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Day 8 - Freelancers

One of my most anticipated games of the last year was Freelancers, the tongue in cheek roleplaying board game in a box, based on the very popular Forgotten Waters. This one was always likely to be a win for me and sure enough I love it!

Freelancers is a story, first and foremost. You begin by crafting your hero. Choose from one of 9 different fantasy races and 21 different classes. This is done by simply combining two sheets torn off the included pads. Players then fill in a few story prompts before reading aloud their heroes background and filling in the gaps with the answers they gave as their story prompts.

This sets the tone of your adventure as your backstories are goofy, silly and maybe even a little raunchy. For example, you can be a pirate who was so hopeless at sea that he has decided to try his hand at working on land. Or a Barberian, a warrior stylist who just wants to learn the best ways to cut hair.

Next you'll choose from one of the five, fully voiced, adventures and begin playing. The free app (it's a website rather than an app) will guide you through the adventure, and actually includes a fully interactive tutorial too, than can be turned on or off as you need. It will begin with some narration to set the scene and then you'll dive into your first adventure.

The adventures unfold either on the fully illustrated storybook or within the app, or occasionally you may be asked to even act out the various scenes or retell your exploits around a fireplace at the local tavern. Whatever the case the app will always be there to hold your hand and deliver the story with wonderful narration and sound effects.

As your characters go about their adventures they'll gain stats, treasure, gold and experience points, making them even mightier and more capable of facing greater levels of challenge. However, where the game really shines, is in the titles system. As you perform various feats you will unlock titles to remind you of the deeds you have performed. However, this is more than just a frivolous exercise or another excuse to inject humour into the game. No titles act as keywords, ways for the game to recall how events have transpired in the world. But they also have a benefit, allowing you to unlock experience points and ultimately win the game.

Freelancers then is a D&D style campaign in a box where you don't need to memorise two huge rulebooks and where you don't need a dungeon master to run the session. For hardcore RPG players it will likely be too light and for casual gamers with no attachment to the theme this one might seem too silly, but for me and my crew this one hits the sweet spot.

A word of caution, the art might not be to everyone's tastes and the humour might be a little too blue for some groups, however, for fans of Forgotten Waters or Munchkin or Red Dragon Inn, I think this one will be right up your street. Plaid Hat Games are masters of this style of game and they have done a superb job in bringing this world to life!

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