Numenera: STRAND

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Numenera peaked my interest from day one. I loved that it was a bold new premise and that it launched an exciting new company of brilliant game designers with Monte Cook Games. I was on board from day one. I was a backer, I hit up the panel at Gencon (this was prior to me being the blogger you know today), and I played in one of the games that could’ve landed me in a game with Monte and Shanna themselves.

Ever since receiving my copy post Kickstarter I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every chance I’ve gotten to play, or run, the game. I’ve remarked a few times that Numenera is a game I struggle to run. The rules don’t get in the way, they have an endearing simplicity to them, I just have a hard time hitting the tone. I do feel I can play a character in that very well, one of the best con games I ever played was a Numenera game run by my buddy John at Acadecon 2015.

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My struggles with tone made me very excited for the topic of today’s article. Numenera STRAND is the realized work of Swedish filmmaker, and obvious Numenera fan, Joan Manuel Urquiaga Valdes. His Kickstarter run began a little less than a year ago, with the blessing of Monte Cook Games, and funded quickly. On January 3rd the fully produced short was finally completed. It is beautifully shot and has a weight to it that makes its short run time feel like double. For anyone, like myself, that struggles with tone something like this is an oasis. I can go on but you should really watch this yourself. That’s right, the finished product is not only for backers. The whole thing can be viewed on YouTube.

I hope you enjoyed the film as much as I did. It’s a great introduction to the world of Numenera overall. Kudos to MCG for assisting in the production and helping bring this into reality too. Loving most everything coming from them these days. Can’t wait to see what Invisible Sun looks like.

Tell me what you thought of the short in the comments below!

-Melvs

Kickstarter Review – FAITH: The Sci-fi RPG

The Book

To date the only cards I’ve ever used in a Tabletop RPG have been the poker cards used in Savage Worlds to determine initiative order.  I’ve become somewhat aware of a surge of games lately that have decided to forgo some of the traditional tools of Tabletop games though, Jenga Towers, non-numeric dice, and yes cards.  FAITH: The Sci-Fi RPG, from Burning Games, is a system built on the use of the latter.  The game is also set apart from its contemporaries by it’s choice of setting, fully sci-fi but not a sci-fi that prominently features humanity as one of the dominant species.  On the whole it is a very interesting game to delve into.

THE SETTING

Art

FAITH’s world is one where the common knowledge is that gods are real, they walk among us and war with each other in their own ways.  The concept of faith, this game’s namesake, seems to be derived from the faith one has that their god is the one to back in this world of conflict rather than having faith it even exists, because they are very real.  There are two dominant racial powers, the Corvo and the lz’kal.  Currently the details, provided by the Kickstarter, only reveal that these two forces are immensely powerful and embroiled in a Cold War of sorts after forming a truce upon realizing a full-out war may destroy them both.  Humans were discovered, near extinction, by the Corvo and were then drafted as soldiers in the struggle.  The gods take note of all of this and decide whom to back with their immense power.

THE GAME

Player Deck

Player Deck: Your standard poker deck…albeit with some excellent new artwork!

FAITH’s core gameplay mechanism revolves around the players using a standard 54 card poker deck, although the game itself provides a poker deck with beautiful in genre illustrations.  These card represent playable actions for the players that can be modified by roleplaying, number of cards played, and by pieces of gear a player may have.  Gear cards are not poker cards but contain information that can boost a player’s chances of succeeding at a task.  Typically a player will always be successful unless the GM actively attempts to cause confrontation, thus a battle of cards played begins.  The GM has access to their own deck of cards, called “NPC Cards”, and uses this deck of cards to pull interesting encounters out on the players. I can certainly see some interesting random encounters springing from such a deck, no more rolling on tables here!

NPC Deck

Gear Deck

Players also have a unique reinterpretation of the Character Sheet called a Character Board.  This cardboard cutout contains all of the pertinent skills a character may need to play the game and a collection of upgrade and numeric tokens are used to fill out said stats.  With those tokens the players are also able to pull from 12 character illustrations that cover species and gender so they can see if one of them matches the character’s look they are going for.

Character Board

THE KICKSTARTER

If you’ve found this game to be of interest to you check out the Kickstarter!  Burning Games is a London Based company but that doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten about us over here in the States.  There are conversions into the American Dollar on each pledge level and free shipping within the Continental USA.  The page is set up very well, they appear to have had their ducks in a row before going down the Kickstarter path.  There is a great layout of all the products available that showcases some of the excellent artwork you can expect to see, and a number of downloads that help explain the game and its story.  Namely, there are some solid quick start rules. 

Tokens

Whenever I look into these Kickstarters I’m always drawn to the price point for the actual game.  That is, what bid level would I have to choose to get the full game including everything you’d need to play and excluding excess perks.  For FAITH this comes in at around $65-$70 (accounting for conversion) and is aptly titled “The Game”.  This includes the rulebook, four player decks, a gear deck, an NPC deck, four Character Boards, and all the tokens needed for four players.  To me that seems like a reasonable (even a bit cheap for all it includes) price point, and I’d be remiss if I failed to mention that it includes every stretch goal. 

The Game

Another bid level intrigued me though, one of the lower ones.  For around $20 you can just buy a single deck of cards, any of the decks are available but let’s just say you’re drawn to the artwork and you’d like to get your hands on some of it.  Well, the player deck is a fully useable deck of poker cards outside of FAITH.  It’s be kind of fun having that around the house!

If you aren’t quite sold yet, check out their website and download their free Print and Play to decide if your group would enjoy it for yourself.  In the meantime head on over to the Kickstarter and check them out, the game looks awesome I hope to see it fund!

-Melvs