Over this past weekend, I had the opportunity to read through the draft rules of a new game, Hood: Swashbuckling Adventures in Sherwood headed to Kickstarter on 1 Feb. The game’s author, Bryce Whitacre, asked me, to give the world my initial thoughts on the game. So, here they are.
Strikingly, the game is heavily focused on the narrative of swashbuckling derring-do in the age of Robin Hood as members of the Merry Men. To do this, the rules are such that players are encouraged to be creative and maximize the use of their skills, traits, abilities and other resources to attempt any anything that can dream up; this is called the story pool. Mechanically, there are die values assigned to traits, skills, other resources that will ultimately yield a pass or fail result. All dice in the pool are rolled and all values of 4 or higher are successes. If the player rolls enough successes they accomplish what they set out to do. There are obviously more rules at play and these will be covered in a future full-fledged review.
The heavy focus on narrative is meant to keep players engaged and allow them to explore all manner of new and interesting ideas and schemes to overcome situations. The game is unlike most game on the market but does offer some familiar elements.
A peek at just a few of the Game Mechanics:
– Story pool (aptly named dice pool)
– Die values assigned to almost everything (used in the story pool)
– Hood Die (also used in the Baker St. RPG) [a boon/bane mechanic]
– Pluck & Swashbuckling Momentum (similar to bennies in other games)
This game will appeal, in my opinion, to a wide variety of gamers, but it will fall short for some. The gamers I see gravitating towards this game are those that find a lot of value in highly narrative games, with simple mechanics that facilitate the narrative. I see this game appealing to those that love a hint of history and touch of legend in their games. With a relatively simple set of rules, I also see Hood being accessible to the younger crowd as well. Though I suspect there will have to be a little bit of handwaving of some of the slightly more nuanced parts of the rules.
I know what presented above is a very simplistic look at the game and doesn’t do it justice! That being said, I would encourage everyone to have a look at the Kickstarter and evaluate it for yourself. What I can tell you is that Bryce and his team are innovative and deeply dedicated to their games. Thier previous game, Baker St., had countless hours of research into the theme and also into the innovative mechanical structure. Hood appears to have that same level of devotion from reading the draft rules.
Here’s my review of Baker Street: Roleplaying in the World of Sherlock Holmes for those interested.