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-U- Settings: Morris High
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/19/2013 09:02:57
Suitable for a quick one-off game set in a typical US High School, this contains everything you need to play except a few d6s and some players!

The notes have distilled out the 'classic' tropes of High School life, with ideas for the different groups students might join and the sort of events that loom large in your life at that age. There is a summary of the - U - Game of Stories rule mechanics and assorted 'crib cards' (designed to be printed out, cut up and stored in the plastic pockets fanatic card gamers store their cards in), which would make it an easy game to take out and about with you, to play whenever a few friends gather... perhaps in the High School cafeteria?

It's basic and simplistic but gives plenty of scope for the participants to set their own spin on things. Some of the suggested skills are... unusual, best suited to a game where your high school students are all budding superheroes. Of course, if that angle takes your fancy, they will come in handy.

A neat distillation of the core of what a High School setting will bring to your gaming.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
-U- Settings: Morris High
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WyshMaykers - the Game of Magical Stories
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/05/2012 13:07:10
WyshMaykers is a storytelling game about a special group of people who have the power to make wishes (sorry... "Wyshes") come true.

The setting is rather open-ended - no time period is implied (though it seems to assume a contemporary one), so GMs could set their stories in almost any era they liked. Virtually no mention is given to the repercussions of this wanton WyshMayking. Do Wyshes cause any kind of karmic backlash? Are WyshMaykers only allowed to make Wyshes when the mundanes aren't looking? If not, what would happen if a mundane witnessed a Wysh in action? None of these questions are answered, but the right group of players may have a good time making up their own.

The game uses -U-, a fairly rules-lite system. Characters are detailed by three Attributes (Action, Thought, and X, which is sort of a catch-all attribute for things such as Will and Luck), a list of Studies (areas In which they have some level of expertise), and any Items that they possess. To create a character, players assign dots to these Attributes, Studies, and Items. Actions are resolved by rolling 3d6 for each dot in the appropriate Attribute (plus any dots in related Studies and/or Items). If any of the 3d6 rolls come up with a pair of matching numbers, the action is a success, while three matching numbers indicate a critical success. No matches denotes failure.

It's a very freeform system - possibly too much so. The Wyshing ability allows a character to do pretty much anything they desire, with little in the way of limitation (a table of modifiers makes larger acts of Wyshing more difficult, but at the very worst, there's still a 1 in 36 chance that a WyshMayker can topple a skyscraper). There is a large and powerful group - the Society of WyshMaykers - who work to keep any such activity in check, but even with them in place, I fear for any gamemaster who ends up with even a single powergamer in their group. Please choose your players responsibly if you decide to run a session of WyshMaykers.

The artwork is rough and sort of "scratchy," and leaves a bit to be desired - thankfully, it is somewhat sparse and non-distracting. The crumpled paper background for the "World of WyshMaykers" section makes it a little more difficult to read, but is absent in the b&w version of the document.

WyshMaykers gets bonus points from me for the inclusion of the "Print 2 Play" pages at the end of the book. These include character record sheets, story outline cards, and cards to help players keep track of their points, as well as "Rules-at-a-glance" cards. These cards contain a simple synopsis of the rules so that the Story Referee and players can check them quickly, without having to reference the rulebook. They even have the page arranged in sections, so you can fold or cut it apart to make it pocket-sized. This is something that I wish every RPG publisher would do with their game.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
WyshMaykers - the Game of Magical Stories
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WyshMaykers Essentials
by Sean M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/12/2011 15:54:59
I found the concept intriguing and I like mechanics that are not excessively complicated. When current financial troubles finally get corrected, I plan on purchasing the full game.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
WyshMaykers Essentials
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-U- The Game of Stories Core Rulebook
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/01/2011 01:28:03
The U game is a broad-spectrum, cinematic-style storytelling RPG. This book is an improvement over ANSR's last effort with this product,, but it still lacks a good layout and production-grade art. HOWEVER...

A basic over-view of the game: characters are created when players write a few notes about the type of hero that is desired. After that, some "dots" (points, chances) are applied to three common traits, some talents and items are purchased with CPs, and final details are filled in. That's basically it for characters; as for combat and story-telling, U makes these concepts a breeze to understand. If you like complex strategy and minute tactics, then stick with miniatures; if you like true role-playing with a modest amount of mechanics and detail, then U is perfect for story-telling and using your imagination.

The game itelf is a winner. Character creation is simple and quick, yet deceptively detailed and fun. The game mechanics are unique, with a little nod maybe to World of Darkness or Formless. Although the Story (World) Creation rules are skeletal and vague, I think I see the direction that ANSR is taking here -- they wanted to make a system that doesn't assume anything about the people who wil be playing U. They wanted to make a game that is playable and functional, one that doesn't get in the way of player creativity, one that is accesible due to its self-imposed limitations on the ruleset and it's economic price.

In other words, U was created to be learned, modified, enhanced, enjoyed and played! (Like I've said before -- better to spend $10 on something useful than spend $5 on something worthless ...)

At a price lower than $10, this is an EXCELLENT purchase, even with lackluster graphics. If you like simple game mechanics and easy-to-play rules for creating any world you can imagine, then U is the game for "you"!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
-U- The Game of Stories Core Rulebook
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z_OLD - -U- The Game of Stories (core rulebook -revised)
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/25/2010 02:00:48
"-U-: The Game of Stories" is a very basic and flexible rules-light role-playing game, especially well-suited for players who have never experienced a role-playing game before. I could easily imagine introducing friends (depending on their personalities) at a party, or playing it with younger kids.

Each "main character" (PC) is defined by three attributes, Action (physical prowess), Thought (mental prowess), and X (whatever you need that doesn't fit the other two categories, be it magic, spirituality, or whatever). Each is rated on a scale of "dots"; you just fill in boxes on the character card. Each main character also has a budget of 20 "Player Points" to buy Studies (things your character has practiced), Items (objects your character uses), and Abilities (like magic or super powers). Suggested Player Point costs are listed in the book, though GMs can easily "price" an unlisted ability using the listed ones as benchmarks. Combat is handled through a simple system of "Wounds"; each main character can survive five Wounds before being removed from the story.

The default mechanism for task resolution is to roll 3d6 and look for duplicates. Higher values on the associated attribute give you multiple attempts. Five alternate check methods—cards, dice pools, guess-a-number, dots + die vs. difficulty number, and story descriptors are also offered. Personally, I would probably use the dots + die vs. difficulty method while playing this game; however, this method requires d8s rather than d6s.

It's all very abstract, and will not likely satisfy dedicated role-players. Although the rulebook mentions recurring characters, the game doesn't really seem well suited to an ongoing campaign. For one-off games, or for groups where you like to change genres a lot without investing hours in character creation, though, the game seems to work okay. I could see playing it in the car on long road trips with my two sons, ages 6 and 12, for example—it's that simple, and you needn't do a lot of bookkeeping.

The layout of the booklet, I must say, is not very attractive. The artwork is amateurish, and I was really, really tired of looking at circles by the time I got to the end of the book. In the end, though, I'd say there's a decent chance I'll use "-U-" as a vehicle for playing quick, simple RP scenarios with my kids, and maybe with non-gamer friends.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
z_OLD - -U- The Game of Stories (core rulebook -revised)
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z_OLD - -U- The Game of Stories (core rulebook -revised)
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/19/2010 02:40:01
U want to like "U", but I couldn't get past some of the clunkiness of this game. I have said it before and I will say it again -- layout and design matter. This game might be fun to play, but the art and the layout of the book is amateur and predicable (not in a good way). U will buy this game, read it, and think, "well, I want to try it, but the layout makes it confusing, so I will wait until later, when I have some free time, to try it out." It's odd how the free time will never come.

Other than that, I think this might be an OK game to play. It has some concepts that are nifty at first, but you get over that quickly. The core mechanic is not entirely original, although they do throw a surprise in there for you ... if I reveal it, then I will spoil what little this game has going for it.

You see - I keep typing this review, so it proves I want to like it, but I just can't bring myself to. Even at its economical price tag.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
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