Today I get to talk about a game from Cherry Picked Games, a company that I actually have three games on my review list… so you will be hearing quite a bit about them over the next few posts. At first I thought I’d do one giant post for all three games, but I feel more comfortable doing three mini posts. Enjoy!
4-6 Players (GM Needed)
This is a post I’ve been dragging my feet on and oddly enough it’s not because of the games quality. This is an RPG and although I enjoy RPG’s, I am just awful at expressing my thoughts on RPG’s. Here it goes folks.
Catalyst is an RPG set in a post-apocalyptic world in which demons have taken over the earth. Ever since the demon uprising humans have manifested magical abilities. With the persons specific powers they also have vitae and vigor. Vitae in a sense is a person’s health points and helps you to heal wounds and such. Vigor on the other hand is a person’s ability to push themselves past their normal physical abilities. Both of these have limits that are based on the traits of the character you’re playing such as willpower, strength, and fortitude.
Even though the character traits are similar to other games such as D&D, the characters themselves have so many more creation possibilities. Instead of placing these characters in classes (mage, bard, etc) and races (human, elf, etc.) you simply make up a back story for your character and what ability they manifested. I think that this is wonderful, there’s a never-ending pool of possibilities with this and that’s a great feeling for both the creative mind and replayability. There are example characters in the book and to start I chose one of them. Her name is Gianna Marchetti, a woman with a rough past whom became a fantastic pizza chef. Her ability is transmutation and she uses it turn her pizzeria tools into weapons and armor. She can be seen holding her pizza spatula which I think is great and adds a bit of humor to the whole thing. Her story tells of a past of drug abuse and this piece of her comes out after the proverbial “hell breaks loose”, she begins using what knowledge she has to create medicine for the survivors. How neat is that? The creators of this book took something so negative and gave it a helpful positive twist, I love it.
I played another story where I created a character that is an artist that has suffered from depression and anxiety her whole life, when her powers manifested she found that she had a type of telepathy – the ability to project images in people minds. The more upset she feels the more physical her projections become. Her projections can go from destroying the minds of these demons when she is calm to physically harming and chasing the demons when she is feeling manic. It was great fun to play around with.
The thing that really sets this game apart from others I’ve played is the combat. The combat is done with action cards chosen by each player privately and in turn flipped over simultaneously. The actions have an order that is followed. The reason I like this is because once you chose your action, that’s it. It is set in stone and you have to find a way to make it work for you. You also need to be able to read to group well in hopes that you do not chose to attack a demon and get stuck fighting alone while they ran away (yes that happened to me… jerks). This mechanic takes a great deal of pressure off of me, as this is a part of RPG’s I find to be hard. I have anxiety in real life and it gives me RPG stage fright. This is an RPG that I would highly suggest someone new to the genre playing because it eases you into the combat/action situation.
The book is a hefty 270 pages long, but all of it is needed and helpful. The 142 cards are nice and thick. My largest complaint is the box that this all came in. It reminds me of one of those old school VHS card board boxes. It’s thin and was damaged almost instantly. Other than that, I genuinely enjoyed this game.
Cherry Picked Games created two apps for this game on Android. One for the player and one for the GM. Both of them work really well and do not feel like an unnecessary extra like some of the other board game companion apps are. These are really worth getting and help keep track of your information. On th player app you can create your character and use battle mode instead of using the physical cards. The GM app also lets you create opponents and keep track with the battle mode. There are multiple campaigns for sale on the website. Lastly, Catalyst has a wiki page and it’s nifty… so check that out too. 🙂
I want to thank Cherry Picked Games for letting take this game for a spin. I hope I did well with this review. In the future I may put up some posts with actual playthroughs of the game, I just didn’t want to overwhelm anyone right away. 🙂 Thank you everyone for reading! Until next time… live by the board.