Swamp Troll Witches Review
October 13, 2022
So this will be the second review I've done, the other one I did was a first look at the Brains & Brawn system made by Fighter Guy Studios. It can be found here. Someday I hope to do a true review of that system as well.
This, however, will be an actual review of Swamp Troll Witches made by Cats Have No Lord and not just a first look. I spent a week or so going over the rules. And I did a short play-through of the system. If you haven't already you can read my two-part play journal here.
Before I begin it should be noted that I had never played a solo ttrpg(tabletop role-playing game) before this. So the review will be as much about that style of play as it will be about this specific rule system. Also, while I will refer to Swamp Troll Witches as a solo game, it can technically be played with a group of people as well.
On to the review.
To start with let's talk about solo RPGs. If this game is a good example of the playstyle, then my impression is that they are gamified creative writing prompts more than true games. This is not a criticism of the category as much as it is a clarification for those who may be curious as to what they are. It is not what I expected but I quite enjoyed it and likely I will try out other solo RPGs in the future.
The gameplay is simple to learn. Everything is done in phases, and you use 2-3 d6s (6-sided dice) for every roll. There are several tables you can use throughout the game although you always have the option to use your imagination instead of referencing a table. And you are encouraged to do so.
The rules pdf is set up sequentially and is easy to search through. It is 24 pages in length, 13 of which are tables..
So what is Swamp Troll Witches? Well as the name suggests, it is a game about troll witches living in a swamp. You create your swamp, the hut they live in, the market, and your witch or witches. You spend each day exploring your swamp looking for ingredients with which to brew your potions and dealing with whatever trouble you run into. And that's kind of it.
After a predetermined period, I chose 2 days, but 6 days is recommended you spend a day at the market, followed by a day of relaxation. You can then end the game or repeat it as many times as you wish.
Where It falls flat in my opinion, and the reason I think of it as more of a tool for creative writing than an actual game, is the lack of stakes. If you play the game as written, as a solo player there is no reason to create the potions, and no consequences if you don't. You just try again tomorrow.
Your goal is to sell potions at the market but there is no end point you are attempting to reach, no players or story elements to compete with. You don't die, or lose, you don't level up, and the game doesn't get easier or harder. There is no endpoint it just goes on and on until you decide you're done. .
There is actual gameplay but the only effect it has is to change what you write. And this is where it shines, at least as a solo game. You use the dice and tables to create a scenario and then resolve it. But you as the player decide what happens and how to describe it. There are likely millions of possible scenarios and outcomes you could randomly roll on the tables to write about.
So would I Recommend it
Yes, but it depends on what you're looking for. If you are looking for a challenge to overcome, or something with complex mechanics then Swamp Troll Witches likely isn't for you. And by that standard, I would give it a 2/5. The actual gameplay is fine but the difficulty doesn't scale and there is no goal you are attempting to reach.
But in all fairness, I don't think it's intended to be that type of game anyway. Swamp Troll Witches, in my opinion, is intended to let you live the day-to-day life of a hermit and small business owner in a fantastical world. And by that standard, I give it a 4 out of 5. While it is still fairly limited I think the game is exactly what the creator intended it to be.
Where can you buy it?
Swamp Troll Witches itch
You can follow Cats Have No Lord at
Cats Have No Lord
Cats Have No Lord itc
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