Review by C.J. Bunce

Everyone has had enough of 2020, maybe more so than any year in recent (or distant!) memory.  Isn’t it about time we have more fun?  Simon & Schuster imprint Adams Media has a quick way to get started.  Editor James D’Amato has enlisted forty game players and game makers to build 40 quick-to-learn roleplaying games in The Ultimate Micro-RPG Book The ideas are brilliant, the breadth of content, completely creative.  You can choose from several levels of complexity, different genres, game types, game tie-in props and tools, and a variety of tones and formats.  If you like to play roleplaying games (RPGs) or you’re a beginner, you’ll find a lot to propel you to create your own games and enjoy something new to play right now in this volume.

Each of 40 games features two pages of rules, so figure each is a significantly pared down version of Dungeons & Dragons.  Want a dice game?  That’s here, as well as games incorporating cards.  Each game requires a game master, who controls non-playing characters, and playing characters, who you create and flesh out with appearance, behavior, personality, and history.  Players create a voice for their character, manage statistics and abilities, and address story challenges by taking action.  The rules of these games provide the setting and unique mechanics–in many ways The Ultimate Micro-RPG Book is as much instructive on making your own games as finding something new to play.

Maps and webs, prompts, random draw or dice, clocks and meters, pause and fast forward, or even journaling or kinetic components come together to create a game for 3-6 players and as little as 30 minutes of play, but usually 1-3 hours.  Each factor a complexity score, requirements, and the goal.  Genres include everything from sci-fi to fantasy, modern, horror, or even animal characters.  And the tone is either adventurous, funny, serious, or scary–if you dare.  Play with a traditional game master, or without, or rotate roles–plenty of options will help you find the right games for your group.

 

You’ll find a game of guilty steampunk zombie cyborgs, a Martian recon rescue, planning a party in zero G, a medical drama, a hero dog, werewolf genealogy, mythology, post-apocalypse, past lives, basketball, swordplay, bad gifts, ghosts, or even defending your childhood.  Backgrounds of creators are included in an appendix, plus grid paper and a few character sheets.

 

It’s all clever, and something to inspire you to play more.  To embark on your next gaming adventure, order The Ultimate Micro-RPG Book today here at Amazon.