Get the Loop running - a Mephisto review
Tales from the Loop Starter Set
As usual for Free League, there is also a Starter Set for the 1980s children's role-playing game Tales from the Loop. This consists of two booklets, pre-made characters, and a map.
It starts with the rule book, which summarizes the rules and background for Tales from the Loop in just over 30 pages. The game is set in an alternate version of the 1980s, where scientific breakthroughs have provided robots and other technological achievements such as hovering ships. Players take on the roles of children between the ages of 10 and 15 living near the Loop, a particle accelerator that is the center of technical breakthroughs but also strange phenomena.
The game mechanics are based on rolling attributes and skills together in the form of d6s, with each six being a success. Usually, a single success is enough, but rolls can be pushed or repeated with Luck. Since players play children as characters, player characters cannot die here, but they can be affected or incapacitated by various conditions.
The rule book briefly summarizes the rules and introduces the game background, how the alternate 1980s came to be, and what they look like. This background is always presented with lists of movies, music and similar aspects from that time. The rule book is also dedicated to playing the game and how to bring the background into the game accordingly. It also offers ideas on how players can help shape the background.
With this very compact rule book, the adventure The Recycled Boy can be played right away using the pre-generated player characters. In a handful of scenes, the characters experience a small story that fits well into the background of Tales from the Loop and also very much involves the personal connections between the characters. Because this is also an aspect of Tales from the Loop: in addition to the secrets that need to be uncovered, the characters' normal lives also play a role.
In just under 20 pages, you get an adventure that can ideally be played in one game session. The five pre-generated player characters, who have interesting relationships with each other, as well as a map of the Loop in Sweden as well as in the USA, complete the set.
The Tales from the Loop Starter Set is well suited for quickly introducing the rules and setting of Tales from the Loop, and that for a small price. Of course, as with most of these starter sets, there are no character creation rules, so once you start enjoying the game, you will need the core rules as well.