Game Name: The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions
Authors: Leonard Balsera, Jim Butcher, Genevieve Cogman, Rob Donoghue, Fred Hicks, Kenneth Hite, Ryan Macklin, Chad Underkoffler, and Clark Valentine
Pages: Your Story corebook – 416 pages; Our World setting book – 272 pages
Let’s be completely honest with each other for a moment. Games based on properties licensed from other media are usually a very mixed bag, with the odds favoring a title ending up anywhere from simply eliciting a reaction of “meh” all the way down to being looked upon as a steaming pile of crap. I’m not talking about a cute little smiling emoji of poo either but more along the lines of what someone tosses into a bag and lights on fire as a prank. Thankfully, table top gamers have been spared much of the awfulness spewed upon video gamers and roleplaying games have fared best overall when it comes to the transition; we aren’t normally subjected to that flaming bag on the porch. Yet most of us still look upon our favorite movies, television series, and books making their way to the gaming table with a mixture of anticipation, trepidation, and dread. This is why I’m so pleased to tell you, without reservation, The Dresden Files is a fantastic RPG.
It’s highly doubtful any roleplaying game has ever captured the core and spirit of an author’s work as well as the Evil Hat Team has with Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files. Utilizing the FATE rule system (which old timers like me recognize as a revamp of the old F..U. D.G.E. rules) the corebook effortlessly transports gamers into the world of Chicago based private investigator, and wizard, Harry Dresden. The best selling series of novels has a large following and I can attest very few fans will be disappointed with this RPG as it is just jam packed with everything from the Dresdenverse. I have to chuckle too because the game is presented in a rather “meta” way; as an RPG actually played by Harry, Bob the talking skull, and Billy the Werewolf.
I will point out if you aren’t a fan of Jim Butcher’s books this isn’t going to change your mind or be up your gangway in the first place and, for those just getting into the Dresden novels, there are spoilers aplenty so be forewarned. The two core books weigh in at nearly seven hundred pages and if reading all that RPG goodness feels like a daunting task I should also mention Evil Hat recently released a pared down corebook, Dresden Files Accelerated – currently on sale for $12.08, which is a great pick-up-and play introduction to the Dresdenverse.