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Panic at the Dojo is a tabletop game for 3-5 players set in a modern world where martial arts reigns supreme, and magic exists a little bit. All mundane personal conflicts (overdue rent, petty theft, movie opinions, and whose turn it is to wash the dishes) are decided by high level martial arts fights. People yell at each other, throw out punches, swing swords, make explosions, improvise with ladders, shout attack names, and unleash their special techniques passed down for generations. At the end of the day, someone gets what they want and everyone else has to limp home empty handed.

Basically, imagine if the Jackie Chan Adventures cartoon was a documentary, and also a tactical combat focused tabletop game.

In Panic at the Dojo, you and your friends will each take on the role of an average person in this universe - a skilled fighter trying to carve out their own personal niche. You will usually be working together, but not always! Panic at the Dojo is focused on tactical positioning, over-the-top combat, and whimsical, customized fighting styles that you build yourself.

Part of what makes Panic at the Dojo unique is its Stance-based combat system. Your characters have multiple fighting stances they can assume, and each stance gives you different bonuses and unique actions. In this way, you can effectively change your character's entire focus on the fly, to become what you need when you need it.

Combat in Panic at the Dojo is turn-based and symmetrical - the Heroes get one turn, then the Enemies get one turn, and repeat on down the line until each Hero and each Enemy has had a turn, then start back from the top.

There isn't an initiative order - when a Hero turn comes up, any Hero can take it! But you only get one turn per round - if you go first, you're not going again until everyone else has had a go.

During your turn, you choose one of your Stances to assume, roll its Action Dice, and spend the numbers you get to perform actions. Higher numbers let you perform more powerful actions, and every Form has a different set of Action Dice to work with. Once you have spent all your numbers on actions, your turn is over, and the Enemy team picks someone to go next.

Your actions never miss - your dice determine how powerful they are, not whether or not they work at all. Your actions translate into a string of moves that all chain together and often feel like something only you could do, with your specific fighting style. And order matters - stronger actions tend to send your enemies flying away from you, so you need to hit them with the weaker hits first or you won't have an enemy to keep hitting!

Author: Vel Mini

Artists: Maddi Gonzalez, H.P. Heisler, Crossy, Ziggy Cohen, Vel Mini

CategoryPhysical game
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(2 total ratings)
Tagsmartial-arts, Tabletop, Tactical
Average sessionA few hours
MultiplayerLocal multiplayer


Buy Now$14.95 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $14.95 USD. You will get access to the following files:

Panic at the Dojo.pdf 17 MB


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(10 edits)

Yo! Glad to see the game getting more attention (and looking forwards to the errata pass!).

Our group had a couple of assorted rule questions and comments after play- we made spot calls as needed, but we wanted to raise them as concerns/questions for errata;

1. Question about whether 0 damage counts as damage (answered below).

2. Can you spend any number of iron tokens on one hit (suggested by Armored Style, page 69), or just 1-2 (Glossary, page 280)?

3. How does 'priority' work? If someone wants to take an action during someone else's turn (ex. a token action), can they take as many token actions as they like before that person can take a Simple Action or use Free Movement? Can the person who's turn it is interrupt with their own token action? We generally settled on 'one side has a chance to take an action, then the other side has a chance to take an action'.

4. If a Copy moves into a space with an obstacle (particularly a Trap) using movement, what happens? Do they just coexist?

5. How do actions with an X in their cost interact with cost reduction (Elder, Phantom)? Can we treat them as a 'tiered action' with effectively infinite tiers (one for each possible die roll? Edit: Looked at Waiting Game- I'm going to guess they aren't affected by cost reduction, lol


6. This is a really goofy edge case, but a player actually did this- if someone takes Forbidden Power/Iron can they just not move? Is it split 50%/25%/25%? Our GM ruled that every 2 Speed Tokens effectively generated 1 Power and 1 Iron and 1 Speed (they were quite strong in combat, but it felt pretty fair overall- we had a strong party)

7. Play feedback- Necromancer making copies anywhere in line of sight felt like it could have very easily been overwhelming in combination with a mobile foe due to giving it effectively infinite range- the damage was low impact compared to the ability of the Boss to summon a copy at the start of their turn and then menace us at long range 'for free'. This might be working as intended, but it doesn't feel like the horde playstyle suggested by Necromancer.

8. When a character has a Copy take an action, my understanding is that this means 'you are taking the action, but from the position of the Copy', e.g. the player could, for example, spend Power tokens on behalf of the Copy, or discard their Challenge token if the Copy's action dealt damage to your Challenge target- is this correct?

9. Can you hit a single Mook foe multiple times with stuff like a 3+ Shockwave or Whirlwind if they have multiple bodes in range?

10. Play feedback- Challenge tokens are crazy impactful, and can virtually shut down Song Warriors, which may be completely unable to break through defensive walls or even get in range quickly. Fun, but felt on the edge of being an OP mechanic, with certain builds and situations making it nearly impossible to take any action- when everyone's challenged by one Bring It On!, nobody can even Put It Out! to clear a challenge.

Deleted 47 days ago

Hello! Picked up Panic at the Dojo after hearing about it via, of course, OSP. Glad to have found your work.

It seems right up my alley, and well-designed: lots of opportunity for interesting decisionmaking in fights and while building a character; and a clean and clear approach to framing those fights. Almost feels like a board game, especially with how symmetrically fights are designed. Several of my friends are also interested, so I may actually get to run the game!

So, caveat that I've read through but not played it yet, I have some questions of intent/clarification:

1. Song Form's details says that you are always your own ally; does this hold everywhere? e.g. can a Teacher can use Inspired tokens and '3+: Watch Closely' on themselves?

2. When Phantom or Elder Style reduces the cost of an action, does that include reducing the cost of gates beyond the first (e.g. would Sing Along be reduced from '1+ or 4+ or 6+' to '1+ or 3+ or 5+'?

3. When you Sing Along without being in Song Form (e.g. via Focused Phantom or Elder Style), you don't have a song token type selected. Is the intent that you simply can't pick the 'gain 2 tokens' mode, or something else?

4. Are Chaos tokens intended to be usable for any action (i.e. as an action pool '4'), or specifically for actions with a cost or gate of exactly '4+' (and no lower)?

5. If something like a Chaos token ("used exclusively by the X") is stolen (e.g. via Syphon Style's '2+ or 6+: Power Converter'), can the recipient use it for its native function?

6. Can a Teacher use multiple Inspired tokens in the same turn?

There's also a few things I've spotted that may be infinite loops; either I've misread something, or they would be good targets for errata:

-  Fused or Frantic Phantom + Song Form + Elder Style

If Phantom and Elder Style's cost reductions stack, that would mean the free 4 action from Sing Along would be enough to meet the 6+ gate of another Sing Along, repeating the process and accumulating resources.

- Chaos token + Motivating Style's '4+ You Can Do It!'

If you copy a  chaos token, you can use You Can Do It again by expending that chaos token, healing/moving/etc. as you repeat the process. If you can't target yourself, this can still be done with two characters that are fused Demon/Teachers. Inspired tokens could work similarly, but are less egregious since it isn't guaranteed.

- Frantic Phantom + Blaster Form + Vampire Style, using Flare

Distracting Style's '1+ or 2 basic tokens: Flare' can give two enemies a weakness token while using Blaster Form; if you're also using Vampire Style, that would give you two power tokens if I'm reading correctly, which can repeat the process to give those enemies an unlimited number of weakness tokens.

I do really love this system, already; that's why I'm engaging with it so much. Thank you for making it :)

(3 edits)

While not an infinite exactly, Brawling Zen is tremendously difficult to take down except by specific approaches.

When your shield is broken by damage from a foe, you gain one Power token from Brawling, then Zen deals 1 damage back to them. If you don't spend Power tokens on this hit, you gain a second Power token, meaning you can immediately put up a new shield with Tough It Out, arguably before the next damage action comes in.

Traps, Crush, and Armor/Iron tokens can counter this to some extent, but it's pretty difficult to break otherwise.

With a bit of setup (an ally with Dance, the Found an Opening bonus, or access to Chaos tokens), a Frantic Phantom with access to Patient style can gain access to Waiting Game outside their turn without being restricted by Patient's 'one action per turn' limit, letting them take it an unlimited number of times before cashing it out as one big infinite-power action (useful for, ex. Movement to generate infinite Speed for some sort of token action).

Edit: Missed that shield damage does overflow to HP! Whoops!

So, asking for clarification, does the 'default bonus' mean that everyone in the team gets +2 max HP, and this can be replaced with only one person getting one of the other bonuses?

that is correct.

Working on an errata document + a progression system free bonus PDF, but until I get that done, here is the basic progression system:

I like it! Reads as sensible and appropriately simple and elegant.

First things that jump to mind:

Focused Phantoms get a *lot* of options when they get a fused archetype; including Waiting Game, which breaks when you can get it without the restrictions imposed by Patient Style, Elder Style, or Frantic Phantom.

Focused or Frantic Phantoms will generally scale extremely well with extra stances.

Frantic heroes' expanding combinatorial versatility is offset by not getting as many archetype abilities at once, which I find very elegant.

A lot of potent combos using the extra archetype (e.g. Focused Punk + Fused Winterblossom) are things that a cooperating party would already be able to do, which helps control the scope of things.

Looks good!

Does 0 damage count as damage? One-Two saying you can use it to clear 6 Weakness tokens suggests yes, but Knockdown Style suggests that reducing damage to 0 with Armor and Iron means it doesn't count as damage.

0 damage does not count as "damage," no. One-Two is going to have a written in exception in the errata I am working on, something like: "When you deal damage to an enemy with an Action, hit them again for 1 more damage. Even if the initial damage is reduced to zero by Armor, Iron tokens, or Weakness tokens, you still get this extra 1-damage hit."

Thank you!

(2 edits)

My play group is starting to get into the game, and there is a weird rule I cant wrap my brain around. If you are Taken out, do you still get to change stances when it comes time for your heroic spirit turn? It seems weird that you could swap into bleeding/ Zombie and just negate threat by damage that way.

Even more so when something like Angel/ Cavalry  doesn't have access to that . 

Is there some kind of vulnerability I am not seeing here? 

(1 edit)

Yes, you do get to change stances (second paragraph, page 31). Of note is that the Vigilance stance heals itself at the start of its turn, meaning that all archetypes can spec into the ability to stand themself back up.

A special note for Angel- as mentioned on page 61, the Angel Ability lets them get back up even when damaged, since it heals them.

The primary counter, as I see it, is to avoid focusing damage on foes who will just regenerate off your damage, or by 'wasting' their healing by only dealing small amounts of damage to them - you win by getting everyone to 0 HP, in whichever order that involves.  

(1 edit)

I ran a session today, and I had a lot of trouble with Stooges- mainly, how start-of-turn effects work with them, and how tokens are shared- I had a group of Zombies and a The Light (angel/song warrior); I couldn't tell whether the Zombies each generated Iron tokens from their build, gained one token for one of them, etc. A similar question came up for The Light's start-of-turn ability to grant tokens to all allies at once.

Stooges hold tokens as a single unit. An effect that gives 1 Iron token to all allies would only give one Iron token to each separate group of Zombies. They have just the one token pile and any Zombie in the unit may spend tokens from that pile.