It’s a game where you’re making a game as you play the game!
So, kinda fuckin’ meta. Also, looks really fun.
Page 57, Game 22: Dragon And Warrior by OrionCanning
You and your buddies (preferably a total of four of you, but there are rules to tweak that) are going to create a JRPG. You know, like a Final Fantasy or a Zelda or something. One of you is the big hero Warrior, and you get to be the protagonist. (For now.) One of you is the Villain, and you’ll be in charge of all the monsters and the Big Bad and other various and sundry obstacles. One of you is the Ally, and will control all those NPCs out to help the Warrior. And one of you is the Treasure, and gets to define the environment.
Draw maps! Define quests! Defeat challenges! Level-up! Get treasure! And switch roles!
That last one is, I think, what pushes this game out of “Okay, I could see this working” and into “Okay, I might actually want to try this.” When you do cool shit through the game (as defined by the other players), you get tokens. Get enough tokens, and you can cash them in to switch roles and become the Warrior yourself.
My operating theory with these kind of free-form games is that whether or not it’s a good experience will always be determined by the other players at the table to one degree or another; no storytelling game can compensate for participants who just don’t give a fuck and would rather be watching some sportsball. However, I feel like the good games lay down a framework in which “fun” is the most likely outcome when you have a set of suitably engaged players, and….
Yeah. Hell yeah. Dragon And Warrior does the work. The ruleset feels a little raw in places, but if you and your buddies dig this style of video game, this gives you the materials to create something unique, memorable, and fun. If a DIY tabletop JRPG sounds like it might be your jam, this is absolutely worth a closer look.
Page 39, Game 3: These Lands by JestyJam
“Where will the Island take you?”
Good question. Let’s hop onto the island and find out!