A Reader Review of Bones Deep from Technical Grimoire

You are a skeleton. You cannot swim. You do not belong.

Ah, Kickstarter, you terrible bitch. I’ve sunk so much money into Kickstarter they awarded me with a “superbacker” title. What does that mean? It means I have a serious lack of willpower. but why? Why do I do this stupid thing? I’ll tell you, I do it for you, dear reader. I do it so that I can find interesting, unique, and just plain cool games and bring them to you.

I grabbed this game on Kickstarter, but you can snag it from Technical Grimoire’s website.

Bones Deep is a game where you play as a skeleton exploring the ocean floor. That is all I knew when I hit the pledge button so fast I broke three of my fingers. But now the book has finally arrived, let’s dive in!

Physical Product: 8

Not a PoD product, this is a solid little hardcover book, A5 in size, and it’s really beautiful. Maps on both inside covers, nice coffee cream colored pages, and heavy paper. In short, the product is a nice long lasting RPG book you can feel good about looking at or carrying around.

Art: 6

Okay. So… on one hand, the original art in this is fantastic. the cover is beautiful, the maps are gorgeous and the skeletons in the “You Are A Skeleton” section look incredible. But that is pretty much all you get for original art. Everything else is open license nautical artwork. While obviously open license and creative commons artwork is absolutely fine to use, I would have liked to see more of this really cool-looking art throughout the book. I would have happily waited while some were commissioned.

Writing/Editing: 8

Well written and well edited. I hate that I have so little to say on this topic when it’s weighted so heavily in a score. But there you have it, nothing pulled me out of reading.

World/Fiction: 8

  • Design: You’re skeletons, on the sea floor, you absorb memories and have drives that lead you on. It’s such a cool and perfect little idea. The life and personality injected into the ocean and its inhabitants are impressive.
  • Originality: I often say that all things have been done. But I don’t know if this has been done before. At least, not like this.
  • Fleshed out: There’s a lot going on here, but everything is very loose. There are so many loose ends that can lead to new adventures, there are a few things I would have loved to see more detail in, but overall I am happy with where this book landed.
  • Engaging: I kept being antsy to go back to reading when I wasn’t.
  • Mechanics: My one critique on mechanics is that both the Drive and the Memories mechanics needs must have an extremely experienced and story-engaging GM. Without someone at the helm who can really direct and improv their way through the locations, who feels comfortable co-writing the world along side the players, this game could easily fall flat as players scramble to figure out what they should be doing.

Overall: 7.70

Final Thoughts: I have a mission, as a reviewer, and as a game designer. It’s to engage with games and content that is original and unique. I want to find the games that are attempting to tell new stories, or at least old stories in new ways.

Experimental, let’s call them.

Experimental games can mean anything. But more than anything, what it means to me, is that someone was passionate about a project. These projects, like Bones Deep, and Necronautilus, are made despite the fact they may not be commercial successes, because their creators think that their cool, and can be used to tell cool stories. And that’s awesome. It’s the part the creative process I love, the reason I became a publisher.

Bones deep is a joy to read, and I can’t wait to have an opportunity to play it too.

Hey! Do you think “Who is this John guy and what makes him such an expert?” Do you say “Does he think he can do better?”

NO! I don’t. But I do think I can do it! This August (2022) I’ll be launching my first Kickstarter as part of ZineQuest, Morkkabeans 1:1. So if you’re into weird metaphysics and Mork Borg, please check it out! (Click the picture to go to the project!)


Have a physical game or supplement you want John to review? Contact him below!

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