Remember when Ogre: Designers Edition came out and there was so much stuff in the box, you couldn’t possibly wrap your brain around the insane amount of gaming that was crammed inside…? You know, it was sorta like that episode of the Simpsons where Homer got to design the ultimate car. The results were so excessive, so awesome you really had to wonder how the publisher could keep their shirts in the whole deal.
Well, that same sort of “pull out all the stops and then some” mentality is alive and well at Lesser Gnome. This isn’t even the first time they’ve done this, either. Their first bog box set project was Whisper and Venom. Between their resolve, the power of Kickstarter, and the magic of the long tail, they were able to do this again.
Even better, they were able to send me a copy.
Now, you might ask why it is that anyone would shell out the big bucks to get a game box crammed with this much stuff. After all, you can get away with printing out a PDF or two, using the same rule set you ran thirty years ago, and then doing a rules-light “theater of the mind” session until 2AM. You just don’t need a lot of stuff to run a decent campaign, right?
Well, my answer here is the same that it is with Ogre: Designer’s Edition and Federation Commander. If you want to get kids or casual players or anyone that’s on the fence about jumping in excited about playing, then top notch components are worth every penny. It doesn’t make sense to me, but no one will play my vintage microgames. But they will beg to play the nice ones. That’s just how it is.
Anyway, let’s look inside…!
The first thing you’ll notice is that the box is bursting from the seams even while it’s still in the shrink-wrap. Yeah, the rumors are true: you’ll never get the stuff back inside once you open it! OCD board gamer types won’t be able to handle this. But hey, they don’t play role-playing games anyway….
The adventure details and the general game mastering information is broken apart into two booklets. I wasn’t sure how an adventure about a tax collector showing up could work at first beyond a few gags from Iron Monkey, but the backstory and premise here is in reality a bit gruesome.
The maps are not locked up inside of a book, but are duplicated in the map pack for easy reference. The setting guide is brief and does not fall into the usual error of flooding the DM with setting details that don’t add anything to the game.
Nothing is spared here. There’s not just old school monster cards, but magic item cards as well. There’s a dice set, a dice bag, and a button for good measure. And there’s a “feely” here that is on par with those that were included with the classic Infocom games way back. That sealed letter is a great prop– and yeah, people will agree to play just to find out what’s in it.
Okay, it’s one thing to have new monsters for an adventure. It’s another thing to throw in monster cards and NPC’s to make the game better. But to have an actual mini for this much stuff from the game…? That’s insanely audacious. There’s twenty-five in all.
Last, but not least… the big area map is flat out gorgeous. Even better, it mates up with the other one from Whisper & Venom. This map is so detailed and so good looking… people want to play it. I mean, they see this and they want to play whatever game is set in the world depicted on it. It’s that gorgeous.
You can find out more about this box set here.