My game of the year for 2021 was Roll Player Adventures and I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to preview the upcoming Gulpax’s Secret expansion. While Gulpax’s Secret will be new, Roll Player Adventures Nefras’s Judgement expansion augments the original base game with additional material. Is this content worth searching out while you wait for Gulpax’s Secret?
Roll Player Adventures Nefras’s Judgement is an expansion for the Roll Player Adventures board game from Thunderworks Games.
I’m not going to cover how to play Roll Player Adventures and will point you to my original review’s Overview section for a brief overview of the game’s mechanics.
During character creation for a campaign utilizing the expansion, you can use either one of the included pre-generated characters or import one from Roll Player. For either, you write down the backstory on a new sideboard and place an alignment cube where indicated or in the center for the pre-generated characters. With each backstory there are four stories and locations that are also written down on the sheet to remind you of when your backstory is revealed.
If you’re playing with either one or two characters, it’s suggested to take an additional background and the book has recommended suggestions that synergize well or you can go rogue and pick what you’d want like the chaotic neutral scoundrel you probably envision yourself to be.
At each of these moments, you read some text and then make a choice that will either move your alignment cube or give you a title that will trigger something later, much like the base game.
Game Experience with Expansion:
Nefras’s Judgement adds a little seasoning to the main course of the base game by augmenting your 11-chapter experience (plus a repeatable side quest) with some extra content that’s custom to your character. This creates unique moments for you where you might gain stamina, an item, or a title. These vignettes also often weave this additional narrative with the characters you’re already interacting with in these areas making them feel like original game content.
One of the hardest parts of reviewing something like this is not spoiling the story since that’s such a huge part of this experience and the main feature of the content. While there is a lot of content included in the 300+ page tome that comes with the expansion what you see in a single playthrough is fairly limited.
I’ve experienced part of a few different backstories as part of a two-player campaign (so four backstories) and they’ve been good. There were some tough choices and some interesting peeks into other parts of the lore of the world. Sometimes I may not have agreed with where my alignment marker moved but, at some point, it’s a mechanic not an indictment on me as a person. Don’t judge my chaotic evil character as suggesting I’m a bad person. I’m just misunderstood.
The biggest complaint I have, and it’s present in most narrative games, is that your choices are often limited to one of two outcomes. If you like to create personalities for your characters, there’s more material to work with but you’re also on rails so whether that works for you will be down to the background and your personal feelings about it. These backstories add to your character but in a way almost constrain them more. You are that predetermined person with a defined history and a fate determined through a handful of forking paths. Meanwhile, the core game you start as a soldier who can either stay aligned with their army, befriend their enemy or join a secret society or pick two and see what transpires. It’s also on rails but the branches feel broader and more impactful even if they are just exploring different corridors in the same room.
Nefras’s Judgement will add eight to 16 story moments over the 11 chapters of the base game depending on the number of characters being used.
Roll Player Adventures is one of my favorite games and this adds more content so that’s a huge plus. And it’s content fits into the core box, which is always a plus. On the other hand, if you’re the type of person who generally plays a campaign once (or doesn’t finish it) before moving on—I don’t think this is critical content. For the player who’s all about Ulos, has Roll Player, and/or plans to play Roll Player Adventures multiple times then this adds content that will enhance each playthrough by providing new content for each subsequent play.
• Choices can feel limiting at times
• Alignment marker doesn’t always move where you think it should