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Outbreak: Deep Space
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/19/2014 20:35:38
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=45134.

Most tabletop role-playing games can be classified in two different ways: a setting designed to fit with a set of mechanics or a set of mechanics designed to fit a setting. Yes there is some gray area between those two, but generally games fall into one of those two classifications. Outbreak: Deep Space is by far a game where the mechanics were designed around the setting.

Outbreak: Deep Space is a military sci-fi survival horror game. It’s kind of a mouthful, but it’s quite important to understand each one of those aspects, although not necessarily in that order. For starters, the setting and system are science fiction; seemingly far into the future. This means you get all that cool sci-fi equipment: armor, weapons, and gadgets. Second, it’s military; this means the game revolves around a lot of action without the drama, intrigue, and politics like space opera. Third, it’s horror; there are no shortage of scaring things to deal with on a regular basis. Finally, it’s survival horror; the goal is to survive because the horrors you’re facing are so bad that you may not make it to the end.

Understanding those four concepts can be easy for the setting, but Outbreak: Deep Space goes one giant step further and incorporates all four of those aspects in the games’ mechanics. However, this isn’t done on a piece-by-piece basic; it’s done by mashing all four of those aspects together to create a cohesive set of mechanics to support those four aspects. Oh yeah, they back it all up with some great setting-related artwork to boot. Let’s look at some of the mechanics that support what I’m saying:

Gear in Outbreak: Deep Space is quite dynamic. Gear is primarily supported by equipment kits, because a character should be completely outfitted to do the job they need to do. These kits can be further customized through external modifications and tech point upgrades. This is a very important mechanic to support that military sci-fi feel. It’s reminiscent of what a soldier in any army would be given so that they can be of value to their unit and do the job they’re supposed to do.

The effects of horror are numerous. You don’t just have one measurement of how horror effects a character, you have several: morale, insanity, psychological trauma, psychosis, therapy, regression, mental trauma, and other little bits here and there. This doesn’t just support horror, this is truly survival horror as it reminds you that there are many ways horror can affect a character and how many different ways a human might respond to that.

The overall level of horror is measured by an outbreak level. Granted, this is part of the Outbreak series, but this is one of the underlying mechanics, or at least it seems to be, that really defines survival horror as opposed to investigative or action horror. As the story progresses, the atmosphere worsens and things begin to happen more often. Maybe encounters are more frequent; maybe encounters are more deadly; maybe things just start feeling wrong.

I would like to note that Outbreak: Deep Space is not a game for beginners. However, I’d also like to point out that most beginners don’t start with survival horror as they may not be able to handle character death. (“This is the first time I’ve ever played and my character already died?!”) So, don’t approach this RPG with the idea that you’re going to be handled with kid gloves and walked through it like an introductory game. It pretty much has the assumption that you’ve played RPGs before and are ready to truly embrace the world of military sci-fi survival horror in all of its aspects. If you’re prepared for that type of atmosphere, than this is a game that will fit like a glove!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Outbreak: Deep Space
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Outbreak: Deep Space
by Dane K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/24/2014 03:14:28
The PDF isn't updated but the image is. This is misleading. You already have my money and you can have my rating when I have the product.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
Hey Dan! We didn\'t realize the Cover updated live and that the product was still visible :( We were just trying to fix a few typos and other things we saw and just wanted to get things prepared before we released it. Sorry about that! It\'s updated now, so if you did purchase it you should get a email here soon! Thanks for taking the time. We hope you\'ll take the time to look over your review now that we\'ve remedied the error.
Hey Dane! Have you had a chance to check out the updated PDF yet?
Hey Dane! It\'s been a Month since we updated the PDF to the new edition of Outbreak: Deep Space. Is there anything else we can do to help with your review?
Hunters Books - Free Content Friday!
by Chris A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/17/2014 18:42:29
Very nice to have this Extra Content support from this Game publisher. It is all very relevant to the Outbreak Undead rules and games I will run. Really, it is much like optional rules expansions I have seen from other Game Systems (but I did not have to buy another Edition of the rules to get it, which I appreciate very much.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hunters Books - Free Content Friday!
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Outbreak: Deep Space - Space Academy
by Eric N. Date Added: 12/02/2013 00:00:00
Marketing of this product is very deceiving. The title refers to a 5-page addendum to the main product Outbreak: Deep Space. Looking at the price, this appears to be a "sourcebook" for the game, similar to the career books for Traveller. Unfortunately it is not what it seems.

For the price being charged you will receive the aforementioned 5-page "add-on" and a copy of the main book for the setting. For those of us that already have the main book, this is a rip-off. DO NOT PURCHASE IF YOU ALREADY OWN "OUTBREAK: DEEP SPACE" MAIN BOOK.

The author and DTRPG need to repackage this product by removing the main book and selling ONLY the add-ons. There are 4 other "Academy" add-ons to the setting which I will not be buying due to the fact that I don't need 6 copies of the main book.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Outbreak: Deep Space - Space Academy
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Publisher Reply:
Hey Eric, We saw your review of the Space Academy version of our old module, and just wanted you to know that we agree with your statements. It should have just been a 5 page addendum. Not including the core book. We didn\'t price structure this well because we wanted someone who ONLY wanted one academy to be able to get the core book as well. That was our mistake. It\'s the main reason we took it down and relaunched the project with the understanding that this setting was \'much more\' then what we thought we could take on. I would like to submit to you a complimentary copy of the newest version of Outbreak: Deep Space if you don\'t already have it. If you DO already have it, let me extend a hand and offer one of our other products free of charge to help mitigate the financial damage you may have taken on as a result of this purchase. Again, our most sincere apologies.
Publisher, Thank you for correcting the issue with the Academy products. May I suggest using the idea of the separate academies as a \'player handout.\' Just something that can be a short reference for a player that may have that focus. Either free or a small charge. I don\'t think that most players will have access to software that can cut/copy from your PDF and make their own. At least, not in the \"legal\" sense of doing so. Also, thank you for the offer of a free product. Incidentally, however, I already own everything you have released in PDF format. I also have most in printed format.
Outbreak: Undead - GM's Companion
by Kyle W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/06/2012 01:09:27
The GM's Companion serves as a handy addition to Outbreak: Undead that really does add a new degree of complexity to the risk and reward of missions in the zombie apocalypse. While it's not exactly going to turn your game upside down with a ton of new and unexpected things, it provides a good guide of what you can expect to be doing in the zombie apocalypse and things that can be put into play that won't beat the players' characters to a pulp in seconds.

Basically, the GM's Companion serves as a guide to what you want to do to keep a game smooth and on track, and allows you to use random generation to figure out stuff to put in if you lose track of where things should be going. It's not giant, but it's got enough stuff in there to be worth noting as a valuable aid.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Outbreak: Undead - GM's Companion
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Outbreak: Undead
by Robert C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/02/2012 22:11:48
If you're just looking to kill zombies, this may not be the book for you.

However, if you're looking for a general framework to fit your personal zombie apocalypse in, put your cash on the able now. Rules for stronghold building, firearms, looting, minor gear customization, an adaptable mission structure, and the ability to create "yourself" as a character are just some of the highlights.

The rules system is broad and different. It's made to play with 2 d10s and a d6, with a lot of room for imagination. The first thing to remember is that these are a framework. The rules can be vague or confusing in some spots, but the simplicity in mechanics they were shooting for more than make up for it. Add in monthly updates via Free Content Friday, and you've got a lot of potential.

The game adapts itself very well to the players, rather than demanding the other way around. The system tries to prevent rampant metagaming and will grow on you. Gamemaster friendly, as you can play and refree at the same time, and it doesn't demand large amounts of prep work. A great buy if you're looking for something different and aren't afraid to tweak the system.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Outbreak: Undead
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Hunters Books - Free Content Friday!
by Michael G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/24/2012 15:57:40
This material adds an interesting threat for survivors to face, and one that is likely unexpected.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hunters Books - Free Content Friday!
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Hunters Books - Free Content Friday!
by Jason A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/07/2012 15:33:39
I love the concept of Free Content Friday. But is there a way to include something in the product title so that buyers know whether they have already purchased/downloaded this item?
I suggest putting the date of release into the title. [Ex: Free Content Friday - 04/13/2012]. Otherwise, visitors to this site are left thinking that there is only one product release from who knows how long ago?

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Outbreak: Wild Kingdom
by Kyle W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2012 11:04:31
Outbreak: Undead is in my opinion the best zombie game available, and Outbreak: Wild Kingdom is a suitably high-quality supplement for it.

Quite frankly, if you're going to do any real wilderness focus in your game, this is a great add-on. While not every campaign goes into the wilderness, there are even more city-applicable features like statistics for dogs, birds, and vermin swarms that would still be in play in a urban environment.

The Fair King Zoo scenario is both very interesting but also a little gory for my squeamish taste (it is a zombie game, after all). I'm not as easily scared as I used to be, so it didn't bother me terribly much, but it's not the sort of thing I'd run with just anyone (just like any zombie campaign). This should not be interpreted as a bad thing, however, given the setting and goal.

I cannot come up with anything bad about this book; some people may not care for the style, but I find the style to be incredibly cool (maybe on account of my nerdiness), and there's nothing I can gripe about.

My one warning to people would be that this is a zombie game, so not everyone will appreciate the art and content (it is rather gory), and it's not for children or the excessively squeamish.

For those wanting a quick summary:
Content: 4/5 (It has a lot, but it's very specific; if you are going into the wilderness specifically it'd be 5/5)
Art/Typesetting: 5/5 (It made my graphic design nerd happy inside)
Writing: 4/5 (Some typos detract from otherwise excellent writing, some places could be re-written)
Awesome Factor: 5/5 (ZOMBIES! Wilderness survival! Animals!)
Interest: 5/5 (Well thought out and deeper than just stating facts)
Maturity: 16+ (Clean language and sexual content, but violent and potentially disturbing)
Value: 4/5 (It's not the longest supplement around for $13, but it makes up for it with quality)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Outbreak: Wild Kingdom
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Hunters Books - Free Content Friday!
by Christopher M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/16/2011 18:49:57
Outbreak: Undead is a very fine game with a good flow. This product is a great addition, and will also do well as added on material for other Modern RPG's.

Love Outbreak, and look forward to more adds, free content, and companion material.

Rob Kirkman would be proud! :)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hunters Books - Free Content Friday!
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Outbreak: Undead
by Gokce M. A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/26/2011 05:10:52
Outbreak:Undead(O:U) is purely wonderful. As a game system, it isn't just for short games, also you can play a whole zombie outbreak, sure if you can survive. You never get so powerful that you don't fear zombies, but you get powerful enough to survive and have small breaks to breathe.

Solutions for most ambiguous positions like car driving, fuel consumption and stronghold resources, are well designed ad-hoc solutions. They simulate encounters very realistic, and are fast-play, learn-easy formulations.

Zombies, on the other hand, uses different rules than players. Many types of zombies are possible and they cover all-types of zombies. Templates for most common types of zombies are designed and presented in rulebook. Familiar Face and Janitor are good reminders that zombies are not about only bodies, but they are remainders of what they were before.

Character creation is easy and most common type survivors has templates designed. If you wanna play yourself that is not so hard. There is just one problem with character creation, it takes time. But character sheet is not big at all, just front page of an A4 type sheet.

GMing this game is mostly being a ruler. But that doesn't mean there is no fun. Fun of this game for GM is designing areas, planning zombie encounters and watch players shrive to survive. It is really fun, take this word to heart.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Outbreak: Undead
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Outbreak: Undead
by Nathan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/30/2011 03:31:31
Outbreak: Undead is a zombie horror survival rpg - a big one, clocking in at over 430 pages. And it is chock full of rules, lots and lots of beautiful rules for killing zombies, surviving zombie attacks, and fortifying your base to stop those damn zombies from getting in! That being said, the rules aren't overly difficult to get your head around, and everything runs off a straightforward percentage system, with margins of success for every ten points you pass or fail a roll by. I would say the game is thorough, more than it is complex, and I like that. How thorough? The equipment chapter is almost 100 pages and covers everything from chainsaws (obviously) to guns, to body armour and drugs. The 20 pages before that are just about vehicles - how to drive them, how to run them into stuff, and how to get away from a zombie horde in them. The GM chapter is close to 100 pages too, and covers all the ground you would expect it to - how to create and run encounters, and advice on turning the player characters into zombies!
This is a realistic kind of game, where combat is bloody and the horror visceral. Making it even more realistic is the recommendation for the players to play themselves, in locations they are familiar with. There is plenty of advice to help you out with this, and I really like the idea. The basic premise of the game is to put the characters in a specific situation after a zombie outbreak, and give them a specific objective, such as last a particular amount of time, escape to somewhere safer, or kill all the zombies. This "mission" structure, combined with the possibility of player yourself in your hometown means you could play out all those conversations you've had with friends (you know you've had them), about what you would do in a zombie outbreak. Cool.
But the rules aren't even the best part. For me, the LOOK of the book is where it is at. It is kind of like a survivor's scrapbook, filled with bad sketches, crummy polaroid photos, hand scrawled messages and sticky-notes. It is a really eclectic mix of documents, fonts and art, all presented as if stuck into a notebook it I think it captures the theme of the game beautifully. I am not normally a fan of such wildly different art styles in one book, and some of the art is pretty average, but here it all works together to present as an artefact from the world it is creating.
The book is not without its faults, though I will admit they are pretty small ones. The table of contents is not hyperlinked, and neither are the chapter numbers that are on the edge of every page. I wish they were. Furthermore the bookmarks are only for the start of each chapter, which means there is a fair bit of virtual page flipping in those 100-page chapters. I also had difficulty reading large portions of the text that were presented as handwriting. Now, it was clear and neat, and very effective in terms of creating an "artefact", but it was not as easy as reading more typical "typed" text.
Overall, I am really impressed by Outbreak: Undead.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Outbreak: Undead
by Tim M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/24/2011 19:29:24
My sons and I played "Outbreak: Undead" at GenCon2010 and had a great time. I am glad they came out with a pdf version of the rule book.

PROS:
- An interesting rules system that is more a simulation then an RPG.
- Character creation and being able to play yourself using by SPEW assessment online in nice.
- The mission oriented format is new to me and easy to use as the GM.
- The pdf version has an index, although it would be nice if you could click on a page number in the index and be taken to that page.

CONS:
- A searchable pdf would have been nice.
- The format of the rulebook being a journal can be a little annoying at times.
- There are some pages that just have pictures and quotes without useful game information but they do break up the text.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Outbreak: Undead
by Ian R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/24/2011 15:49:39
Write a review for Outbreak: Undead? Sure, give me 4 hours. Seriously though, this book is huge, and packed with crunch cover to cover. Don't let that scare you off though, because this book contains all of the player information you need, AND the DM information, and all of the crunch is useful. I'll highlight just a few of the standout features;
If you're looking for a serial style game that feels like a zombie horror movie, this is the game for you. The mechanics are unique (which in of itself is very impressive for the now very full RPG market, especially for first time publishers), and really help the flow of the story move directly from one scene to the next. And the key to understanding this game is that it is built around scenes, much like a movie.
Outbreak: Undead is great for oldschool players who love to track every little condition, and every little item (it includes superglue in the equipment section!). It will satisfy those players who love horror games, and want their PCs to eventually feel the cold embrace of death. And perhaps best of all, the game isn't tied down to any single zombie trope- each of the major zombie types is covered, with examples, and plenty of rules are given to modify those.
And DMs, this game is a breeze to run on the fly. Zombies have (understandably) a set of rules that govern their actions (which of course varies based on the trope you choose), which means your job can be boiled down to just rolling dice at the appropriate time. Indeed, a good group could even play the game without a DM.
I hope this, combined with other reviews, will give you a reasonable idea of the game. It truly is more game than one tiny review can contain.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hunters Books - Free Content Friday!
by Erathoniel W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/08/2011 20:58:36
Ok, it's free content, and it's for one of the better tabletop games out there.

If you have Outbreak: Undead, get this. There's no reason not to. And it's awesome. Don't believe me? Download it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hunters Books - Free Content Friday!
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