W.O.I.N. – First Impressions

It's generic, it's crunchy, but is it fun?

W.O.I.N. – First Impressions

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of getting a taste of W.O.I.N. in a custom science-fiction setting; that is, we played a flavor of N.E.W. Because nobody else was free, a friend GMed just for me; I was treated to first-person action! We played via Skype, and that was awesome.

Aboard the enemy ship

We certainly did not explore all the rules or get everything right, but here are some impressions.

As a player

  • W.O.I.N. feels a lot like Shadowrun 5E, only … faster? Neater? Maybe it is just that weapons are no stat orgies here, and that you roll fewer dice. We still have a d6 pool mechanic, though, so you get that “try to defend my handful of dice!”-feel.

    Also, skills can be combined with any attribute, so you do not end up with useless skills just because the corresponding attribute is low.

  • I did not create my characters, but we talked a bit about the process. You have the fill-in-the-blank character definition I have come to appreciate in the Cypher System:

    [Name] is a [attributes] [job] who/with [stuff].

    In addition, you have career paths. You can mix and match careers in whichever way you please – this is how you can move one character from fantasy to sci-fi settings or the other way around. Moving forward careers influences your attributes, skills, special abilities, but also your maximum dice pool size and age.

    I think this is a very rich and flexible yet also predictable and clean system.

  • This is the first time I have played with a battlemap. I do not think you can get around that with W.O.I.N. – combat is quite tactical! Some stats and therewith decisions depend on having more or less exact ranges and angles.

  • Loved the tactical combat and the crunch that comes with it. Especially because we did close-quarter ground fighting and a starship battle in an asteroid field and we used the same rules for both.

Space battle!

As a GM

  • The crunch is adjustable. In combats, you will execute lots of attack and defense rolls; characters come with fixed scores for these rolls (the average result). So, as a GM you can choose not to roll all NPC defenses and use a fixed benchmark, or you can choose to go all dice-orgy.

    Now, this technique can certainly be applied to many games. W.O.I.N. is the first game I have seen that makes it explicit.

  • Characters have relatively few skills. In a given situation, you pick the attribute and skill that fit the challenge best and have the player roll with these two. That allows you to cover many situations.

  • Is seems very easy to add (or remove) a couple of careers for your setting or campaign. The thus modified system should still work nicely.

  • Spaceships have lots of stats. Wow. I don’t want to have to prepare many of those!

All in all, I had a blast and I am looking forward to more contact with the system! If you want to run a moderately crunchy game in one of the broad categories of settings W.O.I.N. has – fantasy, 80s action movies, science-fiction – it is definitely worth checking out.