Thursday, 24 April 2014

UK Games Expo RPG Awards - Third Offering - 13th Age

Today we have 13th age, from the people who brought you D&D 4th and D&D 3rd, this makes for a distinct pedigree in the gaming community and it has been well received as a game in its own right. Initial thoughts and impressions were that it was going to be something that didn't do much very different from the two editions just mentioned.

We were wrong...

Firstly, this isn't aimed at beginners, not by any stretch.  In fact, to be honest, I'd go so far as to say that if you're a beginner and new to the whole Roleplaying thing, you may want to start somewhere else...

Cheerfully we're not beginners :)

To be fair, there are a lot of similarities, both in the artwork and presentation and people could be forgiven for thinking on a skim glance that it is just a new incarnation of D&D without the name attached.  However, when you look closer, there's a lot of thought gone into it, both the designers have put a lot of personal notes in there regarding how they like to do things.  This won't be for everyone, but it does provide an interesting insight into how people think about things and how they work when they're designing a game. They've made it clear that this is the version of the game that they wanted to play (indeed, that they themselves play), and that they didn't make this game to get rich. This is just as well as we all know that the only way to get a small fortune in RPG's is to start with a large one. The mechanics are similar in nature to D&D, it is D20 based but things are simplified with regards to weapons and armour and there aren't the massive lists of things to choose from with spells and feats.  The nature of the game once again is very much to emphasize the narrative nature of things and to make things work better without having to rely on the rules.  This has been something that has been apparent from a lot of the games put forwards for the Expo awards, things that were written so long ago about the system only being useful as long as its needed are now coming to pass in all the new releases.  There is a lot of cross referencing within the book, and they are aware that no one wants to go searching for things in paperback books, so it's all noted on the relevant pages.  If you're checking for something, it's easy to find and even easier to go to the relevant sections without having to spend ages trawling through the index.

And that brings us to our Judges comments.

Presentation values and layout is excellent, it's enough of a reminder about D&D without being completely D&D, which fulfills the nostalgia criteria as well as having something new to work with.

The simplified nature of the game (rather than a thousand tables and separate things to look up) makes it easy to get into quickly and easier to set things up on the fly, something that a lot of traditional games don't do well with.

It's D20, but D20 as it should always have been and never quite managed...

One book, no monster manual, no players handbook, no GMs guide, all you need in the one book and enough to keep you occupied for some time, this is the way games should be made.

13th Age is available from Pelgrane Press direct

And also from RPGnow