(General game information for this is more open than most games; it is an RPG, for 14+, and as it is campaign-based, the time, complexity, and number of players is variable.)
If you read this column often, you know that Slaughterville is one of the more common denizens of my review table. There’s an evolving ecosystem of board games, card games, comic books, and now an RPG. It all focuses on a small town that is besought with evil problems. While the story is constantly evolving, it is one of the RPG’s greatest strength. Not since TSR and White Wolf have we seen ecosystems for RPGs being so diverse and rapidly growing. Each comic adds new depth to the characters, which translates into new depth for the RPG. Slaughterville RPG comes out of the gate swinging with a 9.5 out of 10 for story.
When you read that there is a comic book, you expect good art. Slaughterville does not disappoint. The game’s artwork compliments the comic book art and vice versa. This creates an in-depth planning and playing experience for the game. Laughing Rogue keeps the artwork consistent and it adds to the environment of this poor haunted town. As this is not released yet (coming in July), I cannot speak to the book size and how it fits in your “shelfie.” However, if it fits in with the rest of LR’s games, the design team took that into consideration. 8 of 10.
Mechanics in RPGs tend to be fairly static. TSR set the stage with D&D, so there is not a whole lot that can be done that has not been done in the area. The uniqueness of the system is, therefore, derived from how the different elements intersect. While you are going to have to pick up the game to look at all the elements, one of the key factors I like is the basic mind and body approach. This is a great dynamic in a horror game as surviving mentally is just as important as surviving physically. In a tribute to Lovecraftian Horror, the game really captures this feel and I cannot wait to finish our campaign. 7 of 10.
RPGs always have a head start on the strategy section of the review. Because each person is playing a role, they have the ability to determine their strategy. In this game, offense and defense are well represented (as you can fight or you can try to hide or tank). Engine building is there for collectors and hoarders; as it is a town, there is a lot of room to store your loot. Rush really does not play well in a RPG setting, however, the GM can always regulate any abuse they see from the players. Overall, the strategy is solid and constantly evolving. 6 of 10.
I like an RPG where you are the good guy. White Wolf kind of blurred the lines with the horror genre making the evil critters grey rather than dark characters. LR takes a more direct approach – there are bad things in the world and killing them (or casting them out) is the best approach to keeping your friends and family (at least the ones that are still alive in the game) safe. While this may not be novel, it is a relatively untraveled path in the modern gaming world. One that I like to see, as the glorification of villains tends to take away from the players being the heroes in games. 9 of 10.
With a score of 39.5 of 50, this is a very strong offering in the realm of RPGs. It is no surprise that this game does quite well when the other games in the ecosystem do well too. While I am not big fan of horror comics, the Slaughterville comics have good storylines and the depth needed for a successful environment. Add to this the ability for people to explore the world in the RPG, and you have an amazing little ecosystem. Definitely something that you should check out if you like horror based games.
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