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Indie Mix

I recently posted on the Tavern about a bunch of Indie games I bought recently:

I've read Hero's Banner now, and it does what it says on the tin pretty well ('the fury of free will'). As a game it focuses on three motivators for your character - Blood (ties), Conscience and Hero (influences) - and then has a game mechanic where you are forced to use one of the influences to resolve conflicts.

The game engine is a percentile driven one that looks more complicated in the text than it is, thanks to the inclusion of histograms.(*) It inherently drives your character to having one of the three passions dominate. Connections can come into it too, potentially slowing the slide to the endgame. Once a passion hits 100%, you get to narrate what happens to your character until they die, as they have made their choice.

The cute thing about the game is that it then 'does a Pendragon' and the next generation of heroes have to choose a heroic influence based upon the previous generation of characters. It's a nice idea, and helps make a simple game stand-out.

(*)This is a classic case of a good explanation which threatens to put off by looking far more complicated than it is. I guess I should also mention that I found the authorial voice intrusive in this game, and far too florid for what is, in reality a set of rules mechanics with a single short chapter of background. However, as a whole it overcomes this.

I then read The Princes' Kingdom, which is basically Dogs in the Vineyard done with kids adventuring around their father's demesne, an Island Kingdom. It's a nice take, and I'd quite like to try it some time. Like DitV, it uses a bidding and fallout system based on dice, which looks quite fun in itself. You could play it with older kids, or you could play it with adults equally successfully.

Faery's Tale was next. This is a lovely game, with a d6 dice pool mechanic (evens are successes, 6 gives an extra roll) set in the classic fairy tale literature. The layout is a bit of a mess; it almost gets there but manages to look to busy and disordered. This is a real shame as the artwork is some of the best B&W work I've seen since Pendragon 1st Ed.

The whole game engine is really simple, and it focusses nicely on the narrative. It'd definitely work for younger kids and adults who'd like a whimsical and traditional feeling take on the Fairy Tale worlds.

(If I'm seeming critical on layout and tone, it's because I'm taking note at the moment as Wordplay heads towards layout!)