6d6 Core is quite different from other role playing systems. The game behaves more like a story-telling Living Card Game than a traditional RPG. Cards are cycled between being active and inactive to acquire dice, that are then used to preform actions. It may take some time to get used to the concept, but it works very well once you have taken that step.
The biggest complaint I can level at the game is lack of familiarity. Something as seemingly universal as a character sheet listing attributes and skills - is not present. Instead you have static, dynamic, and mechanic pools - containing cards labeled with key words - and flow. Equipment is just another type of card that can go into one of these pools rather than something separate from the character. Abilities can’t simply be used, but have to be cycled into an active pool and combined.
Producing the initial cards needed may be a bit of a printing task, and there might be a delay between designing characters printing all the cards needed.
However, unfamiliarity, new jargon, and acquiring materials are downsides of any new RPG, not just this one. Once you become familiar, you will find this to be a very powerful and useful system. It is actually far simpler than the preceding paragraph would make it seem. In fact, the cards eliminate much of the normal bookkeeping and writing seen most other games. Initiative is handled with a deck of the character’s names, and long-term effects or determent's go into pools just like any other card so no one forgets the terrain complications.
Broken down - a pool is what you are able to concentrate on, and flow is your ability to shift focus. Different pools represent abilities that might be in constant action, one use, or reoccurring. Keywords determine the use of a card and which pool it goes into. To take an action, the player decides the appropriate cards, and uses them to acquire d6s, which are then rolled and compared to a target number or the opposing roll of another character.
Handled in this system, combat takes on a new feel. You can see useful attributes disappear as you take damage, rather than un-descriptive hit points or check boxes. Tactical planning is a must since it takes some amount of time to stock abilities into usable pools. Even movement takes additional consideration, since the dice determine distance, so a character can’t always run sixty feet in one turn.
6d6 Outbreak is a good test of the system. The adventure is a rather basic zombie survival scenario - characters are trying to escape, their vehicle breaks down, and they are trying to find a way to fix it in an old house while a horde of undead close in. However, the limits the system places on character actions per turn, the drama of losing cards, varied pre-generated characters, and the good writing of the scenario make it really shine.
Even without using 6d6 itself, the scenario is well worth looking at for its unique layout. Rather than a simple A-B-C story structure, it is set up to react to both the character’s actions and real time. Entering certain rooms or taking too long can speed up how soon the final assault arrives. Red herrings, advice on running, and plans for how to handle a varying number of characters (from three to seven) are all elements that should be in most adventures.
A third item in this bundle, is a pre-designed set of cards, which goes a long way to help alleviate my concern about producing materials mentioned above. It might have been nice if symbols rather than colors differentiated types of cards in deference to ink costs and the colorblind, but the keywords on the card do a good job of indicating their use and which pool they fit in without additional prompting anyway, so that is a very minor concern.
Overall, this bundle is well worth the price. It is also well supported by the author - check out 6d6rpg.com. While there, you can take a look at the free version of the rules, but I’d recommend supporting an independent RPG author and purchasing this product now.
[5 of 5 Stars!]