Review: Creepy Doll Studios – One Foot in the Grave

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One Foot in the Grave
One Foot in the Grave is a comedy horror role-playing game written by Robert Nolan and published by Creepy Doll Studios.
By Cape Rust
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Learn more about One Foot in the Grave here
Purchase One Foot in the Grave here
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One Foot in the Grave is a comedy horror RPG by Creepy Doll Studios and it is far from decaying or even dying, even when the PCs are “guests” at an Assisted Living Facility or (ALF). That’s right, you didn’t misread it; you play an elderly person who is trapped in an ALF that has just been infested with zombies thanks to a sick and often caught sleeping employee who had a fight with a hobo on his way into work. The characters must kill all of the zombies, or find the security guard who has the pass key to escape the ALF. The only problem is that he is convinced that everyone in the building is a zombie. Grab some, okay a lot, of d6s and let the fun begin.

Talk about 52 pages of fun! Creepy Doll Studios has managed to create a very legitimate, and really fun beer and pretzels type game. I’ve played and reviewed plenty of gimmick games, some work really well but the vast majority fall flat on their faces and end up being a huge waste of time. One Foot in the Grave is easy to learn and quick to play. Because it is a location based game, the Event Coordinator (EC) doesn’t have to come up with endless maps or even building plans; the building plans might be helpful, but with very little prep time this game can be fun and started quickly.

The cover of this book is great – the subdued zombie, green splattered with black sets the mood. Throw in a zombie, some well thought out text and you have a simple yet highly effective game book cover. Throw in the Creepy Doll Studios Logo in the top right corner and the entire package comes in at just right. The layout is fairly standard and most of the interior art is black and white silhouettes. Creepy Doll Studios isn’t a big publisher, however I feel like they know their limits and produced a clean looking book that still tells the story they want to tell. They stayed within their means and in this case less was more, and more importantly, more felt right.

The system and mechanics are easy to grasp: a few stats and a dice pool. For those of you that cringe at the thought of a dice pool, it isn’t as bad as Shadowrun, but you will need plenty of dice. Dice superstitions aside, I actually prefer to run games like this (Beer and Pretzel) with all of the dice in the center of the table as a common use dice pool, to me it opens things up a bit and keeps things a little more lighthearted. Speaking of mechanics, there is a bingo mechanic in this game that not only goes with the flow and feel of the game, it is just plain fun. Yes, I will repeat myself, because I know you just re-read that sentence three times, there is a bingo mechanic in a game about elderly people trapped in an ALF. It even comes with Bingo cards!

While reading the rules there were some good examples of game play, but I would have liked to have seen a few more and possibly even an entire small encounter “played” out. The rules themselves really are not difficult to grasp, but I’m not sure if this game would be perfect for a group that has never played an RPG before to tackle. There are a few terms and mechanics that will be comfortable to any novice gamer, but some of the awesomeness might be lost on brand new gamers.

This is a great, simple and well thought out game; there is even a section that really lets the EC know how to run the zombies. That might sound like a no brainer (see what I just did there), but after reading this section I realized that more games involving zombies really need to give the “how to” section some more love. This is a great one-shot game that should be just the diversion you group needs from slaying dragons, saving the universe or trying to destroy it. With Halloween coming this is a great seasonal game to pick up and run a few times to create some comedic tension and some epic zombie, vs walkers encounters.

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