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6d6 Core + Outbreak! + Starter Pack (1st Ed.)

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6d6 Core + Outbreak! + Starter Pack (1st Ed.)
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6d6 Core + Outbreak! + Starter Pack (1st Ed.)
Publisher: 6d6 Fireball
by Todd C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/06/2012 16:17:59

This review was originally posted on Roleplayer's Chronicle on March 2nd, 2012.

Cards and RPGs were once at war with each other in the early 90s as Magic the Gathering began to dominate and traditional games struggled, yet peace was established across the table and the two genres have merged together in many unexpected ways. Or to be less dramatic… Dude, you wanna play a card-based RPG?

The 6d6 System is a new universal role-playing mechanic incorporating card decks, as a substitution for the standard character sheet, developed by 6d6 Fireball. For this review, I was provided with a free copy of their initial bundle, including 6d6 Core (the complete rules for understanding and playing the game), 6d6 Outbreak (a zombie apocalypse module), and the Starter Decks for both Outbreak and 6d6 Modern.

The biggest struggle in developing a universal mechanic is being able to handle a wide variety of applications based on genre, timelines, technology, magic, and more. This is complicated when designing a new concept in RPG delivery – a complete card-based version of the traditional tabletop game. Right off the bat, I can tell you 6d6 Core delivers with extreme confidence. Anyone who purchases the game and registers through the proper channels will receive free PDF updates to ensure everyone has the latest version of the game as it continues to grow and adapt with upcoming supplements, such as 6d6 Magic.

All characters are built using a Character Deck built by the player using Character Points (CP). Each card offers 1d6 plus a modifier to apply to your roll when played and this offering determines the CP cost to add it to your deck. Within the deck, you’ll have access to Life Cards, Ability Cards, Equipment Cards, Path Cards, and more. Leaders (GMs) have access to additional cards such as Effect and Circumstance Cards. Each card contains everything you need to know to apply it when played and are categorized under keywords demonstrating when they can be played, how frequently they can be redrawn, and more.

There are two concepts to 6d6 allowing it to function more as a RPG than a simple card game: flow and pseudo-cards. Without these, 6d6 would just be another Magic. Each character has two flow to use on their turn, either to return a card to their hand or perform a pseudo-card. Pseudo-cards represent basic actions any character can perform with the need of a card, such as movement. While there are special cards allowing enhanced movement, you can simply spend one flow to move as a pseudo-card. There are additional possibilities as well creating the possibility of a truly imaginative RPG experience.

During play, there are 4 pools each player keeps at hand: Static (only cards with the Static keyword), Mechanic (such as discarded cards and Character Cards), Dynamic (your actual hand), and the Deck (all your remaining cards yet played). When it’s time to play your cards from the Dynamic pool, you can total up the number of d6s and their modifiers for your roll which is then opposed by another character’s roll built from their own Dynamic pool or against resistance (a number based on the overall difficulty of your attempted action). Effects such as damage are then based on the difference.

At 170 pages for 6d6 Core alone, there is a multitude of information available to create a truly vivid and exemplary RPG experience you can attempt using the 6d6 Starter and Modern Packs offered with the initial purchase or you can run the 6d6 Outbreak module as an introduction to the mechanics. The amount of information and detail offered in the rules is impressive and creates what I would equate to a deck building version of D&D 4th edition – it’s that detailed and simultaneously simple once you get down to actually playing. While I was reading 6d6 Core, I did find myself flipping back and forth to ensure I understood the mechanics and after spending time with a few printed cards organizing pools, I found myself itching to find players ASAP.

That being said, I have to admit I was dismayed at the presentation of the PDFs made available through RPGNow and DriveThruRPG for the price offered. Especially with the cards. They are basically text with colored borders designating card types. At the time I received the 6d6 Bundle, it was priced at $15 and has since gone up in price. While I can completely understand the incredible amount of work, testing, and revisions put into such an impressive game, the lack of artwork (especially in the cards) makes it overpriced in my opinion. But don’t let that dismay you from trying this game. If 6d6 Fireball were ever to pay for artwork and some sharp graphic design, my thoughts on 6d6 would go from impressed to floored.

A truly incredible adaptation of the standard RPG taken to new directions I never thought I would be impressed by (I’ve never been one for cards in my games). The presentation is crisp, concise, and thoroughly tested to give me confidence as a player and Leader to put a group together and start building a deck.

If you’re interested in taking a glance, you can access free-to-read content for 6d6 from the website (http://6d6-

Publication Quality: 3 out of 10
It’s the only weak link, but it can be an incredible deficiency when dealing with a deck building public used to full color artwork and textures on their cards. The 6d6 cards themselves have no artwork other than a color border and consist of nothing more than text. For the price these sets are offered, it seems too much. The text of the rulebooks is also a bit amateur with titles appearing on the bottom of the page and looking like nothing more than a Word file converted to PDF. If this area were improved, even slightly, 6d6 could literally take off like a rocket.

(Since originally published, it has come to light these PDFs are drawn from the 6d6 Living Document available from the publisher's website and hence never intended to represent a typically designed publication. That being said, I stand by my original statement on layout as the purchase of the 6d6 Core PDF from all OneBookShelf sites and affiliates is made in comparison to those released by other publishers.)

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Absolutely brilliant. Reading how to play can be intimidating at first, but once the cards are down on the table, it flows like water.

Desire to Play: 10 out of 10
I’ve never been one to play a card-based RPG – let alone any card game – and this one has been tucking at my mind since I started reading it. Highly recommended, particularly if you’re a Magic player looking to try a real game and build a story rather than just a deck.

Overall: 8 out of 10
Once again, the word I use to describe 6d6 is “impressive.” As a fan of RPGs, this game truly encapsulates the roleplaying experience with cards and dice while simultaneously stretching the possibilities of a traditional RPG using flow, pool, and pseudo-cards. With some professional-looking layout in both the books and cards, this game can become a powerhouse in the independent gaming industry and I really hope it becomes the success it deserves to be.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
6d6 Core + Outbreak! + Starter Pack (1st Ed.)
Publisher: 6d6 Fireball
by Andrew S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/16/2012 07:31:15

Let me start by saying that usually I enjoy games that are mechanics heavy - that have lots of rules to cover all the situations that can arise in a game, and allow situations to be easily and realistically resolved. To be fair, I started playing back in the AD&D days, and then into games such as Shadowrun, and so forth, where rules were the key. Even in the World of Darkness games, where storytelling was a key element, the strong rules systems appealed to me.

With that out of the way, I have to say that as soon as I started reading the 6d6 Core rules, I fell in love with this system. It's a fiendishly simple system that you can pick up in an instant, and start playing almost immediately (or as fast as your printer will spit out the cards, if you buy the PDF version). It takes a simple card combination and dice resolution system and makes it - wonderful.

As with any good game, as soon as I started reading, my creative juices started flowing. I wanted to put the PDF down and work on a game to use the rules with - I thought of adapting it for a Superhero game, running a political intrigue game, a Wild West game, and a Kung-Fu game. Each of these I could have wiped up in no time at all. And that is the beauty of this system.

I'm a big fan of the card combination system, and the fact that if I want to resolve something, anything, in this game, all I have to do is get the right combination, or the most creative combination, and I can have a go at it. Couple that with their being no negatives to a dice pool, there is always a chance of success, even if the odds are stacked against you.

Switching from Narrative to Initiative Play is seamless, and makes perfect sense, and I honestly can't see a situation where players are going to be bogged down and bored resolving combat situations.

The Outbreak! one-shot that is included in this bundle is great fun. It captures all the elements of a classic zombie movie, and it does so with style. It's a fantastic example of just one of the things you can do with this game. I'm not going to throw any spoilers in about it, other than to say - play it, and enjoy it.

If I wanted to complain about anything (and I'm not saying I do), it would be the minimalism of the rules and the cards - there is no flashy art, there is no fancy layout, or anything like that. But, at the end of the day, I find that refreshing. There is nothing to distract you from the well written rules. It allows you to appreciate the game for what it is. And, at the end of the day, you get great value for money in return!

Hats off to the guys at 6d6 Fireball for making such a wonderful product. I eagerly look forward to seeing what they make in the future for the 6d6 game. They just better work quickly, before I make some expansions myself!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
6d6 Core + Outbreak! + Starter Pack (1st Ed.)
Publisher: 6d6 Fireball
by Phay V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/16/2012 06:49:15

This contains no spoilers....
I really loved running this game. I found the system easy to get one with and I loved the fact that what you need to know about peoples skills etc is written on the cards. The card descriptions although specific they are also vague enough to allow players to basically brag what they can use in a situation. Which gives them options and makes the cards somewhat limitless. I like the Fact that when playing this game you can pull the rings apart and pull out the pieces you need so that when running this game you can sort out the material your way and so its easier for you to run and you don't end up using scraps of paper to mark pages and flicking between sections in a huge book.
The story itself was really good and the two times that i have ran this so far have had completely different outcomes. Some players just want to become a zombie to eat their friends and one of my games became a brain hunt of the other players which was fun for them. There are many ways to play the game and if all depends on your players which is good to find a game which adapts so well to people with different playing styles as well as running styles. The first time i ran this game it turned out actually very creepy and scary. The plot itself lends itself well by offering players choices which determine the outcome in the end.
I liked the fact that there are no exact rules on when a player turns into a zombie so its easy to turn them at the worst possible moment (and believe me in this game there are many). I loved the little twists and the detail of the setting itself from the descriptions to the equipment cards.
Buy this game if you not only like horror but also like to screw with your players. Play this game if you want to eat your friends.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
6d6 Core + Outbreak! + Starter Pack (1st Ed.)
Publisher: 6d6 Fireball
by Faye L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/15/2012 06:04:01

I'm going to just review Outbreak! here.

Warning, contains spoilers

To start at the beginning, it's a well laid out, easy to navigate PDF, with the information you need where you would logically expect it to be. The maps of the house are clear too. These may seem like minor things, or indeed what you would expect, but I have seen quite a few examples where this is not the case.

The atmosphere is good. With a couple of exceptions, zombie films have always been an American genre, and from the characters to the gameleader's speeches, it feels like a fifties b movie.
The cinematic feeling begins with the opening narration and carries on from there. Indeed, when the bus swerves off the road avoiding a strange little girl (and killing any unused characters) you know that you're in for one heck of a ride.
And indeed it was a veritable rollercoaster. We arrived at the House in the Woods after a quick stroll through the woods. A stroll that was only briefly interrupted by the appearance of a zombie hunter. Indeed we were feeling pretty confident when we started investigating the house. Maybe a little over confident…
Indeed, for a while, all was calm and quiet. Dare I say… too quiet? Things were going well as we investigated the garage. We found weapons to defend ourselves with… Even the zombie cook didn't worry us too much. But you've seen these films before, right? You know what's coming up…
Just before we checked out the attic, John Otto headed back to the bus to fix it up and refuel it. I know, that was a big mistake. Partially it was a case of 'Real Life Writes the Plot' because his player had to leave at that point, but even so…
It was in the attic where it all started to go wrong. Tell me, have you ever worried about grey squirrels? You might not like them, and think of them as 'rats with fluffy tails' but worry about them? Of course you haven't. You will… believe me… you will…
Belle got scratched. We didn't worry too much, and checked out the bunker. It was while we were down there that Belle… turned. I fled, scrambling through the trap door in the ceiling. I know, I shouldn't have left the poor little girl (Mary) behind…
I arrived back in the living room only to find that giving Belle the frickin' chainsaw… had been a mistake, and while we played tag around the dining table, Mary had been turning her dear little teddy bear into a grenade…
Belle chased me up into the attic. As I got near the kitchen, I got a very strong smell of gas, and also scratched. I got up the ladder and slammed the trap door. Somehow I managed to get the dormer window open and leapt across to the garage roof. Hurt, but still mobile, I dropped to the ground. Just as I did, the house went up in a huge fireball. And then I stood up. but it was too late, for I too had joined the walking dead.
So yes, we'd all died, except, perhaps for Mary, but we'd had a great time doing it, and besides, it's a zombie flick. What did you expect, that we'd drive off into the sunset?
Reading through the scenario, I realise we'd missed out on the endgame, which was a shame, because it looks good.(Zombie scouts? Oh yes.)

Alright, so it's a fun game, and it feels really cinematic, but how does it play? How hard is it to pick up the system? Almost surprisingly easy, and indeed the point of the bus crash is, apart from setting the atmosphere and getting rid of the unused characters, is as a gentle introduction to how it works. The key to it all is finding imaginative uses for the cards that make up your character's abilities and equipment. As systems go, it is both simple and flexible, and after a few turns, you'll find that it has clicked.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
6d6 Core + Outbreak! + Starter Pack (1st Ed.)
Publisher: 6d6 Fireball
by Chainsaw A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/14/2012 12:17:05

6d6 Core is quite different from other role playing systems. The game behaves more like a story-telling Living Card Game than a traditional RPG. Cards are cycled between being active and inactive to acquire dice, that are then used to preform actions. It may take some time to get used to the concept, but it works very well once you have taken that step.

The biggest complaint I can level at the game is lack of familiarity. Something as seemingly universal as a character sheet listing attributes and skills - is not present. Instead you have static, dynamic, and mechanic pools - containing cards labeled with key words - and flow. Equipment is just another type of card that can go into one of these pools rather than something separate from the character. Abilities can’t simply be used, but have to be cycled into an active pool and combined.

Producing the initial cards needed may be a bit of a printing task, and there might be a delay between designing characters printing all the cards needed.

However, unfamiliarity, new jargon, and acquiring materials are downsides of any new RPG, not just this one. Once you become familiar, you will find this to be a very powerful and useful system. It is actually far simpler than the preceding paragraph would make it seem. In fact, the cards eliminate much of the normal bookkeeping and writing seen most other games. Initiative is handled with a deck of the character’s names, and long-term effects or determent's go into pools just like any other card so no one forgets the terrain complications.

Broken down - a pool is what you are able to concentrate on, and flow is your ability to shift focus. Different pools represent abilities that might be in constant action, one use, or reoccurring. Keywords determine the use of a card and which pool it goes into. To take an action, the player decides the appropriate cards, and uses them to acquire d6s, which are then rolled and compared to a target number or the opposing roll of another character.

Handled in this system, combat takes on a new feel. You can see useful attributes disappear as you take damage, rather than un-descriptive hit points or check boxes. Tactical planning is a must since it takes some amount of time to stock abilities into usable pools. Even movement takes additional consideration, since the dice determine distance, so a character can’t always run sixty feet in one turn.

6d6 Outbreak is a good test of the system. The adventure is a rather basic zombie survival scenario - characters are trying to escape, their vehicle breaks down, and they are trying to find a way to fix it in an old house while a horde of undead close in. However, the limits the system places on character actions per turn, the drama of losing cards, varied pre-generated characters, and the good writing of the scenario make it really shine.

Even without using 6d6 itself, the scenario is well worth looking at for its unique layout. Rather than a simple A-B-C story structure, it is set up to react to both the character’s actions and real time. Entering certain rooms or taking too long can speed up how soon the final assault arrives. Red herrings, advice on running, and plans for how to handle a varying number of characters (from three to seven) are all elements that should be in most adventures.

A third item in this bundle, is a pre-designed set of cards, which goes a long way to help alleviate my concern about producing materials mentioned above. It might have been nice if symbols rather than colors differentiated types of cards in deference to ink costs and the colorblind, but the keywords on the card do a good job of indicating their use and which pool they fit in without additional prompting anyway, so that is a very minor concern.

Overall, this bundle is well worth the price. It is also well supported by the author - check out While there, you can take a look at the free version of the rules, but I’d recommend supporting an independent RPG author and purchasing this product now.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
6d6 Core + Outbreak! + Starter Pack (1st Ed.)
Publisher: 6d6 Fireball
by Simon G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/14/2012 07:06:02

This bundle is well worth the money. As a taster of 6d6, you'll find out if you like the system.

As a one-shot adventure, it is marvellous. The stories your players tell about how it unfolded will last for months if not years.

The presentation is good. The author of Outbreak! adopts a conversational tone and talks about how the scenario runs. The flow of events makes sense. because everything happens as a series of events that trigger based on player action and real time passing. With these two factors, it is easy to see how to use player creativity to have even more fun.

There are a couple of issues I've found. Number one is organisation, this has been identified in both books as a limitation of the publishing process. It can be hard to find what you are looking for at the table. Solid preparation avoids this issue. The second issue is a focus on tactical combat within the core rules. This doesn't affect Outbreak! much but it does bring through an old-school D&D flavour that you might enjoy more than I do.

DISCLAIMER: I was part of the original play test group for this product and know the author.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
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