A little while ago we sat down with an interview with Infinity, the creative mind behind The Future Belongs to Us, a brand new tabletop RPG. Not long after the interview we received a copy of the Player’s Guide for the game and were able to spend some time with it. The game uses a new rules system called the DiceLight system, and it’s marketed as a simple, yet intuitive system that anyone can learn and have fun with. That being said, let’s take a look at what the game has to offer.
What’s It All About?
The Future Belongs to Us takes place in the year 2048 where freedom has been stripped from humanity. Law after law has been passed, pulling the rights away from individuals at an alarming rate. A new atmosphere of fear has fallen over society at large, and many people have become shut-ins. Only a few rebels able to overcome the despair have risen above the silence, and they call themselves the Freedom Underground. This group is determined to bring back rights to the people, and they’ll do it by any means necessary. You’ve also got the Hardbodies – the largest criminal gang in the world that happens to be in control of some of the most powerful weaponry around, and the Mystics – some sort of religious individuals who like to control people’s will. Together these factions wage a war against the new UNE Peace Force – the unified police force of the world.
The Player’s Guide’s layout is simple and without fluff. It’s got no special bordering, or thick, glossy pages. The text is broad, easy to read, and a bit large. It’s all in an arial font that appears really bland. As with most RPG Player’s Guides the book is divided into different sections that cover things like rules, character creation, equipment, and more. There’s a bit of a drawn-out story to The Future Belongs to Us, though, and it’s covered through a lengthy Setting section that goes over the current state of the world the game is set in. There’s some scattered information, however, and you’ll be flipping back and forth through pages. That’s somewhat the norm with tabletop RPGs, but it’s more apparent with this book when compared to others I’ve seen.
Now we’ll talk about the art. I don’t really know where to start here, so we’ll just dive right in. I won’t say the art is terrible, but it’s quite bad. I understand that this may be the first print run of the book and the company needed to cut corners financially where they could, but it’s still pretty bad. When you look at the cover of the book it’s got a sweet title in awesome font with a large-breasted beauty that’s filled out with color. Nowhere else in the book will you see this sort of art. The rest of the artwork comes through in what appear to be hand-drawn sketches in pencil.
The body proportions are off, and many of the images include things that just don’t make sense. One image will show a commando firing a rifle while another on the next page will show a woman riding a gorilla because, well, why not right? The first time I flipped through the book I just wanted to look at all the images and stare at them in wonder. This is definitely not a book for RPG fans who drool over the game’s art.
Gameplay and Rules
Like I mentioned above, The Future Belongs to Us uses the new DiceLight system. Players will have attributes: Strength, Dexterity, Perception, Agility, Ego, Build, and Stamina. Along with these you have Knowledges, Proficiencies, and Skills. Knowledges don’t have a specific rating, and they’re basically just stuff your character knows. Skills are things your character has expertise in and Proficiencies sort of detail your Attributes.
Skill categorization is a bit jumbled when it comes to applying them in-game. Using firearms requires your character to have Firearms Knowledge so he doesn’t blow his leg off, while the Weaponry Skill means that your character has knowledge of different weapons. Then there’s Martial Arts, which shows you know how to fight, but you’ll need to combine that with either an Upper Body skill or something of the like when putting it into action. It’s all a bit confusing to decide on what you need when building your character. I feel like the game goes a little too far into detail with its Skills and Proficiencies. There are a lot of things listed in there that I just didn’t feel I needed to every worry about in an RPG. Ever.
You have something called a Passion attribute, and each day it resets. Points can be spent from your Passion pool to add to your rolls, reroll missed hits, and more. It’s sort of like Hope Points from The One Ring RPG. This is a really big deal in this game, however, so it’s important to spend your Passion carefully. Your Passion can be increased or decreased depending on things that happen in the game. A second resource in the game is called Extropic points, and as with a lot of the other things in The Future Belongs to Us, they behave strangely.
Extropic points are used to buy everything you need, stat-wise, for your character. A normal character has 4000 to start with, which is quite a bit. Your Skills, Proficiencies, and Attributes all have different ranges which determine how many points you need to spend to get a certain level in the stat. Your starting wealth can be purchased using these points as well, and so can different character upgrades. You’ll get Extropic points as rewards also, which can then be spent for more goodies. Honestly things are just overcomplicated this way. Luckily the game provides templates for players who don’t want to die from math overload.
As a book, The Future Belongs to Us Player’s Guide does exactly what it needs to do. It tells you how you need to build your character, gives a billion pages of equipment listings, allows you to learn the game’s world, and paints a really weird picture of what you’re looking at with the game. It utilizes the full potential of the DiceLight system, meaning you’ll only need to roll one die and use one way to resolve checks. It’s got tables for everything you’ll need, and you can math yourself crazy for hours.
The problems, however, come in its overcomplicated description and lack of presentation. It’s definitely a beginning project. The book most certainly needs updated artwork, a new layout, and something else to help bring the player into the game’s world aside from four pages of its Setting. Gameplay is marred by players being confused on how their Skills work, though the Passion system does add something interesting. Right now The Future Belongs to Us needs a lot of work, and hopefully a second edition will come down the pipeline soon.