Spire: My Game of the Year

Normally I don’t like talking about a game of the year because it’s hard to choose one, but this year is going to be different.

This year, I discovered Rowan, Rook & Decard’s Spire (affiliate link) on Kickstarter. I decided, mostly on a lark because I liked the art-style, to back it.

I played a lot of games that I liked this year, and since I consider games for my Game of the Year based on when I play them, not their release date, Spire had to compete with a lot of different games. It beat them all to such a degree that I didn’t have to question my choices.

However, my review of Spire is already out there, so I’ll recap what I like about it and be brief. This commentary applies to all the supplementary content that’s been released after the core rulebook as well, as it’s all been of really good quality and I’ve been enjoying it.

Spire combines humor (dark and zany, sometimes combined and sometimes independent of each other) with one of the most compelling core conflicts I’ve seen in a roleplaying game.

It also has a world that’s compellingly deep without requiring you to commit to any one interpretation of the setting. The sheer poignancy and inflection of culture found in Spire’s world allows for a setting that provides endless possibility, and honestly stands up well in comparison to any other game universe I can think of. I can compare it to the deep worlds of Shadowrun, Battletech, Avernum, Eclipse Phase, Faerun, Sryth, and Eberron that consumed the imagination of my youth, and I have no doubt that it will be a fond staple of my imagination for years to come.

Spire’s mechanics are so good that I’ve used them in my own games; Waystation Deimos is the only one that’s out now and uses a modified version of the system (which is itself borrowed from another developer), but there’s an elegant simplicity to them that allows them to blend narrative and mechanics without sacrificing anything to either.

The art is what first drew me into the world of Spire, and Adrian Stone has done a tremendous job at illustrating it in a way that reminds me of Failbetter Games’ style, but with its own twists. It’s evocative, dark, and colorful simultaneously, and unfortunately I’m not enough of an art critic to find the words to do it justice.

I cannot speak too highly of Spire. It’s a game that has earned its place among the greats.

Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game 30th Anniversary Edition Review

Alright, I couldn’t help myself and I stopped by my FLGS. While there, I found a nice surprise on one of the shelves: the Star Wars WEG 30th Anniversary Edition.

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Spire Review

Disclaimer: I backed Spire’s Kickstarter campaign.

Spire (DriveThruRPG affiliate link) is a fantasy-punk (for lack of a better genre) roleplaying game designed by Grant Howitt and Christopher Taylor. The game is beautifully dark, focusing on cadres of drow forming resistance cells against high elf (aelfir) authoritarians ruling the titular Spire.

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Review: Starfinder

Alright, boys and girls, I’m back for some more punishment. For those who are new to me, I’ve been working on my own games for a while so I’ve been taking a back-seat on reviews, both because I don’t typically have time, and because that’s a heck of a conflict of interest (so take this with a grain of salt), but I’ve finally gotten my assorted appendages on a copy of Starfinder and I figured I’d write a review, since I was really excited for Starfinder and it was really something that covers a lot of my interests.

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Thursday Review: Apocalyptia

I’m getting back into doing the occasional review; these will be rarer than they used to be, because I am no longer a featured reviewer on DriveThruRPG, but when I get around to getting a new game I will try to write a review of it.

Apocalyptia caught my eye as a free and open source tabletop game over at DriveThruRPG. Since it has a post-apocalyptic theme and I’ve been on a post-apocalyptic kick recently, I gave it a good look and it is fairly interesting, although it’s not necessarily a stand-out title.

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Thursday Review: Shadowrun Digital Tools Box

Digital Tools Box contains what would be two physical boxes. Each contains a lot of interesting content, though Alphaware is far more fleshed out and approaches the size and complexity of the 5th Edition core rulebook, while the Beginner Box is a quick start guide with an attached setting guide and novel excerpt. Continue reading “Thursday Review: Shadowrun Digital Tools Box”

Thursday Review: Wreck Age

Wreck Age is a respectable, though not necessarily innovative, Post-Cataclysm roleplaying and tactical tabletop game. While it has a decent level of quality, looks good, and has enough content to stand out, it suffers a little bit from not committing to one style or the other. Still, it’s well above average, and is in many ways a good example of what such a game should be.

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Thursday Review: 13th Age

13th Age isn’t super innovative. Let’s get that out of the way ahead of time. In terms of mechanics, there’s nothing that hasn’t been seen before. The setting is good, but not really anything that we haven’t seen. Where 13th Age succeeds, however, is in its balance of elements. 13th Age is the sort of thing that I love; it takes a game and tears it down to its basics, then reconstructs it. I’m not sure that the d20 system was the best place to apply that, but it’s certainly an interesting take.
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Sunday (Extra) Review: Shadowrun: Coyotes and Gun H(e)aven 3

Shadowrun released two supplements this weekend, and I took a look at both of them. All-in-all, Catalyst releases content at a somewhat rapid rate, and while they haven’t been releasing the sort of content I’d like to see most (namely a Runner’s Companion for 5th Edition), they did actually answer a question I asked on Stack Exchange, so I can’t complain too much. Also, Gun H(e)aven 3 (which I will just refer to as Gun Heaven from here forth) adds sport rifles and more weapons to 5th Edition, giving more flexibility in characters’ loadouts and gear.

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