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The first full-size follow-up to one of last year’s most exciting indie RPGs, Strata oozes dark charm. Packed with new player options, locations and scenarios to play through, it’s a well- crafted supplement that adds a slab of ideas to the base game.

A twisted fantasy-punk take on persecution and revolution, Spire transported players to a towering mega-city where high elven overlords thrive on the toil and misery of downtrodden dark elves. With oppression and dread hanging in the air, it feels strangely appropriate that rather than shaking up the status quo Strata simply aims to expand it.

Perhaps the most obvious additions are two new classes for players to add to their party of revolutionaries. Both are fascinating for rather diTherent reasons, and in their own way do a rather wonderful job of capturing the book’s tone.

The Inksmith, for example, is where Spire grounds its obvious love of storytelling, with spells that compel someone to walk through the door with a gun or invoke the mighty powers of Narrative Convenience. the darker, grimier and harrowing side of the setting comes with the thoroughly spooky Shadow Agent, who are robbed of their sense of self during a dark initiation and turned into perfect spies.

Along with this is a wealth of information on fresh districts about the Spire, painting a beautiful picture of both the very highest neighbourhoods and the very darkest, dingiest slums. the creativity perhaps peaks among these chapters, as do the chances for fresh character advances and equipment.

The chunkiest portion of the book is devoted to ten brand new scenarios, evenly divided among the heights and depths of society. Each provides an interesting take on the world, especially those designed for one-shot games or very short campaigns with specialised characters. An early mission against an elven noble treating her staff as living dolls is particularly fascinating and horrifying in equal measures.

While these are all great reads, some of the more high-concept scenarios aren’t the easiest to run, sacriffcing clarity in favour of elaborate storytelling. Honestly, though, if you aren’t on board with a slice of the dramatic it’s unlikely you’re a fan of Spire in the first place.


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About The Best Games of 2019

Must Plays and more in our Best Games of 2019 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Over the next 196 pages discover all of the most positively reviewed games of the year. With a massive 181 games reviewed, this is the definitive “what to play next” guide of 2019! Games reviewed include: Wingspan Copenhagen Hellboy: The Board Game Res Arcana Lifeform Century: A New World Megacity: Oceania Pandemic: Fall of Rome Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Rough Nights & Hard Days Azul: Stained Glass of Sinatra Tapestry Letter Jam Hako Onna Everdell Battle Ravens Dune + Many more!

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