hunt-the-wicked

The first entry in my #RPGaMonth campaign is complete. I completed the entire text of Hunt the Wicked, and will jot down some notes on the text. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I acquired this game as an add-on for an “all digital” Kickstarter campaign run by Nocturnal Publishing. Now that I’ve read it, I’m glad this game was part of the package. As a quick explanation, I’ll start with the good, proceed with the bad, and end with the ugly. Actually, that’s not true. I’ll offer some closing thoughts to round out the review.

The good

 

This game is unique. I don’t know that I’ve ever read a rule system quite this one. It is billed as a “rule-light” system, and I find that I have to agree. The fact that the GM never rolls is quite interesting. Not allowing the GM to roll fundamentally alters bookkeeping, prep, and the flow of in game play. Most of the game play seems oriented towards forcing the PCs to make choices, and then accept the consequences of those choices. In fact, “consequence” is an actual in game mechanic. In addition, almost everything in the game can be handles through simple mechanics like, “Difficulty”, “Severity”, and “Consequences”. Literally everything. This makes a lot of play very streamlined. For people who like smaller rule systems, this would seem to fit the bill.

The bad

While the game purports to focus on narrative, I found myself think there was something missing mechanically. Basically, it feels weird to use the same, or very similar mechanics to solve almost every obstacle. To that end, some part of me wanted to see something that accounted for the difference between punching someone, and shooting them with a blaster rifle, or laser gun. This didn’t really seem present. The game offers bonuses through equipment, but I feel like this is something that was lacking. I know its supposed to be rules-light, but I would have liked to see things like equipment handled differently.

The ugly

Even though it is rules-light, it was an awkward read. While it doesn’t have a lot of rules, it does have a lot of jargon. Throughout the book there were lots of terms used that instructed people how to make use of the few mechanics that do exist. Even if the game is rules-light, the amount of concepts make it feel like it is still a complicated game.

 

Concluding thoughts

This game offers a different approach to gaming. While the use of terminology to facilitate narrative effects can be confusing, the game offers a simple mechanical system. After reading the core rule book just once I feel like I’ve got a pretty good handle on the game. It would be interesting to see how the game develops over time. The mechanical system is so simple and narrative based means that things like a Bestiary/Monstrous Manual aren’t really needed. However, setting materials and one-shot adventures would be a great addition to this game. I think the game was worth a read, and I’d like to give a run to see what it was really like. The game looks promising, and if nothing else, I tip my hat to Ben Dutter for pushing innovation in TTRPG. To play or not to play depends on how much you like a narrative heavy game. If you do, then definitely check it out. If you don’t, and you prefer well-tested mechanics, this may not be your game.

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