Today I have the special privilege of reviewing the newest copy of Anthropos’ third RPG title Kingpink Darkness. Before I get into it though I would like to mention that I do consider the creator, Calvin Jones, a friend of mine and have represented his products before. That friendship stems from Calvin and I’s love of gaming and the respect I have for him is from the creativity and ingenuity that he encourages from every player through his RPGs. I am reviewing this particular book with no incentive other than to express my opinion at this point though and I believe that the same can be said for the DMless system Kingpink and I have to say that I’m impressed.
It has been a long time since I have had to ingest an RPG in less than a week and I think I picked a great system to warm up on. Kingpink weighs in at 33 pages of core rules and a total of 56 pages including extra rules, special settings, and character building/world building tips that should work equally with any other system you play and can be used collaboratively or independently. That being said I think any experienced DM could start a game in a couple of days, but with any skill, or reading this article you can see how subtlety in the rules can make an interesting narrative and some cool gameplay as well.
At the core, Kingpink’s players use their own personal deck of cards, usually just a different suit, but I suppose if you had more than four players then you could use a visually different deck as well. Each player uses this deck to establish the drama and conflict of an encounter and subsequently defeat it as well. The way that this is done is by assigning each card face in the deck with a theme that shapes your scenes, and doing the same thing to your character with each character having an inherent flaw and boon. Players lay out their cards on the established themes to mechanically handle the drama made and as they play the escalation of drama is shown by the rules themselves. Each player must focus on new goals and play increasingly high cards down to create a total high enough to face challenging themes and themes that are not defeated will escalate in difficulty and require more resources to defeat later.
With the defeat of themes and the loss to them as well characters will grow progressively stronger with more powers and flaws until they feel inclined to challenge the big bad evil at the end of the campaign (that’s right I said campaign. Each play of Kingpink is designed to last two or three sessions but can be scaled to one shots by adjusting the difficulty). The Kicker is that with the inherent flaw your character owns they will end up betraying the other players to some degree and making things more difficult in the long run. The point of all of this though isn’t to be a card game, even if I admit it would make an interesting one. The point of Kingpink is to collaboratively create an increasing sense of tension or conflict until it can be finally solved and through those solutions you find the truth in your worlds existence until you have both participated in, and helped build, something that wholly belongs to your table.
The core principles in Kingpink have really intrigued me personally. I am definitely not into GMless games. I have heard them in podcasts, read a couple, and checked out other reviews, but I have never been really drawn in and to be honest I would not have backed for my copy if Calvin was not the designer, but I am lucky that I did. I think That this is the first time I’ve felt the desire to play a game like this. I wanted to play because there is an order to how things are done. The rules seem to funnel people in the same creative direction, and I see a lot of Fantaji influence in that decision. The use of themes so thoroughly creates that narrative cohesiveness, but I’ll be totally honest. If I hosted another game I would probably make the themes myself.
Let’s move on a little further though. The next piece of the book makes me think I’ll be keeping Kingpink at my side permanently and that’s the world building/character building. Kingpink uses a variance of the core rules to establish relationships and history of a world. By using ages as scenes it is easy for any game master to use the inspiration of the themes they want to establish a history and lore to the world while also creating the current state of affairs to drop players in. I love the world building in Fantaji and have stood by it for literal years now, but I feel like Kinpink fills in all the holes that the worldbuilding in Fantaji leaves.
I do have to address the one flaw of Kingpink. It being a heavily narrative game be wary. Don’t play this game with people you may not like… at all. The reason I say this is because building a world with an equal voice requires collaboration and having fun. If you have someone on the table who is constantly selfish and going off on tangent, or that weird guy with the “funny” DND story about how they did some terrible thing, then you won’t have fun. It requires people who respect each other’s boundaries and people who can have fun rolling with the punches. Keep that in mind when playing Kingpink.
Overall I would say that for ten bucks this book is a must buy! Honestly I paid twenty for the top tier bespoke edition and I feel like I stole something. If you want to check out Kingpink you can pick it up on DrivethruRPG.
Thanks for reading my review everyone. I really enjoyed reading through this book and getting back to reviewing an RPG. If you liked my article please consider sharing it on social media for other people to read. If you do you can tag me on Twitter or Facebook @nblogcollective. I would love to hear what you think. You can also sign up to receive alerts for new articles as well.
Consider looking up some of my friends as well. My good friend Cole will be streaming us playing Uno on Tuesday through twitch, but if you miss it that is perfectly fine because my friend Matt has a youtube channel and he should be posting videos of the gameplay. As a matter of fact he already has here! Thanks for checking all of this stuff out and as always,