First of all, James D'Amato hosts One Shot, a podcast that dives into just about any RPG they can get ahold of. What comes with RPGs? Character voices! NPC encourages and trains players to act out, both on its own terms and to encourage people to get into their RPG characters. In addition, D'Amato actively engaged Kickstarter supporters with updates, card reviews, print-and-play cards, and more.
The game arrived within days of a mass market trivia game, so comparing them was inevitable. While the mass market trivia game offered a box about 6"x10," the material within could have fit into a sandwich sized ziplock. On the other hand, NPC fills its 8" of cardboard with gaming material. This is an increasingly standard sized (think Monikers or core Cards Against Humanity) for independently produced card games and I hope it sets a higher standard for mass market products too. If only Word Whimsy packed so much content in a sturdily made box, I think it would have taken off, as well.
NPC at game night got grabbed by four of our regulars: a middle school student, her mom, and two twenty-somethings. I wasn't able to explain the rules, but the "active player/judge" is presented with goofy presentations by other players ha become a hallmark and was easily started. Before I could get back to the group, the laughter of the four players filled the bar. Role cards like Halfling Wizard and adjective-role combos like Scottish Werewolf were immediate hits. One "judge" did come to me asking to decide between two adjective cards to go with the Androsphynx, so it was clear that she still was an active participant in the round. The illustrations are fantastic and often entertaining in their own right.
We also discovered that D'Amato is very active and response on Twitter. We and one of our players posted about the game and one response came within minutes, the other within hours. This responsivity felt like D'Amato is excited to have people playing NPC and cares about their experience.
The game was competitive till the end, allowing each player to shine with different role cards and I hardly saw a slow round. Tying adjectives to the roles and the size of the game will give it some endurance. The NPC cards will add to our Monte Cook Games NPC deck, giving us more fluidity in dynamic, improvisational RPG sessions. While the art is awesome, many of the role cards are just text, which still provides content, but with a slight let down. Our immediately wanted more role cards, especially for a non-high fantasy setting to be a bit more relatable to others. With NPC being a Kickstarter success, I hope that we can see a similarly sized standalone expansion that dives into science-fiction, horror, or other settings. Romance and history could also be smaller expansion additions to bring in even more players to what is clearly a great core game!
Check out their home page at http://paracosmpress.com/npc/
Check out their successful Kickster at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/oneshotpodcast/noisy-person-cards