|These guys would eat Jason Vorhees' lunch.|
In a nutshell, you roll a number of white dice equal to your requisite stat and a number of black dice equal to the opposition. Every 4, 5 or 6 on the white is a success. Every 4, 5 or 6 on the black takes away a success.
When creating your character, you have a number of options for your Mythic Race: Centaurs, Cyclopes, Dryads, Fae, Harpies, Kappas (aquatic creatures that can survive on land), Kitsune (shapeshifting foxes), Leprechauns, Minotaurs and Redcaps. Each has their own unique Special Ability and Hindrance, like Minotaurs who gain bonuses after scoring critical successes when fighting enemies, or the Leprechaun, who is consumed with a single minded obsession if he loses his gold.
Each race also has a Health and Homesickness score, tracking physical and mental damage respectively (these always add up to 11...again, using the Minotaur example, he can take a lot of physical damage, but gets Homesick easy).
Skills are of the camp nature, like Archery, Arts & Crafts, Friendship and Wilderness Training, though skills like Bullying and Concealment are also available. Skills are ranked on a scale of 0 to 6, indicating the number of dice rolled. You also get Comforts from Home, though the first is the standard-issue Myth Army Knife. These can be physical (like Mementos that maybe give you a skill bonus through the power of memory) or less tangible (such as your knack for being a team player). There are also Charms, which are neat but weird items, like a Kraken Ink Pen that writes on any surface or a Basilisk Eye Pendant that turns people to stone. Heck, maybe you brought your pet skunk from home.
The bestiary is massive and impressive, with a virtual "What's What of Mythic Creatures" like the Rocs (the giant birds that bring the campers to the camp), basic stats for other campers (by Mythic Race, so a Minotaur is not a Kitsune is not a Redcap) to other big beasties you may run across, such as the Kraken, the Yeti, Gargoyles, Chimeras, Unicorns, Wendigos and Hydras! Each stat block is basic: A challenge rating, the number of hits it can take, whether or not it is suitable as a companion and whatever special abilities it may have, making it super easy to add more beasties if you like.
Easily the coolest part (of an already cool book) is the merit badges. At Camp Myth, you get merit badges for doing things like tricking Gorgons into petrifying themselves, catching a Kraken, chiseling a gargoyle, tricking a leprechaun out of a piece of gold or stumping a sphinx! And each merit badge gives you a cool bonus for earning it! Stump a sphinx? You can force it to answer one question about anything in the universe! Craft a gargoyle? He sticks around as your companion!
But what do you DO with Camp Myth? Three premade adventures are included. The first involves Phoenix Watching (and given that those dudes burst into flame, that's hazardous to your health), the second is a late night ghost story...with a real ghost! (Or is it?) And the last is a Talent Show gone horribly wrong (but pretty much in the manner you would expect from the book to this point). Camp Myth is pretty well detailed (the Roc Garden has giant birds, just so you know, and expect a Big Fish story out of Leviathan Lake). And a character sheet (complete with place to draw your merit badges on) is included as well.
WHAT WORKS: The whole concept is awesome, but I particularly love the merit badges. The adventures are very inspirational for guiding you in just what a Camp Myth game IS. Honestly, as "kid" RPGs go, this is one of the few that actually appeals to me to actually RUN. The selection of Mythic Races is great as well, and the bestiary is HUGE and simple to understand and expand upon.
WHAT DOESN'T WORK: I was maybe going to say "needs more Merit Badges" (maybe), but there's already a mini supplement out that adds new Mythic Races and Merit Badges.
CONCLUSION: I never see Camp Myth bandied about in discussions for kid-friendly RPGs, and I'm not sure why, as I'm fairly convinced it's one of the better kept secrets in RPGs, despite a successful Kickstarter (of course, I didn't even know the books existed before the RPG was announced). The concept is bursting with fun, and Third Eye Games knows how to deliver on good, playable games, making for a very nice combo. If you're looking for a game to break your kids (or students or youth group or maybe even the kids going to your camp) into gaming, take a chance on Camp Myth