The introduction describes a nation that has imploded - seeming thousands of factions all convinced that they alone know the Truth, but completely lacking in the ability to put up a convincing argument and so resorting to brawling instead. The sole bastion of sense is Cleveland, Ohio (where?). Describing their game as a vision based on extremes, one that anyone who takes politics seriously should avoid, a game that is simple to play... something to use as an interlude between other things.
Character creation is simple. Roll 1d10 four times, allocate the results as you please to four statistics: Body, Quickness, Intellect and Shenanigans. As well as the base statistic, the number allocated is the number of skill points you have to spend in that area. While most are obvious, Shenanigans reflects your skill at fast-talk, at hustling, at being persuasive. The skills are group by statistic, and described in what is intended to be a humourous manner - quite why repetition of the 'F-word' is regarded as anything other than a pathetic lack of a decent vocabulary escapes me but I guess some people, including the authors, find it funny. Still, there's a goodly range of them to enable a character to fit in to a world where it seems dishonourable behaviour is the way to get ahead.
The next section looks at the various factions in existance. Seems they've all just about fought themselves to a standstill, but still each peddles its own brand of the Truth to anyone who'll listen. Despite suggestions for characters given for each one, none is a particularly nice place to live, and they all hate the other factions, if not other members of their own faction as well. Again the language tends towards 'salty' and proofreading is lacking.
Systems follows. You have your character and may have chosen where he hails from, but you need some rules to determine what he can and cannot do. It's a basic d20 system: roll a die and add the appropriate skill that you have, then compare the result against a GM-set target. Advancement is derided, apparently the game should be played as a one-off session probably ending with the messy demise of all characters... but if they do survive, as it is a skill-based system, first of all to improve a skill you have to have actually used it. You get a point for each successful use, to a maximum of 10 per session, plus additional points awarded at GM whim for good role-playing. To increase a skill, you need to accumulate points to a sum of ten times your existing skill. Combat is simple and deadly, with a location table and the need to roll a percentage based on where you were hit, if the attack was successful, to remain conscious... or maybe alive. You can deal out subdual damage if you prefer, although you'll probably be the only one to be that nice.
The book rounds out with some brief adventure seeds, a character sheet, some equipment and weapons lists... and a few gratuitous insults directed at anyone who has the temerity to think the game's anything other than wonderful!
The authors describe Amerikkka as a 'world of extremism, intolerance and tongue-in-cheek humour.' It's the sort of satire that takes everything to an extreme and throws in rather a lot of bad language for no good reason; and could work well after a few beers and a marathon session of watching 'South Park' - but it won't appeal to everyone, and has possibly a few too many parochial references for a non-American to get the full flavour.
Return to Amerikkka page.
Reviewed: 24 May 2009