has happened. Either Kickstarter was going to get its proverbial shit together and step in to fix its growing issues with unfunded campaigns.. or other agencies would make moves to protect themselves from having to issues refunds and such on failed projects.

PayPal has announced now that they will no very soon no longer issue buyer protection to crowdsourcing campaigns. Ouch! I know many a gamer that as of right now are holding their wallet at the thought that now backing a project has become increasingly riskier.

Here’s PayPal’s full statement regarding the change, via Engadget:

“In Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, United States and certain other countries, we have excluded payments made to crowdfunding campaigns from our buyer protection programs. This is consistent with the risks and uncertainties involved in contributing to crowdfunding campaigns, which do not guarantee a return for the investment made in these types of campaigns. We work with our crowdfunding platform partners to encourage fundraisers to communicate the risks involved in investing in their campaign to donors.”

Additionally, “anything purchased from or an amount paid to a government agency” and “gambling, gaming and/or any other activity with an entry fee and a prize” are no longer eligible for Purchase Protection either.

Kickstarter notes that about 9 percent of its projects never deliver, for example — if the failure rate is similar or worse on those crowdfunding sites that take PayPal, that’s a lot of potential refunds. When you look at just Gaming projects Kickstarter raised more than 76 Million dollars last year on successfully funned projects.  That is a ton of money left on the table. And as of now Pay Pall is done with having to help pick up the pieces.

 

 

Kickstarter Launch: Savage Rifts

Way back in a day in my early blogging I made a post of what game I would love to get a facelift. I chose Rifts ! So you can imagine how excited I was that Savage Worlds come along and get the nod  on this project.

So here we are,

41c660bc2edfe14523806d27c9bbfe8f_original

Has is going .. Savage.

images (1)

 

And they have launched their Kickstarter today! Looking to get 8,000 they have already crushed their goal and are not looking to stop anytime soon. As of this blog they are coasting their way to 60K ! One of the best features of this game product is that it is in the final stages of development already with the delivery date of June!

In the days where most people have to wait for months and months for the Kickstarter rewards the turnaround time on this project is going to be unreal as long as everything goes to plan.

So what are we looking at with this project ?

 

• Iconic Frameworks: A powerful tool in character creation that quickly establishes the powerful and popular concepts from the original setting. Iconic Frameworks “front-load” the abilities, equipment, and powers of such famous character types as the Glitter Boy, Ley Line Walker, and Juicer, while also allowing every other idea to come into play on par with these giants. 

• The World of Rifts®: Plenty of foundation information about the world of this incredible setting, with a focus on North America. Factions, historical events, and the current state of things for the heroes and people struggling to survive in a post-post-apocalyptic world. 

• The Tomorrow Legion: A new organization in the war-torn lands of North America, the Tomorrow Legion protects Castle Refuge while struggling to help others build a better world. Can the Legion stand against the titanic threats of the Coalition States and the Federation of Magic? 

• Edges & Hindrances: Plenty of new options to further define your hero in this world of infinite possibilities, including new Iconic Edges that enhance the foundation of your concept. 

• Equipment: Cybernetics, vehicles, weapons, body armor, powered armor, and robot armor—incredible, sophisticated technology to enhance survival and ensure victory in the war for the future.

• Magic & Psionics: Arcane Backgrounds cranked to 11 with Mega Trappings and Master Psionic Powers, and new powers to master a world gone mad. 

• Mercenaries & Monsters: From Coalition UAR-1 Enforcers to Murder Wraiths, Daemonix to Xiticix, and Splugorth Slavers to gargantuan monsters from Rifts®, the heroes of this world won’t lack foes to challenge them.

 • Adventure Generator: The Tomorrow Legion patrols the world in search of those who need help. These tables help the Game Master quickly come up with scenarios and encounters to challenge her heroes!

• The Randomness of Rifts®: Numerous tables and rules for dealing with the infinite possibilities of these holes in space/time. Ley line storm effects, random monsters from beyond, and the countless places your heroes might travel are covered.

What books will you get ? 

The Tomorrow Legion Player’s Guide

• Iconic Frameworks for many classic Rifts® character concepts—Combat Cyborgs, Crazies, Headhunters, Mystics, Operators, Rogue Scientists, Techno-Wizards, and many more!

• New Edges & Hindrances

• Setting Rules such as Blaze of Glory, Technical Difficulties, and a special Death & Defeat chart.

• Lots of new equipment including weapons, armor, and cybernetics.

Expanded magic and psionics, including Mega Trappings and Master Psionic powers.

Game Master’s Handbook

• The world of Rifts® Earth, circa 109 PA and the aftermath of the Siege of Tolkeen. Including important information about key factions like the Coalition States, the Federation of Magic, the Pecos Empire, and more.

• The Tomorrow Legion, including a description of Castle Refuge, the key leaders and players, and the structure of the organization.

• A dynamic adventure generator opens countless opportunities for adventure and challenge, such as when traveling the lands of Rifts® North America.

• Rules and tables for dealing with the infinite possibilities of ley lines and rifts, including how a powerful arcane caster might actually use and manipulate one of these powerful nexus points.

• Important and useful advice for Game Masters in running the high-powered characters and adventures they will face in this gonzo, amazing setting.

Savage Foes of North America

Information on major opposition forces like the Coalition, Federation of Magic, Black Market, Pecos Empire, Xiticix, and more.

Forces and war machines of the Coalition.

Powerful and mysterious foes from the Federation of Magic.

Supernatural and monstrous enemies that terrorize the lands of North America.

Tables for creating random creatures and even hordes of monsters coming from anywhere in the Megaverse™ through the Rifts®.

So get out there and back this sucker if you have been a lifelong rifts fan like me!