By Anthony “LibrariaNPC” DeMinico, 6 February 2019
As a gamemaster that is always on the go, I’m a fan of anything that’ll make my life easier with running games. Portable dice trays, easy-to-carry kits, dungeon creation tools, and anything else that can keep the weight down while still doing its job is worth its weight in gold in my book.
So when I saw Minute RPG on Kickstarter, I knew I needed to add it to my ever-growing collection of tools and resources.
Minute RPG is pitched as a game that can literally be set up in a minute (or two), while also being versatile enough to cover genres like mystery, space sci-fi, medieval fantasy, and cyberpunk, as well as other uses. Using a specialized deck of cards, one can create a character or NPC, develop plot hooks, determine a die roll (on a d6), and play an RPG session or even a game of Werewolf, regardless of where you are.
==What You Get==
Upon arrival, Minute RPG is inside of a cardboard deck box, and inside that is a plastic deckbox. Within that box, we have four glow in the dark six-sided dice, 52 cards (four sets of 13), two “cheatsheet” cards, and a small rules pamphlet.
The cards are waterproof PVC, and provide ways to develop characters/NPCs, stories/scenes, generate die rolls, and track character states.
I’ll have to start off by calling a spade a spade: this is a full game that fits within a deck box. Similar to It’s Not My Fault, you can generate a character with just a few card draws, as well as devise a story based on the card that was drawn. Unlike It’s Not My Fault, you literally have everything needed for a game right here; you don’t need to write anything down, as everything you need it on the cards, your cards track your current status (wounds and the like), and the deck can be used to represent die rolls as well.
I can literally walk into a con with JUST this deckbox and nothing else, and run a game. That’s not bad by ANY means.
The rule mechanics are also rather simple and easy to pick up, and according to other backers and playtesters, can be taught to children. Characters get a Background, Profession, Advantage, and Ability Score card, and any time a task is attempted, you just simply roll under your Ability Score (Mind, Body, and Soul; reminiscent of Tri-Stat). If you have something about your character tied to the task, such as being a Paladin while swinging a sword, or being an Advanced A.I. trying to hack a system, you may roll additional dice, with each roll under the total being a success. Add them up and away you go.
As you can see, this mechanic is simple to learn and teach, as well as easy to grok.
The game is also just useful for GM’s that work on the fly. Need a plot hook? Draw four cards. Need an NPC? Draw four cards. Need a character concept for a player? Draw four cards. Need a d6 roll? Draw a card! Versatile tools like this are worth their weight in gold to me, and anyone who’s used a similar product, like the aforementioned It’s Not My Fault, will surely agree.
Oh, and if you like Werewolf, this set of cards will take care of that for you.
Like Monster Slaughter, I was assaulted by a pungent odor when opening the box. Even a month later, the scent still lingers; not as strong as before, but it’s still there. The best way to describe this scent would be to liken to it Play-Doh, so if you can find this, be sure to be prepared.
That said, there were a few other production issues with the game. Namely, a few of the cards were faded slightly, which made me do double takes to ensure they did match the rest of their color set. Additionally, English is not the first language of the creator, meaning we have a number of odd spellings and typos, as well as some clunky grammar within the rulebook.
Sadly, this clunky grammar makes some parts of the game a bit difficult. Combat feels awkward due to how it is described, and I can’t tell if something was simply lost in translation, or if this was a legitimate limitation of the game.
Finally, it seems that the game is not widely out there for sale. The creator did a Kickstarter for the game, finished the print run, and apparently decided to not continue it. There is a website set up for it, and I am hoping this means we will see a reproduction of this at a later time, but as of this moment, you can only purchase it from specific retailers that purchased the game as a retailer. There will be a print-your-own version in the future, but details for this have been non-existent, making it that much harder to work with.
Honestly, if they just ditched the dice and made this available on DriveThruCards, even though the size would be different, it would still work out rather nicely and still be up for sale…
After dealing out a few hands, I’m going to have to give Minute RPG a rating of 2.5 buns, with a very powerful argument for more.
The game is a wonderful tool for a GM that needs an easy pickup game, or just needs an extra tool for their collection of generators. Sadly, the game suffers due to odd linguistic quirks and some mechanics that are not cleanly explained, making it better suited as a creation tool for a narrative-driven RPG than a stand-alone game. Additionally, not being available for general sale and only to two retailers in the US and two shops in Denmark (I assume, as they are Danish) plummets the score.
Honestly, the game would be worthy of 3.5 buns if it were readily available, and with proper editing and cleanup, would easily net this 4 buns instead sheerly due to versatility.
If you are looking for a quick game to pick up and run, or are a GM that needs a way to build things for your game in a short amount of time, Minute RPG is absolutely worth your time and money, and is worth checking out when the print-it-yourself option comes about.
If you are not a GM, and don’t have someone willing to run a game on the fly, this may not be the best product for you.
Minute RPG was developed by Kasper Pederson. Information on the game can be found on the Kickstarter page, with the rules and distributors (as well as the print-it-yourself note) can be found on the Minute RPG webpage. Backing it on Kickstarter ran close to $10 after currency conversions, but I am currently unable to find the retail price for a physical or digital copy.