In this age of RPG ascendance, there’s no shortage of ways for gamers to make their hobby feel bigger. We can buy custom game tables, fancy dice sheaths and dice made from all sorts of artisanal sources. Adorablins, from Letiman Games, goes in the opposite direction. Everything you need to play fits in a tin roughly the size of two Altoids cases stuck together. I recently received my Kickstarter edition of the game along with the On The Farm expansion. Do these goblins pack big stories in such a little space? Let’s play to find out.
Adorablins is a game about cute little goblins getting drawn into big adventures. The game uses a slimmed down Powered By The Apocalypse engine similar to the one used in Color My Quest. Here a 10+ is a full success, 6- is getting stuck and gives the player a condition and a snack. 7-9 requires the players to expend a resource, such as a pet’s action or a snack, for a successful action. The game is laid out in a small deck and the deck is built to allow players to draw each card and teach the game to everyone.
Players choose from several adorablins which each have their own special skill and portrait. The expansion adds more goblins and pets to choose from. The art, by Amber Seger, lives up to the name. Each character feels chock full of cuteness and mischief. The rules, by Kristin & Tim Devine, boil down PbtA storytelling to a conversation to be had in a short amount of time. Games are expected to take between 30 and 90 minutes. There are several charts the Narrator can roll on to generate a story or they can pick one to kick off the game and go. This definitely falls into the same low or no prep setup that something like Fiasco does but the presentation suggests something much more light hearted.
Everything about the presentation from the simple rules to the art design and the adventure structure makes this a great choice for younger kids but it also seems like a good choice for adults who might not be into the usual action heroics of other RPGs. This game seems like it could appeal to fans of games like Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley where adventure isn’t about dragon slaying or space station destroying but about chasing after an errant chicken or finding that right piece of furniture. This game also seems like a fit for board game nights or as an alternative on days when the full campaign can;’t come together. Some groups might consider it a warm up while everyone is settling in and ordering pizza. Think of it like the cartoon before the main feature. It also fits into a pocket or a bag quite easily, making it a good choice for travel and gaming on the go.
Adorablins offers cute adventures for goblins of all ages.
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