I was first introduced to Silvervine only a few weeks ago, I had been informed they were going to be attending our local gaming Convention and figured I should go look up what they were about. I found the idea behind what they were doing to be interesting, unique, and ambitious (three of my favorite qualities in a game).
Come COSCON 2013, I've signed up to do their character creation but I hadn't seen many other folks do the same, so I told my wife she should go check out the game (her scheduled game had fallen through). When I came to check up on her, my wife excitedly told me "I made a My Little Pony Character who can throw daggers with her Unicorn Magic! You need to play this!"
So come the next day I sat down with the guys there and a few other folk, I was pleasantly surprised to see that their boast of "create anything" was not only valid but exciting to engage in. There are plenty of games that tout a similar claim but ultimately the process is long and tedious if not downright horrible (Yeah, I'm looking at you GURPS and Hero). Silvervine just didn't have that feel, even if I ignore the energy that comes from a convention setting there is a palatable sense of fun in figuring out how to make any character I can dream up without sacrificing ease of play in the process.
By the time I was done I'd created Connor Stryde: Gentleman Thief Teleporter based off the abilities from the movie "Jumper" (don't hate, I love that movie) and felt confident in his ability to successfully teleport through most of the game (I might have been a little overbearing on the GM because of that power, Ryan has my extreme apologies for that and my deepest respect for keeping a great attitude even when I was being a tool).
Gameplay itself was wonderfully smooth, though I have a gripe about stats that have literally no bearing on my character as built (Mana and Tech) I can see why they made the choice to include them for all characters regardless of concept. The D10 System they've employed is like and unlike all the other dice pool systems out there which gives it both a familiarity and unique feeling at the same time, something I appreciate as a long time -but easily underwhelmed- gamer. The crunch of the system did not seem to diminish the cinematic quality of player narrative control when it was handed over to us. Though this can sometimes put a player on the spot (I saw it happen at least once) overall it's an absolutely under appreciated type of gaming and I was thrilled to see it so seamlessly incorporated into the game design and game masters tools.
The world of Cyrus stood out while we played through our demo, its anime/steampunk/fantasy tropes were so familiar to us yet still put together in a fun way that players really felt able to understand and visualize the surroundings as the GM described scenes to us. While I was unable to read through the core book at COSCON, my purchase of the hard copy on Drivethru came with a PDF and I've since poured through a bit of it. Put together in a way that shows years of gaming experience (and just a tad too much time spent on JRPG's) the world feels "right" without feeling like it was tailored for gamers to like.
If there was any one criticism I could give this book it would be the artwork, not that it doesn't lend itself to the daring and indy feel of the book but its sometimes sloppy style stands out as the weakest link. If the boys at Silvervine ever decide on a second edition I would be remiss if I didn't suggest they find artists of a different caliber. However, that all being said: the book is still wonderful and there has been very little negative to say otherwise.
Overall this game was well worth trying out and eventually purchasing, my gaming group was thrilled to discover I'd gone ahead and ordered a print copy and I am sure we will be using Silvervine often in the coming months/years