Spirit of the Century Review

I just got back from participating in a one-shot Spirit of the Century game at the local game store. There were three players, a two-fisted ‘man of the people’, a wacky gizmo-creating genius, and Kitsune Ro, my own Kung-Fu master character. I had fun playing with people thinking he was a “Chinaman” when he was Japanese.

Anyway, Spirit of the Century is an Indie game creted by Evil Hat Games. It is aimed at a 1920’s pulp-action style of play and uses the FUDGE/FATE dice system with modifications.

You have Aspects of your character that are descriptive things. For example, my character had Aspects like “Iron Fists”, “Soft-Hearted” and “Death-Defying”. In situations where you Aspect might help you, you spend a Fate point to gain a +2 to your die-roll. If no Aspect applies, then you can spend the Fate point for a +1.

You also have Skills that are set up in a tier, with one +5 skill, two +4, three +3, four +2 and five +1 skills for your character. The way you accomplish things is you roll as normal in FUDGE and add your skill modifier and compare it either to the difficulty set by the GM or to the roll of someone who is opposing you.

I only know how this particular person ran the game, and all of us were new to it (for example, we didn’t even use Stunts), but I really enjoyed the improvisational aspects of the game and the simple, intuitive engine it is built on. I liked that thugs/mooks can either be dealth with individually, or they can just add to the rolls of the Big Bad that you’re dealing with at the time. By narrating things in an interesting way, you can fill in the blanks as to what is really going on.

This definitely seems like a game that won’t do well with players who like to turtle up or a GM who is looking for the rulse to tell her exactly what happens and how. Because of this, it seems bset for relatively experienced players, or perhaps for players with a very strong sense of the genre and setting.

Overall, I had a great time, and it’ll be really easy to talk me into another Spirit of the Century game in the future.

I give the game 4.5 out of 5 stars – it was fun, fast, exciting, dramatic, and it did exactly what it set out to do. The missing half-star is for the problem that new players might have with it – though this might be easily handled by what’s in the book – I wouldn’t know. Yet. If I come into a little money, I’ll definitely pick this one up. (AND – it reinforces my idea to use the FUDGE system for Epic)

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