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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Genesys RPG impressions. Part 1: The Dice.

I've had some time to look over the Genesys RPG PDF. At some point I'll do a proper review, probably after I get the physical book. For now this is just my thoughts on a quick read. Also this is my impressions, it's my opinion of the game from my perspective.

This first installment I'll cover the dice. Genesys uses special dice made by the publisher. Genesys uses a dice pool rolling method mixed with "read the chicken bones" elements. I'm a fan of dice pool games, I'm not sure yet how I feel about negative/difficulty dice being added to the players side of the roll.
The rolling method is good and bad symbols cancel each other, and the net result is the outcome. It does it rather well, the only part of this I don't like is some of the dice sides having multiple symbols on a single side. This can slow players down from quickly seperating cancelled out sets to get the net result. Not badly, but it's less intuitive for a newcomer to the system. Also in dice pool systems I much prefer set difficulties, but I think I like players rolling difficulty more than opposed rolls.
Genesys dice separate degree of advantage and disadvantage from pass and fail. The idea is that good and bad can happen whether the player rolls a pass or fail. I still feel a bit mixed on this. I've never felt I needed the dice to tell me what part of the story I need to make more interesting. Any GM worth their salt could use degree of fail/success to do that if they really needed it.

The one difference I feel here between other pass/partial/fail games and Genesys is that Genesys is built around the dice. In other degree of success games the dice pivot the narrative. But could be replaced with any other pass/partial/fail mechanic because the narrative is hinged on the roll but not driven by it. Genesys on the other hand is reliant on more than just outcome, but also the number of different symbols on the dice, making the system inseparable from the narrative and mechanics. While the dice interpret elements of story they also don't get out of the way for the story like other fail forward style of games. Not good or bad, but it is a story game with crunch because of the dice.

Another element of the dice is the spending of rolled symbols. Players can on a success spend 'good things happen' symbols to trigger critical hits, special abilities, and effects. This is the element of the dice I like more than the "read the chicken bones" elements. This is the element of using Genesys dice that really seems fun to me, both as a GM who like to tinker, and as a GM who likes to see his players play around with meta gaming currency to pull off stunts and general badassery.

My final verdict on the dice in as follows:
Dice pool system: positive.
-Players rolling difficulties: mixed.
Reading the chicken bones: Not a fan.
Pass/partial/fail: mostly positive.
Rolled elements as meta-resources: love it.

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