Sunday, February 12, 2012

Not Really a Review of Adventurer, Conqueror, King

Last year, I missed the original Adventurer, Conqueror, King kickstarter. But I did end up pre-ordering the RPG based on thoughtful posts from the designers at the Autarch blog. Posts like these:
And these:
And these:
Now that I have the pdf of the final game in my hands, I'm happy to say that it lives up to its promise. A lot of hard work and careful thought has gone into this thing, and it is clearly built on the chassis of actual play of classic D&D. Indeed, part of its charm is that--at first glance--it looks like a streamlined, slightly modernized version of the classic D&D (B/X) rules, albeit with a touch more room to personalize a character.

But it really comes into its own when you see the really elegant ideas that have been implemented just below the surface. And then it really takes off when providing rules for ruling a small kingdom, running a thieves guild, or even creating your own magical hybrid monsters. It's a game that embraces what D&D is and supports that.

I've never actually run a retro-clone or neo-retro-clone or other game system spun out by the OSR. When I feel like running classic D&D, I just run classic D&D. But ACKs? Well, this one I'm going to push for at some point in the future.

Which is why this time, I won't be making the same mistake of missing the Kickstarter. Indeed, I've already bought in on the Kickstarter for the ACKs Player's Companion. And I'm already glad I did. Hell (and maybe this is too much Skyrim talking), it was worth it for the Dwarven Machinist class alone. But more generally, I'm enjoying all the new classes, and I'm particularly looking forward to building a few classes of my own using the rules for "Custom Class" creation. If these are implemented even half as well as I expect they are, that's further support for the feeling that I've found my favorite new D&D.

TL;DR: ACKs is the first D&D-like to actually punch through my instinctive response of "Or I could just play D&D." It is that good, and well worth checking out. Also, if you're intrigued by this, you can get in on the Kickstarter for the Player's Companion here.

Or read Chris's review at Vaults of Nagoh, which does a good job of pointing out more specifically some of the cool tricks the game pulls off.