Review: Ignitus Innovation – Untold

Product Name: Untold
Publisher: Ignitus Innovation
Author: Nathan Ellsworth, Brannon Hollingsworth
System: Untold
Theme: Generic Universal
Type: Core Set

Untold is a card-based role-playing game designed with flexibility for any genre and any setting. The card-based element takes the bookkeeping of pen-and-paper role-playing games and moves it to the cards. Players no longer need to upkeep a paper character sheet or purchase sourcebooks to acquire new equipment or spells.

Untold is an innovative way of creating role-playing games and helps to bridge the gap between card-players and those who enjoy the traditional role-playing game and has the potential to bring new fans into the hobby. With a new implementation of traditional mechanics, its bound to grab anyone’s interest.


The introduction section for the primer (core rulebook) does not carry the well-presented layout as subsequent sections. It also spends way too much time explaining the system from a “personal” aspect and utilizes a high amount of slang words and phrases that makes reading difficult at times. The presentation is not consistent with itself and especially with subsequent sections. You get a vague understanding of the game and is more meant to get one excited to play. However, I find this could be done more professionally and in less words. However, the key is that much of this section could simply be skipped over in favor of learning the system starting with Character Creation.


Character Creation is where you are first introduced to why the cards are utilized. As opposed to using dice rolls and a character sheet, character creation is done by choosing the cards you wish to use to create all aspects of your character. One thing that is brought up to keep with the RPG-style is that there is a GM who does dictate what races and characteristics are allowed within the setting. While this is perfectly understandable, it can limit the use of some of the cards.

Three of the card types (race, aspect, and power) are introduced here including their purpose during character creation, how to read the icons and text and some notes about their in-game use. The actual mechanics presented on these cards are detailed later. While the layout and presentation are much cleaner than the introduction, there is still a fair amount of slang used that could easily be removed and not all of the examples are presented separately and highlighted.

There are many references to later sections within Character Creation and requires a fair amount of flipping back-and-forth for complete understanding. While this may make reading a bit tricky, the references are specific and easy to find.


The mechanics sections include all the mechanics necessary for resolving conflict, combat, skill checks and all applicable advanced rules for GM use. This is the full presentation of the core mechanics of the system and the purpose for the character details on the cards. The mechanics follow traditional RPG mechanics including “game time”, power duration, range and resolution. Resolution is done using a roll-over d20 system (not THE d20 system) that adds the applicable bonuses listed upon the cards. Even though the characters are represented by cards, it’s not much different than a system that does not utilize miniatures.

There is a lot of information in these sections and players should concentrate on this to fully understand how the system works. These sections utilize a great layout and presentation and remove the slang prevalent in previous sections. There are a lot of in-game examples and each one is properly separated and highlighted. The core mechanics of the cards and the system are fully explained and include the applicable example. These sections also include the GM notes for creating encounters and some of the cards that have been created for GM use only.


This section refers to the Untold: Battle card game and will not be discussed.


While the Untold system is designed as a generic universal system playable with any genre and setting, a developed setting is provided that coincides with the majority of how the cards are designed. This setting, known as Splintered Serentiy, is a mish-mash of sub-genres coinciding with different worlds. Three worlds are provided within the setting and each one contains a substantial amount of difference that when brought together could make for some truly colorful game-play.

The first world is an Epic Fantasy setting with intelligent beasts possessing magical abilities and even some human qualities. The second world is a combination of Steampunk and Clockwork with machine-like beings that incorporate all sorts of interesting technology. The third world is a Sci-Fi Fantasy Post-Apocalyptic Earth with genetically manipulated beings that survived the apocalyptic event. With this wide array of character types, you can truly design any type of setting and play within any type of genre or sub-genre by simply allowing only certain races, equipment and powers to exist. This really puts a lot of creation tools into the hands of the GM and allows them to create basically whatever they can imagine.


The combination of beautiful art, innovative mechanics, removal of bookkeeping and setting potential makes Untold a magnificent system to design settings around and play within. Just for the sake of discovering something new is motivation enough to pick it up, but with the change from paper and books to cards, the system really simplifies how a game is played. While there may be mechanics that some don’t like or understand, the core of the system is so similar to traditional RPGs that it still feels and could play like a traditional RPG. I definitely recommend giving Untold a try.


Primer Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
The beginning of the Primer is a bit rough. It’s filled with slang and jargon speech along with examples that are embedded in the mechanic descriptions rather than highlighted separately. But as the content goes on, the presentation becomes much more crisp and clear and all examples are properly highlighted in a separate box. The first few chapters could benefit from the last few chapter’s method of presentation. Any illustrations that are found throughout are awesome. High quality, high details, and wonderfully colored.

Card Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
The illustrations found throughout the cards are beautiful. They follow the same standard as with the primer and are a great way of representing the cards. However, the card text and various icons utilize a small font, very small in some spots, and the layout of the cards could benefit from a few minor tweaks. Changes like larger fonts, better use of the available space and tweaking the presentation/layout could improve the ease-of-use for the stats presented on the cards.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
I find the mechanics are extremely innovative and really bridge the gap between card-players and traditional RPG-players. The system definitely feels like a role-playing game and removes much of the tedious bookkeeping and often expensive sourcebook purchasing by moving these to the cards. The only drawback is trying to fit so many mechanics and details on a single card, but this is partially remedied by the use of abbreviations and icons.

Desire to Play: 9 out of 10
Not only is the card-based system a draw for those interested in trying something new, but the mish-mash setting has so much depth and potential that players (especially the GM) are given a wealth of opportunities for different types of game play, storylines, encounters, adventures and full campaigns.

Overall: 9 out of 10
Besides being an innovation in RPG design, the change from pen-and-paper to cards is a great way to keep game-play fast and fun. Untold is still a role-playing game at its core and doesn’t deviate from this fact with the incorporation of the cards. They simply replace some of the paperwork and memorization and literally place them at the tips of your fingers. The potential for interesting role-play still exists and epic battles can still be fought.

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