Thursday, July 28, 2016

Prince Valiant the RPG might return?

While I usually just look through Kickstarter for boardgames, I do look at the role playing games and was surprised to see that a revised edition of the Prince Valiant Storytelling Game from 1989 is getting Kickstarted.

Over the years, I've regularly heard about the Prince Valiant RPG and been interested in looking at it. At the time, it was a revolutionary design. Unfortunately, it's been really hard to get a hold of a copy so I've never actually read it.

(I also have to admit that I've never been a fan of Prince Valiant, largely because it's never been carried in a newspaper I or my parents have gotten. I have always thought the artwork is pretty, though)

The two goals of the Prince Valiant RPG were to be a simple system that was extremely novice friendly and to still give a rich, thematic experience that reflected the comic strip the game was based on.

Did it do a good job? Since I've never read the book and I don't know anyone who's played the game, I can't tell you. However, the game is still remembered. It may not have gotten reprinted but it hasn't disappeared into obscurity.

Prince Valiant didn't invent the idea of simple rules that would be easy for non-gamers to pick up. The Ghostbusters RPG did that in 1986 and Toon did it even earlier in 1984. Still, in 1989, the idea was still an outlier as opposed to an accepted school of design.

The actual mechanics are dead simple. Characters have two statistics (one for physical stuff and one for social stuff) and access to a fairly small and focused skill list. Add up the numbers between stats and skills and flip that many coins with heads being successes.

But that's not what interests me. How was it presented? What was the GM section like? How was Prince Valiant the story integrated with the game?

The fact that it was designed by Greg Stafford, who also was a major designer of Pendragon, the definitive King Arthur game, as well as a lot of other stuff (including that newbie friendly Ghostbusters RPG I mentioned earlier) is a major interest point. It was made by someone with serious RPG chops.

How well has it aged? I don't know. But I am curious enough that the Kickstarter tempts me.

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