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The Queen's Cavaliers Playtest Rules
by Matt M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/05/2015 15:28:31

I recently had the opportunity to join a convention game of this. It's possible that, being based on that approximately three-hour session, I may not have had the best introduction to the system, but there wasn't really anything about it that particularly makes me want to delve any deeper. Unlike an earlier reviewer, I actually really appreciate the creator's inclusive attitude towards groups normally ignored by other games. (It made my bleeding heart swell to see the section on sex and gender in the D&D fifth edition Player's Handbook.) I also highly doubt that Caiohme Ora Snow is a "mysandrist" [sic]. (I dunno, maybe someone can point me to a quote where she's said, "I hate all men!" and prove me wrong, but accusations of misandry seem to me to be just a thing thrown around by MRA types toward people who dare to suggest that women be treated like human beings.)

For me, the big sticking point was the crunchiness of the rules. I admit this is mostly a preference thing, but while I was eventually able to figure out the basic mechanics, I felt they were far more complex than they needed to be. The closest comparison I can make is to another swashbuckling RPG, Honor + Intrigue, which also has such moves as parry, riposte, dodge, yeild, etc., but they don't have moves within moves predicated on the amount of the lower of your highest two dice. (Did you follow that?) And while I think the idea was to keep things a bit less tactical by making the area sectioned off by zones rather than squares, I honestly found that to be even more of a problem. For one thing, I didn't like the mechanic wherein you were forced to drop a die from your pool to move to an adjacent zone. I guess I just prefer that moving be part of a person's turn and not incur a penalty unless you try to do something special with it (like make a sprint for extra distance). Overall, I found the combat to be tedious, and one fight took up nearly the entire three-hour session. I like more of an even mix of combat and roleplaying, and the length of the former didn't really allow for much of the latter.

It's quite possible that much of this could have been how the GM chose to run things, but given the complexity of the dice pool and the combat maneuver system, I don't really think that was the case. The system just isn't for me. It's too bad, really, because I like the world.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
The Queen's Cavaliers Playtest Rules
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Publisher Reply:
Hi, Matt, thanks for taking the time to play the game and review this game! I can understand why the crunchiness of the game may not appeal to everyone. If you like the setting, we\'ll be rolling out a wiki with setting details, and you could play it with your favorite systems such as Honor + Intrigue (which is an excellent game!). Since I wasn\'t at your game, I don\'t know how the GM ran it (unless, like, it was me), but if you want talk further about the system you can write to me at games@boldpueblo.com. Again, thanks for playing and for the review!
The Queen's Cavaliers Playtest Rules
by Christian H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/06/2015 11:26:46

I am currently playing in a group using the original draft rules and am a Kickstarter backer. As the campaign ended successfully several months ago and I have actually tested the rules in active play since then I believe I can objectively rate the game with no suspicion of ulterior motives. The core mechanics remain the same as in the older version with some changes to secondary concepts and the addition of some new rules for other game concepts.

The rules are skill and attribute driven, with some general attributes being the basis of more specialized skills that a character can use. The mechanics rely on dice pools of 1+ dice and work rather smoothly once you get used to adding up what dice are applied in what situations. The addition of maneuvers, stunts that can improve rolls in different ways, add a flavorful swashbuckling element integrated in mechanics and narrative. Speaking of narrative play the system excellently facilitates this through the addition of Passions, a mechanic that allows players to use the characters' beliefs and emotional investments actively in play.

The Alpha and Omega of the system however are the ubiquitous Style Points, earned for performing good feats of roleplaying and for making 'critical' rolls. Style Points are used to activate maneuvers, use passions actively and generally increase player control over the rules mechanics at critical moments. They are limited to only three per character at any given time, preventing hoarding, emphasizing fast use and keeping the players thinking of how to best spend their resources.

The game world is very closely modeled after 1600s Europe, with byroads into the mid-east and the Americas. This makes the setting easy to picture while allowing for greater creative freedom on part of the game master. I would have liked to see more on the different cultures, the addition of a calender describing time keeping in the game world is a nice detail but seems an odd thing to focus on in the introductory play-test rules. an extra page of background material had been preferable.

The game's creator has a stated goal of focusing on diversity of sexual orientation and gender, and while the setting mostly keeps to societal norms of the 1600s that is its inspiration gender roles are very different from our own history. Another reviewer has claimed that the game focuses needlessly much on sex and gender. This is untrue in my opinion. Looking through the play-test document I've found four mentions of sexuality and gender roles, only two of which directly concern homosexuality and only in passing. I wouldn't call that excessive or 'preachy'.

All in all I've enjoyed the game very much so far and found the rules to work well. My group have established a few house-rules, mostly concerning the use and acquisition of Style Points which seemed a little too generous. The setting is nicely evocative of Dumas and his successors. I give the game a solid 4/5 for its evocative setting and smooth system, with only minor quibbles in that the rules still need some polishing and balancing.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Queen's Cavaliers Playtest Rules
by Walter H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/21/2015 18:23:16

I've read through the book a couple of times... I love the genre, so I thought I'd look at it and see if it's worth picking up. While it seems to be not bad, I don't necessarily see anything that screams "run me". I'd definitely want to play this in a con or two before picking it up and spending money on it. Again, in some ways, the mechanics are cool... but in others, seems almost a bit cumbersome. I couldn't convince my gaming group to play this system with so many other systems that have some similarities.

If I want to play this genre, I'd probably just stick with "All for One Regime Diabolique" (Savage Worlds or Ubiquity), or use the Dragon Brigade rules in the "Affair of the Orb Adventure". So in the end, I could take this or leave it. I am hoping that the finished product has a lot better examples and some really cool artwork to draw people in.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Queen's Cavaliers Playtest Rules
by Penelope F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/03/2015 20:19:44

I have followed this game for sometime now - perhaps even before it actually incarnation given my delight at its particular aesthetic. For me that it's primary selling point - and I don't just mean its literal visual appearance. There are certainly other settings that have the barque theme and decor but rarely have I seen that themed carried through the actual mechanics. It's not about brute forcing with increasingly large weapons and spells but rather executing action with flair and style. The actual rules feel more thematically fitting compared to say using a pathfinder rule-set in the same setting.

Additionally, to me the rules encourage more player narration than "roll to do the thing" that I'm used too. I like the idea that if I really want to do something really bad I can use my style points to do my damnedest to make it happen. And the method by which those points are acquired encourages to players to describe their characters doing awesome things which I think goes a long way to getting people more involved and interested in their character. I can't count the times a character who I intended to be a bad-ass warrior became a joke for flopping every single strength check ever with a low roll... Made me feel very unawesome and took me out of her shoes.

I also really like the passion system where your character has something he or she desires and that thing can act as both a motivator or a hindrance. I like the idea of a character getting a mechanical bonus for fighting for something they believe or going through some internal struggle to resist giving in to temptation or to act against the thing they are devoted too.

Also. Stylish baroque outfits being not only present but also magic? Yes please.

I have heard complaints from people regarding the game being "preachy" or inclusive for the sake of being inclusive and I have to say I disagree. Sexuality and gender are things that are very important to people - some more than others. It can be extremely meaningful to a person and I speak from experience. "You mean there are people like me in this setting exist? And they're not just one off show pieces?" It's nice, and I think people would take a moment to have a little empathy they might see that. Furthermore gender and sexuality can have a direct impact on the game through the passion system so it's not just meaningless fluff.

I also think it's unfair to make the claim that author has put the setting forward as being perfectly amazingly egalitarian - it is through the rules, through your ability to make the character you want - but that doesn't mean the actual places in the game are. All the countries seems different and seem to have their own struggles - this is not a world without challenges. Gallinea is has a matriarchal monarchy and has a policy of egalitarianism - it is a little bit paradoxical but real world isn't much different. Canada still has a Queen and we're a very egalitarian country. I would imagine Gallinea struggles with traditional government and pure egalitarianism as well.

In any case I give the same seven out of a possible eight forever screaming formless entities. I like it but definitely think it could be improved with the addition of mermaids.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Queen's Cavaliers Playtest Rules
by Jesse B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/03/2015 01:46:37

I was fortunate enough to playtest this game. I love the way combat is a fluid back and forth that feels like a Three Musketeers action sequence. When you succeed at a check you can add flourishes and extra effects based on your results. This is my preferred system for swashbuckling action. I'm looking forward to the final release.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Queen's Cavaliers Playtest Rules
by Michael P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/31/2015 22:08:26

One of the most poorly put together RPGs I've seen in a very long time, the only game i can think of that is actually worse than this one is the RPG that shall not be named. Ill give a brief breakdown of why from the quickstart alone and hopefully save anyone the misfortune of accidentally paying for the game.

General Stuff: The author is incredibly preachy in her political and mysandrist views that are plastered all over the product disguised as a game. Your character's sexual orientation and preferred gender is actually character creation relevant which is completely beyond me leaving me with only the question of "What does this have to do with the game, and why is it on my character sheet." Somehow it is actually a selling point apparently?

Mechanical: Aside from the really weird part about having your sexuality and gender being an active part of character creation for reason's unknown because it has little bearing on actual gameplay and serves no purpose other than crusading the actual mechanics of the game are horrendously messy. It plays more like a board game than a roleplaying game as you basically just go from one room to the next but your actual character has very few things they can actually do in each room. The game gives you no freedom and its skill system is incredibly convoluted.

Setting: Here is what really makes my eyes roll. The author goes through great pains to tell you how egalitarian and great this society is but here is the kicker. It is a freakin monarchy! With nobility and a caste system. Sorry but you can't have both. It is a matriarchy which is perfectly fine for that version of the world but the entire thing is basically victorian era if it was a matriarchy. But the world is better just because women are in charge now? If that doesn't scream crusading I don't know what does. Her underlying message seems to be that "the world would be a better place if women were in charge"

Final Verdict: I cant rate this game less than 1 out of 5 but i would strongly suggest not supporting this game. It is very preachy and the game itself isn't really that good. It doesn't live up to its potential, this is coming from someone who both believes in egalitarianism and enjoys swashbuckling games. Head over to the guys over at Alderaac Entertainment and pick up 7th Sea if you really want to get your swashbuckling fix. There are plenty of good indie rpgs out there but this is not one of them. Read the playtest yourself if you don't believe me.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
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