Indie1 8

Babes in the Wood (2021)

This delightful game is Babes in the Wood (2021), by World Champ Game Co. The game gets its name from an old English morality tale, in which a terrible uncle gives two children in his care to ruffians for them to murder. They don’t, but the kids get lost in the woods, starve and die. The birds of the forest then take pity on them and cover their bodies with leaves. Grim! Old morality tales are pretty effed up!

The RPG is not nearly so messed up, but it does involve children (also talking animals and animate toys) wandering off into the woods on Halloween night. There they will find mysterious characters, strange places and, hopefully, a little about their true selves before returning to the mundane world. This is, of course, assuming they don’t run afoul of the Fiend and his shadowy minions.

The game is Powered by the Apocalypse, and so conforms to that systems use of playbooks for action resolution. It’s all smooth and easy though, with plenty of guidance in the text to keep things moving (I particularly like the Shadow Moves, which the GM can use to manage and progress the narrative in tightly controlled ways). The action of the game involves the players moving on dangerous paths between Hollows — safe inhabited areas full of friendly NPCs — as they try to solve their problems, which range from small to big. You only worry about the moves when something in the narrative specifically triggers them, so games feel more like casual storytelling sessions most of the time, rather than an RPG with strict rules.

The result is pretty magical, a Halloween kid adventure reminiscent of Over the Garden Wall and Costume Quest. This second edition is particularly nice, featuring all new full color art and a spooky/friendly aesthetic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *