Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Planet Mercenary RPG

I've backed the Planet Mercenary Roleplaying Game (based on Schlock Mercenary) with five days left in the campaign.


I was sitting on the fence about this for a few reasons:

  • Most of my friends don't actually consume much non-video media, which means that games based on books, comics, or webcomics don't have a ready audience with them.
  • Military themed games are a hard sell with my group. I'm the only vet, and most of them seem to dislike playing in games where they are in an organizational hierarchy. 
  • Science Fiction games are also a hard sell with my group.
  • I'm wary of the game system, but not because of the reasons that Howard Taylor talks about here:
"Does This Make You Nervous?
We've heard from a lot of people, including a few play testers, who have expressed concern about the MAYHEM! cards "screwing up their game." They're nervous. Perhaps you are too. It's possible that this anxiety stems from a fear of failure, a tingling sense of doom-around-the-next-corner.
Jeff Goins wrote: 'Without conflict you don't have a story. You have a reality show.'
If you're nervous, that may be because there's an actual conflict waiting for you in Planet Mercenary. And fortunately, conflict is not only the source of story, it's at the heart of humor, and trust me, you want this in there."
That doesn't bother me. I don't care if my paper man dies (especially if he dies well) and the same extends to the paper-men in games I run. I agree that failure and conflict drive stories.  Rather, past experience with cards like these (notably in Torg) and other meta-mechanics haven't worked for me. I feel like they often distract or detract from the narrative flow of the game, and give it a very game-like feel in play (resulting in something that feels a bit like a quasi-RPG boardgame like Descent). I think they bring the mechanics too front-and-center and make that fourth wall all too obvious.

So why did I ultimately back it?

  • I am a fan of the comic and I like role-playing games. 
  • I would probably have regretted not getting it. 
  • If the hobby is dying, then new ideas and new games ought to be supported on principle.
  • It comes with some really neat props that ought to be fun to have.  
I probably won't play it though, which makes me a bit sad.


  1. Hello,
    Have you tried any of the VTT (Virtual Table Top) applications/websites?

    1. Yes (MapTools and OpenRPG). I'm not sure how that's relevant to this post though. I suppose I could make a post about my experience with gaming online.