Note: This preview uses pre-release components and rules. What you see here may be different from the final, published game. This post was a paid preview, you can find out more information here.
Tabletop role-playing games can be daunting for new players. There’s a whole book (if not a dozen) dedicated to gameplay, frequently organized in a seemingly complex method. You’ll have to build your own player character from the ground up, including statistics you’re not familiar with, for unknown challenges. And at least one person in your player group must know the world and system well enough to introduce the rest.
First Look hopes to help the new adventurer launch into role playing easily with a set of stories that guide the party through their first gameplays. A step by step guide introduces role-playing games with a simple system that boils down more complex mechanics into basic elements, as well as introduces storytelling to a new band of heroes and heroines.
First Look is a role-playing game that should take 3-6 players about 2-3 hours to complete a single adventure.
Each module (story) opens with a brief overview of role-playing games, a needs list, and an explanation of how the First Look books are laid out. Stories are divided into acts, gradually introducing RPG concepts to the players step by step.
In “Too Ghoul for School” players are part of a group of kids solving mysteries, ala Scooby Doo. Act I opens with character building through role choosing based on storytelling. It goes on to introduce skill checks and game flow (call and response). Additionally, the material is written partially as a game-runners guide, walking them through setting up each story element for the players, as well as explaining why each part is important. There are several scenes to enact, each focusing on teaching how to guide a party as well as how the party should think about tackling the story.
Act II deals with exploration and encounters, expanding on the skills the player has learned in the first Act. Players have more freedom with their surroundings, the ability to create action instead of having action put upon them. Additionally, they’re introduced to some of their first conflict, and the importance of the different types of conflict in role-playing adventures.
Act II is the end of the module. It provides a conclusion to the adventure as well as a re-cap of the things the players learned through the course of the story. The epilogue provides a guide to creating new adventures and encounters. There’s also a system summary (as well as a summary of other systems) and some sample adventurers to kick off a home brewed adventure.
I’ve been playing role-playing games for almost a decade now, but I still consider myself new to the hobby. There are a ton of systems out there I haven’t played, and I still struggle (as do many) with simply picking up a new RPG guide and walking through character creation without guidance. And to be completely honest, if I hadn’t had a supportive friend walking me through the first few campaigns, I may have given up in frustration.
First Look removes a lot of that first time RPG frustration by providing a simple, streamlined method for introducing new people to the hobby. The step by step guide walks even the least experienced players through set up, mechanics, and the flow of the game. The game flow section is particularly well done—you can hand anyone a stat sheet and some dice—but without some note about how storytelling works, what makes encounters exciting, and why there has to be conflict and reward, the role playing aspect can fall flat.
Additionally, with five different modules available, groups can choose the type of story they want to tell—fantasy, sci-fi, intrigue, comedy, or superhero. Since so many people have only heard of D&D, showing that there are role-playing adventures to fit every interest is a big plus for the entire hobby, as well as opens the door to players that might be interested but aren’t into elves and orcs.
Designed to introduce new players to role-playing, First Look is an excellent series of guides that walk new game groups through storytelling and encounters step by step. Even without an experienced player any group can start on page one and walk through the portal into their own story, whether its intrigue, sci-fi, fantasy, or comedy. From types of dice to character statistics to party goal setting, First Look provides a great inauguration into role-playing games for any new band of adventurers.
First Look is now in funding on Kickstarter. If you’d like to become a backer, or find out more information, head over to their campaign page and check it out.
As always, we don’t post ratings for preview copies as the components and rules may change from the final game. Check back with us after the game is produced for a full review. This post was a paid preview, you can find out more information here.