There’s a reason why I like Into the Odd. In the past, I compared it with early forms of roleplaying (like our homebrew system, the Landshut rules). And I came to the conclusion that, bottom line, ItO is the winner. The reason: Referees can bake the setting right into their classes, and that helps everyone at the table. And game prep is a snap, compared to what’s required to run a proto-rpg. In my words:
Another reason why I keep coming back to ItO is that it’s mechanically interesting – even though a character only has three stats, an hp score and maaaaaaaaaybe a special ability. See, what’s so interesting about this is that the rules (especially in their Electric Bastionland incarnation) cover all the things you’d expect from a game that’s a lot more voluminous: group attacks, mass combat, vehicle combat, blast weapons, stunts (combat moves), morale. It’s all there, and here’s the kicker: it fits on two pages.
As opposed to proto-rpgs like the Landshut rules, players and referees have actual rules to refer to. This, at least in some circumstances, leads to more balanced referee decisions because no guesswork is involved.
It also means more work if you’re intending to convert a game or setting to Into the Odd – but after you’ve done it, you’ll have a robust framework you can work with.
And one more thing: ItO uses variable damage (you roll for damage), something that I still prefer (even though my Landshut rules don’t have it).
By the way, we’re up to 50 hacks of the game now.