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AMP: Year One
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/08/2014 20:28:15
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=45197.

AMP stands for people with Accelerated Mutant Potential. The year is 2015 and there is an emerging group of people exhibiting strange powers. These powers stem from experimentation that started in the 1930s. The strange powers that are being exhibited are akin to super powers and with all great things, someone wants to control them. As these individual powers are discovered across the world, several government agencies have stepped out of the shadows to regulate the use of these powers. Adding to all of this, each AMP has a chemical need to attack other AMPS who are in close proximity. They can overcome this, but the urge to fight one-another and the hunt by government agencies makes super powers feel not-so-super.

On the outside, AMP: Year One looks exactly as it should; the combination of colors and art style with a coming at you perspective amp up the energetic feeling that this game has. This game, from a mechanical standpoint, is designed to tell a story; the folks over at Third Eye Games are good at that and they have designed games in the past that attempt to and often transcend your typical hack and slash RPG. At its essence this is a super heroes game and the influences listed at the end of the game affirm that. I was happy that it wasn’t designed to be a silver or golden age heroes type game, but went more along with the Heroes Television series. The addition of the “programmed need for AMPs to clash” was another nugget of goodness that really adds a unique dimension to this game.

The first chapter predictably gives a history of Project Black, the super secret joint international government project that developed the serums that created the AMP bloodlines in the 1920s. There is a time lapse and the current information includes a series of events that occur when the decedents of Project Black start to manifest their powers. Because this is year one, many people are unaware of their own powers or the powers that AMPs are displaying. All the while the government is trying to cover up and hunt down the AMPs before things get out of control. I think this was a good choice as it allows the players to be on the ground floor and supplements to the game can easily be introduced as year two and so forth. Each year could introduce new major events as well as rules tweaks based on the activities presented in the game timeline.

Next comes the character creation and this is another area where Third Eye games tends to do a good job, AMP is no exception. Like many companies, we start to learn the rules as we create characters. I like this approach as it makes the first time I read the rules section of a book feel like a review rather than something completely new and foreign. I appreciated the warm up that is provided by requiring a character concept followed by loyalties and affiliation. These are good because it forces the player to have a really good idea of what type of character they are going to play before they choose their skills and peruse the over fifty powers available to them. I found that power choice was the most difficult phase of character creation for my players and me. There are so many great powers and a few of them don’t show up exactly where you might expect them to, so getting players to read through all of them was a time sink that required some pre-reading. In a few cases, I actually took the players concept and married it up with the powers in the game that supported it to save time. This had the added benefit of the players not knowing what powers their adversaries might have. If during the game one of my players felt like they witnessed a power that was better suited to their concept, I let them switch it, no big deal. Third Eye Games was kind enough to include a quick creation guide not only in the rule book but on the character sheet as well. This system includes special gifts and drawbacks which not only make a character feel original, it provides mechanics that help create conflict.

The next chapter was the “spell book” section of this book; only, replace spells with powers and wa-la, you have super heroes, or at least people with super powers, they are not all heroes. Each power has a sort of power tree, like the ones you might find in popular MMORPGs. The powers are broken down into nine different strains and each hero can have three powers, so no character is really a one trick pony. Heroes must have their primary power originate from their strain, but can pick powers from other strains as their secondary and tertiary powers; this adds to that oh so fresh feeling and gives players a chance to play around a bit. The characters can’t just use their powers whenever they want; they need juice or mana if you are stuck on the whole MMORPG thing. This is basically adrenaline, and on top of their base juice things that cause adrenal spikes give a character more juice.

Following the powers chapter is the rules chapter. This system takes some getting accustomed to; it isn’t that the system is so complicated, it just requires less dice and more skill combinations than most D20 gamers might be accustomed to. This chapter caused me the biggest growing pains (as all rules chapters tend to do). Once you use the system, it makes sense, but by this point in the book the amount of examples had fallen off dramatically and while numerically the addition of numbers on a one skill check made sense, they got in the way during game play. This isn’t Third Eye Games first rodeo, but I wish there had been a work around on this. Minus that and a few other calculations that seemed cumbersome, especially during tense combat, the system works for the spirit of the game.

The final chapter is for people running the game. It gives storytelling tips and talks about how the setting should feel. This chapter asks the important question of what would you do if you woke up with these powers? Third Eye Games once again showed that they are all about the gaming experience. Most of the advice falls back on the rule of cool and reminds the people running the game that games are made to have fun.

This is a super heroes game that for the most part feels right. There are a few things I’d tweak, but if you are looking for a game that allows to become the super powered person you always wanted to be, the person with the powers you read about in the comics, then this is the game for you. The overhead of dice and rule books is small and with a D20, pencil, and rulebook, you are ready to go. I had a great time playing this with my group and I think you will as well.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
AMP: Year One
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AMP: Year One
by Lee L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/24/2014 22:19:18
First, I have to disclose that this review may be a touch biased, as I am in the book under playtesters.

That said, this is one of my favorite Superhero systems. I have played Champions, V&V, Marvel [TSR and Cortex], Mutants and Masterminds [all versions], Savage Worlds Supers, Icons, Capes and MANY others. You could say Supers game are my favorite genre. I am also a fan of Third Eye Games products. I own most of them and am in Part-time Gods [pg 196]. Everytime they come out with a new rules set the system gets refined a little and this is one of their best. The system plays smooth and has a feel of Season One of "Heroes" or "Misfits". It is gritty and flexible. it is also a great start [it is called Year One after all] to what I hope becomes one of their best lines. I have run several sessions of the system and find my players coming up with some amazing combos that they think breaks tha game, only to find that they are still on par with all the other players and NPC's. Great timeline style background and some wonderful NPC's in the book to get the juices flowing on character ideas. I cannot wait to see where this system and setting end up going in the "Years" to come!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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AMP: Year One
by Shawn C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/23/2014 20:23:41
In the interest of full disclosure, I was involved in the Kickstarter for AMP since the very beginning, and have been greatly looking forward to AMP’s release since day one. There are six chapters to AMP.

The first chapter includes the background story of the Project Black that ultimately results in the AMP (Or accelerated mutant potential) individuals. Project Black occurred in the 1920's when a group of governmental agencies pooled their resources to create the perfect soldier through genetic manipulation. Ultimately the project was shut down due to some slight rampaging mutants as a result of the project. Fast forward to 2015, when the descendants of the survivors of the experiments start displaying their AMP potential. The story line then continues with a series of key events through the beginning of 2016. At the beginning of 2015, very few people are aware of the AMPs and the story will be an origin story where the players explore what it is to be superhuman. As the year continues, the public starts becoming aware of the AMPs and the story starts to explore how the public reacts and individual AMPs ability to shape that perception.

The second chapter explores character creation. In addition to concept, character creation includes selection of skills, power selection (Which I’ll discuss with the third chapter), spending bonus points which includes gifts and drawbacks selection, and loyalty selection. The system in AMP is a skill based system, where two skills are combined together (in most cases) with the random dice element to generate an event outcome. At first I saw this as a bit of an odd choice for the superhero genre, but the more I considered the system, the more it fit what the story was attempting to accomplish. The two skill system allows for the development of characters in a little more accelerated manner that fits in with the superhero origin story. In addition to skills, you have gifts and drawbacks that range from physical, mental, social, as well as AMP based special gifts and drawbacks. The gifts and drawbacks really make the chapter shine, because they allow you to shape and create very specific hero concepts. Finally, there is the selection of loyalties. Loyalties allow you to set and shape the priorities of your character by assigning points to eight different values that shape your character, allowing me to be a selfish jerk that is only focused on accumulating wealth and fame, or I might focus on community and a desire to protect those around me. Loyalties are more than background fluff, because each loyalty carries a mechanical benefit and later on can allow you to gain more experience when you sacrifice for your loyalties.

I have to admit, I read the third chapter first, as it covered the powers which in my mind are a large part of the meat of the superhero tradition. There are nine different strains of AMPs including blasters, bulks, elementals, ferals, mindbenders, psychs, shapers, shifters, and travelers. A blaster can for example shoot fire from his hands, while a bulk might display super speed or super strength. An AMP may have up to three powers. The primary power must be within their strain, but the others can be any power selection, although it becomes more expensive to develop powers outside of your strain. Within each power, the AMP gains a core ability, but can also develop augments that change and enhance how the power is used. I should also discuss juice which is the energy which fuels the various powers. Juice is associated with the adrenalin response. Each AMP has a certain baseline of juice when they’re calm and at rest, but things which kick in adrenalin (such as getting into combat) increase available juice to fuel powers.

The fourth chapter covers the baseline mechanics of AMP and basis of combat. The system is fairly streamlined and once you get used to the system, it looks like it will run very smoothly, though at this point I haven’t been able to try it out. One neat element of this chapter is called the law of attraction. When an AMP meets another AMP, there is a powerful instinct towards immediate conflict. This might be a spirited philosophical debate or out and out combat. This drives individuals with AMP powers to conflict. It creates a dynamic of conflict that helps drive the story forward without being heavy handed.
Chapter five provides a list of generic antagonists as well as a list of different sample AMPs that the players might have a run in with. I particularly enjoyed the background stories of the AMPs and a chance to look at how different characters fit together mechanically.

Chapter six includes storytelling advice as well as a discussion of theme and mood for the setting. An interesting element of AMP is that it is not a traditional four color comic book world where everyone that develop powers decides to immediately put on a cape and either start fighting crime or robbing banks. Instead the theme fits more into a how would you react if you if you suddenly developed super powers? Some people might seek fame (and reality television) while others might try to pretend the powers don’t exist. At the same time, there is also a larger dynamic where the individual’s reaction is shaped by the reaction of society as a whole to the revelation of people with super powers.

All in all, AMP is one of the best takes on the superhero genre that I’ve ever seen. It pushes the border between the realistic and the fantastic while fitting the two together in a neat package. I would also add that AMP, year one is the first book in the series with additional releases planned that will develop and expand the story and the abilities of both AMPs and saps. (or those humans without powers) I can not recommend AMP year one highly enough.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Camp Myth: The RPG
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/21/2014 20:23:44
The following review was posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=44700.

Camp Myth RPG, based on the Camp Myth book series, is another role-playing game from Third Eye Games designed for the next generation of gamers. While Mermaid Adventures appears designed for the fairly young, Camp Myth RPG seems more appropriate for teenagers and their parents to enjoy. Players take on the role of one of many mythical creature types as what I believe is a teenager, or possibly young adult, at the famed Camp Myth where they learn how all different types of ways of dealing with the mythical world they live in, which resides within the confines of Earth (kind of like Hogwarts does). What these characters learn turns into badges like one would collect at summer camp. However, the tasks needed to acquire these badges is mythical in nature, just like everything else in the book.

Camp Myth RPG is a bit of a surprise to me as I was expecting the mythical elements were present in the characters, but not necessarily in the entire environment they interact with. Not that it’s overdone, just that it wasn’t what I was expecting. Basically, everything within the setting revolves around this almost pocket dimension which resides on Earth where all these mythical creature kids get to spend their time learning to be mythical creature kids. Additionally, I was suprised at how much the game seemed to emphasize non-youth encounters and instead feels more like the true test of these kids going from youth to adulthood. In other words, it’s not just a bunch of kids playing in a kids world, it’s a bunch of youth who are preparing themselves for their future and learning everything (well, maybe not quite everything) they need to survive.

Camp Myth RPG is tied up in a nice blanket of mechanics known as the Pip System (same as Mermaid Adventures). It’s an easy to learn and understand mechanical resolution system where you have positive and negative dice and try to roll more successes on the positive ones than the negative ones. From the perspective of introducing, or moving, the next generation of gamers into more complex role-playing games, this is a good launching point. It’s simple and helps you understand what it is to play a RPG and how to get involved in the roles of the characters.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Camp Myth: The RPG
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Camp Myth: The RPG
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/02/2014 01:01:53
WHAT WORKS: The whole concept is awesome, but I particularly love the merit badges. The adventures are very inspirational for guiding you in just what a Camp Myth game IS. Honestly, as "kid" RPGs go, this is one of the few that actually appeals to me to actually RUN. The selection of Mythic Races is great as well, and the bestiary is HUGE and simple to understand and expand upon.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: I was maybe going to say "needs more Merit Badges" (maybe), but there's already a mini supplement out that adds new Mythic Races and Merit Badges.

CONCLUSION: I never see Camp Myth bandied about in discussions for kid-friendly RPGs, and I'm not sure why, as I'm fairly convinced it's one of the better kept secrets in RPGs, despite a successful Kickstarter (of course, I didn't even know the books existed before the RPG was announced). The concept is bursting with fun, and Third Eye Games knows how to deliver on good, playable games, making for a very nice combo. If you're looking for a game to break your kids (or students or youth group or maybe even the kids going to your camp) into gaming, take a chance on Camp Myth

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2014/07/tommys-take-o-
n-camp-myth.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Mermaid Adventures Coloring Book
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/22/2014 01:51:33
My seven year old really enjoys having the pictures from the game book to color. The art is well suited to coloring. Definitely worth a couple bucks if any coloring book is.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mermaid Adventures Coloring Book
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Care Package #1 (for Camp Myth: The RPG)
by Jacob W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/09/2013 13:55:05
Care Package #1 is an excellent addition to the Camp Myth RPG line-up. It's short, extra sweet, and to the point, and everything contained in the book will make an excellent addition to any Camp Myth game.

This PDF is only 6 pages long, or 5 if you don't include the cover. It doesn't bother with a Table of Contents because it doesn't need to--we're dropped straight into descriptions of the game's three newest races: the Gorgon, Pixie, and Yeti.

Gorgons are younger versions of the mythic sisters from Greek mythology. They haven't grown into their snake-like features yet, but they do have a tendency to accidentally petrify things when they get spooked or upset.

Pixies are "doll-sized delinquents" who are rebellious by nature. They enjoy making clothes and armor out of discarded things, such as armor welded from pennies.

Yetis are big, brutish, and don't understand (or care about) social norms. To a yeti, the direct approach is always the best approach.

Each new race comes with a nicely illustrated picture to give you a feel for what they look like, and the descriptions are up to the super hysterical and pun-tastic standard set by Chris Lewis Carter in the original Camp Myth RPG (and Camp Myth children's books).

After 3 pages for new races, we have two pages for new Charms and Merit Badges. There are 5 of each, and each adds some new item to obtain.

As usual, it's the flavor of the setting that really shines through here. I love the Harpy-Feather Pin, the M.Y.T.H. (Mythic Youth Training Handbook), the Djinn Wish Management merit badge, and the Pegasus Aviation merit badge, among others.

And that's it. Short, simple, to the point, and ultra fun. If you own Camp Myth: the RPG, you definitely need to pick up Care Package #1.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Care Package #1 (for Camp Myth: The RPG)
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API Worldwide: South America
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/09/2013 01:08:55
WHAT WORKS: This API Worldwide book does a great job conveying the different “feel” that it has over a US-based game, doing an even better job of illustrating that then Europe or Canada did, and feeling more “complete” than the Europe book. The lack of metaplot means that you don’t have to worry about your group’s decision at the end of the second adventure being overruled by anyone.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK: None of the four new demon species really jumped out at me the way previous Worldwide demon entries did.

CONCLUSION: If you’re not setting a game in South America, even as a temporary detour, I’m not sure there’s going to be enough here to make you NEED this book. That said, if you want a completely different, almost desperate, feel to your API campaign, South America is just what you’re wanting: The API South America branch is outgunned, overpowered and trying to figure out how to make it all balance. Strong recommendation if you like API and want a change of scenery. If you’re just wanting something to boost your existing game, this probably won’t do the job for you.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2013/09/tommys-take-o-
n-api-worldwide-south.html

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
API Worldwide: South America
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Wu Xing: Truth and Lies
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/08/2013 02:05:45
WHAT WORKS: The cool new mechanics are a great addition and some of the setting elements are nice. The options for playing the Will of Iron as “not nice” as well as playing an “honest” Strand of Fate is really intriguing as well.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK: The adventure left me a little cold for some reason.

CONCLUSION: If you like Wu Xing, there’s a lot of great setting elements here to play around with (like the Repeating Prison). There are also some swell new rules like the wushu, new styles, new weapons (I do dig the Seven-Branched Sword and Heaven’s Splitter). Unless you’re playing troupe-style, your players won’t need a ton of clan options, but the Veiled Ones or the Sons of Steel could make for great antagonists. Definitely recommended for fans of Wu Xing as there are some cool elements to use even if you don’t have Will of Iron or Hidden Strands PCs in your games.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2013/09/tommys-take-o-
n-wu-xing-truth-and-lies.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wu Xing: Truth and Lies
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Wu Xing: Truth and Lies
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/23/2013 16:34:40
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=33168.

Truth and Lies is another clan-oriented sourcebook for Wu Xing, delving deeper in to a pair of clans and adding new options to go along with that content. Truth and Lies focuses on the Will of Iron and Hidden Strands of Fate clans along with a pair of new clans that coincide with those clans. The source content is presented in narrative fashion as if you, the reader, was having a conversation with the person in the book. Albeit slightly odd at times as the person in the book responds to questions you didn’t actually ask, the source content is an interesting read that strives to keep the reader engaged.

OVERALL

For those who enjoy Wu Xing and want to flesh out more of the background of their ninjas or gain a better understanding of what the clans are like, these clan sourcebooks are exactly what is necessary. As an ongoing series, players and GMs will definitely get a greater sense of what the Wu Xing setting is about as these books focus heavily on the source material and present new mechanics almost as a bonus instead of being the focus of the book. Thus, you get more material to make your ninjas more interesting and give them more purpose within the overall Wu Xing setting.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
Truth and Lies is a great looking book. Being funded through Kickstarter helps to produce top-notch artwork and it utilizes the already-established layout and format of other Wu Xing books. I’m not always a fan of how some of the artwork is sized and placed on the page, but they still work and do a great job of representing the content in visual format.

Mechanics: 8 out of 10
Truth and Lies is a solid book for new mechanics in terms of what you get. I would prefer to see more of the source content translated into mechanics to tools regarding some of the people and places being mentioned. There’s a lot of great mechanical content here for players, but not as much mechanical content for GMs. I understand the focus is on the clan, but it would be nice to have further translations of the source content into quick plug-in module type tools for GMs (such as presenting a stat block for an important person, presenting the stats for a particular village presenting frequently in the book, etc.).

Value Add: 10 out of 10
Truth and Lies is an excellent sourcebook to add to your collection, especially players. Not only does it present an in-depth look into a pair of clans, it offers new player character options to better represent what those clans are about. For GMs, you also get another adventure to slot into your campaign.

Overall: 9 out of 10
Truth and Lies is another great clan sourcebook for Wu Xing. This series does a proper job of presenting clan-oriented material and lays out a lot of options for the players and GM to pull from (source content that is). It feels extremely balanced with the core Wu Xing book and presents content that has a certain synergy with the core rulebook, making it feel like an integral part of the overall setting.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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API Worldwide: South America
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/15/2013 20:48:10
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=32063.

Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. is set within the United States in the core rulebook. Third Eye Games expands the game’s options and territories by presenting these API WorldWide sourcebooks. South America does what the title says, presents new options for those wishing to take their game to South America. However, instead of just presenting you with a new location, South America introduces new species and conflicts that further expand the Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. canon. This method of releasing products does two things: Expands the setting of API and introduces uniqueness throughout the world whereas one location doesn’t simply feel like another in terms of how the history of the area, from an API perspective, unfolded.

OVERALL

I really like the API WorldWide sourcebooks, and truly appreciate their uniqueness regarding the overall Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. canon. One thing prevalent throughout is how the fluff and mechanics are flavored to match the setting, in this case South America and the Amazon. If you want to extend your games into South America, this is the best way to do it.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
API WorldWide: South America is a good looking book. It is not without editing errors and possible tweaks to illustration sizing, but overall it is a high-quality publication with excellent artwork and a clean layout and format. It follows the standards previously presented in API books and executes that standard appropriately.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
The mechanics of API WorldWide: South America is where this book truly shines. Not just because they give you new options, but because they take the fluff content and translate them well into in-game mechanics, again all flavored to match the setting. It’s always nice to have new options, but it feels much more cohesive to have those new options completely match the flavor of the setting from which they originate.

Value Add: 9 out of 10
API WorldWide: South America does a fantastic job of extending the game’s setting into South America. This presents a lot more fluff and conflict opportunities. Even without using the new in-game mechanics, much of the source content can be incorporated into games within other continents should the organizations within South America decide to branch out to other areas. It truly is an all-encompassing book.

Overall: 9 out of 10
API WorldWide: South America is a definite value-add to Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. If only for the extension of the game’s canon, you can further flesh out your own campaigns by introducing new elements coming from South America. Otherwise, you can take your came to a completely different location and place the PCs within the heart of the Amazon, for whatever reason. Sourcebooks like this really grow the overall options of the game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
API Worldwide: South America
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Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade
by Thiago R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/13/2013 02:45:09
While the layout is a bit on the weak side and the system is not very original or engaging, Wu Xing is a very honest book with gorgeous art. It felt like a strange mix of White Wolf and D&D in both scope and rules, but it does not try to sell itself as revolutionary or anything like that.
Get it while it's on promotion - while it feels like a good buy at $8.83, I don't think it's worth 15 bucks.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade
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Mermaid Adventures RPG
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/03/2012 23:00:03
WHAT WORKS: The system looks like it would do a find job of handling any type of conflict, not just slugfests, and the charts for stats dropping to 0 are inspired. The amount of Merfolk is similarly impressive, and it would be easy to increase the available Qualities based off of the examples given. The bestiary is also pretty big, and the five adventures cover a broad range of stuff, giving you some good ideas as to the range of the game.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK: Despite not being marketed towards girls specifically, Mermaid Adventures has registered exactly zero interest from MY kid, in no small part because of the “Mermaids”.

CONCLUSION: Obviously, I’m a huge fan of Third Eye Games, but I was fairly underwhelmed when I heard the announcement for this game. After reading it, I may put the overall quality of the book ahead of Part-Time Gods and behind API and Wu Xing. The system is simple but has some nice wiggle room, and I’m glad to see it’s living on in another kid-friendly RPG, Camp Myth (which, thematically, may be more up my kid’s speed). Don’t judge the book by its surface…it has some impressive depths to it.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/12/tommys-take-o-
n-mermaid-adventures.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mermaid Adventures RPG
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Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. - Savage Worlds Edition
by Roy P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/04/2012 22:44:22
A fine addition to the Savage Worlds family. I was lucky enough to play a API Savage at Gencon 2012. Admittedly I was a little hesitant with how some of the special powers and different races would translate to Savage Worlds. After playing through API Savage I was pleasantly surprised with how smoothly Eloy Lasanta was able to transition API from his own system to Savage Worlds. Cool new races, racial edges, edges and hindrances. Congrats to Third Eye Games.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. - Savage Worlds Edition
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Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/09/2012 00:23:14
I find that Wu Xing is a game that has a lot of open spaces for a GM to fill in on his own. Sure there's a large central conflict with the Izou Empire and the Lotus Coalition, but it's just sort of there. The writing doesn't seem to convey the same kind of urgency that being hunted to extinction is supposed to impart. That said, all the pieces to make it feel urgent are there, the Executioners and Golden Lions are all fearsome opponents, and the Firearms mentioned in the game's blurb is barely given more than a short sidebar, a paragraph saying that they're pretty dangerous and take a while to reload and a single row in the weapons table. It would have been nice to see a unit of empire soldiers that specialize in firearms, like Imperial Snipers or something just to amp up how they can turn the tide against Chi-Manipulating Ninjas.

Speaking of the Empire and the Lotus Coalition, even having a small smattering of NPCs from both sides of the conflict would have been nice to see. Giving a name and a face to the big names of the Empire, such as say, a Spymaster could do a lot to make the setting more interesting. Likewise the Lotus Coalition would be more interesting if we knew who were the Ninjas who were squabbling against each other, and what their agendas were.

I'm also slightly put off by the modern language and concepts used in character dialogue in the fiction parts of the book. One particular vignette for the Blazing Dancers Clan had me strangely bothered when the Ninja offers a fan an autograph. It seemed like a very strange anachronism, and one that kept jarring my suspension of disbelief. Some turns of phrase were also far too informal to match the setting, but I think that's just my expectations clashing with the setting as intended by the author. I think my expectations could have been colored by my experiences and comfort in running Legend of the Five Rings.

That said, the game itself is pretty neat. I mentioned some issues I've had about the organization of the rules, such as putting the basic mechanics in the skills portion of the character creation instructions, but once you actually get a hang of the entire thing, it feels like a very solid system. The options for combat, the strong visuals for the Wushu and various techniques, and the little ways to customize your character are all well done. The artwork and layout are all well done, with the various pieces for the Clans being a highlight. Also the character sheet, while dense (and perhaps riddled with just a little too many shuriken) is very useful, and has a mini-reference for all the little rules for combat to help things move along a little more smoothly.

Wu Xing delivers on the promise of being action-oriented, and provides enough magic and mysticism to pull off the whole superpowered Ninja schtick with aplomb. I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in playing or running in such a game, but I would also advise them to read the book very carefully just so you don't miss out on any stray rules tucked away in other paragraphs.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade
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