Forbidden Psalm Review

05 December 2022
Miniature Gaming at the End of the World

Taken from issue 473 of Miniature Wargames Magazine. 

This is a light skirmish game from the burgeoning community sprouting up around the luridly coloured MÖRK BORG roleplaying game. Forbidden Psalm offers a taste of death metal themed conflict for wargamers. The book has a ‘zine’ aesthetic, with the expected jumble of strange fonts, black metal inspired art, and odd layout. While the original MÖRK BORG is a totally readable work of art, Forbidden Psalm – like many of the game’s offshoots – falls a little short. Ultimately it remains readable, even if it doesn’t have the same flair as it’s source material.

Either way, here we are in the Dying World, attempting to make the most of it. The book contains ten scenarios, each with a simple two-page spread set up guide. Much of the scenario will be given over a simple map displaying deployment zones. There’s also rules for solo and cooperative play for each scenario, and even a bit of direction for roleplaying the session if you wanted to bring your characters from the roleplaying game on to the battlefield. Which is simple enough, as the D20 plus stat combat system is directly lifted from the roleplaying game. The rules come as a PDF or hard cover option and the game is designed as ‘miniatures agnostic’ so you can use whatever you fancy to play.

Interestingly, the game nearly always has a six round limit – making it feel a little bit like a sports game in some respects. When you’re playing competitively, you could just try and murder each other, but the fact that there’s always monsters (who may also attack each other) makes it much more fun to go for the objectives. Whether that’s collecting an animal cultist pelt, or securing treasure to edge out the ‘win’.

A lot of the flavour of the game comes from the monsters themselves – nearly all of which will have their own special actions of behaviours. The animal cultists, for example, head towards one another and then summon something bigger. Collectively you don’t want ten of them in the same place, as they’ll summon the two headed basilisk – and end the world! Other scenarios offer similar hijinks.

Forbidden Psalm may be best enjoyed as a solo game, the 40-minute session time, campaign rules (with advancement and long term injury) coming in to play, along with the interesting and varied map set ups makes it a speedy burst of gaming you can fit into most evenings. Much like the aesthetic, this rough-and-ready approach is where a lot of the charm comes from. Throw down the minis, set up the arena, and you’re away in a matter of minutes.

As a light skirmish game it probably lacks the tactical weight that many readers are used to, but it makes up for that with the ‘sports’ feeling. Everything that does happen in the game is either cool, silly, or tragic ­– with little in between. And if there’s anything we need at the end of the world, it’s levity. Recommended.

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Review by Christopher John Eggett


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