Detes on the game: Released 2022, Text by Chris McDowall, Graphics/Art by Johan Nohr, Hardcover 144 pages, published by Free League Publishing
This is a remastered and reorganized version of the rules lite tabletop role-playing game Into the Odd. I am a fan of the original booklet, which was a lot of game in a small package of 50 pages. It was also one of the first OSR games that I played on Google+ when I was getting into games online. For me, as someone who liked the original game, I wasn’t expecting any big changes, just a premium version of the same rules. With edits. In a fancy printed book.
This review will speed through the book and just be comments from someone who already owned the original booklet of the game.
It seems like a fancy update. The rules take up more pages, but there is a lot of collage art (which I like! But is not for everyone I think, as it edges on abstract in its representations of ideas at times) and tons of white space. The book leaves plenty of space for a reader to write notes in the margin if they wish. The bonus of the expanded page count seems to be more air on the page, and also a larger text font which made the book easier to read in low light in comparison to the cramped tiny font of the booklet.
The second big half of the book is a revised version of the adventure location from the original booklet, The Iron Coral. Which has been expanded from a small hexcrawl and one floor dungeon to a three floor dungeon (total of 60 rooms) and a 24 hex crawl with 4 mini dungeons, and a town called Hopesend. With the expanded page count, it meant that the introductory adventure was able to be more fully fleshed out to the point that a short campaign could be run using just the adventure in the book.
The last section of the book, like the original booklet, is a series of roll tables for game masters / referee’s to use to fill in the blanks of the world and answer questions. The neat addition here is 3 alternate character type rules for mutants from the underground, simple folk (peasants and non-city folk), and unhumans (people from a cosmic cursed city). There is also an alternate character packages (equipment grid) table too. This seemed like a decent add, as the original booklet has been out for a good while, and as this game seems to be a definitive version of the rules, two tables will give a game group plenty of character packages to use before having to sub in ones of their own creation.
Reading the game
As someone who owns more games than he will likely ever play, part of the appeal of game books for me ends up being how fun it can be to just curl up and read a game rule book. To imagine situations that could come up at the game table if I did get to play the game. Or to see what I could steal from this game, tables, magic items, details etc, to use in the game that I am currently playing at the table.
For sitting down and reading, it took two sittings to read through this book. The rules were interesting to read, and kept me engaged. It was quick and I could envision how I would run the game at the table.
The Iron Coral, the 3 floor dungeon in the game, was kind of okay to read, but was definitely the least exciting part of the book. As it reminds me of reading my own game prep notes, short and best for whoever is going to run the game session off of the notes. Not necessarily great reading material with its minimal bullet point text. The hex crawl and town of Hopesend got me more excited to play the introductory material than the dungeon did as it felt like it was easier to piece together mentally how things are connected. Its writing format definitely fits for quick reference when running the dungeon, so it scores points for that. Just not for reading for me.
The tables in the back section I just skimmed. Reading roll tables isn’t always the most thrilling experience, but the tables would be fun to use at the table and had some good entries. The “I eat the stuff” table is always fun with entries like “Bready. You need never eat or drink again!”
I think as someone who owned the original booklet, this book makes a good upgrade to that edition. It has a bigger adventure setting with a bigger dungeon. The rules have more space and bigger text so it’s easier to read in mood lighting than the original booklet was for me. For reading, don’t expect tons of lore, this is a rules lite game that has its world and flavor apparent in tables not splurges of text. The list of magic items tells you what magic is like and how it is used. This isn’t a negative statement, just a statement.
Anyways, recommend it for people who want a rules lite game and haven’t found the one that works for them yet. Recommend it as a good upgrade to the original booklet. But if you have already moved on from this game, this new edition might not be for you.