Wigglyturf Wars: A Game Of Gangster Pokemon And A Blind Hatred For Goldeen

Posted by: Jason Silverain / Category: , , ,

Sometimes when looking at custom games and settings you come across something special, a simple system with an amazing concept that is easy to pick up and hard to put down, a game that you intend to play as a one off but keep play it for years afterwards.

Wigglyturf Wars is not one of those games.
By all means it is not bad and certainly no FATAL thank Arceus, Wigglyturf Wars falls into a certain niche of game which I enjoy the concept for but for one reason or another I could not recommend to a casual or inexperience player.

Created by two room mates known only as Jand and Frenchie Wigglyturf Wars was released into the public on 07 Jan 2015 by Jand.
The rules come in two parts, a spreadsheet and a word doc, both of which are linked below:
Doc: Link, Alternative Link
Spread Sheet: Link, Alternative Link

In the world of WTW, humans are non-existent; you play as a Pokemon and is set in Marina City, an industrial metropolis ruled by Pokemon. A number of factions control different areas, from the docks controlled by the psychopathic Golduck Vasili, to the business district run by the sinister Yakooza.
The story of Marina City is thus: for as long as the oldest Aerodactyl can remember, Marina City has been under the thumb of ruthless gangsters. Two years ago, the Persian, the sinister Crime Lord of Marina City, was assassinated by persons unknown, creating a power vacuum which was filled by several aspiring gang leaders.

The players must decide which of the 3 factions they will ally with or if they will aid the police in cleaning up Marina City.

A rather unusual and amusing setting which in all honest seems to have been created just for the Pokemon name puns, though I am a fan of police drama of film noir as settings go and I was tempted to treated it as a Pokemon themed Zootopia.
However the rules are very maths heavy and rely on having access to the pokemons base stats from the games and thus character creation and levelling is by no means simple, in addition by using this method a lot of the statistical unbalance between certain Pokemon has been transferred over to the tabletop making some Pokemon naturally weaker than others and unable to catch up.

The move system is intriguing but ultimately limiting with little freedom in move variation between Pokemon of the same type, though it can be argued that this is a common problem in RPGs that characters of the same class have little variation (though this is becoming less of a case in recent years).   

The majority of the rule set after character creation is focused on the combat and in a nutshell it isn't a easy read for example:

Attacking: The success or failure of an attack is based on the following formulae:
If using a Physical Attack:
((Attacker’s Attack Stat)*5 + d100 + SEB) – ((Defender’s Defence Stat)*5 + d100 + RB)
Or, if using a Special Attack:
((Attacker’s Sp. Attack Stat)*5 + d100 + SEB) – ((Defender’s Sp. Defence Stat)*5 + d100 +RB)
You can imagine how off putting this presentation can be to someone attempting to learn the rules and then take into account the large amount of additional effects most moves have it can become easy to see why the game requires a spread sheet.
This focus required on the combat rules has also come at another cost, a lack of adventure ideas or suggestions on how a budding gm would structure a campaign for the players to take over the city.

So with time consuming set-up, awkward maths and little in the way of guiding a new player or gm into building an adventure Wigglyturf Wars sadly will not see much play by other groups. However the concept is amusing and has possibilities and could perhaps find itself used in existing systems.
I would certainly like to see it taken and built upon in the future in whatever form it takes.


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