Hey Game Fans, we’re working on new focuses and ideas for our article series, and were going to broaden our horizons and show off some other role-playing games. I picked up a bunch of these last weekend, and we’re going to get started with Tales from the Loop. With a tagline of “Roleplaying in the 80’s that never was,” this game combines a very odd juxtaposition of the fantastic and the mundane and turns both ideas on their heads. Characters in this game are children living in the 80s under the shadow of The Loop, a project designed to explore strange energies and they experience fantastical things that no one else understands. The story explores the very real struggles that children deal with and the adventures they go through while experiencing their mundane lives. Other folks have compared it to ET, The Goonies, Stranger Things, and other stories like this. I would also compare it to the struggles the children have with Pennywise the clown in the first half of IT, from Stephen King, or the kids from the film Super 8. It’s a very novel concept for a storytelling device and the game looks absurdly fun.
The Story of the Game
Originally published by Free League and funded as a Kickstarter in 2016, Tales from the Loop is the third game created by Free League (Coriolis and Mutant:Year Zero are the first two) Set in a very specific timeframe with very specific characters, Tales focuses on the mysterious events that happen around the Loop, a high energy physics project that generates anomalies and oddities in equal measure. These are fantastical mysteries and bizarre things that the characters will have to explore and interact with. The setting has also made some interesting leaps that have turned fantastic technology (namely robots and floating ships) into mundane elements like cars and televisions.
The thing that i find compelling about the story of Tales is that the only people who can seemingly interact with these mysteries are children. Something about the adult brain doesn’t react the same way, and the children are effectively on their own for this. The Kickstarter campaign was a smashing success, and the core book contains two settings, one set in Sweden and one set in the United States. Both are wonderful settings for characters to explore and the game is immersively fun.
The Mechanics of the Game
Tales From the Loop uses a system extremely similar the one used by Mutant: Year Zero. The system is extremely easy to get into. Tasks are presented as Troubles, and the children will have to make a dice roll to overcome the Trouble. This is as simple as figuring out the relevant attribute, and the appropriate skill for the Trouble at hand. For Example, if you’re trying to sneak past a bully, you will use your Body attribute and the sneak skill. You pick up that combined numbers worth of 6 sided dice, and roll them. Every result of a 6 counts as a success, and typically you only need one success to overcome a trouble. Some Troubles have attached Conditions that characters experience if they fail to overcome the Trouble.
The character creation system is straightforward and revolves around 8 basic archetypes. You will pick an Archetype and then assign attributes and skills as appropriate. There are a lot of decisions and ideas to consider and one of the things that i like about the system is that the numbers decided last. You will probably have a solid idea of your character’s personality and background long before you start assigning numbers to your character sheet. Characters all have a defined age range between 10 and 15, and characters age out of playability at 16.
Where to find Tales From the Loop
Now you can find Tales From the Loop on the Internet at Free League here. They have a link to Drivethru RPG where you can pick up books, comics and source material for the game (also i added the link here). You can also find it at Modiphius Entertainment’s site here.
That’s our very brief look at Tales From the Loop. We love the setting elements of this game in a million different ways and aspects. The system is simple to get into, and it’s a story driven game of wonder and dealing with the struggle between the mundane world and the larger world created by the Loop. It’s a wonderful game that we will be taking a closer look at in the coming months. Game On, Game Fans.