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Blood Games II
by Thomas B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/03/2010 22:14:17
Pros: Very good modern horror RPG. Some nice, new takes on some classic modern horror archetypes, and an interesting lifepath system for character generation. I heartily recommend combining this with On Her Majesty's Arcane Service for maximum effect. Once you get past the cover, the interior is way more printer friendly than your average RPG. I'm a huge fan of the layout, but apparently most reviewers are not.

Cons: With this book alone, there's not much here to convince you to switch from Your Default Game if you are already doing modern monster hunting. On Her Majesty's Arcane Service adds just enough options to make the switch more appealing, adding in fairies and organization rules (which can be modernized with a little effort). The fiction isn't great, but that's not the main focus of the book, and some of the art is more mediocre than anything.

Conclusion: As stated, a very well-written RPG, made by a guy who likes to make games and doesn't have a whole production company to do it with. If you are wanting to get into modern horror, or your current game isn't clicking, then I offer a high recommendation. If you're happy with what you've got, and you have some money to spare, its worth picking up for possible inspiration.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Blood Games II
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Havoc Open Beta
by Scott K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/13/2009 00:55:13
A simple, quick system with a elegant design. I personally love dragons and look foreward to the future releases.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Havoc Open Beta
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Hearts & Souls
by Kevin M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/24/2009 18:11:13
Being a long time comic book collector and fan of superhero games in general, I’ve probably bought every super rpg going back to the classic Marvel Superheroes and Villains and Vigilantes. So I sure have my heavy list of favorites, and the Hearts and Souls rpg ranks right up at the top with its unique innovations and mechanics.

It may seem a little unorthodox at first, but it really does work in play. Rules such as monologues and stress triggers/events are great for re-creating the feel and flow of an actual comic book in a simple and quick fashion without relying on fixed stats like hit points, fatigue points, time and distance measurements, etc. The basic structure allows you to attempt any action, but does not impede the flow of the game. Also, you can create just about any character you can imagine.

I really prefer these types of games over numbers-heavy, where there’s a rule for every type of action a character tries. While it is quite freeform and rules-lite, and does require a good deal of input from the GM and players, it’s also a heck of a lot of fun.

If you like number crunching (and some players do, nothing wrong with that) then you probably won’t like this game. But as a GM with time constraints, I’m always looking for supplements and game systems that make my life easier while stressing actual role playing. I really feel that H&S delivers both.

In the old DC Heroes game, one of the core concepts was developing sub-plots, which are the actual day-to-day problems that heroes face in their lives outside of their superhero personas. In the sessions using H&S that I’ve run, I will allow players an “anti” stress point (or hero point as my group calls it) for creating interesting sub plots that we can role play and develop as the characters progress.

This way they can negate one point of stress they accumulate later on in the game, in addition to using monologues. The game system presented here is perfect for this. It has really helped make our sessions fun and interesting.

I truly hope that Tim continues to develop and expand upon H&S. I would love to see more; definitely worth a look and the price is very reasonable

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hearts & Souls
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Hearts & Souls
by Sylvain B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/05/2009 11:19:37
H&S is a great narrativist rules-light supers RPG. Its scaled rank system for attributes and powers works well. The game's core mechanics for character motivations (called drives) and stress (emulating physical, mental and social setbacks) brilliantly support the superheroic genre. H&S oozes with potential for some fantastic role-playing and story-telling in any style of supers game.

However, some elements of the game feel somewhat too sketchy for my taste. Character creation and advancement come to mind, the author meant them to be free-form but I think both elements could benefit from a bit more structure. Some of the rules should also be clarified although the book contains a very useful example of play.

Hearts & Souls is a rough gem that could really shine with a little polishing but that sure didn't stop me from making it my supers RPG of choice.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wonderland
by Chris H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/19/2009 07:29:22
There are very few games available today that do something truly original or really push the medium. Wonderland, however, does both. It's a genuinely scary game - reading it makes you wonder how strong your own grip on reality really is. It's intellectually challenging, immensely playable, beautifully written and in a very real sense a work of art. I really can't say enough good things about this tremendously impressive game. It is absolutely amazing, perhaps the most original and disturbing RPG since the original Kult or Little Fears.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wonderland
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In Harm's Way: Aces In Spades
by JW B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/13/2008 18:06:20
I've always loved WWI flying movies (The Dawn Patrol, The Blue Max, Flyboys). Over the years I've attempted to translate the excitement of these movies into a game format, utilizing various often complex rules systems to simulate combat, and tacking on RPG elements.

In Harms Way: Aces In Spades has an elegant and simple (well, as simple as anything that can be which recreates the feel of WWI aerial combat) combat system that will not dominate your gaming night with one or two dogfights and no real roleplay. The system produces the 'feel' of aerial combat in canvas and wood scouts through the use of 'Energy Units' that are gained by diving or burning fuel, and are lost by climbing and maneuvering. Many of the Great War's aircraft are numerically defined in the game, and the system is simple enough that any additional favorites can be added in moments. Shooting and damage are likewise simple (a D100 is all you will need), with a system to simulate luck and critical hits. This produces the flavor of the first dogfight in The Blue Max, for example, without bogging the player down in calculations and measurements.

The roleplay system is likewise elegant and stands somewhere between a diceless rpg system and a simple dice-based system. Characters are created by allocating points and skills are gained through comparison of social class and one's chosen background. Well-rounded characters can be rapidly created, and there is a system for quickly creating 'supporting cast' characters. Each player has a 'main' character, the pilot, another supporting officer (medical, administrative, observer, etc.), and an enlisted man who is a specialist at the aerodrome. If the 'main' is injured or captured, or unaccountably absent after visiting the local social establishment, the player can pick up one of his 'troupe' and game with him until his 'main' returns. This is a very clever concept and again recreates the 'movie' feel that the game works hard to develop.

As with all games that cover complicated historical events, the author of In Harms Way: Aces In Spades had to decide how much historical detail to include. The book is not a campaign resource for World War One. There are no maps, descriptions of historical pilots, or even historically accurate images of WWI aircraft. However, with so many resources available on the internet, the referee will be able to find all necessary background outside of this text. And it is important to remember that this set of rules attempts to recreate the feel of the idealized war in the air, not the actual war (although it could easily do that, too). Players compete for 'notice' to gain rank and medals, and all sorts of strange and audacious acts could qualify, or not, depending upon the personality of the Squadron Commander.

The book contains occasional typos. Also, some essential information can be difficult to find (ie., how to add up a player's hit points). A good 'referee's sheet' with essential data would go a long way to making what is about 140 pdf pages more accessible. However, these are minor complaints in what is a highly creative, fun, and easy to implement game system in an historical period that many of us have longed to recreate but just couldn't find that ideal balance between a technical air combat system and roleplay.

There are other games out there for the serious grognards. This game will satisfy roleplayers who long for the feel of the great WWI movies, who want to fight in the air but also want to have enough time left to roleplay their characters on the ground.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
In Harm's Way: Aces In Spades
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FTL Now RPG
by Terence C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/25/2008 19:43:15
An excellent companion game to Cold Space which takes it to the post cold war era. In fact the 911 version of cold Space is far more deadlier than what happened in OTL.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
FTL Now RPG
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Cold Space RPG
by Terence C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/25/2008 16:41:32
Great system, great alternate history setting. very very nice indeed.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cold Space RPG
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StarCluster 2 Light
by Matt M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/21/2008 10:12:44
Great introduction to the StarCluster system and setting. There is a lot of cool stuff available for this game and this Light version just shows off some of the highlights.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
StarCluster 2 Light
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In Harm's Way:Wild Blue
by Gunther B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/18/2008 10:38:40
Very useful product both as a stand alone game and as a resourse for other gaming systems. I plan to use it as the background and support for Mercenary Air Squadron and Mercenary Air Squadron MTO.
Character creation covers several levels from active front line troops to rear echelon staff officers. A broad base of equipment is provided for air, land, sea or joint campaigns.
Logistical, maintenance, and finance is covered in enough detail to keep it interesting without reguiring a full time S-4/G-4 section.

Pro:
Good character creation and combat rules
Neutral
A bit repetive in places.
Con
No real gripes

Very Satisfied

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
In Harm's Way:Wild Blue
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FTL Now RPG
by JD S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/02/2008 14:46:41
On the surface, this product works well-an alternate timeline where space was achieved quickly after WW2. Politics continued as in our setting, with the exception of the addition of space colonies and propulsion technology. A terrorist group launches an asteroid to strike NYNY on 9-11-2001, provoking a remarkably brief and concise nuclear winter.

In a nutshell, it sounds good. The actual 20-odd pages of the background are pretty much a shambles, combining poor writing and a teen-angst melodrama; it tends to be more a soapbox tribute to a impeached ex-President, attacks on a current President, and a hostile attitude towards the USA as a whole, and anyone who earns more money than the writer. The political developments portrayed in the post-asteroid hit are extremely unlikely, ignoring centuries of war, cultural differences, and economic hostility.

Despite having world-wide starvation as a key point of this hodge-podge, the writer(s) either did no investigation of US food storage, and somehow have overlooked key elements of the US diet/food production systems that would have minimized the effects of the brief and concise nuclear winter in North America, all the more so as the power grid was orbital, and unaffected. (Americans eat grain-fed beef, pork, and poultry in far greater quantity than other nations. The latter industry is housed in indoor, heated facilities, as is much of pork production. The USA has enough feed grain on hand to feed the US population for two years; if the US population of cattle, pigs, and fowl were harvested, it and their stockpiled feed could last the entire US and Canadian populations for a year longer than the abrupt nuclear winter, without touching the other food reserves held by the US gov’t and private producers-and this assumes only 65% efficiency in distribution). Likewise, nations lose 50% or more of their population in just a few years, and yet maintain cultural and social integrity.

The lengthy and inaccurate condemnation of the Patriot Act (which it is obvious the writer never bothered to read) kills a lot of word count as well.

Despite the background’s clear paranoia regarding government abuses of power, it has the same governments donating the entirety of their nuclear arsenals to an anti-asteroid defense system. And the UN ‘remains a beacon hope’. Happy, happy, joy, joy.

An optional extension to the history has the CIA responsible for the asteroid strike. Given the caliber of the writing up to this point, this was so predictable that only its absence would have surprised anyone.

In short, the background is a plot hammer the size of the asteroid which wiped out the US East Coast, and a soapbox slightly more shrill than a political convention pamphlet. It is unburdened by much in the way of research or depth of. That it makes up only about 10% of the product is its sole virtue. Fortunately, you can explain the differences between our timeline and the game’s in a couple paragraphs, and ignore the first twenty pages entirely.

The product is dotted with fiction and poetry, the less said about which, the better. Artwork is not an issue for me, but FTL’s was pleasant and unobtrusive.

The formatting and production values are excellent.

I like the fact that FTL has a clearly stated mission for PCs: survive. Simple, and mood-setting.
I am not likely to use the system, but it looked friendly and lite. The starship travel is innovative and takes travel within a system seriously, something too few sci-fi games do.

The last hundred pages detail the occupied planets; Terra’s system has map of the Moon & Mars, while the other systems detail the stellar bodies and have a simple color terrain map, plus a color ‘picture’ of the main planet. The detail is very good, and IMO the chapters on the planets is well worth the price of the product by themselves.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
FTL Now RPG
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Daemornia: 2nd Edition
by Curt M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/03/2008 02:14:23
Daemornia may as well be the love child of Michael Moorcock and James M Ward--a portal to an extra dimensional hell is opened via technological mishap; daemons arrive, a war ensues--centuries later, Offworlders aide the poor humans. The setting potentially ranges several daemon-ravaged worlds ala Robotech II The Sentinels.

The game offers a whopping 13 attributes, that believe it or not, do function in play. 7 races, several level-based career paths psionics and magic rules and a bestiary.

Basically, it's a "roll-under" system: a 2d6 result less than a modified attribute value equals success.

The game's strength is the richness of the setting. At first glance, the races appear generic, but each is developed. It has an "Elric," Richard Corbin feel.

So what's different from the previous "Revised" edition?

The Positive:

2nd edition is easier on the eyes for one, if like me, you read your pdf books on screen. The text is presented against a textured color background.

A new layer has been added to game play with bonuses to various saves and resistances incorporated into racial stats, including a Save vs Magic to streamline the magic system.

The Negative:

Randomized character generation tables appear to have been removed.

Much of the setting specific material is absent. Daemornia Studios wouldn't be the first company to move to a multi-book core model, but with the exclusion of 40 plus pages of setting material, conversions of some of the races or beasts from previous supplements to the new stat format would've been nice.

That being said, the Daemornia line offers quality books at reasonable prices. Who else is offering a 156 page core book for $7.00?

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Daemornia: 2nd Edition
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In Harm's Way
by Kevin P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/18/2008 15:57:08
The RPG community has needed a follow-up to the classic FGU PRIVATEERS & GENTLEMEN for years, and this is it. I especially like the ARS-MAGICA-like idea of having multiple characters to run, and the "ensemble" style.

A reasonable mechanical system that feels true to the Napoleonic Age of Sail genre of fiction. Character creation is simple, gameplay is fairly quick.

The rules for ship to ship battles are a bit lacking but if you're not interested in fighting them out (other than as impacts your characters), you could probably dispense with them. But if you just must maneuver little ships on blue cloth, there are a lot of relatively easy rules-sets out there you could probably adapt.

While this genre might not be to some people's tastes, if you want to get a hand in on Lucky Jack Aubrey, Richard Bolitho, or any of the other naval fiction adventurers, this is the game for you.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
In Harm's Way
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Forward... to Adventure!
by Maxwell T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/01/2007 08:05:43
Sure, there are hundreds of "old school D&D...my way!" products out there, but this one really stands out and has its own character. From the character class system to the truly engaging combat system (like tunnels and trolls with some twists...very well done), this game stays focused on its own path, making something very original in the process.

The game just seems so "playable" right from the start. There's even a highly detailed and easy to use random dungeon generator included to get things going right away. That yawning portcullis on the cover isn't just for looks...this game wants you to get on into that labyrinth and show the bad guys what you're made of!

Liked: Unique flavor of rules focused tightly on central "mission' of the game. Rules aren't too long or too complex; every element seems to be balanced just right. Great combat system and random dungeon generator.

Disliked: Not much. Could have used more monsters in the bestiary, maybe. The art is mostly suited to the task, but the style used kind of "falls" down when it comes to certain monsters.

Overall: Great game, 4 stars.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Forward... to Adventure!
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Forward... to Adventure!
by Zack H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/07/2007 21:08:22
FtA! will doubtless be deemed a "Fantasy Heartbreaker" by many, but this is a book that doesn't apologize for, but rather embraces, its old-school roots. It manages to bring together a lot of elements that seem to be solid design concepts from the history of gaming and cobbles them together to make a cohesive, fairly smooth whole.

The game shares enough in common with D&D that it should be an easy pick-up for players of that game; however, character creation is simplified, as are the overall rules, to provide a rules-light RPG for dungeon crawling, adventuring, etc., without worrying about extensive or timely character generation or having to wait on the research of rules lawyers. The game also bears some resemblance to games like NetHack and ADOM.

Instead of Feats, FtA! uses stunting, which is the use of character skills in combat and other situations to pull off impressive moves, improbable shots, and generally encourage combat to be more creative and descriptive. This simple idea turns out to add a lot of fun and enjoyment to the game, and is one of the biggest selling points, and succeeds where I've seen a lot of more complex ideas fail.

The melee combat rules, where upon the total attack for both sides in combat is added up, and then damage is parceled out by the GM according to common sense, if players have positioned themselves in the thick of combat, or even what works best for cinematics, is another big selling point, and flowed very well in actual play. Groups really need to work together, as "lone wolf" tactics and stupidity can quickly be the death knell of the unwise character.

The magic system is basic, easy to use, and uses an increasing difficulty per conditions, fatigue,and spell failure to limit magic-users.

Monsters are fun, easy to keep track of, and delightfully old-school. Charts in the back you can roll on for magic items and to create dungeons step-by-step add to the fun feel of the game. Charts through the book for things like spell failure, background, etc., often seem a bit random, and add to that delightful, old school feel without making the game clunky. In fact, this game would likely be further enhanced with a book of charts just like these.

For a game the author hopes to one day target novice gamers in South America, FtA! needs some help in terms of presentation before that happens. I'd have liked to seen a bit better flow and layout for the character generation parts, for sure. I was a happy to see a full index, which helped matters, though. The art is typical of Flying Mice products, which you either like or don't.

For a pick-up, rules-light fantasy game, you could do far worse than FtA! There are enough good ideas in here to make this game worth the price of admission.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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