Tiny Tome, Tiny Review: Numbskulls, an all ages tabletop RPG about skeletons!
Numbskulls was reviewed as part of the Tiny Tome collection! Check out the Tiny Tome page here for others in the collection and more info on the anthology.
Age target for Numbskulls: All Ages (counting up to 12 required)
Numbskulls is a rules-lite and lighthearted game where you play as a silly skeleton trying to fit in with the living! There’s no fighting, just your characters doing their best to carry out their creator’s biding while also hiding the fact that they’re undead. The prompts for the necromancer’s goals (and thereby the player’s goals too) are also kid-friendly, ranging from making more skeletons or foiling a rival to setting up a party or going shopping! Beyond that, as long as players can add 2d6, you should be all set!
Numbskulls’ fun and rules-lite game mechanics
Using a roll range for skills
Instead of trying to roll above a certain number for a skill check, in Numbskulls, you roll within a certain range! You roll 2d6, and you want to land within the success range on the scale here (which, by the way, is an awesome matching tool for gaming with kids):
You can increase this range by assigning points to your stats, but a lot of fun happens when do “fail” a roll. Rolling below your range means your undead origins start to show through, but rolling above means you are faking it TOO well, and you might get some extra attention. The roll range is a clever way to both have unique rules-lite mechanics AND to create multiple ways for the story to “fail forward”.
Character coloring sheet!
In addition to a cool set of dice mechanics, the character sheet doubles as a coloring page! This is awesome for kids as it gives a great way to customize their character, make their skeleton as silly or as well disguised as they want, and it provides built in fidget breaks! The coloring page character sheet isn’t in Tiny Tome (likely due to space limitations), but it can be found on the Numbskulls itchio page!
Overall thoughts on Numbskulls
Numbskulls was a lot of fun, especially with my kid being really interested in skeletons (combo of Halloween being upon us AND him reading a biology book for kids). We had a great time getting up to mischief as we helped the necromancer (who we called Raise the Dead Fred) going on a shopping trip to the Halloween store to pick out his Halloween costume. We ended up causing a decent amount of chaos, and we had a lot of good laughs as the other shoppers slowly realized that our characters were NOT part of the staff or displays!! The rules were easy to follow, the rolls tables were fantastic and funny, and we really enjoyed playing Numbskulls!
Links to Numbskulls and Tiny Tome tabletop RPG collection!
You can find the creator of Numbskulls, Kaden, here on twitter and a copy of Numbskulls on itch.io!
You can also find Numbskulls in the Tiny Tome anthology with 49 other awesome 1-page games.
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