How I Changed Roll Player Adventures to Enjoy the Story
Follow an exciting story, uncover secrets, and decide friend from foe while being a part of the world in Roll Player Adventures.
I like to slowly go through narrative-based games at the start, savoring each paragraph or chapter to fully enjoy the immersion. Roll Player Adventures gave me exactly that! Only something happened that wasn’t entirely unexpected… It was so good that I couldn’t stop playing! I only sped up, absolutely intrigued by the story and where it would lead!
Watch out! This post contains general spoilers for the entire campaign starting with Adventure 2: Taron’s Troll. There aren’t specific details, yet some maps and light story spoilers are included. Discovery and exploration are key elements of the narrative’s appeal, so feel free to skip this one if you’re planning to play! The story is amazing to experience.
Game Name: Roll Player Adventures
Publication Year: 2021
Designers: Keith Matejka, P. A. Ryan, and J. W. Ryan
Artists: Ariosa, Fei, Fedorova, Mammoliti, Petter, Ribeiro
Publisher: Thunderworks Games
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game
Every storybook includes its own map to advance the adventure through all sorts of locations. 1-4 characters experience the narrative, making discoveries and having lasting effects on the world. Choices are often difficult, and might come back to play a major role later on.
December 27, 2021
January 1, 2022
46" x 32"
Salka Moonbender, my character, traveled far and wide. Over the countryside and… To another place! The mystery of the world was only just starting to take shape.
Could this have been a novel? Maybe, but only to a certain extent. The decisions I made were already shaping my journey through the world, often in surprising ways.
I made friends with some characters, steered clear of others, and yet didn’t quite know my place in it all.
This, though, was a huge positive. I didn’t feel forced down a single path, but had to find my own way.
Riddles in the Dark
Each storybook contains some sort of lore or other snippet from the world at the very end. So neat to see all of this and understand the extent of worldbuilding!
However, it was during Adventure 4 that I started to have major issues with the dice rolls. To look through a deck of 20+ cards to find combinations broke the immersion.
I was getting frustrated, often lost on how to turn a blue die into a red die than how this tied into the story.
There was an important decision I had to make, and technically… I broke the game entirely. Purely out of love!
To Play by the Rules or Find a Path to Happiness?
As I saw it, the story was absolutely thrilling and I couldn’t stop right in the middle of it! But if I kept building my deck of cards with no limitations, I was going to get bogged down in the mechanics over the narrative. Even rolling the dice didn’t feel like I was adding any skills… With the cards I had, I was generally skilled in turning the dice into anything.
Did I mention I broke the game? I could continue playing by the rules with the skill checks, getting more and more frustrated as I added more time for non-story moments. My other option seemed completely nonsensical, but I knew I would enjoy my time with the game. That’s right: I did away with using item cards and rolling dice. What?!
I’ll be the first one to announce that it went against the game’s system entirely. This isn’t an attempt to recommend it to anyone, either. Just another analysis of why I make some of these choices when playing solo! In fact, it turned it into an almost entirely narrative-based journey. Everything else was still in play, though, and I didn’t auto-succeed.
Had I kept going with the rules, it would have been a case of forcing myself to play. If I didn’t like anything about it, I would have packed it up and moved on. Yet the story, titles, discoveries, maps, character development, and unexpected turns all drew me in. I didn’t want to stop! So I modified the game to work for me, hoping a story focus would work.
Page by Page
It took a few adjustments to give myself less experience and coins to approximate rests and not succeed at every single check. But in a few minutes, I was having fun again!
The humor I almost glossed over came through again in many paragraphs. Pretty sure I remember that phase where every highly effective person had 7 habits! Ha ha!
More importantly, it was the fifth adventure that made me start to question my character’s allegiances. Who was she?
I made some questionable choices and watched as her favor changed with different groups. Such a great story!
Ahead to a Backstory
Throughout the adventure, I had a dual-backstory in place that added a few key moments specific to my character.
Truth be told, the enormous tome that seemed so promising added only a few memorable moments. They weren’t bad or anything. Just… Not very compelling.
Still, it was so fun to explore and discover! Using items in each area took a little thought, although none were so confusing that it was impossible to work out the solution.
This was the perfect place to slow down a little, take in the world, and really consider whose side I was on. Anyone’s?
Best Title of Them All
My collection of title cards kept growing and growing. I appreciated the awesome illustrations, as well as the little story snippets to remind me of my choices.
There came a time when I could save a cat. You’ve all seen me with the Calico Critters… Was there even a question?!
No direct spoilers, but collecting a title card meant that it likely would have consequences later on. Good or bad? It was all part of the discovery process within the story!
Even though I removed some core gameplay mechanics, I found myself fully invested in playing through the story.
This wasn’t a simple story that took place in a single location. Not at all! I had to travel far and wide to continue on, and one stop took me to Cutty’s Landing and the sea.
Can I pause again just to appreciate the artwork? Every map was illustrated beautifully in a way that gave personality to the different storybooks. So lovely!
Although the story always progressed, there were still some major decisions that could have changed things up.
I honestly sat down to play through 9 of 12 storybooks on a single day. Dedication, spurred on by a wonderful story!
It was at this point that I decided to head off to explore Sidequest 1. This may be played at any point during the full adventure, although too early on might not be the best.
The way it advanced was interesting, as there was a whole other mini-plot to explore with choices to make.
I enjoyed the random encounters and rolling to figure out what would happen next. There were even some connections to what happened in the main adventure!
Had the expansion contained more sidequests like this instead of backstories, I would have enjoyed it a lot more.
Fun with Item Puzzles
All of the storybooks provided lots of fun and engaging writing that I enjoyed. Onward I went, though, possibly onto my favorite of the bunch: Adventure 9.
There were more puzzles here, or so it felt, and almost a sense of awe over the setting and goal. Plus, you can never go wrong with some adorable mechanical birds!
I paused to take a look at my deck of cards for dice manipulation… It was probably at about 40-50 cards.
To add back in dice rolling, manipulation, and placement would have slowed this to a crawl. Instead, more story!
Into Another Realm
Leading up the finale was a visit to not just another part of the world, but another realm. Maybe the purple landscape was a giveaway? Ha ha! This map was so different. Nice!
The narrative not only drew me into this singular adventure, but it got me even more interested in the setting. I wanted more! And I hoped it would come in time.
Just like that, I was on the doorstep of the finale. Part of me wondered if I should have slowed down a bit…
Yet with my schedule, this marathon would have stretched on for weeks and I might have forgottten some details.
A Mountain of Cards
Let me simply say that the ending was intriguing and brought back all of the previous decisions. I had to think about what I had done… And those I may have betrayed.
It wasn’t heavy-handed in terms of ethics or morality, though. There was an interesting sense of never being able to stay neutral, for every choice had some sort of impact.
Such a wonderful time! And I was still happy with my decision to basically break the game… It worked for me!
This stack of cards represented everything I could use for dice rolls. Imagine going through 50 cards for each check!
Play Number: 2-12
Expansion: Roll Player Adventures: Nefras’s Judgement
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game
Play Details: Adventures 2-10, Sidequest 1, and Finale
I made it to the end! The story was memorable in many ways with unexpected twists and even surprises for the direction my character took. Salka Moonbender explored all of the groups, never quite staying loyal to any for long, but ultimately finding a way to take her place in the world. Maybe I played in an unconventional way, yet I loved it!
Price & Value
Challenges & Mechanics
Design & Theme
Components & Rules
Achievement & Enjoyment
Distinctness & Randomness
+ Pros (Positives)
- The story is well-written, interesting, and provides meaningful choices that may cause ripple effects later on.
- There are many ways to affect the narrative and explore very different paths for a single character.
- Favor with various groups may change subtly or drastically, thereby opening up unexpected new options.
- No single path is made to be the wholly good choice, allowing a character to develop based on story decisions.
- Discovery is paramount to the overall atmosphere, and flipping over new cards creates a sense of anticipation.
- All of the maps and cards supplement the storybooks to bring the world to life and introduce more surprises.
– Cons (Negatives)
- Combat and skill checks pause the story and break the immersion with a reliance on luck and too many choices.
- Distinguishing some of the colors is difficult, even with the solid and double lines, mainly for blue and purple.
- There is a thematic disconnect with a lot of the item cards, where the focus is purely on the dice effects.
- Some of the elements that are tracked in pencil can feel tedious to track, especially keywords that are like titles.
Complete the Adventure
- Overall Goal Progress 100% 100%
Goals and Milestones
Complete Adventures 1-10.
Complete the Adventure Finale.
Complete Sidequest 1.
Continue the Conversation
What do you think of Roll Player Adventures? How far have you made it through the story? Although my overall rating and decision to abandon some of the core mechanics may seem like I didn’t enjoy it, I had a wonderful time! Changing my focus to experience the story worked well for me, and I might even be back to play through again someday soon!