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Gamescapes: Story Cards, Fantasy Set 1
by Joel M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/29/2008 20:47:18
Wow – The artwork on these Equipment Cards are great!
The entire run of the cards (Talisman Studios Story Cards) is superb…. Really some very cool artwork and design!

I use these cards as handouts for my players (we mostly play D&D and Pathfinder from Paizo), when the group finds treasure or buys new equipment.

My players absolutely love the cards! – Much better to hand your players “real” treasure (via the Story Cards), than just read off a list of bland items notes.

With the Story Cards, the players get a good visualization of the item, and makes for some real excitement when the players divide up treasure, trade items between players, or even buy new equipment.

Talisman Studios… my players and I thank you for making such a great product!

-JM

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gamescapes: Story Cards, Fantasy Set 1
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Shaintar: Immortal Legends Player's Guide
by Jonathan P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/27/2008 13:50:56
Looks good. The art and layout are very nice. Plus, a few good ideas for some twists on the Savage Worlds rules.

Unfortunately, the setting itself is very derivative. A designer can pull off a typical fantasy setting if she instills enough personality and quirkiness into it to make it interesting. But Shaintar just doesn't have it. At least for me. Everything here I've seen before, many times, and often better. The closest the author comes to originality are the races, but even these are just superficial revisions of standard fantasy fare. There's nothing that makes Shaintar stand out for me as a setting I would want to GM or play in.

Which doesn't mean there's nothing here for someone else. If you like the Savage Worlds rules and want to play in a standard, D&D-style fantasy setting, this is probably perfect for you (I believe it's actually the only typical fantasy setting for Savage Worlds on the market).

Also note: this is my impression of just the Player's Guide. The PG left me cold enough that I'm not going to spend my time or money on the rest of Shaintar, but that could be my loss: the full Shaintar: Immortal Legends book contains expanded setting info and a plot-point campaign which might add the depth and personality that I found lacking here. (But, the designers would have a loooooooooong way to go to impress me.)

I'll also admit, a large part of my negative reaction stems from what seem to be the author's repeated, strained attempts to convince me that Shaintar is a highly original, inspired setting that should be capturing my imagination, when in fact I find it a hackneyed and occasionally insipid setting that captured nothing more than $11.96 of my money.

And whose idea was it to include those two bits of godawful fiction at the beginning and end? They do add flavor--something akin to brussels sprouts dipped in motor oil and simmered over flaming cow dung.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Shaintar: Immortal Legends Player's Guide
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Suzerain
by Nathan O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/25/2008 17:51:34
This is a "COOL"and fun game you shed gev it a go!?!.

A great scan of the PDF

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Suzerain
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Shaintar Atlas
by Michael P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/14/2008 15:45:14
The Shaintar Atlas carries off a basic idea very well. The format is as follows: each two-page spread has a colour map of one nation/area of Starfall on one page, and a brief piece of "flavour" text on the facing page giving a quick summary of the area in the map. There's also a nice small piece of 3D art as the endpiece and a map of the whole continent at the front (aside from the cover, I think the endpiece is the only other non-map artwork in the book). There is no statistical or game-related information at all in the product.

The most impressive thing about this book is the presentation. It's wonderful. The print on each page is large and readable, but in an elegant font that really suits the tone, and there is some nice caligraphic text too. The maps are simple and uncluttered but attractive, and each page has a nicely decorated background. I'm sure it would be a bit heavy on ink if you were to print it, but as a PDF it's great - it gives you the same feeling you get from a high-quality sourcebook. This quality of presentation is something that I think other PDF producers should aspire to.

The content itself is good too. There isn't a huge amount of information, but if you're a setting junkie like me, and just like to browse and look at names for inspiration, there's lots of it here. While some of the place names are pretty standard fantasy fare ("Dragon Wood", for example, or "Thunder Peaks") others are more intriguing (fancy a visit to the "Ever-living Jungle" or "Oasis of Flesh"? Thought not, but they sound brilliant). The flavour text is a little stilted at times and there are a couple of formatting errors, but it does a pretty good job of conveying the mood of each area.

Overall, I found this book to be excellent value for money and beautiful to look at, and it's certainly piqued my interest in the setting itself. If you like maps and new fantasy worlds, I recommend it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shaintar Atlas
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Gamescapes: Story Maps, Fantasy Set 1
by Michael R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/03/2008 17:54:32
This product is more of a junior high school abstract art project than it is a dungeon/adventure tile set. The "tiles" are composed of various textured symmetrical patterns, seemingly without any thought of "what", "where" or "why". Many of the tiles have bizarre light shapes that repeat over and over again at various sizes. The bulk of the tiles are very similar in appearance . . . with subtle variations to separate them from the previous tile. While interesting to look at, most of the maps appear to be nothing more than colorful Rorschach inkblot tests. Some reminded me of childhood art project where several colors of paint were slapped into the center of a piece of paper - which was then folded in half and opened back up to reveal butterflies, snowflakes and other inane symmetrical designs. There is also an entire section of these "tiles" where a carpet or rug is the only detail on the whole page. If you are expecting dungeon tiles similar to 0one Games, Zero Hour, The Forge Studios, Dark Furies Publishing or Skeleton Key Games, think again and don't waste your money. Even at $9.95, this product costs about $8.95 more than it is worth.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Gamescapes: Story Maps, Fantasy Set 1
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Publisher Reply:
Hello Michael, Thanks for taking the time to review our product. We really appreciate feedback from our customers and I'm sorry this set doesn't suit your tastes. We had a blast designing this one and use it for our own games and demos. I've created a quick sample dungeon using a handful of the 78 available tiles, just to show how we intended the set to be used. Please take a look, maybe it'll inspire you to create a few layouts of your own. http://aaronace.blogs.com/talisman/mysticdungeonsample.jpg
Gamescapes: Story Maps, Fantasy Set 1
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/26/2008 04:46:11
Gamescapes: Story Maps - Fantasy Set 1 is a 80 page pdf product and the first set of fantasy story maps produced by Talisman Studios. This product features nearly 80 1" scale, full-colour dungeon tiles filled with all sorts of magical and supernatural terrain as the set's title 'Mystic Dungeon' suggests. The product comes as a large pdf file, and barring the covers with brief credits, contains only high quality mystical dungeon tiles to create a magical 2D dungeon layout.

There are quite a number of companies that do 2D terrain tiles these days, and more seem to be heading in that direction as time goes by. I've seen quite a few new publishers to this area, which is always a good thing as it provides the customer with a larger variety of tiles to choose from. Talisman Studios' offering of Fantasy Story Maps is one of the more unusual ones, in a good way. It offers a vast amount of different tiles, and probably a selection of tiles that you won't likely find anywhere else. This particular set, Mystic Dungeon, has tiles filled with various magical effects and other mystical features that I've rarely seen in other products. For that Talisman Studios are to be commended.

As such these tiles allow one's imagination to run wild. While some of the tiles are quite confusing and often appear somewhat psychedelic, the majority contain elements that spark the imagination and put a little bit of magic back in the dungeon. It's the supernatural tiles that really make this set, but it also includes several variations on standard wall tiles and various other standard room configurations. But if you wanted a dungeon filled with random and wild magic, the bizarre and the supernatural rather than another series of kobolds and orcs in four-walled rooms, this set of story maps has plenty to offer.

I wish, though, that there had been even a one line or one word description of each tile, as it would help clarify some of the more bizarre tiles and make what they're depicting a little clearer. The images are generally quite dark, so it's hard sometimes to see the detail, or see how the tile is meant to be implemented. For all its wonderful magical tiles and imagination running wild, there's an element of non-user-friendliness to this set. I'm sure that's not the case, but it looks like some of the tiles may have been thrown together to create a bizarre looking tile without thinking what the customer would make of it.

Overall, though, I found this a stimulating product with some good, unusual, interesting and inspiring tiles. This set puts the magic back into the dungeon, and creates an environment that will terrify players and spark the imagination. Here and there the tiles can be confusing as it's not always easy to be certain how a tiles should be used. The sheer volume of tiles, and the balance between standard tiles and mystical tiles, though, makes this a good product that can be used for a wide variety of 2D dungeon tile needs. A good set of tiles from Talisman Studios.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Gamescapes: Story Maps, Western Set 4
by Michael M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/04/2008 11:37:01
Excellent design and artwork, the maps look great and will work for any rustic location nut jsut the old west.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gamescapes: Story Maps, Western Set 4
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Shaintar: Immortal Legends Player's Guide
by Bryan L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/18/2007 15:26:41
Excellent book to help those who want to play in the world of Shaintar. Well edited and put together and easy to read. excellent artwork.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shaintar: Immortal Legends Player's Guide
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Shaintar Atlas
by Bryan L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/18/2007 15:23:26
An outstanding book giving detail to several area of Shaintar. Needs to be fleshed out more and added too but very good book.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shaintar Atlas
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Shaintar Character Pack 1
by Bryan L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/18/2007 15:21:12
Well made characters, outstanding artwork. A must for any Shaintar fan.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shaintar Character Pack 1
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Gamescapes: Story Maps, Pirate Set 2
by rick c. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/20/2007 11:49:31
A beautiful set of maps depicting 7 views (including the cover art) of a pirate ship. There are five different images which each could be used as seperate decks and 6 guns (3 on each side) which are shown in each of the images. The ship is 21 squares in length and 6 squares wide. The detailed images are depicted across three pages. The overview image has 6 squares of water on each side of the ship. Let loose the Kraken!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gamescapes: Story Maps, Pirate Set 2
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Gamescapes: Story Maps, Pirate Set 2
by damon r. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/16/2007 15:52:59
It may be my fault, as I don't have a super delux color printer. The files took a long time to print. They look absolutely gorgeous on the screen, but burned a lot of ink to print. The color detail looks great. Unfortunately, after realizing how much ink I was gonna consume from the first page, I tried to print in greyscale. There isn't enough contrast to get a good greyscale printout. I guess if you have a high tech color printer, this is a great product. I would like to see a grayscale option that has some better contrast for printing for us poor suckers who don't have good equipment. But if you can handle the printing, these are really nice grids.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Gamescapes: Story Maps, Sci-fi Set 1
by Alan B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/10/2007 10:30:57
A good clean tile set, great art, good value for money.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gamescapes: Story Maps, Sci-fi Set 1
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Gamescapes: Story Cards, Sci-fi Set 1
by Andrew M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/10/2007 00:00:00
Sci-fi set 1 & 2, far future gear.

The sci-fi sets are a set of cards depicting different weapons, vehicles or equipment from a futuristic setting. The idea is an interesting one, but I have to admit now I have them im not entirely sure what use they are, other than if you want to distribute kit randomly or give them to players as visual aids. I can?t think of many situations where random kit distribution is going to happen and seeing how imagination is an integral part of RP im not sure how many players really need a constant visual aid of a futuristic rocket launcher. I have to admit they have given me a couple of ideas for a light hearted futuristic one off game but as general gaming aids im not sure how useful they are going to be.

The graphic quality in set two does seem to be distinctly better than set one, but that not to say that set ones graphics are pretty good. In both sets the quality of image is decent and the only problem I have on that front are the three vehicles in set 1, they just don?t seem to be up to the same quality as the rest of the images, they are rather plain and blocky, which is in sharp contrast to the bike in set two which is detailed and sharp.

Considering each set is only 27 item cards they give a pretty decent range of stuff, the overall quality is pretty high, they come with backing images and generally its not a bad little product. Im just at a loss as to how to use it effectively.


QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Gamescapes: Story Cards, Sci-fi Set 1
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Gamescapes: Story Maps, Sci-fi Set 1
by Andrew M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/10/2007 00:00:00
Sci-fi map 1, the deep space outpost.

I recently purchased both of talisman studios sci-fi map sets. The first time you look at the maps you cant help but be impressed with the quality of the graphics, they are sharp and detailed. They have obviously made an effort to avoid making the graphics too repetitive or unimaginative, while the basic flooring is repetitive they have added boxes, pipes and even coloured lighting effects which really make it work.

One minor issue I have with this map is that while it uses floor tiles to map the squares on some of the map sections they have overlaid a square grid map. Which means that you end up with lines across the top of boxes and the like, its not a huge issue I admit but the fact that it only happens on some sections and not others is weird and personally I would prefer it if the lines didn?t go over the top of the graphics, I don?t think people are going to get the squares confused without them.

The selection of sections means you can create numerous variations but I would have liked there to be a few more sections, 2 passages, 1 corner and 4 rooms is a bit limited, possibly some more distinct rooms like a medical center, the engine room or a control center.

I also thought it was a bit over the top on some of the foreground scenery, every one of the 4 rooms has random boxes lying around. Personally I would have preferred less boxes as part of the map and a extra page of additional scenery. So you could include your own boxes (and other such foreground scenery) should the scene demand it but remove them when it doesn?t fit for them to be there.

A decent product, it pretty much does what it says on the tin, the graphics are nice and the over all quality is good. As I have said above there are a few minor things that I would like to see rectified if they produce more of these because I think I might be interested in purchasing future release in the sci-fi series if they do


QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Gamescapes: Story Maps, Sci-fi Set 1
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