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Relic Playing Deck
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/17/2009 13:13:17
Sit down at the game table, set your imagination loose... and bang down to earth with a mundane set of common or garden playing cards for task resolution?

For those who want their game aids to reflect the richness and allure of the rest of the game, this deck could prove to be the answer. Exotic, almost cryptic numbers for one side, and a decorative back proclaiming 'Relic' should suit all.

True, it's going to use up a lot of printer ink and your craft skills will come into play matching fronts and backs up, preferably with a card base sandwiched between the two for durability - and even to enable a decent shuffle! - but if you like beautiful things on your game table, it's worth it!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Relic Playing Deck
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Gamescapes: Story Maps, Sci-fi Set 3
by Nathan R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/24/2009 08:37:56
Third in a set of terrain tiles for a sci-fi setting
The Good:
Wonderful details and beautiful setting. Great for 20-28mm (not for use with Clix and their 1.5" scale)
Combining this set with set #1 you can create a wide variety of bases (or Vaults).

The bad:
Just a short page of printing tips would have been helpful. I wasted a lot of ink and paper the first time printing this to get it all on the wrong scale (instead of 1" squares I got 3/4" squares). Still that was user error vs. the quality of the product and its great price.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gamescapes: Story Maps, Sci-fi Set 3
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Gamescapes: Story Maps, Sci-fi Set 1
by Nathan R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/24/2009 08:34:20
The Good:
Beautifully detailed tiles for a science fiction base. (Or Vault)

The So-So:
Just wish there were good instructions on printing the product because I sure wasted lots of paper printing it out and getting the squares too small. Oh well, lesson learned.

The Bad:
None.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gamescapes: Story Maps, Sci-fi Set 1
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Suzerain
by Randy O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/23/2009 13:53:32
Very giid product with an excellent story line. I liked the game mechanics.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Suzerain
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Gamescapes: Battlemat Terrain: Desert Steppes
by Marc F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/05/2009 21:12:14
This is an excellent product for those gamers want either desert or "Martian" terrain. There's lots of variet. Having both rectangles and hexagons overprinted to aid movement is nice. Other sets are availaible with this series, You'll want this one and the others in the set. Bravo to Talisman. This is a nice line of products!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Gamescapes: Battlemat Terrain: Desert Steppes
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Gamescapes: Story Maps, Pirate Set 2
by Dean R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/30/2009 08:19:56
Beautiful artwork, accurate, enough detail for a general overview while allowing the GM to incorporate his own details. Highly recommended.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gamescapes: Story Maps, Pirate Set 2
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Suzerain
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/01/2009 12:46:35
Suzerain has the sub-title of 'a universe in gaming' and the opening chapter tries to explain the underlying philosophy, a alternate reality in which anything is possible, literally constrained only by your imagination. Somewhere in that universe is the Maelstrom, formed of something called the Pulse of All Things, the underlying power that drives everything and which, in its purer manifestations, gives rise to that which we would call 'magic.' Gods live there too, but as it is outside of time you are as likely to find the deities revered in the past as you are the ones you hear about today or which might come to be worshipped in the future. Based on this premise, you can run whatever sort of game you want in any era, real or fictional... for who's to say that it cannot happen somewhere within this universe?

The next chapter looks at characters, and how to create them. Again the keynote is freedom, freedom to design a character that is whoever you want him to be. Naturally, you'll have an eye to the setting in which you will play him, but the nature of the rules is such that he'll work in a completely different one (even if he does seem a bit out of place to the casual observer!). Mechanically it's a point-build system, but while most role-playing games will tell you that it's important to have an idea of who your character is as a person, here it's essential. He doesn't exist in isolation, either, so it is important to kick your ideas around with the other players and the game master (called a 'Director') to ensure that the group as a whole will work well together and in the setting of the game.

Not all heroes are of equal power. You'll start off with a 'Standard' one (and he'll be a cut above the average man in the street), but as the game progresses he'll grow in capability through the stages of Hero, Demigod and God. You track your advancement by means of Karma, which has many uses... you can purchase extra skills and abilities, or use some up to ensure success in those moments when you really, really don't want to fail.

That explained, the section moves on to look at the core Abilities, the innate characteristics of your character. These cover physical, mental and spiritual (or social) talents; and are purchased from an initial pool of 50 points. With a starting point of zero in each one (the human norm) you can gain extra points by going negative, or spend them to increase your ability above that of the common herd. Interestingly, the capacity to sustain damage is measured in terms of all three ability groups - mental damage might dent your confidence, for example - which is an interesting and holistic approach. And then there's Pulse. Nobody's managed to define just what it is or how it functions, but it seems to be something that characters can draw upon in some way. There is a multitude of ways of accessing it - prayer to a deity, study of musty tomes and scrolls, enacting ritual, even cybernetic implants - but the end results are the same: special (some call them supernatural) powers that the character can use as the raw force of the universe itself flows through them.

Next comes a section on feats. These are skills, the things that your character has learned to do - by training or experiment or practice - as opposed to the abilities that describe his core being. To start with, you purchase feats using points, and then later can use Karma to buy more as you become more powerful and want to be able to do an increasing number of things. As the character gains in power, he gets access to more spectacular feats, and can increase the effect of the ones he already has. The character generation section rounds out with some information on advancement and a discussion on forming a team.

Section 3 looks at the basic rules for playing the game. They come into play when there is a situation that may or may not resolve in the character's favour. Chance is introduced by drawing cards from a deck (you can make do with ordinary playing cards but some gloriously sumptuous ones have been designed specially for this game), and then factoring in the effects of the abilities and feats that you are using and any influence that the situation itself may have. Particular results may give rise to stunning success or abysmal disasterous failure, but most of the time it is a simple you did it (or did not). After enough examples to make you feel secure as to how and when to make a check, the section moves on to look at hurting and healing, weapons and combat and so on.

Section 4 contains Advanced Rules. This explores situational modifiers and more advanced combat options and, to begin with at least, can be left to the Director - although scan through it so you have at least an idea of the potentials.

Finally, Section 5 covers the Feats available to a Standard-level character. There's loads to choose from, whatever you want your character to be able to do - from marksmanship to knowledge, from the ability to leap from the rooftops to being able to find the shadiest folk in town and enlist their aid... you name it, your character can do it if he chooses the right feats. Oh, and you can have 'negative feats' to reflect the things your character is hopeless at (and gain extra points to spend on the things you are to be good at into the bargain).

So, there it is. A flexible and comprehensive concept with sufficient rules to make it work as a game but not so many as to interfere with your role-playing, your joint creation of epic adventures. Naturally, a system this flexible needs some work before you are ready to play - either you need to work out the setting and some starting plots, or you can acquire some of the materials being published in support of this game. Either way, some epic stories await!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Suzerain
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Shaintar Character Pack 1
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/28/2009 12:40:59
Sometimes you want to play but don't have a clue about the character you want to be. Or someone turns up unexpectedly and you need a character for them so they can join in. Or someone gets killed and a replacement character is required. Any such eventuality can be met with this collection of characters for Shaintar: Immortal Legends. They all are 'seasoned' characters created with the Savage Worlds ruleset (and could be used in any Savage Worlds game). They could form a Ranger patrol, and so are eminently suitable for use with the couple of free adventures also released for this setting - a good way to find out if you like it enough to buy, or to introduce your group to the game.

Each of the ten characters has a full-colour portrait, game stats and some descriptive text in the form of a two-paragraph quote that gives a good idea of what that character is all about, what makes him tick. From a winged priestess to tough warriors of several races, all are ready to pick up and go... a fascinating glimpse into the world of Shaintar.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shaintar Character Pack 1
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One Sheet: The Fallen
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/28/2009 10:49:42
Casting the characters as a patrol of Rangers - although they could be any party of travellers - going about their business, and stopping for the night at a small settlement, this adventure thrusts them into the thick of the neighbourhood's problems.

A young girl has disappeared, and various people report having seen strange figures wandering around at night... including one lady who is convinced that her long-dead husband was gazing in the window at her! It doesn't take much to find a disturbed graveyard.... nor is it much of a surprise to find a horde of angry undead spoiling for a brawl... but the real interest lies in discovering just why the dead have risen and what can be done about it.

Ostensibly a simple interlude to throw at the party when they think they're just going to have a night's rest, the plot complexity crammed into just two pages is little short of genius.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
One Sheet: The Fallen
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One Sheet: Neither Love Nor Honour
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/28/2009 10:18:19
A neat little adventure, which casts the characters in a diplomatic role attempting to avert a looming war caused by the betrothed of one faction leader's son running off with the other faction leader. Naturally there is a lot of intrigue going on, a devious plot or two to discover... and plenty of opportunity to deliver diplomatic messages with the sword-point as well as with the tongue!

Beautifully presented, the main characters are detailed, and while it's only 2 pages long there is sufficient material to provide for a goodly bit of adventure.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
One Sheet: Neither Love Nor Honour
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Shaintar Equipment Cards 1
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/28/2009 09:07:25
Delightful eye-candy, this product provides a sumptuous array of different armours and shields which you can use as visual aids in a game of Shaintar: Immortal Legends (or indeed any fantasy game where armour is worn).

Set up so that you can print and cut out the images as 'trading card' sized cards, you have the choice of a plain back with space to write notes or a decorative one with the Shaintar logo. For regular use, the two sides are best printed separately and then stuck onto thin card, while the size renders storage in commercial trading card folders possible.

The best use for these is as a visual aid - 'Your armour looks like this' - or even as a way of tracking who has what. If you're doing that, write the game stats on the plain backs; or maybe a history of that particular suit of armour. Fine decorative materials to enhance your game.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shaintar Equipment Cards 1
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Suzerain Scrying 4, Death Of A Wizard
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/22/2009 12:21:02
Intended for use with beginning characters in a fantasy setting, this lush little product has several goodies ready to serve up. There's an encounter, evocatively described and ready for you to run; there's a monster and an artefact, and - for those who like a fine display - dungeon tiles to lay out on the table.

The encounter provides an eerie reminder of just how strange and scary magic use can be, and a challenging - certainly for novices! - combat. Once the opposition is out of the way, the characters are free to explore the potentials of what they have found... and there are suggestions for ways to use everything elsewhere within your game.

The rules portion is written clearly, and will be straightforward to incorporate - and includes a new feat for Wizard characters, who should be particularly interested in this encounter. There's both a full-colour map tile, and a card if you prefer the Deal-A-Dungeon approach.

Everything is presented beautifully and hangs together well. Even if Suzerain is not your main game, the ideas could - with a bit of rules-hacking - be incorporated into any other fantasy system to add that little touch of the exotic.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Suzerain Scrying 4, Death Of A Wizard
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Gamescapes: Story Maps, Pirate Set 2
by Aron W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/13/2009 19:09:42
This is a great product. Beautiful illustrations, prints well in black and white, and the perfect size ship for a small crew of PCs. Definitely my favorite Age of Sail ship deckplan. Two thumbs up!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gamescapes: Story Maps, Pirate Set 2
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Gamescapes: Story Maps, Sci-fi Set 2
by Anthony S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/22/2008 09:07:23
Very nice, but my least favorite of the 3 currently (!) available. Certainly fills a need though, the default map ends up very large and is good for a large open area, which the other 2 maps don't provide, so it fits well with them. Great for the end of a running battle trying to escape to the hangar bay and an escape ship, or the place where a large assault might begin.

Not perfect though, because the one thing that is missing is a link to the other maps. There are no corridors off this map so the only way In or Out is through the hangar bays themselves, making this a dead end. One page with a corridor off the back would be very welcome.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Gamescapes: Story Maps, Sci-fi Set 2
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Gamescapes: Story Maps, Sci-fi Set 3
by Anthony S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/22/2008 09:01:38
My favorite of the 3 available sets. The colors are gorgeous and there are many different rooms and corridors to link together in different ways. Easy to cut out due to most rooms being a variation of square, but the colors and items in the maps, along with the many different corridors you can use make you think it all looks real.

My only.. request.. would be to have a one page explanation of what all the different icons mean. For example, it appears that there are a number of elevators but no idea where they go. There is also one room set off from the rest that appears to be accessible only by 2 elevators and some other elevators that are just... there but don't know where they would go. Of course, they are only supplying a beautiful map, so BYOI (bring your own imagination :) )

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gamescapes: Story Maps, Sci-fi Set 3
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