Monday, June 4, 2012

Ep.24 Shikishima Heroes Review

Show Audio
Transcript: In this episode I review Shikishima Heroes by Felbrigg Herriot.

PocketMod is a Luddite's answer to pocket PDAs, using origami paper-folding to make a great note-taking system. But who knew they would make such a great format for single-page short format RPGs. Following in this interesting new trend, Shikishima Heroes condenses an entire indie rpg into a single fold-able booklet.

Shikishima Heroes is set in an alternate 1900 in which the pride of the Japanese fleet disappears, only to appear again a year later, with the crew transformed into super heroes. I haven't heard of anything like this idea, so kudos for an original concept. I don't want to spoil too much of the game, since its a brief format. To summarize, the combat, character creation, and vibe reflect strongly the design objectives of the author's other RPG Lovecraftian Shorts and Gregor Hutton's 3:16. We've reviewed both so if you want to get a flavor, check those reviews out. It's quick and has no fat rules bloat whatsoever. It doesn't just copy these previous systems though, this is a brand new set of rules.

The format requires a lot of concessions to space as opposed to most RPGs, but this presents a unique design challenge. However, it requires a purity of concept that is a bit revolutionary. I think Shikishima succeeds at this quite well. In this little sheet you have background, chargen, a universal resolution system, a system for setting up opposition and an introductory adventure. That's a ton for one 8.5 by 11 sheet. The gripes I have seem a bit minor, and are likely due to the format length rather than any real objections. Also its a dollar people, I spend that much on itunes for things I never use.

Heroes of the Navy
  • A new and original idea, with a complete system for beer-and-pretzels style play.
  • A lot of bells and whistles for this format, I'm suitably impressed that an intro adventure is in there.
  • You can buy, print copies from the pdf, roll 2 dice each and be playing. That is an incredible statement.
Disgruntled Giant Sea Turtles
  • The bad thing about this format is also its brevity, with just what's here there can't be very much staying power without the GM creating material past the first session or two. Weigh this heavily against the price point, however.
  • The combat system has a quick death spiral, scenes are meant to be a round or two, if this is OK with you, you'll have a ball.
  • The system is fairly narrativist, so balancing is done via social contract, which is fairly standard for a lot of indie games these days.

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