This will be the start of my solo game series. Now while this is not a solo game necessarily, it is a game that is GMless, and lets be honest, that is half of solo RPGing. So forgive me as I start this series with breaking my own rule of reviewing and talking about solo RPGs. The game is Token by Gabriel Robinson of Growing Roots Press.
I had the opportunity to play a game with my friend, whom some call… Tim?
Our play through told an amazing story about an old man Tolkein who ventured into the forest looking for a way to rid the land of the blight that had befallen his quaint farming community. In doing so he was chased by frost wraiths, attacked by vampiric vines, and fell into the trap of the Ancient Evil of the forest. Only to be swept away and while their true fate is not fully known the Ancient Evil and Tolkein were to be forever woven together. We were left wondering how we could use the game as a launch into a campaign. This is what happens when paying a game like this, you can create a backstory piece that can help flesh out another world. I could easily use this story to plant an ancient artifact in the center of a firest to send a party after, perhaps the once great hero returns but corrupted by the centuries spent in the wood.
The possibilities are amazing with this game. A forest beckons to the hero. The hero faces off against the Big Bad. Each player plays one of these characters. An intimate experience where you create the story as you go. Built off of the roots of Trophy Dark, this two player game requires no referee to play, each player gets to take the role of the referee at any time that you want, and by that I mean that things are decided through conversation, and you are free to talk about the consequences of the player’s actions and the Tokens that are given to each other throughout the game.
It is a beautiful spiral of a play that guides you back and forth towards a climactic conclusion. This can be used as a jump off point for a larger story in another game later or it can stand along as a single experience to be gazed at in wonder.
If any of this sounds interesting, if your interested in Trophy Dark as a roleplaying system, or if you have use for a two player system where there need not be a specific referee, then check out he preorder page that Gabriel has up (Link). I do not think you will be sorry for checking out this one!
Derek Bizier, The Halfling Master