Magecrammer Review

Cover design by Todd Shearer.

Copyright © 2011. All rights reserved.

Used with Permission.



Druids of the Shore

a review by

Sean “Nix” McConkey

Magecrammer is the latest product to be released by the fine folks at Druids of the Shore, or DotS as they are commonly known. They have extended their famous Wards & Wyrvens game line that helped to found the hobby of table-top role-playing. Instead of the familiar realm of high fantasy, Magecrammer takes us into outer space. Such a leap was taken with great peril and risk.

Magecrammer was long shrouded in mystery with rare glimpses into the game leaked to keep interest alive. For over the two decades that Magecrammer was in preproduction and research the Internet was a blaze with fans and detractors of the game, despite the fact no one had actually seen the full product. Prior to release I, and several others all over the world, were given private copies to review along with a small mountain of cash. We also received a note saying "good reviews equal healthy kneecaps, bad reviews equal broken kneecaps", I wasn't quite sure what to make of that note so I ignored it and pocketed the healthy sum.

I carefully pealed back the shrink wrapping, I had already planned on selling the wrapping for a tidy profit on DotSbay, and set it off to the side. I then cracked open the box set and breathed in the heady perfume of virgin role-playing paraphernalia. The front cover was laid carefully down, so as not to scuff this piece of gaming gear that would no doubt rank up there with the now legendary formica-clad box from the very first printing that Whygax released in 1975.

Then, my dear readers, I did give a mighty yawp indeed for there before me was a set of precision honed special edition dice. Black they were, inlaid with golden numbers and delicate scroll work to enhance their already fine features. I was breathless as I took them, and felt a tingle race up my arm as they sprang free from my palm for the very first time. The d20 rolled an 11, the 2d10 both rolled 6's, the d6 rolled a 3, the d12 a 5, the d8 a four, and the d4 a 2, "Excellent" I whispered to myself, "perfectly average rolls…most excellent indeed!"

With the box open before me I dove into Magecrammer with sextant, slide rule, and pencil in hand. For the retail price listed, one receives a pleasing amount of material. You get the main rule book, a source book on monsters and villains, a player's guide to proper persecution of wizards, a plethora of ships plans in full color (as long as you want those colors to be black and white), an introductory adventure, a recipe for raspberry jam (that could be easily modified for blackberry jam, if you happen to have extra Blackberries laying around after switching to an iPhone.), and the required form and testing material needed to officially play Magecrammer.

The first chapter of the player's guide covered character generation. It was an easy one hundred and seventy-six step process that I was able to slip through in a mere three hours, the time being cut down considerably by the pay-per-use character generation disc. The PPU disc is one of the newest components to the Magecrammer system, no longer will players have to slog through book or seek advice from their fellow gamers. Now, with a small daily fee, a player need only slip the disc in and connect to the Internet (must have active bank account to activate and use). I would suggest not using the disc the first few times you make a character as one is required to have extensive knowledge of character generation to officially play and the Magecrammer Associates Training Registration Form, which is forty-seven pages of single spaced questions, must be completed with at least a 90% passing grade.

Once I had my character ready on one of the crisp, new character record sheets included in the deluxe box set, I began running through the solo adventure that was included. Unfortunately, I had created a wizard and he was immediately used as fuel. Seven hours later, with my next character rolled up, I took hold of a Magecrammer vessel and piloted her towards high adventure!

Miniature Giant Space Hamster

Artwork by Kristina Herbst.

Copyright © 2011.

All Rights Reserved.

Used with Permission.

Magecrammer did not disappoint. It reminded me of the serene days of yore when I gathered around the table with my fellow intrepid explorers, yet brought the now antiquated rules into more modern sensibilities. From the Miniature Giant Dire Hamsters to the Giant Hamsters to the Dire Giant Fire -Breathing Miniature Hamsters, almost every original creature returned. Even my much loved Gyps, those splendidly sublime fuchsia space mules, were reworked so that they stayed current with the new system.

I must admit, I was really quite worried about the system but it played admirably. Play was smooth and fluid, while the game retained a balance rarely seen outside of a troupe of Chinese acrobats. It was a delight to behold, and a greater joy to play. As I mentioned earlier, I was pleasantly surprised and my esteem of DotS was only heightened when I found out that they shipped copies of Magecrammer all around the world so that a more diverse and sophisticated litany of reviews ensuring appreciation by a wider range of players.

I was lucky enough to snag small excerpts of these reviews:

Ahto Ihalainen of Finland said: “Mikä on roolipeli? Luulin että sitä mene vankilaan.”

Jeppe Sørensen of Denmark said: “Kære Herrer, Som svar på dit spørgsmål, nej vi er ikke alle prostituerede. Vi er heller ikke "holder" noget. Være venlig og lade mig alene.”

Aslaug Branvold of Norway said: “Nei, jeg er ikke en viking, og jeg er ikke en 6ft høy modell. Hvordan fikk du min e-post og hjemmeadresse? Vær også slutte å kalle meg, er det veldig skumle. Jeg har returnert produktet, la meg være alene.”

Edouard Desmarais of France said: “Les Américains imbécile! Ils ne savent pas que d'un magicien n'est pas capable d'actionner un navire? Peut-être qu'ils devraient passer plus de temps à l'école au lieu de manger leur nourriture rapide dégoûtant et se soûler leur "vin" américaine. Ils semblent également croire que la planète entière parle anglais, une version en français aurait été apprécié, vous secousses irréfléchie!” (he seemed quite excited about Magecrammer)

Anneka Bbjornstrand of Norway said: “Jag är inte helt säker på varför jag fick den här produkten då den är på engelska. Inte heller vet jag vem som skickade den. Jag skulle verkligen uppskatta om personen kunde sluta att försöka kontakta mig. Om någon har information om vem i Amerika jag kan kontakta för att få den här personen att sluta besvära mig skulle jag vara väldigt tacksam”.

I sincerely look forward to seeing their complete and unabridged reviews. My only issue that I found with Magecrammer was the TARDIS diagram, it was terribly inaccurate as everyone knows that the inside of the TARDIS is infinite in size and that the interior set-up changes with each successive pilot.

For more on Magecrammer, check out their website: