This month, I had the pleasure of attending CritHit AZ. There, I got to meet tabletop games from across the state (and nearby states as well!) and try out some fantastic tabletop RPGa, even with the designers themselves!
Last week, I discussed the fantastic Fatal Familiar: A Monster Collecting RPG by MC Griffin. But it wasn’t the only game I got to try. I also got to test out Moxie: A Quick TTRPG by Holly D’Angelo.
The Story of Moxie
Moxie is a tiny RPG formatted in the style of an old-school zine (a small, black and white pamphlet with hand drawn and formatted art and content, usually used to distribute local art among communities for whom broader publication is unlikely), set in the distant future of space exploration and settlement.
In this world, Earth has well-regulated its business, so the corporations have taken their business to space! Their iron thumb and dirty dealings make life difficult for those who live in places other than our own blue planet, which you and your friends know better than most – space pirates that you are.
To survive, you’ll need to use every bit of your Punchin,’ Smarts, Moxie, and Gumption, taking on unsavory jobs and facing off with the galaxy’s most dangerous.
The Gameplay of Moxie
Given that Moxie has only 8 pages of rules, it is of course very quick to learn. It comes with 3 jobs for a GM to run right out of the gate, along with plenty of worldbuilding information so that you can then create your own adventures in the setting!
Making a character is a quick process. You can fit the entire sheet on a bookmark!
- Allocate your stats. You have 7 stats, all of which start at -2, and 7 points to raise them with. Most of your stats will probably be from -1 to 1. Don’t worry, a negative stat isn’t terrible to deal with.
- Choose your class (Engineer, Security, Comms, or Pilot). This is your role on the pirate crew, and will give you an extra ability. While it’s best to match it to your stats, that isn’t absolutely necessary. Even a character with a -2 Punchin’ can be Security! With the agreement of your group, you can also assign Titles (Captain and Medic) for even more abilities.
- Choose your weapons. There are arrays of both ranged and melee weapons for you to choose from. They’re all available without restriction, so pick a melee and a ranged weapon that you feel suits your character.
- Describe your character! Give them a name, pronouns, and a backstory to go with all the cool gear and abilities they’ve just gotten. You can even sketch out a picture if you so please.
Gameplay and Mechanics
Moxie uses a simple d6 degree-of-success system.
Whenever you go to make a skill roll (the skills being Punchin,’ Smarts, Moxie, and Gumption, as mentioned above), you roll a number of d6s and take the result determined by your modifier in that skill. Each result falls on a scale of success, from total failure (1) to complete success (6). Most of the time, you’ll either fail without serious consequences or succeed with some drawbacks.
The GM always determines what skill you’re rolling for.
The Atmosphere of Moxie
Don’t let the dystopian future fool you – Moxie is a lighthearted game with whimsical characters and fun adventures to go on. As you might guess from the stats, it leans into a somewhat detective-noir style of storytelling, but without taking itself too seriously. You won’t need an in-depth understanding of spaceships and piracy to enjoy this game, just a willingness to come up with a fun plan and then commit to it!
Moxie’s History and Availability
Moxie is currently in its 4th printing, and available online on Etsy and Spear Witch for $7.35 and $6, respectively. You will have to wait for it to ship, though – the zine format prevents it from being available as a pdf.
If you’re interested in it, or in its broader system, Gumption, you can find the designer online under the handle @ChiskenNougat on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. Or you can email her at email@example.com.
Our Personal Thoughts on Moxie
Moxie is a fast-paced, exceedingly fun game with simple rules that can be learned in an evening or less. This makes it perfect for a night testing out new systems, testing your creative problem-solving, or just enjoying your time as a space pirate.
When I tested the game, it was with one other player. We managed to put together a dynamic duo of a child adventurer and their wild-west obsessed friend, who undertook a job helping farmers on Pluto for a man known as Jorts McStevenson. And although neither of us had ever played the game before, we were soon fully engaged, bartering with robots, getting into shootouts on the high street, and crashing spaceships straight out of orbit!
Of course, you don’t have to play the game in the goofy way that we did. You could make characters that lean into the grittier, noir-styled skill names, or press the bounds of morality as pirates in the dark or space.
However, you play the game, you’re bound to have a great time.
Have you ever played Moxie? Did you enjoy it? How did your game go? Let us know in the comments below!