Thread: Og! Unearthed Edition
Saturday, 30th August, 2008, 06:23 PM #1
Spellbinder (Lvl 16)
Og! Unearthed Edition
I have never had a chance to read or play the original edition. But I had a friend who always talked about and who told me to look out for it at conventions. When I saw that there was a new version of the game last Gen Con I had to pick it up and I was very glad that I did. Og is the rare game that is so simple to be near brilliant. I have had a lot of fun playing and running one shots with it though I am not completely sold on it for a continuous campaign. Og though is the funniest game I have read and played in the past few years.
This is a new version of Og put out by Firefly Games. It is written by Robin Laws who did a great job of capturing the comical nature of cavemen. The book is small in both size and length. It is less then fifty pages long and is printed in soft bound a little bigger then most novels, I wonder if they looked into getting it printed on stone tablets?
Og is a simple game with a simple premise. The players play cavemen and deal with things like dinosaurs, other cavemen, weather issues, geography, and all the lovely things that made life suck in the stone age; both the real and imagined one. It is not a realistic game nor is it meant to be. It is a bit silly at times and has a great sense of comedy about it. I think it makes for a better one shot then a long campaign. It supports a longer game then a one shot and I impressed it does that. They have some good ideas for it but I am not sure it is enough.
The game play uses a d6. There are no attributes and the game is more randomly generated and has no point buy options. But it is very simple so there are not issues with min maxing that I have seen. There are seven character classes and each is very basic. Strong deals more damage while Banging is better at attacking. There is Eloquent that knows more words and Learned that know more skills. There is also Fast (harder to be hit), Tough (more hit points), and Grunting. Grunting is the closest this game gets to spell casting. The Grunting character tries to make things happen by grunting and gesticulating wildly. Maybe something will happen, but more then likely nothing will. But it is fun to watch the players try.
There are twenty skills in the game. Instead of picking the few skills one knows during character creation players are allowed to pick skills during the adventure. But one only ever will know three skills and once one is picked the character is stuck with it. The Learned character knows six skills. All characters automatically know how to run away. Some classes are better at certain skills then others. The Fast class is a bit better at Running away, the Tough class is better at Resistance. A skill can be used if one has it or not. Having the skill increases the odds of being successful with it.
The brilliant part of the game and the hardest part I have found is that the game limits the words players are allowed to use. There are eighteen words that are possible. But characters only know a d6+2 words. Eloquent either know d6+4 or two more then the character that knows the most; which ever number is higher. It can be tough to do. When I have ran and played the game communication was tough. Some players will really get into the character this way and enjoy the hand motions that go along with communicating knowing just five words. Other players I have noticed do not do well and really do not want to try to keep to only a few words. The only other way of communicating is with the draw skill. Players are encouraged to use a stick and a sand pit to draw it if they have the skill. I have yet to game any place with a sand pit so we have used the other option. Characters that have the draw skill have their players draw with their off hand and holding the writing instrument crudely clasped.
The game can get a little stale with the few options and few words characters have. After each session or adventure or when ever the GM feels like it I guess the player characters can discover a new word. This can be one of the eighteen or something completely new. Words are better then currency in OG especially since there is no currency in the game. What word is learned is best left up to the players to decide what one word really showcases the adventure or session they have just had. Our first word was hive as in the thing my Banging Caveman hit with a stick. It was a painful lesson that he was not able to learn from.
The other option is to add in things to do in combat. Thumping on ones chest can hopefully draw the saber tooth tiger to eat you instead of the injured member of your tribe. Characters can disarm, lure, distract, grab, and other things as well. The rules are simple and add a few important options to keep the game from being too repetitive. Character can die in the game and there is no coming back from death in this game. However, character creation is so fast that five minutes later or sooner the player should be able to introduce a new character. It is not important what the new character was doing before or how he or she got there. Such considerations are really not the types of things this game cares about.
Og is a simple and funny game. I know I have failed to showcase the funny but I am not sure how to with out just quoting the text and that is not exciting. It is a simple game and a cheap game. I like that combination. It took only a few minutes to explain things to the players and the rules really help players get into character much better then most other RPG rules. I really like the game for one shots but for prolonged games it just has not been what we look for in a game. This is a great game and very funny and one that I carry around at cons as it makes a fun and easy pick up game.
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