Is It a Plane? – Sean’s Pick, 020519

We continues Celebrating BAMFsies Week with another fairly new supers game, Is It a Plane? (a nice callback to the early days of Superman). This one goes to a very strange, interesting place – there’s no dice, no random elements to resolution at all.

Instead, it’s basically “Win, Lose, or Draw” as an RPG experience! You have to draw what you’re doing within a set time period, with the size of your panels and how many panels you manage having specific game effects the Editor (GM) interprets. The way I see it, for anyone who isn’t already artistically inclined, it’s “Stick Figure Wars” all over. One of the things I didn’t grok was how simultaneous drawing within a time limit allows for cooperative play, but there’s plenty of instruction and a demo video as well, and it looks… frankly, like a lot of silly and giddy fun.

Probably not the game for anyone wanting a more traditionally serious, MCU-flavored experience, but for an evening of laughter and creativity, it promises to be a blast.

The comic book role-playing game that replaces dice rolls with doodles!

Draw your heroic feats… BEFORE TIME RUNS OUT!

Play is fast and frenetic. Players act simultaneously! Lay down your panels, create comic book pages and let the Editor (Games Master) decide from your drawings what happens next.

How Do I Take Actions Without Dice?

Actions of any form that have dramatic consequences are created through rapidly made doodles. If you want to take multiple actions, you can, you just need to draw them in time.

Success is determined by what the Editor (Games Master) thinks you have drawn, based on prior dialogue, descriptions and the context of the panels of other players.

You have panels of varying sizes; the bigger the panel, the greater its power and statistic effects (positive and negative) it can have. But use too many larger panels, and you get through the issue faster… and you only have 22 pages to achieve success!

Everyone draws their actions at the exact same time, so the only waiting for players is for the Editor to describe how their actions combine together on the page. 

But I Can’t Draw!

Don’t worry! You are allowed to give the Editor clues whenever you draw, telling them any statistics you are using, like your Ranged Attack (energy beam), what characters and situations (the one statistic the Editor controls) are present and pointing out any narrative features of the scene that have already been established. You can also write anything that would be a label in a comic book or onomatopoeia such as POW and KRAK to help you punctuate action. 

If you can draw a stick figure, two lines and a vague box, you can draw shooting energy beams at a car. As to what that does in terms of the story, the Editor will decide. 

1 minute is the typical drawing time, so artistic skill is not required and rarely possible. 

What Do I Get?

The 168 page Is It a Plane!? book has everything you need to both play the game and run games as an Editor. 

Check out Prowlers & Paragons Ultimate Edition (Kickstarter March 19th), the next generation of superhero gaming!

Sean Patrick Fannon
Writer & Game Designer: Shaintar, Star Wars, Savage Rifts, Freedom Squadron, Prowlers & Paragons Ultimate Edition, and much more!
Please check out my Patreon and get involved directly with my next projects!

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