I recently was contacted by Jon Egia of Burning Games about running a feature on their new game, FAITH: The Sci-Fi RPG. The e-mail contained a link to their Kickstarter page as well as their company’s website. Their Kickstarter tagline intrigued me… “A sci fi RPG in a box. Played with cards. Shape your character and choose your God wisely to survive in a struggling Universe.” But I preferred their elevator pitch description for the game from their interview at All Us Geeks, “Faith is a pen and paper role-playing game that uses cards instead of dice. Randomness is replaced with streamlined resource management and the art is on the table at all times in the form of beautifully illustrated playing cards accompanied by gear and non player character cards and character boards.”
All one needs to learn about the game is located on their Kickstarter page. There they provide numerous links to videos, pictures and product information, including: a video introduction to the game, a 13-page downloadable intro to the world, a video explaining the rules, a 2-page downloadable quick start rules set, a gallery of the playing cards (player, gear, and NPC cards), as well as links to several written reviews, podcast reviews, and video reviews of the game. I quickly delved into each of these links that were provided to see what the game was all about.
I am a story guy, so I delved into the game’s storyline first to see what the game had to offer. Being that sci-fi is my favorite genre, it already had a leg up on the competition with me. “FAITH is a dark and unforgiving universe in which Gods live side by side with technology and biological experimentation. Gods are in continuous conflict with each other, but they can only affect reality through their believers, empowering them with divine powers. In the game, each player can choose in which God his character believes and their faith will be tested as Gods are demanding beings that will try to lure them into heroic albeit sometimes suicidal missions in exchange for power.”
The 13-page intro to the world showcases three different races in the game: the Corvo, the Iz’kal, and the Humans. In addition to the three races, there are four different Gods listed: Ergon, Vexal, Hexia, and Kaliva. Each God has different Divine Commandments that display their core values. Beings do not choose their God, and Gods do not choose their being. Instead, it is who they are, as being, that determines that. It also discusses key features to the universe, such as life within the universe, space travel (which includes a labyrinth of wormholes), the history of alien contact between the three races, and the history of each race along with explanations of the Gods of the universe.
Mechanically, there are several core concepts to the game that I noticed immediately. Although it looks like a board game, FAITH has all the elements of a pen and paper roleplaying game… without the pen and paper. The game use cards instead of dice to resolve confrontations in the game. Players play their hand of cards during these confrontations using a resource management system for resolution. The basic mechanics of the game seemed simple when I viewed the quick start rules. However, upon seeing the rules explained more thoroughly in several videos I watched, I realized there was actually a lot of strategy to the game.
Although the game has the appearance of a pen and paper roleplaying game, board game, and card game all rolled into one, role-players will recognize familiar attributes and skills on their character cards. There are six different attributes: Agility, Constitution, Dexterity, Faith, Link, and Mind. There are also numerous skills, including: Ballistic, CQC, Hacking, Initiative, Survival, Cunning, Piloting, Athletic, Eva, Medical, Technical, and Profession.
The biggest thing of note that I observed about player mechanics was this. Any basic action that a character attempts and has a reasonable chance at succeeding automatically succeeds. For example, if your character has several points in Piloting and he is looking to take off and fly out of the atmosphere, without some extenuating circumstance he just succeeds. When the outcome of an action is in doubt and could have some bearing on what will happen in the game, like shooting someone with a gun, then a confrontation occurs. The game master and player will each be able to play a card from their hand, adding attributes, skills, and other factors, and the highest final value determines who succeeds and who fails. The use of a hand of cards with different values allows players to use their resources as they see fit instead of being subject to the sheer randomness of a dice roll, hence the idea of resource management.
Overall, I found the storyline of the game to be unique. The mechanics are striving to do something that is rarely seen in the industry by combing elements of a roleplaying game, board game, and card game together in a unique fashion. And the artwork of the game is incredible and really inspired me to view a futuristic realm that is different from anything I’ve imagined before.
The FAITH Kickstarter ends on Thursday, March 12th, 2015 at 4:00am (PST). If you like sci-fi roleplaying games with a twist, I’d go over to their Kickstarter page or their website and check out the game. I think you’ll be happy with what the game has to offer. Did I mention you can try it before you back it?