Something a little more positive today. I thought I’d explore the offerings of a company that has rapidly become one of my favorites: Cubicle 7. They’ve been around long enough that it may seem odd that I’ve only recently been discovering them – so let me explain.
It’s worth getting out of the way up front – I am not a Dr. Who fan. I don’t understand the appeal or the fandom. Then again – I don’t have to… More power to you, Whovians. But my general head-scratching about all things Who meant that I largely ignored Cubicle 7. The tag line of their website reads, “Cubicle 7 Publishers of Dr. Who Adventures in Time and Space (and there’s a bunch more but it’s always off the page because it’s so long…).” Nothing to see here, move along.
And then they made, The One Ring. A new Middle Earth Game; One that promised to adhere to the source material more than the movie-verse. I was intrigued. I liked the idea but I didn’t really have a big group of gamers around me and few dedicated Tolkien fans. But I broke down and bought a couple of the PDFs anyway because I wanted to see what it was all about. The books are beautiful. The art is wonderful, catching the spirit of Middle Earth in a way I hadn’t quite remembered from childhood. But I knew I loved it.
The writing was exceptional too. There was something almost wistful in the tone – something that made you just feel how much they enjoyed working on the books. The One Ring was a game I knew I was never going to play and yet, I just smiled the whole time I read through each release. And the clever way they took what they’ve already created for Middle Earth and worked it into a version for 5th Edition D&D is pretty much amazing. It takes two games that are already strong in their own right and makes something unique out of them by breathing new life into a setting that never seemed quite right for D&D (and there are good reasons for that) despite the clear overlaps. If you want a hopeful, heroic, but perhaps lower magic D&D – I’d highly recommend these supplements for inspiration.
For a dose of extra nostalgia, C7 also makes the Lone Wolf Adventure Game. It is effectively an old school choose-your-own-adventure-but-with-rules style of game that takes the world and lore of Lone Wolf and turns them into a true RPG. It’s simple enough to learn in a few minutes, it’s the kind of game that just screams, “run me at a con!” and it’s – again – clearly a labor of love. Again, their craftsmanship is stunning. The whole line is full of beautiful art. The maps are colorful and evocative. The adventures are simple and fun. I don’t want to imply that nostalgia colors my perception of this either. While I certainly remember the Lone Wolf books from being a kid – they were never my thing. I was into the Fighting Fantasy and Endless Quest series. But ever since I picked up Lone Wolf – I’ve been collecting some of the old adventure books and that’s been an extra layer of fun.
What really has me interested right now though, is that some time in 2018, Cubicle 7 is going to bring back Warhammer Fantasy RPG. And they want to take it back to its 1st and 2nd edition roots while also giving it new life in the modern age of gaming. Normally, I’ll admit, I’m skeptical when someone promises me a “modern” twist on a classic using “what we’ve learned.” But I find that knowing this team is working on it – I’m genuinely excited, and very much looking forward to what they are going to bring us.
So, yeah, I’m a fan. If you’ve never checked out Cubicle 7 and their offerings… I’d highly recommend giving them a look. They also produce games beyond the big licenses I’ve mentioned here. And everything they do is well-made, thoughtfully-produced, and pleasing to look at. I might be getting older and not have as much time or emotional energy to game as I once did… And that only makes it more special when a company can produce products that genuinely make me happy – even when I know I won’t get to play them anytime soon.