I started playing tabletop RPGs just over a year ago, and started looking to run games a few months later. The sheer amount of advice—so much of it conflicting—is hard to navigate, especially as new folks learn about the broader spectrum of the systems available. I wish that Electric Bastionland had been available to me a year ago. This system, like Into the Odd before it, distills traditional RPG mechanics down to what is most playable and most interesting and rewarding about tabletop RPGs. Perhaps it's not for everyone. Lovers of dense or byzantine mechanics and complex character builds will likely find this unfulfilling. And that's okay. This is a game that anyone can play, and anyone can run without cognitive overload. But it's not just the game system that has this distilled focus—the GM-facing guidance here is excellent. It focuses on what is both suggestive and actionable and avoids that which is overly prescriptive and laden with lore and detailed complexity.
When I realized that the book was going to contain 100+ two-page spread starting characters, I became concerned that this was going to be more of an art book and fluff layered upon the excellent Into the Odd rules—essentially a coffee-table book for fans of Into the Odd. It's an understandable concern, but what's going on here is important. Every two-page character spread is chock full of items and characterizations which effectively build up the setting and provide the GM with tools for use in play. The artwork is tasty and excellent and are the kind of thing that inspire interesting NPCs and situations. The items and character features are terrific. And undergirding all of this is that distilled focus on what is playable and memorable.
I love this game. I love this book. It is a joy to run and play. Highly recommended.
[5 of 5 Stars!]