System Review: Breakfast Cult

Of all the games we've been preparing to run, there's one I've been itching to GM — Paul Matijevic’sBreakfast Cult. I’ve been playing it in a home game of it for over half a year. I can safely say it’s been the most fun I’ve had in tabletop RPGs.

Breakfast Cult is a Fate Accelerated hack that was Kickstarted. I had never heard of the system until one of the guys I game with asked if we wanted to play a campaign of it. The rest of the group seemed eager to play, so I was willing to give it a chance. I’d also never played a game in a Fate system, so I wanted to see how the mechanics worked. After having played in over a dozen games and enjoyed them greatly, I purchased my own physical copy.

The game is a mash up of anime high school comedy, mysteries, and Cthulhu Mythos style horror. It takes place at a school for the gifted in a world where magic is known. The player characters are trying to make it through their days in tact. Whether it’s cults, aliens, or truth or dare, the teens have many problems to overcome.

The game uses Fate Accelerated, which has players only use the same Approaches. The five Aspects are framed around their school lives. The Stunts usually revolve around the types of magic the player character uses. Breakfast Cult's signature are its Agenda Aspects. These are secret aspects only the GM knows that drive a player’s motivations.

Where Breakfast Cult shines is its setting. Matijevic spends most of the book creating a rich world, describing the world, magic, and the school. Fate system games run the risk of being too vast and too loose with rules. Breakfast Cult avoids this by showing how magic works and how different characters use it. This grounds the game and lets the players work to not make overpowered jokes.

Each character has multiple premade agendas that explain their motivations. There’s plenty of options for characters too: the core book comes with 20 pregenerated characters. The players may end up not using them. In some ways that’s better, as that’s a big group of characters ready to be used into your game. The game is also very inclusive, with many races, genders, nationalities, and ability represented.

Having played and run the game, I am very grateful my friend suggested it. With such a rich setting, the game is full of life before you start. Making characters is easy, and when the group leans into the anime ridiculousness, it can create some unique characters. Using the pregenerated character is still fun as you can put your own spin on them. The starter scenario (in the book for free this time) does a good job of showing the GM and players how the game is played. And with two books, the third coming out soon, and more on the way, Matijevic is committed to building out the product line. I’ve liked many of the games we’ve played on Tech Diff, but Breakfast Cult is one of the few I can say that I love.