Review: San Jenaro Games Digest Volume 1
Hello friends! Today I bring you something a little different and very cool. A while back Dyer Rose aka Basilisk Online reached out to me about the San Jenaro Co-Op. I had intended to learn about this, talk to them, and do a special article about that specific group. Due to the sheer amount of things I was trying to do I was unable to really get around to it. However, they did send me a preview of a short games quarterly PDF and (by the time I was able to get back to them with any significance) gave me a copy of the final release! So, while I could not find the time to do more, today I am going to share my thoughts on their first digest!
More Games Than You Can Handle
Let’s get into the meat of what this is. First, it is an effort to create a crew of people, an organization, that allows small time publishers to work together and to do so while striving for better and equal pay. Right off the bat they had my attention, but the digest really shows what they can do. There are almost a dozen games designed by all kinds of people and each one offers something unique in play, concept, and style.
In one you play gods gambling with each other to use you power and influence the mortal world. A part of this is literally playing a gambling style game as the players. Another is a lasers and bubble helmet style retro-future game. There is even one where everyone plays clerics keeping their parties alive as best they can.
There is something special about short games like All Outta Bubblegum and Honey Heist, but this is the next step. The short games digest transforms the one page RPG into a slightly more complex “couple of pages” RPG. Then it gathers a bunch of them and organizes them into one small PDF or softcover book. To me this is a perfect travel sized book that would allow you to play all sorts of short games without lugging a library around or being tethered to the commitment of long terms games. Perfect for camping, travel, game nights, or missing players!!
Simple On Purpose
The design of this product is simple. It has a color cover but the remainder of it is in black and white. There are simple graphics and the art isn’t too numerous. But that is just what you want in a product like this. You want to cram in as much as you can and you must be judicious with the art and graphics you include. Too much and you go from something with show into something unwieldy.
This simplicity is not plain nor poorly done, though. The art is well placed and each game has its own style that comes in the form of heading fonts, page boarders, and graphics. This provides just enough to get each one to stand on its own better than if they were just black and white page after black and white page.
This product is absolutely worth the money. At $10 for the PDF or $15 for a softcover, you are paying less than 2 dollars per game. Probably less than you pay for a travel copy of say Uno or Yahtzee, but with infinitely more fun game play. At 150 or so pages and 11 games between the covers, the Co-Op could get away with asking for more, but they don’t. You guys should definitely take a look and add it to your collection. Throw it in the suitcase, the backpack, or your cell phone for those times when you need a quick game to play!
Have you gotten this already? Had a chance to play some of the games? Let me know in the comments below what kind of shenanigans you got up to!