Roll Player Adventures: Games We Love

Introduction

About a half a year ago, I became addicted to Kickstarter. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But, I did support several gaming themed campaigns. One of them arrived in a huge box. It took so long to be delivered that I forgot about it and wondered what the postman delivered. “Ah”, said when I opened it, “Roll Player Adventures. It’s a game I ordered on Kickstarter, I explained too my family. I got the game because it sold itself as a single or two player action game similar to Dungeons and Dragons.

Not exactly like D&D. That’s fine. Now we have two outlets for our nerdiness.

As I mentioned in my previous article, I hadn’t finished the newest adventure for our duet campaign I still havne’t completely finished it. I have the first part of it done now. At the time, I suggested we try Roll Player Adventures instead. Quinn agreed and off we went.

First Impressions

This game takes forever to set up for the first time. There’s so many different types of cards, dice, tokens, maps, and books. Plus, you need the rule book to set up your characters (thankfully, in this game, they came premade, so that saved some time) and an adventure book to set up the adventure map. Some of the set up is intuitive and (again) thank goodness for that. Some of it makes no sense without the context of the game, but you figure it out quickly enough.

I mean, look at all that stuff! It’s pretty intimidating.

Gameplay

Again, the gameplay is mostly intuitive if you’ve ever played a dice game before. A few things are difficult to understand, but the rules are mostly comrehensive. We screwed up more than one ruling, but it was just the two of us. Ultimately, no harm, no foul.

You move your party around the map. There are encounter tokens that can be either a skill check, combat, or sometimes both. There are also the defined areas on the map. Here, you run through a story that changes based on your decisions. Skill checks and combat work similarly. You need to build a die pool from the die bag, roll them, and match numbers and colors on the card to pass the check or win in combat.

Probably easier to show. To defeat the bandits, you need a white two, blue three, red three, and any color five. You have three rounds to win as shown in the lower left corner.

You draw dice from the bag, roll them, and try to match them. While this might seem like an almost impossible task, you can buy certain colors using your attribute points. You have a hand of cards that lets you alter die rolls or colors. All in all, we’ve only ever gone past round one on a couple of fights. In etween fights, you can rest to get ready for future challgenges. Rinse and repeat this process as you work your way around the map until the book tells you “The End”.

After that, you advance your character and you can “save” the game. This sets you up for the next play through so that you don’t spend as much time getting ready. The second time we played took a lot less time to set up and a lot more time to play.

Roll Player Adventures: Overall, a fun game

Both times we played, Quinn mentioned how much fun he had. He talked about the game at dinner to Christine and both of his brothers. We were supposed to play more today, but we took a two hour hike and we just finished eating dinner. I think tomorrow might be busy, too. So, you might have to wait until next week to hear more of our exploits against the enemies of ulos.

Dungeons and Dinosaurs: Gaming with Quinn

Only half of that title is correct. When playing, we definitely encountered dinosaurs (more on that later), we found no dungeons. I just found the term Dungeons and Dinosaurs funny. Probably funnier than it actually merits, but it’s my party and I’ll laugh hysterically if I want to.

Even if that laughter makes me look absolutely batty. Get it? Batty? Because Joker is a Batman villain. I’m an underappreciated comic genius.

Those who follow the page know that I treid to build the family into a Dungeons and Dragons playgroup. That failed in spite of my efforts. Only Quinn showed interest after the initial play session. It then took almost 3 years to realize the potential of our Dungeons and Dragons duet.

Dungeons and Dinosaurs Duet?

Assuming that you wait to click the link, let me explain. Late last year, I finally started to look for ways to play Dungeons and Dragons in smaller play groups. The above link came up as a way play with only two people. A husband and wife duo write the page and there are lots of great resources if you find yourself in need of playing D&D with only one other player.

Armed with these resources, I needed to find a setting for our adventure. I’m not sure what took me so long, but I finally came to the conclusion in a flash of inspiration. Jurassic Park. The movie blew me away when I first saw it in high school. Quinn loves dinosaurs and anything to do with the movies. What took me so long?

It was right there, staring me in the face.

And, Now for Something Completely Different

Not truly. I lifted heavily from Jurassic Park for the story of our adventure. Several times, during gameplay, Quinn said (completely thrilled), “This is just like Jurassic Park!” However, I also knew not to simply follow the story without any changes.

Okay, so maybe a tropical archipelago isn’t the best way to convince you this wasn’t a total Jurassic Park rip off.

I researched some Hawai’ian lore to add a bit of a different flavor to the campaign. I called the island with the dinosaurs, Nalala. A web site told me that Nalala meant dinosaur. I also called the prince in the story, Maneo (I borrowed from a former student for this) and a ghost pirate ship Mau Loa (“forever”) that lead to the second adventure that I’m in the process of writing.

We played through the adventure. As often happens, Quinn went off script during one of the encounters and I needed to quickly put together a battle and some loot. Honestly, though, that’s what I enjoy about D&D. The fact that you can spend a couple of weeks writing up an adventure (“All that time”, my wife said, “just for a couple hours of playtime.”) and the players still find a way to make you think and work on the spot.

Lights, Camera, Tape Rolling, 3…2…1…

As for the scripted adventure, I wrote in the notes to let Quinn take the lead when attempting to capture the dinosaurs. I wanted to let him use his expertise to find creative ways to capture them. Being low level characters, I knew we stood no chance actually fighting most of the dinosaurs. He came up with some interesting solutions to most of them. A couple, I had to bend the rules quite a bit. Then again, what else can you do when you only have one real player?

I took the advice of the Duets page and focused on the story, too. I made the trip to the ship take 3 days and then another 2 days on the water to get to the other island. I built in small encounters each day and even put together a random encounter table to keep things interesting. The fun part of that is that some of the encounters gave me ideas for future adventures. I already mentioned the ghost ship and Quinn going off the board when faced with some forest sprites in trouble. I also threw in the old D&D standards of a mysterious glow off in the distance, annoying begging monkeys, and magical leeches.

Dungeons and Dinosaurs: The Last Word?

All in all, we played a successful adventure with just the two of us. Once or twice, Quinn asked if you can’t play with two people because I put together two DMPCs to help him on his journey. No, I replied, it’s fine. These guys are just here in case you need some help. Then, I spent the rest of the time more or less staying out of his way.

We planned to play again this week because I’m on vacation. However, as I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t able to finish the next adventure. I’m pretty close, so we might play again over the weekend. For now, we tried a game that I got a few months ago after supporting it on Kickstarter. It’s called Roll Player Adventures and I will talk more about it Friday.