September 26, 2011

One of my favorite rpgs, Universalis, is now available on PDF. Universalis is a game that everytime I play it, I’m always surprised by how much fun it is – that is, it surprises me over and over by exceeding my expectations.

Universalis is a genreless, GM-less game, where the players collaboratively create a setting, situation, and characters.

Each player has a number of “Coins”, which you spend to establish facts about the world, or what the characters do. No one owns a character, but you spend coins to control them in a given scene.

When conflicts occur, dice are rolled to see the outcomes AND it replenishes coins for everyone involved (though winners get more), which gives a general incentive to have conflicts in play.

In play, what happens is that players start aligning in vision- the best way to play is to build off other people’s ideas, so you don’t need to spend as many coins, and to add ideas that everyone finds inspiring so they spend more coins on the things you’re interested in. The ideal strategy means finding something everyone’s excited in and reading the group.

That said, the game is very dryly written, and a lot harder to read through than it is to play. There’s also things I find usually get houseruled out, like having to spend a coin for each line of dialogue.

Overall, this is a great game, and if you can make it through the text, fun and easy to teach.

If you want to try a game with absolutely no railroading, and no GM, it’s a great game to pick up.

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