Thursday, May 7, 2015

12 Games May: Middle Earth Role-Playing (MERP)

Originally I was going to review a copy of the 2nd edition of Middle Earth Role-Playing, but thankfully a player of mine was able to supply me with the UK Edition instead.  I say thankfully because even though 99% of the rules are no different (I cross checked throughout the book) the overall layout is far superior.  In both cases though this is definitely a product of the early days of gaming as the best way to sum up what I've gathered of this system is, "Tables within tables within charts".

This is a dense read and while the lay out for the most part makes sense with the flow of explaining mechanics there are some serious hiccups.  The first being that even during character creation there are charts that should be at least someone what close together (I'm looking at you Ability bonus chart and skill rank bonus chart) that are instead over 20 pages away from each other.  Since these are all table that are referenced repeatedly the flipping back and forth is insane and I will be making a cheat sheet ASAP.  The other issue I've found is that some core mechanics aren't so much buried, but instead given the lay out can be over looked.  I'm talking about things as simple as using a weapon and how the core dice mechanic works.

From what I've seen so far though this seems like a really fun game and my group can't wait to try it out.  I kind of wish Games Workshop (so THAT'S why everything's laid out more like a war game than a role-playing game) would re-release this gem with some updated formatting to the book.  Granted a re-release would just mean reprinting to make a quick buck, but in a perfect world someone could take this game and just rewrite the book using all the experience in formatting and presentation we've learned over the years.  Oh well, on to character creation next week.

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