Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Mazaki no Fantaji

Just over three years ago, I backed a little game called Early Dark on Kickstarter.  They had a decent pitch for an interesting-seeming game - and I had the cash to spare.

They delivered in a reasonable amount of time, too.  I was moving at the time it arrived, so I set the book aside and ... it vanished in the move.  So it's in a box somewhere in the garage.

Either way, the team behind Early Dark has a new project up on Kickstarter - I mentioned it last week.  It's called Mazaki no Fantaji.

Because Early Dark delivered, I decided to back Mazaki no Fantaji.  The best way to encourage the industry is to fund the industry, right?  And I'm all about supporting the "little guy."

As an added bonus, there is a preview up on DriveThru for Mazaki no Fantaji.

So I thought I'd take a look.

Putting these previews up is always risky for the publisher - there are people who will not back because they dislike the preview.

I'm rapidly reaching the point where I won't back without a preview and/or rulebook - even if I never look at it. Because that preview shows that you have finished something.  It shows that you're willing to take the risk of people disliking your product.

There are a few things in this preview I dislike.  Some of the language strikes me as odd - for example, they refer repeatedly to the "Nopo Continent" instead of "the continent of Nopo," once and then just "Nopo" throughout.  The resolution engine is described as "crazy versatile," which sets my teeth on edge.

But there are a number of things I like, too.  The layout is clean. The art is crisp. Yes, they did the "text over a background" thing, but the text isn't unreadable because of it.  And the rules are clear.

Character-wise, it reminded me - in parts - of FATE or Over the Edge.  There isn't a pre-set list of stats. No Strength, Intelligence, Charisma and the like - instead, your character is described by a series of descriptors, which the player chooses.  Each character also has a niche - it's their place in society.  I vaguely remember something similar in Early Dark, so this may be the "signature" of Anthropos games.

I also like that they didn't bother with a Mook rule - instead, low level foes are an Obstacle.  So a pack of wild dogs is (mechanically) treated almost exactly the same as a trap or a moat or a locked door.  I wish more games did this.  It suits my storygaming side, because it makes it clear to players how important a given encounter is.

Also of interest to me: You can overcome an obstacle by removing all of its Drama or by removing all of its Health.  In other words, "Once there is no fear of X, there is no need to continue dealing with X."

In addition to the quickstart, they apparently also have videos on their website. Theoretically.  I can't find them. But that could just be me fumbling my Search check.

So why am I not actually discussing the mechanics, here?  Because the Quickstart is free and you can decide for yourself.

You'd better hurry, though.  The project ends next week.

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