Monday, November 14, 2011

Get Out and Game: Critical! Go Westerly

This blog isn't just about my games, it's about up and coming games, game reviews, and talking about games. Well comics too, but I think I dealt a fair hand to that over the last couple weeks. The "Get Out and Game" articles are really to highlight games I enjoy and think you, my fearless readers, will or should enjoy as well. I'll start with one near and dear to me.

My friends and sometimes collaborators Jonathan Lavallee and Geoff Bottone have created something great over at Jonathan's Firesorm Ink imprint. Critical! Go Westerly is a labor of love for the pair that follows on the heels of Firestorm's excellent free-form storytelling RPG, Geasa.

Critical! is an excellent RPG, but not just because I helped name it in a diner over dinner one convention evening near our collective hotel. This game is actually funny.. not an easy thing to pull off.  Set in a medieval setting, Critical! has the same tone of absurdity found in the works of Douglas Adams or Monty Python movies.  In fact, reading through the narrative, it's difficult not to hear a stodgy old, english narrator describing the scene.

Mechanically, Critical! falls into a more "mechanics lite" category of RPGs which does serious justice to its tone, allowing players to delve deeper into character development rather than constantly playing a numbers game. While this is not everyone's bag, that's fine. It's a welcome distraction from the games that take hours upon hours in character creation and further slowdowns in gameplay to look up rules for wrestling or drunkenness.  You get the idea.

Art wise, Jonathan wisely took some sage-like advice I'd given him a while back and hired a phenomenal artist I had brought on to work on the villains for SuperhumanAvery Liell-Kok (That's right, Jonathan, I'm TOTALLY taking credit! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!).   Her work is beautiful and she has a way of understanding a project so it really suits Critical! in every way and I'm very proud to see every piece of art she brings to this project for them.

Finally, On his blog, Jonathan and Geoff have been recording these great little "Kobold Moments" as a less-than-subtle introduction to Critical!. This is a stroke of genius and I LOVE it when designers go this extra mile. Here's some direct links: Part 1Part 2

Critical! should be available for download at IPR and your local game stores soon.

~The Joe


  1. Go for it. Though Avery needs the credit for being awesome.

    Anyone else reading this? Hire her. I can't say enough good things about her work.

  2. Thanks for this, Joe!

    And I am in 100% agreement with you and Jonathan. Avery is the bomb-diggety!

    With regards to your comment about the stodgy English narrator, I was doing my best to channel Adams and Pratchett during my sections. I'm tickled that it comes through. :)