Today ended up being a fairly auspicious day. When I got the mail this afternoon I ended up with a copy of Small Wardens, the latest book from Orcs Unlimited. I’ll be revealing that but that’s not what I had on schedule for today. What I do have one schedule is another book by the company called Escape From Teddy Bear Island. Today’s review is going to be a little shorter than normal because I’ve already reviewed one of their games. Just check out the review of We Hunt Bugs for what I have to say about the mechanics their games use. For today’s review I will be focusing on the story of the game and the unique aspects it holds mechanically.
The story of Escape From Teddy Bear Island is one that is new but familiar. The underlying premise of the book, in a tongue in cheek way, assumes that your character is an adventure from a game like Dungeons & Dragons. While you may have survived some crazy temples, elder evils of some kind, and helped strange NPCs with their even stranger problems your adventure has never been to somewhere like Teddy Bear Island. This game uses the standard mechanics of the publishers other games to create a lighthearted and fun adventure that still feels like your classic fantasy game. Instead of going to an island overrun by an evil cult, you’re going to an island overrun with animated toys.
In order to play up the idea of this setting there are a lot of things that will be at once both eerie and hilarious. From rubber ducks of doom to zombie teddy bears and evil bunnies to a animated fluff, this game has you fighting things that feel like classic monsters but certainly aren’t. Setting itself as a classic town with a port and a mayor from which are adventurers can begin their exploration of the island and perhaps even defeat the evil flufamancer. As the adventures travel and defeat evil teddy bears they will collect the bad and button eyes of these monsters. These eyes might even be used to purchase new and better gear, or simply replace what’s been lost to the hordes of evil stuffed animals.
All in all, this small RPG holds a very interesting and fun time between its covers. Like the other games from this publisher the book is not gigantic and does not overburden you with too much. Still, I would personally to see more about Teddy Bear Island. I can only imagine dozens on dozens of toys and stuffed animals that have been turned into monsters like those you find in your classic fantasy RPG. There’s plenty of Rome to tell your tale and add people and places to the island, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have more to work from. Of course the simple system and a little practice means that you can easily create anything you want or need.
All in all the mechanics for this game are not unique per se. They work the same way as the publishers other games. What is interesting about this one however, is that you don’t just pick an archetype or class. When you make your character you pick of both a race in a class, just like you would expect to in that game or you beat that giant evil temple. Woods nice about this is that it gives you a lot of different combinations rather than a handful of options. In addition to each class has a range special abilities from which to choose from. While each class only has two are free to choose you only get to choose one and this will help set you apart even further. This method of character development allows a simple game to generate a large number of options and and replay ability without developing overly complex or large lists of options. So far, though I haven’t looked at all their games thoroughly, this is probably my favorite in terms of character building.
If you’re looking for a new fund RPG to play that is quick to set up and easy to learn, like all of Orcs Unlimited’s games, this should definitely be on your list. Simple rules and the great setting also make this a wonderful game to introduce younger players. What they’re looking for a downtime game or easy fun, this game is worth the money. And if you ask me, the cost for print is well worth it.