9 Oct 2012

Tuesday Table Top - IKRPG

Privateer Press has done something that only one other publisher has ever succeed at.

Taking a tactical table top ruleset leveraging it to focus on individual characters, their adventures and personal development in situations that range outside of the tactical paradigm.

That original game was Chain Mail.
This started almost everything Nerds do at a Table
The role playing game that came from Chain Mail was Dungeons and Dragons.

So how are the new guys?

So far I've only been able to test out Character generation and combat with some time at looking at running games and supporting long term play will be regarded in another post.

First lets look at the combat system in the game. If you play Warmachine or Hordes you will feel right at home. The combat has been expanded enough to take the already robust and streamlined tactical game rules and become more focused on individual tactics rather then small unit tactics.

The use of familiar and many times uniform terminology and systems really takes advantage of previous work. I could see this saved Privateer Press lots of time working out the system. The only issues I've got with the games combat mechanics is the need for miniatures.

Dungeons and Dragons came from the miniature world and slowly left the miniature behind in Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition. Wizards of the Coats tried to capitalize on this with their d20 reboots, 3rd, 3.5 and 4th. The fourth edition of D&D really pushed the use of miniatures among other issues that were afflicted on the game.

Iron Kingdoms needs miniatures, you can play without but you will not get the same positive experience. A few miniatures and a bucket load of paper terrain (which is easy, cheap and simple to store in most cases), players will find the experience greater and able to really capitalize on the well developed mechanics.

Is this the next big thing
Character Generation is my second topic of the post and I'm happy to report that the system is simple yet with enough depth to system that players will feel satisfied with the experience of generating their personal character.

Unlike other systems where you make choices on character class, aspect, bloodline, etc... you make choices that as a result of all your choices the result is your character. The system has an organic feel like some of the White Wolf products but its not as strong due to the need to plan ahead to ensure your character will grow in the way you want. This reminder is even presented in the book. Now I'm not sure if that's directly dealing with Max-Min players, going for the horns; but the games loses a bit of the R in RPG.

Lucky for us, the players, this is slight and easy to ignore. Games that center on role playing are out their this is not one of them. This game knows it's audience and it's upfront about doing what it plans to do.

Let players run around and play in the Iron Kingdoms.

This game will not win awards for bringing a dramatic system of role playing to the table. It will not usher a new age of multiple-faceted characters exploring a deep and expansive world. This game will allow players to run around in a world that they have been exploring with their armies since 2004 with a more personal touch.

So far the game is proving to be fun and it has a lot of potential. Privateer Press has already mentioned the next focus of the following 4-6 books. I look forward to seeing where they take the game since certain areas seem like they need expanding in the main book. Until then Privateer Press has been good at giving PDF's to fill the gaps so far in the monster section. The current price is pretty high and there is not electronic alternative  but the book is full colour, will stuffed with fluff, and well bound so far.

Of course when in doubt, go pick you your faction books and throw the Players against a unit of whatever you want. The world and things in it have numbers already written down, Game Masters will have little time to sort out the what to throw at Players.

Have fun with the IKRPG, I'm giving it a 4, lets see what happens next.