Today I have a very interesting review for you, the likes of which I hope to see more of. This is a one-page RPG and, for those who don’t know, the concept has given rise to lots of amazing little games over the past few years. You might be familiar with All Outta Bubblegum, Lasers & Feelings, or Honey Heist. The point of games like these is to generate an easy and fun RPG that can be used at any time with a limited number of dice, no character sheets, and rules you’ll probably have memorized after a few games. The key to these games is a good concept and a mechanic to make that concept fun. Today we are looking at just such a game. Orc Stabr can be found here, on Kickstarter, but more of that below.
The concept that Orc Stabr is built around is a simple one, even by the standards of most one-page games. You are an orc, your friends are orcs, everyone playing is an orc. The one running the game is an orc known as the Legend Teller and it is their job to weave the tale of ferocious beasts that the other orcs will be battling. The point of the game is to stab things. Orcs want the biggest and most difficult fights to bring honor to their clan and have tales told of their prowess in battle. That’s it. Make orcs, scream battle cries, stab monsters, and become legendary. What else do you need?
How To Stab
The mechanics of this game are relatively simple. To begin you name your orc and your weapon. There are four basic stats and you are able to choose what you are good at. Rather than the common two-stat roll and over or under style of many one-page games, this one utilizes a simple dice pool mechanic. The same mechanic is utilized for monsters and is made fun in the way they scale. The harder something might hit the bigger the die you might use but that also means you have a wider range of possibility. I would love to go into greater detail but, things being what they are, that would pretty much tell you everything you need to play this. Instead let’s talk about the most important part of this review.
First off the mechanics, while slightly more complex than other one-page RPGs that I have played, are very simple and easy enough to pick up. They are also loose and you can go pretty wild with them, which is perfect for this type of game. Second the concept is good. While it doesn’t take on a complex narrative or some unique concept, it allows you to do something we don’t normally do in a fun and easy way: play the monster. Being an orc in this game is all about the story and the challenge without the 100s of pages of rules or any giant complexities. Be the orc, stab the monster. These factors alone make this a wonderful little one-page RPG, but it is the execution of this products design and release that makes it truly amazing.
This game is, you read correctly in the intro, being Kickstarted. Why you might ask? Because you aren’t just getting rules, you are getting personalized rules. From what I understand, each copy will be slightly different than others. This includes art, “blood” stains, and special rules. I would hazard to guess those will be small bonus rules written in the margins such as the potion included on my copy. Aside from that these are written from the perspective of Limm, an orc telling you how to play the game. The rules are written in less-than-good English by Limm, but done so in a way you can easily understand. It is a perfect way of presenting this game and I love it. The sheet is also a nice glossy paper that should hold up pretty well even if or when something is spilled on it. This paper is ripped and made to look like something Limm would hand you in a world with orcs. And when I say ripped, I mean they are actually ripping these in half which means you need to find someone with another half. This might mean you are missing a word or two, or that some other things are a bit jumbled, but done correctly and it won’t be game breaking by any means. I love this. It encourages you to find other people who want to play the game, whether you match up copies in real life or over the internet.
The authors of this game want you to have fun with it and are clearly doing their best to make sure they have fun making it. I highly suggest you back the game and get your own copy. Or at least half of one. And hells, its only $2. And don’t worry, Limm found two halves for me and tapped them back together. Maybe you’ll find me at a con one day and we can play, your half matched to mine.