I got the chance to read the draft rules for No Country for Old kobolds over this past week and I am really impressed with the near final result. The game itself focuses on the players having kobold characters who are not long for this world. As we all know, kobolds are the favorite prey of 1st level murder hobos if fantasy RPGs! If that wasn’t enough, they now have to contend with external pressure from other groups who want to potential see them dead or at least exploited to the maximum extent possible before they die.
No Country for Old kobolds is a Dungeon Word hack that mirrors much of the parent game, but don’t let that fool you! There is plenty that is original to this game and that originality is essential to the gaming experience. Since the game has not been released and the draft rules are only available to Kickstarter backers, I don’t want to say too much about specific rules. What I will say is, for those that have played Dungeon World or are at least familiar with those rules, you will really like the changes that have been implemented here. They are also thematically appropriate for the short lives of the kobold.
Two weekends ago I had the opportunity to sit down and play the game and I had a great time! I really like the structure of the Apocalypse World engine (what all *World games are derived from) and how the fiction is really the driving factor to propelling a story along. No Country for Old kobolds really exemplified how the fiction can move a story and the relationship between characters and the fiction itself. After a short world-building exercise, our kobolds had to venture forth in search of what we called “sacred berries”. These berries were used to help keep our village hidden. We set out into elf country and upon finding the berry bushes, and not being the brightest of kobolds, we found ourselves in a position to attack the vile elves! That’s exactly what we did and much to our dismay, two of our three kobolds perished in a horrible fashion. Since the lives of kobolds are so short (1-2 years), if your kobold happens to die, you assume the identity of one of your offspring. Well, the way my offspring happened into the fiction was awesome! She got to see her father being killed in a most horrible fashion by an elf! She immediately jumped into the fray to help slay the kobold killer! The story goes on…..
Hands down this was a fun game and I look forward to playing many more times. Steve Wallace has created a game that is arguably awesome in all regards. It’s fiction driven, player immersive, and comical! The official rules in PDF, I believe, will be released in late May with the printed book following shortly behind that. You can pre-order here <— Do it!
Here’s the Kickstarter video: