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Panic at the Dojo $15.95
Average Rating:4.8 / 5
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Panic at the Dojo
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Panic at the Dojo
Publisher: Liberi Gothica Games
by James [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/07/2024 22:08:09

I'm not giving Panic at the Dojo 5 stars because it's perfect; I'm giving it 5 stars because it's a boldly creative game that you should buy.

The mechanics are innovative, fun and fit for purpose, a rare achievement for a new system. Panic at the Dojo is captures the <i>feel</i> of mystical martial arts combat from media like River City Ransom, Streets of Rage, Wind Breaker, etc in a way that no other RPG I can think of manages.

Beyond the centerpiece martial arts combat, Panic at the Dojo has a very stealable mechanic in the form of stakes. The story effects of losing or winning are established at the beginning of fights and only rarely derail the story, so the GM never has a meta-narrative necessity to pull punches; the players are fighting opponents who <i>want to win</i> and will try to do exactly that.

There are real flaws: The layout is confusing and disorganized, the editing needed at minimum two more passes, at least one critical rule is only clearly stated in the appendix (knowing that you can only spend 2 iron tokens per attack prevents combat from becoming a massive slog), and as another reviewer pointed out, there is no character sheet. Finally the art does little to capture the feel of the game's inspirations.

Absolutely use the errata.

Overall, the flaws are outweighed to such an extent that I recommend Panic at the Dojo without reservation. This game is worth trying out, and its mechanics are worth studying.

Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Panic at the Dojo
Publisher: Liberi Gothica Games
by Vladimir [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/02/2024 13:17:17

This is a very interesting game. The rules outside of combat are barebones, but in combat it is a completely different beast! A combination of a beat-em up arcade game with OG Fatal Fury bosses (in the OGFF, you could battle two against the CPU "boss"). It is a very build-heavy game, and theorycrafters will have a field day with it. I really, really like the engine. If you are bored with always checking for succes and want to depend more on your strategy, this is the game for you! And the Game Masters will love the competitive side! three thumbs up!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Panic at the Dojo
Publisher: Liberi Gothica Games
by Solomon K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/31/2023 00:00:57

The good: It's a really great fight engine with a lot of dynamism and out-of-turn interaction. My group is going through a 5 fight adventure (just finished fight 4) that's been a ton of fun- an elemental-themed Frantic hero playing a variety of roles, a Fused Wardancer/Punk hero who's been using Forbidden Power Iron to hit like a truck, and a Fused Demon/Trickster who's been unreasonably disruptive with well-timed Challenges. Foes feel really good to fight- they have powerful-but-not-insurmountable abilities that we can counter with the right tools- and our GM has had a blast putting together cool builds for us to fight (personal favorite foe: a Overwhelming One-Two Trickster who played attack and defense at the same time)

Out of combat, we've basically been doing freeform RP. No issues there- the system gave us some adjectives to invoke in response to challenges and got out of our way. Because it's so modularized, it's even possible to swap out with another system entirely- I've had some thoughts about strapping PaTD to Blades in the Dark.

We found a heavily automated Google Sheets character sheet which helped a lot with organizing our styles and keeping track of foes.

The bad: It could have used another pass of editing. Questions came up regarding 'on damage/on hit' triggers interacting with Iron tokens and Armor (Is 0 damage still 'dealing damage'? One-Two form suggests yes, but Knockdown Style suggests no), and it took us multiple sessions before noticing page 280's limit on Iron tokens spent per hit (which is contradicted by Armored Style). These were subtly impactful issues that led to our GM needing to fielding Power foes in order to break through our defenses.

However, on the whole this is a really fun system! Foes are tricky but not unfair, and players have an incredible amount of versatility in battle that other systems struggle to match. Every fight has been incredibly distinctive- I'll remember the fight where our foes just kept tossing us into the big pit in the center, the one where the Crying Control foe destroyed the entire arena, and even the Some Guy gang (named stuff like Some Jerk, Some Punk, etc.), but the party has still had the tools to come out on top.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Panic at the Dojo
Publisher: Liberi Gothica Games
by Isaac A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/08/2021 14:37:57

the game is overall a good one and has a good character creation system, but they forgot to include any type of character sheet in the book. Personally I feel that this was a mistake even with the simplistic game rules, as a sheet is just good for organizing character's statistic in a way that looks good and helps keep the feel of the game going. Speaking of the book, maybe I had some sort of printer error but the front dozen or two pages were some I Spy game for children ages 2-5, half printed on each page. Honestly this feels closer to a wargame than an rpg, as there is no advancement that I can see to make a hero more powerful and very little in the way of mechanics for out of combat stuff, with the somewhat weak justification of "If you have a skill that covers it you succeed, if you do not you just comically fail automatically." . The combat system is a very solid foundation but I feel that it is just that, a foundation, and to maybe come back and try the game again when it has actually built on it to make a proper rpg. As it is now I would reccomend Panic at the Dojo be kept an eye on unless you really need a kung fu fix, but not purchased until maybe some sourcebooks come out that make it a bit more playable as a campaign game rather than a single night of fun. The game has potential but it feels like it was so hasty about showing off this combat system that it neglected everything else.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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