posted Sunday, September 26th 2010 by
News, Reviews & Culture
I was only marginally familiar with the Dresden Files prior to being approached to review the RPGâ€”Iâ€™d read one of the novels to pass the time on a flight a few years ago, and found it enjoyable, but hadnâ€™t sought out more. Iâ€™d been aware that there was a TV show, which I didnâ€™t watch, and other tie-ins, but on the whole Iâ€™d been pretty content to let it be. Itâ€™s not that I didnâ€™t like it, of course, just that there were other things I liked more, and given the other demands on my time and budget it never seemed all that high a priority to me.
Had I not been asked to review the game, in fact, I would have let it pass without a second glance. That would have been a real shame, because frankly, itâ€™s one of the most solid RPG products Iâ€™ve ever had the pleasure of reading. The presentation is spectacular, the best I think Iâ€™ve seen in an RPG book, presenting the rules in an easily understood, conversational tone with sidebars presented in the voices of characters from the Dresden universe addressing complications of the rules and the like in a style that evokes the mood and tone of the game world while also clarifying the mechanics. The mechanics themselves are another joy to me, the Fate system being perfectly suited to the style of gameplay the Dresden universe almost demands, and used here to excellent effect.
After devouring the rulebooks, I hopped in my car to go to the library and check out the entire Dresden collection there (woefully incomplete, but whatâ€™s a guy on a budget to do?) and started dialing up my usual suspects for playtesting new games. Laden with the single book the library had in (the first, Storm Front), I found that the usual suspects had for the most part even less familiarity than I had with it. One had seen some of the TV show, another had maybe heard the name somewhere but couldnâ€™t place itâ€”in short, Iâ€™d need to be well prepared to give these guys a good sense of the universe they would be playing around with. It was a tall order.
Fortunately, I did have some helpâ€”one of my usual suspects was out of town for a school break, but would be returning for school with time to spare for helping review the Dresden game, and as it turned out, she was a serious fan. Between the two of us we managed to gather enough enthusiasm to have a nice little sit-down evening and run some playtesting, which went over pretty well all told. The presentation of the rulebook definitely helped in getting everyone on board.
If youâ€™re a fan of the Dresden Files, and a fan of RPGs, you probably already have or want this game. If, like me and my friends, youâ€™re not all that familiar with the books, you might be tempted to skip this oneâ€”but you should definitely give it a flip through first, because it really is a quality piece of work that deserves a moment or three of your time before you decide. It might just rope you in, like it did for us. Now if youâ€™ll excuse me, thereâ€™s a gang of Red Court vampires that my usual suspects need to take care of before they get completely out of controlâ€¦
- Atomic Array: Episode 047: Dresden Files, Vol 1: Your Story