Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mephisto's Ratten!-review

Bye the way, there is a short Ratten!-review in the current Mephisto magazine :)
Of course it's in German, but I'm not up for translating the article into English... but believe me, it's positive :D

EDIT: My dad is an impassionated English teacher (his monitor is full of red underlines and marks from correcting my blog ;) and he translated this article into English just for fun! Thanks for that again!


They are fast, tough and damned clever – and all that without a thumb.
Ratten! (Rats!) carries off the fan of unconventional small role play systems into the world of rodents. As a member of one of six rat clans – among others there is the choice between wise laboratory rats, military „sharp teeth“ (Scharfzähnen) and courageous divers – you knock on four paws about the rat’s castle. The deserted department store is bursting with hazards in the shape of snatchers (mouse-traps) or creepers (cats), but also with numerous secrets and chances for young rats to gain glory, status and a name of honour. On 70 fully-coloured and charmingly illustrated A5 German standard paper sized pages Ratten! includes all that you need for playing the game of a nosy rodent: besides the description of the six clans, the rat-wise equivalent of character classes, as well as the rat’s castle, the artefacts of the builders and adversaries of the rats also an adventure playable straight away.

The rule system is rather simple, the creation of characters completed within the maximum of 10 minutes: Every rat has four qualities: strong, fast, clever and socially minded, which can have a value between 1 and 3. During a test the values of respectively 2 qualities are added up and thus determine the number of the W6, which are at the player’s disposal. The two highest numbers of points of the dice throw are added. If the value exceeds the degree of difficulty, which according to the respective situation lies between 4 and 10, the test will be regarded as “passed“. In addition there are different talents, e.g. “trap knowledge“ („Fallenkunde“) or “licking one‘s wounds“ („Wundenlecken“), as well as tricks („having a big mouth“ – „Loses Mundwerk“, “deal with the rats’ death“ – „Pakt mit dem Rattentod“), which can provide a rat with additional dice or social advantages.

The nice and neat little book is quickly read through, more quickly are the rules learned by heart. Even when viewing the rat-shaped sheet of characters and reading the names (what could be a „Glotzer“ – “goggler“ or a „Zischer“ – “hisser“?) fans of games with a high “cuddle factor“ (Knuddelfaktor) like „Plüsch, Power und Plunder“ will hardly be able to avoid an “Ooooohhh, how cute“. But also for fans who like it somewhat gloomier could get pleasure from Ratten! One cannot necessarily claim that there is peace and harmony among the different rat clans and all the other creatures, which is quite obvious: the rat’s castle is not a pony ranch for children.

On balance: Ratten! is not supposed to lead epic campaigns lasting for years, but instead just made for one-shots and spontaneous game evenings of experimentally enthusiastic role play groups. Whoever likes unusual role plays beyond the norm of fantasy should get in quickly, with that favourite price anyway.

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