Welcome back to another exciting edition of our Space Stone Reviews! If this is your first time joining us, our Space Stone segment is all about taking a look at the newest products in the gaming space. Today we are tackling an ambitious project from a game designer known as Bobby Forever. Bobby was kind enough to offer us a review copy. Buckle up, as we dive headfirst into the world of "THE FOREVER SYSTEM 1D6: TABLETOP RPG", a book that at the time of writing this was sitting on Amazon's #1 Bestseller list in the Children's Book section.
I won't bury the lead here, if you were expecting a system like Dungeons and Dragons, or one of the many Powered by the Apocalypse games; this is not that. Whether that is good or bad is entirely subjective, but it does mean one thing for sure. Bobby tackled something most designers don't, and that is to make an original system that is all his own. A lot of newer systems are riffs of already existing works, that sometimes pay off (Blades in the Dark as an example of an incredibly well-executed PbtA game), and sometimes they don't. Designers who forge their own path like Barney and Charlie, our friends who designed my current favorite system Shiver!, get major points in my book for the scope of their ambition.
The Forever System is nothing if not ambitious. Taking apart the mechanics the game seems to draw inspiration from several sources, but feels like some of the really early Fallout RPG's in terms of tone and theme. Apocalyptic wasteland ✓, Irradiated Zombies ✓, Guns Guns and More Guns ✓. Bobby also included an interesting magic mechanic that works in a rock-paper-scissors style reminiscent of the Pokémon games. There are job trees built into each character, that offer different experiences, and game mechanics including classes like an assault, medic, close-quarters fighter, heavy gunner, demolitionist, and sharpshooter.
Character Sheet Example
It was made clear in my conversations with Bobby that this is a work in progress with many iterations and changes to come. As it stands now the game is playable if not a bit clunky. What exists now, in my opinion, is the skeleton of a game that could be great. A bit of spit-shine and polish and some fleshing out could see this game take off. Is it there now? No, but Bobby strikes me as someone who won't rest until this game is the best version of itself.
Three things would bring this game to the next level.
1) More character and story: The rulebook has somewhat of a plot but not enough to sink my teeth into.
2) Rules cleanup: It was difficult to follow what actions were governed by which rolls, and the book didn't always have an easy flow from one rule's concept, to the next. In addition, some of the rules felt clunky and didn't leave room for creativity.
3) Some graphic updates: This one is minor and completely subjective, but I'm a visual person by nature. Art and the layout a book presents can be a make or break for me. For others it's a non-issue.
All in all, I enjoyed this, it needs some TLC, but I really believe that it could get there. Be sure to watch this one and any future work from Bobby.
Jarret is our resident TTRPG expert. With more hours invested in his parent's basement DMing than Doritos crumbs in the average neckbeard, Jarret knows a thing or two about good systems when he sees them.