Review: Michtim RPG
Good afternoon everyone! Today I have a chance to share with you another RPG game. This game is called Michtim and features small furry beings that, while looking like hamsters, are actually adept and intelligent woodland dwellers. The game is available here as a PDF or a hardcover book. As you will find out Fluffy Adventures does well to round out the wide range of games we have reviewed and helps reveal just how many options there are out there!
I want to start today’s review by going over the intent of this game. A big reason for this is the fact that it is mechanically simple and open-ended story wise. There won’t be tons to ramble about on those, though I will of course discuss them. The backbone of the game is its intent which shows through in both of these aspects. Michtim is advertised as an inclusive game and does an excellent job of it. Right in the descriptions of Michtim culture it is keen to point out this out. The nests of these creatures are incredibly diverse and limited only by your imaginations with groups and families of all kinds. Michtim is also designed to be accessible to any age and any experience level with RPGs. Its rules are simple and based of emotions, allowing things to be described in as simple or complex terms as you might need or find comfortable. Adventure can be had in all kinds of ways through these rules and any type of story could be explored by your group. While my table focuses on large scale high fantasy and sci-fi adventures, I love what Georg has done here and would readily run this game for a group.
The story of this game is built around concepts and the way the Michtim world works. It is less actual plot and more like how you would describe an entire series of something. This leaves you open to do virtually anything you can think of. Michtim is, to me, an interesting combination of Mouseguard and the Rescue Rangers. The images and ideas about a civilization of these creatures with access to magic reminds me of a high fantasy Mouseguard. The possibility of adventure into human lands to learn about and play with technology reminds me of Gadget from the Rescue Rangers. That being said, the concepts within are loose enough to tackle either style and so much more in between. You are Michtim and what you do is up to you!
We can get a little more meaty in the review now because, while simplistic, these are unique rules. First, let’s talk about the clever and elegant way actions and dice rolls are handled. Rolls are done by rolling a certain number of dice based on you stats. In order to succeed at a task the total number rolled must beat a target difficulty. In order to do even better, though, you can bank dice. Essentially you judge how many dice you need to roll to hit the target and put aside the rest. Say you need a 7 and have three dice. It is pretty likely you will roll it with two but even more likely with three. If you set aside one dice you roll two to attempt to succeed. If you do not, sorry, but if you do then you have an extra success stacked into it from that banked die! This mechanic provides an excellent way of manipulating rolls and your attempts, allows you to add risk for reward, or just play it safe, all without actually making whole separate mechanics.
Beyond that there are ways to get bonuses you your rolls. These might come through equipment, but are more likely to come through the backbone of the system: emotion. Each action is keyed into a certain emotion or mood. For example hiding is tied to Fear and attacking is tied to Anger. As you go through the game certain events and rolling certain numbers will add mood markers to you, elevating one of your moods. These markers add to any associated rolls, but detract from two other rolls. For example, Joy is opposed to both Fear and Grief making rolls of those types more difficult and subtracting any Joy markers you have from those rolls. You really should act within your mood you know! But there are ways to balance this. You may spend those markers to gain an entire die for a roll. This cannot be saved and, once spent, the action and bought die must be rolled.
Tied to this emotional system are the various Calligns that a character can have. These are like classes in other games, but overtime you can gain more and more of them. A total of three entire callings may be used at a time and when you have even more you may choose to go forth at the beginning of a day focused on a new set. These callings all have abilities that let you manipulate mood markers. You may utilize them to do cool things like act reflexively, you might give markers to enemies, or you might use them on friends. Regardless, there is a talent associated with each mood for each calling. As you gain these talents you can use your ability to manipulate different moods. Not to worry though, your first calling comes with all the talents giving you mastery of that particular ability.
What I like about Michtim is that it is not just simplistic and easily hackable to create all sorts of new callings and the like. Georg Mir specifically want the reader to do exactly that. Want a ninja? Sure re-skin a mage calling! Want to create a synergistic ability that calls on two callings? Go for it! Get creative and come up with awesome ideas for your game of Michtim. The author doesn’t just want everyone to be able to come to this game, everyone who comes should be able to make it a little bit more theirs.
There is not a gigantic team or budget behind this game. In fact if I am interpreting what I see, Georg did pretty much all the work alone. That being said, it is fantastically laid out. While plenty more could have been squeezed into pages or the book simply condensed down to fewer, I am not sure it would actually aid this book. The RPG is made for as much accessibility as an RPG bound between two covers can, and by keeping things clean and spaced out it is easily read and digestible. Beyond that the first 20 pages or so begin by giving you word definitions and pronunciations, cultural information about the Michtim, and info about the point of the game. From there it takes a good approach of building up the rules and the complexity that can be garnered within. After doing all that, Georg even suggests how much of the rules to actually use for different folks. Kids and newbies might only want to use the most basic stats, saving callings for when they get die mechanics down. This breakdown exemplifies what Georg and Michtim seek to do. Beyond that the art and style of stat blocks, character sheets, and text layout is wonderful and clear. Each chapter has its own symbol and color that can be found on the outside boarder for easy reference. Along with that section titles are found in the lower corner near page number for even easier reference.
I am really impressed with Michtim: Fluffy Adventures and adore what Georg Mir has done. There are not enough games that can be highlighted as made for kids and too many complaints about games for them being too simple. Frankly, I disagree because the simplest games hold complexities hidden within them if you are willing to play and I think Michtim has that down. This would be a fantastic game to introduce new players to and play with a wide range of ages!