Skip to main content

Interlude: A look at Power Outage

TLDR; Power Outage is a cool RPG for kids. Go get a copy for $1!

I got a copy of Power Outage (PO) through a Twitter contest run by its creator, Bebarce el-Tayib (@bebarce). I have not yet run the game but here are some highlights that I really enjoy about it:
1. The game is built for kids. This is something becoming popular but Power Outage addresses games for kids in a few important ways:
- it gives ideas of how to play the game with kids as young as 4 years old. When I say 'ideas' I mean that PO gives you tips to remember the difficulties you may experience running games with children in each age category.
- There are also tips on how to simplify the play materials (character sheet and cards) to make the game more accessible at each age category. Throughout the rulebook PO gives you ways to deal with running games across age brackets so that younger kids can play with older.
- PO is designed so that combat can be toned down or removed entirely. As a parent I appreciate this because in our family we don't consider violence an answer to a problem. It's a huge hurdle to overcome in the RPG hobby where combat is a significant part of most games.

2. The adventure materials are really great. There are lots of handouts that can be printed for player use. The adventure block method that is used to construct adventures is easy to understand and seems like it would be easy for a new GM to use quickly. The puzzles are interesting and designed in a way that makes sense for children (repeating patterns, mazes to be solved).

3. This game is very affordable to try. Right now you can get the core rulebook and a first adventure for $1. Not much risk there. That includes the rules and a first adventure.

Creating a hero gives a list of powers. I would love to see this redone. It's totally manageable at just a few pages but this is a long list of powers to go over with kids. It also lacks a lot of the color coding that is used in the game cards where it is easy to separate combat powers from utility powers. Some simple formatting here would really assist the character creation process. It would also be nice to see some tags or categories on each power, such as Control, Light, etc.

The adventure block system uses the acronym CEPA for Combat, Exploration, Puzzle and Alternative. The first adventure refers to this system as CAPE. I like CAPE better for fitting the superhero style in addition to being easier to say. It would be a good change to standardize.

Really, the only thing that I would want to see change in this book is the formatting. Having the book organized with bookmarks would be helpful.

I think that anyone interested in games for kids should check Power Outage out. As an additional comment, Bebarce was nice enough to send me a set of minis for the game, which he took the time to produce himself. And they are really cool!