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Gatekeepers Pay What You Want
Publisher: Lagging Dice LLC
by Sidney C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/04/2017 17:19:21

I grabbed the PDF and bought the print to play game box from thegamecrafter website as I am too lazy to print things back when this released, but was only just able to run a game with it.

The thing I liked best about this game is the fact that it requires zero prep time from players or DM (other than the DM having read the rules) if you do not want to. Though I strongly encourage any DM planning to run this game to read through stance changing and the healing rules carefully as for me that was the parts I got a bit mixed up on in my first read through. I only realized it after I was glancing at the rules during our first battle scene and had one of those "Oh I am sorry, forget what I said a turn ago... going forward we will do it right".

You can literally just grab the game off the shelf like a board game and go immediately into playing a tabletop RPG. You COULD build a character planning cards and working with the DM, or you could just get dealt cards as listed in the game, pick X number as dictated by the DM, and get playing (what we did for first game). Though simple, due to all the different kinds of cards (which equate gear, abilities, pets/minions, spells, etc) you end up with very different characters and builds.

I mentioned the lack of need for prep time. Because of the way the game plays and the default background, world, and fleshed out city presented in the book a DM could take time to set up a story/adventure or just jump in and sandbox style run the game. It was also super easy to teach, as really only the DM needs to know the game mechanics. The players actually do not even have to look in the book ever other than to read about their race or lore stuff. Or the DM can just throw them in (which I did) and it was good times. Learn as you go was not a problem here as the cards have the info players normally have character sheets and are checking the book for.

It is straight forward for the rolls (d6's, add appropriate modifier from the number of smiles, swords, etc symbols) to see if you succeed. However, because you choose a "stance" represented by your cards which in turn represents how you are approaching the situation, there is some thought you need to put into the actions you take. You can shift stance as turns/encounters/situations arise, so it is not static. Your stance needs to be chosen carefully as though you could maximize it for the higher chances on your roll (attack, sneak, whatever), you would also want to consider if you wanted to hedge your bets in case something unexpected happens.

I thought modding the game would be a pain, but really you just need to grab an index card to write on to add an item/spells/whatever you want into the game. Or just use the other cards and window dress it with narrative. Since I paid to have it all printed out, I made a small change by taking all the blank cards provided by thegamecrafter box and wrote "DM choice". I am treating that as a form of Critical Loot (or wound/fail) and then I pick something based on whim or dice rolls (ala DnD).

So lots of Pros above.

The big Con being all the cards you need. The game also uses tokens, but you could skip them and substitute using dice rolls for random loot and tracking on paper if you want. So that means you will either A) be willing to Arts and Crafts it by printing everything out and cutting things out yourself, or B) (what I did) and buy the box set. Dollar value of getting the box was worth it for me as it both made it easy, I got better quality than printing at home, cheaper than running to staples to do it all, and it sits with my other table top games and I can pull it down for a spontaneous 1 shot (or if I am super lucky this turns into a longer campaign).

A neutral/preference thing: While you could play it in a theater of the mind style game player, I found it much more fun pulling out miniatures and tokens to represent the players/npcs for combat (used a mix of DnD and Super Dungeon Explore minis with my friends). I tend to prefer that with most games, so the fact the game put the effort into detailing ranges with a box/grid option was great for me.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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