Force Grey: Giant Hunters – YouTube Show Review
I haven’t played Dungeons & Dragons since my teenage years, and there are days when I miss it. Computer games took over, life got in the way; work, family, children and all the things that we think (and are) important just ate up my time.
Luckily for me, I’ve got a group of friends who love board games and we’ve started playing those some evenings. Almost all have children (young) so going out is a rigmarole of getting a babysitter (someone who hasn’t been invited to the evening out…always awkward) and planning, and scheduling. Middle age life is not the fun and games I expected it to be.
Anyway, to get back on track, my friends and I started talking about RPGs, and then, last month I found Force Grey: Giant Hunters on YouTube. The memories came flooding back.
If you’ve seen Critical Role then you’ll know what we are talking about here. Though Force Grey has more of a Tabletop vibe. If you haven’t, let me explain. This is a YouTube show, and we are getting to the stage of high enough production values to call some of these shows in their own right, where people gather round a table and play Dungeons & Dragons. Might sound dull to some but, trust me, it is not. (At which point I can see the comments section fill up with people disagreeing…ah well.)
Matt Mercer (voice actor) is the Gamemaster (GM) and uses his talents to voice all of the NPCs you see and hear during the game. This really brings things to life and is one of the joys of the series so far. He has arrayed around the gaming table a selection of his friends, all actors and comedians, to play through one of the latest modules produced by Wizards of the Coast.
The scenario itself takes place in the Forgotten Realms, beginning in that jewel of city, Waterdeep, as group of adventurers are gathered together to carry out an important mission for the rulers of the city. So far, so normal for many D&D campaigns (at least in my memory). What makes it different, and good, is the interplay of characters, the humour and the fun are having (which is the heart and soul of every game).
The group works well together in the sense that all D&D groups work well. A magic user that cannot stop using Fireballs, no matter where they are. A thief that thinks he is clever, brash and confident, but messes up often. A dwarven warrior who likes to bash things that shouldn’t be bashed. A cleric who is not afraid of causing wounds and a monk that smells of fish. As you would expect, straight away these players are subverting the scenario and taking the story to places it wasn’t meant to go. The GM does a fantastic job of keeping the players’ excesses in line while keeping the story going.
There are four episodes so far with a new one added every week. On the plus side, for me at least, is the short length of each episode. Thirty minutes for each one, just long enough for me to watch in-between other things, does mean they have been edited down for pace and flow.
I smiled and chuckled while watching all four episodes.