RPG Review: Mini Six~
Cinematic Roleplaying Game
Bare Bones Edition
I’m always on the lookout for a uncomplicated, fast-paced RPG that is a great way to introduce new folks to Roleplaying and entertains old timers. And AntiPaladin Games’ Mini Six hits the target dead on.
And here’s the bonus: It is free.
Mini Six can trace its roots back to one of the great systems of the RPG Silver Age: the d6 system that first saw the light of day with the legendary Ghostbusters RPG (1986) and came into it’s own as the engine for Star Wars the Roleplaying Game (1987) (both of these released by West End Games). Both are beloved and highly regarded games. Ghostbusters was helmed Sandy Petersen, the man who brought us Call of Cthulhu, and it featured a minimalist approach to RPGs that was an eye-opener to many of the gamers who played it.
A the Star Wars RPG? It’s arguably the second most influential RPG on pop culture at large.*
Not bad grand-sires for Mini Six to follow in the footsteps of.
As a silver age game character creation is point based build, ie: you get a number of points to “buy” the attributes that make up your character. No random rolling, you build the persona that you like (that fits the game). This in turn means that you can improve individual aspects of the character (like deciding which of your skill improve and, even better, buying new skills and the like). This means no more “levels” and, thus, side-steps pitfall of all characters feeling sort of “samey”. This was all pretty radical back in the day, and I make no bones about the fact that it was silver age games that kept me rolling the funky dice.
Mini Six is less on the “crunchy” side of point build, the math isn’t nearly as intensive as GURPS or Hero. It’s closest kin is probably Savage Worlds, and that’s good company to be in if you’re focused on fun, snappy, “cinematic” games.
To put it simply:
AntiPalladin Games took a classic silver age game and stripped it down, gave it a make over and then topped it off several thumb nail worlds. Beautiful.
If you’ve never played an RPG before you may not be able to pick up Mini
Six and run on your own, but you have a heck of a better chance than with most roleplaying games. If you’re running games for folks new to the hobby, Mini Six is a great intro: not too crunchy, not too abstract. Just enough meat on the bone to get them hooked, but is uncluttered so the rules don’t get in their way.
I do think it’s interesting that this is billed as the “Bare Bones Edition”, yet it has more heft and is more complete than any basic version of those golden age RPGs that folks fondly remember.
In addition to the rules you get 5 “Sample Settings”, each strongly influenced by a classic of pop culture: “Perdition” is a space-western that is tailor made for Brown Coats, “Rust Moon of Castia” is built from venerable fantasy tropes (owing its biggest debt to the film Willow), “Farnsley’s Phantasm Investigations” is Victorian era Ghostbusting!, the aptly titled “Precinct ’77″ is made of 1970s cop show goodness, and “Imperium in Revolt”… well, I did mention that the d6 system came of age under the Star Wars banner.
The sample settings only run a few pages each, but all of them nail the genre they’re invoking. And the give a goodly amount of information for you to build from. You get more information on setting in Perdition’s TWO pages than you did in the entire box set for Star Frontiers! No that is value!
Bonus for steampunks~ in addition to being able to run Victorian Ghostbusters and to play Firefly/Serenity, the first two sample vehicles are: an Air Ship and a steam-powered Automaton.
But wait, there’s more!
There are additional (free!) settings folks have put together:
The Doctor Who inspired “The Door to Infinity”: http://antipaladin.com/Door_to_Infinity.pdf
The pulp-sci-fi world of “Rocket Rangers”: http://antipaladin.com/RocketRangers.pdf
Modern day horror with “For They are Legion”: http://www.unboundbook.org/MiniSixFanatic/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/For-They-Are-Legion-Draft-1.1.pdf
“Sky D6″- “An Aerial RPG in a Devastated 1939″: http://skyd6.weebly.com/index.html
“The Metaphysical Constables Gazette” is additional information for “Farnsley’s Phantasm Investigations”: http://www.antipaladin.com/MCGazette1.pdf
“Stormglass” steampunk meets Stargate: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B7_o18Qz80iaS0hUdUV4TDhxRms/edit
High marks, recommended!
If you’re looking to spend money:
You can purchase a print version of Mini Six at Lulu: http://www.lulu.com/shop/ray-nolan-and-phil-morris/mini-six-bare-bones-edition/paperback/product-21124129.html
The Mighty 6 is the superhero take on Mini Six ~ http://mightysixenterprises.com/
And soon Breachworld “a post-apocalyptic anything-goes sandbox world in desperate need of exploration or exploitation”, now being Kickstarted: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/161801557/breachworld-rpg
*Dungeons and Dragons (in its various forms) is undoubtedly the RPG with the most influence on pop culture at large. The tropes that JRR Tolkein formed were carved into stone as the “one, true fantasy” by D&D.
Star Wars the Roleplaying Game comes in at number two, the Star Wars universe was being fleshed out by West End Games when there was little to no other Star Wars material being released. In a very real fashion the “Expanded Universe” starts with the RPG.
Third is Call of Cthulhu. While HP Lovecraft is hardly a household name for most Americans, Cthulhu and his ilk now infest geek culture and are a common reference point/meme/tired joke (this was not the case before the RPG hit big). The number of people who can now identify, and riff on, Lovecraftian elements by far out weigh those who’ve actually read the original stories.