It may be surprising to many people, given how many Anime/Manga inspired games we review here in The Rat Hole, that I’m not a die-hard anime/manga fan. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve watched it. I enjoy it, and I wish I had more time to watch more. I love going to anime conventions, and I’m a great admirer of the style of storytelling that really is unique to Japan.
Big Eyes, Small Mouth, or simply BESM, is titled as such in reference to the common art style in many anime productions. It was first published in 1997, and was eventually bought by ArtHaus Games/White Wolf Publishing when Guardians of Order folded in 2006. White Wolf published the third edition of BESM shortly afterward. Dyskami Publishing announced earlier this year that they had reached a licensing agreement with White Wolf Entertainment to publish the fourth edition of BESM, along with co-publisher Japanime Games. Besides creator Mark MacKinnon, there seem to be a few other talented people returning to BESM for this edition, which is a positive thing on many levels.
BESM 4E also marks a modernized retooling of the Tri-Stat System that powers the game, but it does remain a 2d6 + Stat + Skill Group vs. target number/opposed roll at its core. There will also be two standalone versions of the game. The standard BESM Fourth Edition, and a stripped-down, rules-light, version called BESM Naked. (Stripped down… Naked… I’m not sure whether I should applaud that pun or flip a table over it.)
Beyond the Core Rulebook(s) this campaign also includes a Game Screen and Adventure package, a Character Folio, and custom BESM Dice. Down the road, during the leadup to this campaign, Dyskami dropped a few glimpses of several future BESM sourcebooks on their Instagram Page.
Regular pledge levels start at $15 (USD) for a PDF copy of the BESM Naked core book, and the BESM Primer fast-play rules (which is being designed to cover both versions of the rules). For $30 backers get the pdfs plus the physical BESM Naked book. $35 gets PDFs of both Naked and the Fourth Edition core books, along with the Primer. $60 provides a physical Fourth Edition book, Fourth Edition PDF, and the Primer. $90 gets both physical books and all the PDFs. $100 gets the deluxe collectors edition of the Fourth Edition with all the PDFs. $125 gets all the books in print and pdf, plus the Game Screen and Adventure, the Character Folio, and a set of six dice. Finally, for $350 you can get the limited edition Fourth Edition book, SIX copies of the Naked core book, SIX character folios, the Game Screen and Adventure, the Primer, and two sets BESM dice.
The provided shipping estimates are detailed and very reasonable and there is a good refund policy listed. The majority of the work on these books is done, so the December fulfillment date is not unrealistic. Dyskami had some production delays on their Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challange game, but I believe both its Season 3 expansion and the Sailor Moon Crystal: Truth or Bluff game ran fairly close to on schedule. So I don’t expect there to be much risk here.
I can say for certain that I am excited to not only dig into the core books here, but seeing how this game expands in the future.