A Review of Junior Braves Survival Guide Quickstart

Junior Braves Survival Guide
to the Apocalypse

Free RPG Day Quickstart

Author: GremlinLegions
Publisher: Oni Games
Page Count: 24
Available Formats: Print
Print – Free, during Free RPG Day

In the Junior Braves Survival Guide to the Apocalypse game, you take on the role of Junior Braves—young scouts who are learning outdoor skills, good citizenship, and teamwork. After a week spent at camp, they return home to find that some sort of doomsday event has brought civilization as they know it to an end. The full version of this game is based on the Junior Braves Survival Guide to the Apocalypse graphic novel series and uses a variant of the easy-to-learn Kids on Bikes roleplaying game system. This quickstart guide provides everything you need to learn the game’s basics and play the included adventure. Ownership of Kids on Bikes is not required; Junior Braves Survival Guide to the Apocalypse is its own game and is only “powered” by Kids on Bikes. 

This 24-page all-inclusive digest-sized quickstart is designed and presented to teach the rules easily and logically. It includes 6 pre-generated campers and an adventure “module” so that new players can jump right in.

While Junior Braves Survival Guide to the Apocalypse takes its theme from a graphic novel series, its mechanical underpinnings are taken from the tried and true Kids on Bikes (KoB) roleplaying game. If you’re familiar with KoB, you’ll be able to jump right in and only need to review those rules that are either new or changed in this version of the game. For players unfamiliar with KoB, here’s a primer to Junior Braves Survival Guide to the Apocalypse rules taken from the Quickstart.

STATS – every scout has attributes: Brain, Brawn, Fight, Flight, Charm, and Grit. Taking a standard polyhedral dice set (less the percentile d10), assign each die to one of the attributes. When you need to roll an attribute, you roll the assigned die in hopes of meeting or beating a target number.

TROPES – each scout will have their own trope. This defines the kind of person the scout is. Tropes include Dreamer, Ruffian, Tinkerer, Tribe Master, etc. These examples were taken from the pre-generated scouts, as Tropes and their in-game details are not included in this quickstart.

SKILL PATCHES – These represent the things that your scout has been trained to do. These include various activities, sports, and hobbies. These are the badges worn on their sash. In-game, if you describe an action that incorporates and takes advantage of your training, you can add +3 to your roll.

FLAWS – flaws represent some kind of weakness, phobia, disadvantage, behavior, or some other eccentricity of your scout and will tend to make things more difficult for them. When you include your Flaw while describing your action, thus complicating your situation, you gain two Brave Tokens if you fail, instead of the usual one.

PACK & POCKETS –  every scout has certain items in their pack and pockets at the start of the game; some are predefined, while others are left to the player to determine at the start. In this quickstart, limited use items, such as canteens, have three (3) uses, and these uses must be tracked. Restocking is possible and will remove anywhere from one to three usage marks.

BRAVE TOKENS – Brave Tokens serve three functions within the game. Their primary use is to add +1 to your rolls or those of another player on a one-for-one basis. They may also be used to activate some Trope abilities or can be pooled together in a collective pool that all scouts can draw from but specific criteria must be met to use these communal tokens. Brave Tokens are earned by incorporating your Flaw in your narrative description and failing the roll (earns 2 tokens) or when you fail a roll without your Flaw involved (earns 1 token).

STRESS & TRAUMA – stress represents bruises, cuts, and scrapes that are usually the result of failed rolls. Each time a Stress is taken (e.g., sprained ankle) which complicates an action, the target number is increased by +3. Suffering up to four Stress turns it into a Trauma resulting in the scout crossing out one of their abilities. Two Traumas severely incapacitate, and a third is fatal. Stress and Trauma are recoverable but take time.

TROUBLES & THREATS – adversarial forces that the scouts’ encounter represent Threats. Threats, when combined into a bigger plot, represent a part of the Troubles. In short, Troubles are the big plot lines, usually, those directly contributing to some apocalyptic event.

As you can surmise from the primer above, the rules themselves are not overly complicated, and while I have presented them in the barest of barebones way, there is not too much I have left out. New players should not have any trouble picking this game up with a single reading.

This quickstart also includes a fully developed adventure module so that new players can experience the basics of the game right away. “A Simple Stop for Gas” puts the scouts right in the thick of it and gives new players a taste of what Junior Braves Survival Guide to the Apocalypse is all about. This scenario, like those in KoB, is not written like traditional roleplaying game modules, but rather are a sandbox framework. “A Simple Stop for Gas” begins with the campers returning to a gas station that they had previously visited on the edge of Penelope, on their way to their scouting expedition a week earlier. This time, the jovial clerk is dead, the station is heavily damaged, and the gas has run dry. What’s happened here?

That’s the underlying question the Scouts need to solve. The Tribe Master (GM) is provided a moderately fleshed out town with 20 points of interest that can be visited. The Tribe Master is also provided with four possible Troubles and their related Threats that they can use. You’ll have to pick this up to learn more about the Troubles and Threats because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.

Junior Braves Survival Guide to the Apocalypse Quickstart appears to be a great introduction to the full game—mission accomplished! The rules, while slightly different from Kids on Bikes, are still simple enough for players of all ages to easily learn and could be easily learned on-the-fly. The included “module” is robust enough to give players a good feel for the game and the literature it’s derived from. There’s enough meat on the bones with this module that players and even a moderately experienced GM could easily expand the play experience, getting more bang for the buck. All-in-all, this is a nice addition to the 2020 Free RPG Day line up.

~ Modoc

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