AM Box

Planning an Adventure (Maximus)!!

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AM Box

I’m having some real fun right now. My oldest son, age 7, has been aware for quite a few weeks now that I’m planning something for him. Something big. Something new. Something adventurous! Oh, and he gets to invite a bunch of friends to participate, too. School is starting this week, and I’m going to give him a chance to pick a handful of his new classmates to come over and play a game together — Adventure Maximus.

What began as a Kickstarter project is now an actual RPG system that’s in my hands and ready to go. Designed for ages 8 and up (but kids MUCH younger are playing it), it’s billed as “a role playing game adults & kids can both enjoy.” After reading through the rules and examining all the included materials (including a lot of free content), there is no doubt in my mind that my son and his friends are going to love this!

I’ll be doing a future writeup on the actual gameplay, but today I just want to go over some of the basics of gameplay and share with you some details in case any GeekDad readers might be looking for an RPG to play with their kids.

First and foremost, Adventure Maximus is a role playing game. Players will create characters with various stats and abilities, weapons and tools, and a few other surprises. There’s even a Hero sheet (see image below) where a player can provide a name and a sketch while tracking other details such as armor, health, and willpower.

Hero Sheet

Look closely at the character sheet and you’ll see some rectangular areas running down the left side of the sheet. Adventure Maximus is also a card game… sort of. When creating a character, for example, players will draw three random Race cards and then pick one to put in the Race box on the Hero Sheet. Other cards that are drawn include the Class card. Depending on the Race and Class you select, you will also pick a certain number of Spell, Equipment, and Action cards. The items found on these cards will help to calculate some of the character’s stats such as Armor or Willpower and more.

Rules? Yes, there are rules… but they’re not near as complicated as many typical RPGs. Gameplay revolves around various basic Skills and a roll of the Maximus dice. There’s Initiative to determine which player (or monster) goes first in a battle or encounter, and to some extent there are a few “consumables” called Action Tokens that each character uses up as they perform certain actions, but in most cases the adventure is story driven and involves players informing the Maximus Master of their intentions and a decision about whether that action requires a dice roll or not.

Regarding the dice, there are five d6 — each die has three blank sides and the other three show one sword, two swords, or the Maximus symbol. The dice mechanic will definitely appeal to kids as it’s easy to calculate the results quickly AND the Maximus symbol counts not only as two swords but you can roll that die again. Like rolling a natural 20, rolling a Maximus symbol or two pretty much guarantees success for most basic actions. Want to try something really heroic? The Maximus Master might decide it takes a total Maximus dice roll of 10 swords… a completely possible event but still with a bit of hold-your-breath, will-he-pull-this-off (??) kind of tension.

With most RPGs, the referee/gamemaster either creates an adventure from scratch or purchases a ready-made one. While creating a custom adventure is possible with Adventure Maximus (and actually encouraged as players become comfortable with the rules and take turns playing the Maximus Master), what’s really cool about AM is the built-in adventure generator. It all starts with the Adventure Sheet shown in the image below.

Adventure Sheet

There are three phases to an adventure. The Maximus Master can quickly create an adventure by randomly selecting specific cards to place in the nine squares on this sheet. The adventure starts on the bottom row, where a Map card, a Treasure card, and a Creature card are placed. It’s still up to the Maximus Master to tell an engaging story, but these cards can help fill in the blanks. The first and second row are just the introduction to the adventure, with the players encountering non-Boss-level creatures in a variety of settings and with some great rewards that include magical weapons and tools and armor. With the top row, however, players will find themselves in the final battle against a formidable Boss creature guarding the ultimate award or awards.

King Stinkafink has selected you lucky adventurers to journey far to the Foothills of Fungus to retrieve his prized Magic Duct Tape from the loathsome Trimera — “half dragon, half lion, half ram, and all mean.” (Yes, there’s a lot of humor in this game, too!)

Let’s talk about cards. Monsters, armor, weapons, race, class, map, spells, equipment and action cards. Hundreds of cards. The Kickstarter unlocked even more cards, and most all of them are available as expansion packs that can be purchased from the official Adventure Maximus Store.

In addition to cards, fans of Adventure Maximus might also enjoy learning a bit more about the world of AM. For that, I’ll point you to Frandalf’s Guide: The Realms of Ex-Machina — this fun little read covers all the various map cards along with some rumors and myths that can help flesh out your adventures. And if you feel like adding your own creations to the world, you can also buy blank cards to create your own map locations, weapons, armor, and more.

My son has seen the box and glimpsed some of the stuff inside… but I’ve managed to keep most of it a secret. What I’m really liking about the game and the rules is how easy it’s going to be to get this group started playing and then hopefully let them run with it. One of the goals of the game is for kids to take over as Maximus Master themselves, and lead their friends through an adventure of their own design. Using the Adventure Sheet will help, but if your kids are like mine, creativity isn’t going to be a problem. I fully expect my son and his friends to grasp the game quickly and then start making up their own adventures and using the cards to support their wild tales.

As I stated earlier, I plan on documenting the first game (or two) and sharing details in a later post along with some photos. But before the adventure begins, I need to gather the players. And for that, I need to give a very big THANK YOU to George Vasilakos, President and Art Director of Eden Studios and creator of Adventure Maximus for helping out with a very special request (along with Francis James Hogan!). I reached out to George and asked him to design me a simple little postcard that I could have printed and delivered to my son’s friends. George delivered. Here’s a link to the PDF — as you can see, the file contains two cards per 8.5×11 page — both in full-color on front and back. THANK YOU, George!

AM Invite

My son’s invite cards are being printed early this week and a date set for the adventure. I’m going to let my son deliver the postcards to his friends at school… and hopefully in a few weeks I’ll have 4-5 (or more) of his friends over for an event that I don’t think they’ll forget for some time. (I plan on including my phone number for parents to call if they have any questions.)

If you’d like more information on Adventure Maximus, you can check out the original Kickstarter project or point a web browser to the official Adventure Maximus website where you’ll find some freebie downloads (such as the Hero Sheet PDF and some printable figure flats in lieu of metal miniatures), some videos of gameplay, artwork examples, and access to the game’s user forums.

NOTE: I also highly recommend downloading the free rulebook (PDF) and seeing for yourself just how amazing this game is and how easy it is to setup and play.

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10 thoughts on “Planning an Adventure (Maximus)!!

  1. I picked this up two weeks ago for my daughter and I to play. She has been BEGGING to play it just about everyday. Really fun and easy to set up, so you CAN play it everyday.

  2. Thanks for the article, been looking at picking this up. Only thing stopping me is trying to find out if the non-exclusive stretch goals from the Kickstarter campaign (Dungeon of Dread and Court of Darkness, and Peglegs and Pilots) are included in the base Starter game now? I believe they are, but there are virtually no details on Amazon or the Official game store site that tell you what you get in the box that I can find. Thanks in advance!

    1. No those are not in the Starter Set. It is pretty bare-bones. Just the game, no maps, no guide to the world. I’ll be picking those up soon.

      1. Are you sure about that, Ken? There were some Exclusive-KS cards, but most of the card sets were unlocked by reaching certain financial goals and nothing was stated that they wouldn’t be part of the Basic Set. The Expansion Set is obviously sold separately, but I do think there were some bonus cards unlocked that are included for all players. I will check with George and confirm. There really does need to be a detailed list of all components on the Store page —

        1. I sent another email to via the Kickstarter page to George to try and confirm as well. I had asked him a few days ago and he sent back an answer that wasn’t really clear. Will let you know if I hear back from him.

          I agree James, there really does need to be more information about the game out there. How about some nice high-res pictures of the box on the official site? The picture they have for the game is barely legible. There are no details on the add-ons either. How big is the map? (Answer: 18″x24″) What is it made of? What is Frandalf’s Guide? (Answer: 16 page booklet about the world of Adventure Maximus) The best location for a list of components I have found is the nearly non-existent page on Board Game Geek. Seems like a really cool game but there is so little information about it.

          Curiously RPGNow has a link for the Kickstarter Edition of the game but it costs $999 and requires a code sent to backers. Not sure what that is all about. Sure would like a code!

  3. Ok here is some answers to some questions:

    The Adventure Maximus! Basic Set comes with 162 cards (which has a SRP of $25.00) and includes:

    • 11 fully illustrated race cards
    • 30 fully illustrated creature cards
    • 16 player class cards
    • 45 fully illustrated item cards
    • 26 fully illustrated spells
    • 16 action powers
    • 18 fully illustrated location cards
    • a full color soft cover rule book
    • set of 5 Maximus Dice

    The game originally started off with only 108 cards but with the stretch goals from the Kickstarter it expanded to 162 cards (Dungeon of Dread and Court of Darkness, and Peglegs and Pilots were added to the corset box).

    We released two 18 card packs that were exclusive to the Kickstarter (Into The Woodland Realm and The Island of the Shining Lady).

    We have released direct via our website (and the Kickstarter) – Adventure Set 1 – which includes two 18 card packs (Myths & Mutants and Tinkers & Gizmos) for $10. We are still problem solving how to package these for retailers.

    The Kickstarter also had 10 promo cards for the backers.

    A list of all the cards are here:

    All of the available items and their sell blurbs/images/details are on the Eden Studios website:

    Maximus Base Set:

    Frandalfs Guide:

    Maximus Screen:

    even the poster:

    looks like I forgot to upload Adventure Set One… doing so now.

    As for the PDF version on RPGNOW/DriveThru… that was for the KS backers. They got a coupon code that lowered the price to zero. After GenCon we will be making a revised mass market version of the PDF.

    Hope this helps 🙂

  4. Sounds awesome! Anyone have experience playing Hero Kids RPG? How do the two compare? I’d like to get my nephew one of them, but not sure which we should try.

    1. Hero Kids is a great starter set but does take a lot of time and resources to print and cut all the .pdfs to card stock.

      My 8 year-old and his friends play Hero Kids almost every weekend. I have even run the DnD 5e adventure, “The Lost Mines of Phandelver” modifed to Hero Kids’ rules for them (I even made a modified deck of “spells” from 5e that the kids could use to level up their characters).

      I’ve recently purchased Adventure Maximus for my kid’s gaming group and they immediately fell in love and play it almost exclusively now. It can be played straight from the box whereas Hero Kids took me half an afternoon with replacing our printer cartridges before I could run an adventure.

      The main thing my kids love the most is the there is more customization with Adventure Maximus’ characters than Hero Kids. Hero Kids character sheets are simple with only two non-changeable abilities (hence my desire to create spell cards) but Adventure Maximus is a full sheet with a ton of customization.

      Hero Kids cost me $14 for all the currently released content (not including home printing costs).

      Adventure Maximus cost me $20 for the starter set and another $20 for Frandalf’s Guide (think of it like the Dungeon Master’s Guide for DnD) and the Adventure Set 1 expansion (new characters, spells, and items).

      Both are super easy for kids to pick up and play but Adventure Maximus is the easiest for a kid to run the adventure.

      I am glad I have both and will probably incorporate them together but if i had to choose only one……I’d say Adventure Maximus.

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