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Blood & Tears
by Daniel D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/22/2010 20:45:37
I'd probably rate this 9 out of 10 if that were an option, as it isn't a flawless product, but it's still very innovative and eye-opening. The system streamlines a great deal, while remaining completely compatible with the table-top version, and directly addresses some of the complaints our extensive LARP group have about other LARP systems. In particular, I enjoyed the cut-down character sheets, and the simplicity of the Style economy (It's easier and less character-breaking to hand someone a couple of tokens than it is to roll dice or play rock-scissors-paper). In some ways, the game over simplifies, and in others, John Wick doesn't take into account just how different the mechanics behind his two versions of the game really are (for example, you're allowed to bring your Blessings with you, but Blessings have decidedly table-top mechanics, such as letting you see a character sheet's secrets, when the LARP game requires that every sheet be public. Thus, I had to personally rewrite all the devotions), but all in all, for a mere $5, if you're a fan of Houses of the Blooded, I think you really owe it to yourself to pick up this product. It's Houses of the Blooded the way it was meant to be played: In corsets, in gloves, with a rapier slung at your waist.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Blood & Tears
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Houses of the Blooded
by Daniel D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/15/2010 12:01:24
Not perfect, but well supported, innovative and evocative. John Wick's finest work.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Houses of the Blooded
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Blood & Tears
by RAISTLIN W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/22/2010 05:14:18
This is a solid, effective, and SIMPLE system for playing "Houses of the Blooded" in live-action. And as far as that goes the system is excellent.

This would be a five-star review if not for one thing: none of the information from the original book is recapitulated, even in drastically summarized form. (And in some cases bullet-point summaries are very necessary -- ven society is COMPLICATED.)

One can get started as a Vampire LARPer after reading 20-odd pages and being walked through character creation, and most theatre-style games have "rulebooks" in the 4-5 page range. Right now there's no "gateway" product for use in recruiting players, and a LARP system kinda really needs it.

Maybe some third product could be produced that provides a summary of ven society so it's at least possible to get players up to speed without handing them hundreds of pages to read as a prerequisite?

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Blood & Tears
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Yesterday's Tomorrow
by Ernest M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/13/2010 15:06:44
What a fantastic little book!

This is a compact little system that encourages storytelling. The game is driven by complications which push the narrative deeper with both the Narrator and Characters adding to the story. Yesterday’s Tomorrow creates a good balance by using Archetypes with Styles: Action, Science, Mystery and Romance. While it might seem as though Characters would be very similar, they are not. Advantages, Flairs and Serials are all available for customization and leave players feeling as though their Character is quite unique.

Die rolling is kept to a minimum and only initiated by the Character when he/she feels it adds to the dramatic situations (which are created by Complications). The Complication element really drives this game. Create a Complication and receive a Peril Point, which earns you your dice for those situations where you really want a random outcome to occur. Rolling is based on Style. It is quite strange (at first) for a character to narrate their own outcome, but once one catches on feels natural in this system.

This is a narrative game that empowers all involved to contribute and narrate the outcome (which can snowball into more complications when the outcome produces more peril points). This helps capture the feeling of “Becoming a Part of a Pulp Story.” Rather than waiting for a cliffhanger, a Character can create their own.

I would recommend this to anyone looking to try out a group Narrative/Storytelling System. This is a great primer and well worth the price tag. Easy to print, easy to read and (best of all) fun to play!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Yesterday's Tomorrow
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The Shotgun Diaries
by Dan M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/28/2010 11:51:54
Excellent game. Very, very simple to play. I absolutely loved the Zombie Clock. This will definitely be a regular at my table for a while. The only downside was the lack of art. That's something I can live without though.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Shotgun Diaries
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The Shotgun Diaries
by Nathan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/25/2009 01:04:40
This game lets you easily create characters that really fit into the zombie movie genre and forces you to act in just the way you would expect them to on screen. The concept is simple - you only get to roll dice when you do something that your "type" of survivor would do (a fast survivor rolls dice when he runs away, a clever survivor only rolls dice when trying to fix stuff). If you don't roll dice the GM gets to describe what happens, which could be bad for you! This makes it really fun when you have several characters all wanting to do the thing that improves their chance of survival. To top things off, there is a neat mechanic to encourage characters to stick together, forcing hard choices to be made (Does my fast survivor stick around and hope the strong survivor can hold the door closed?). It took me a couple of games to work out "bonus dice" cannot be rewarded unless the character is actually acting to type - it seems logical now, but is not explicitly stated in the rules.
One little tip - you need to get players to consider more than just their survivor type when creating characters. This isn't discussed in the rules, but each character needs a motivation to help everyone drive the action. For example, your fast survivor might be a business man trying to get back to his wife and kids, and your sneaky survivor might be a drug addict looking for their next fix. A character sheet would have been nice.
The zombie clock is a great way to add pressure, but a GM needs to be aware of their own pacing and narrative. You need to be aiming for short, sharp scenes that encapsulate a single encounter every ten minutes - kind of like snap shots or time-lapse photography. Have a "focus scene" for each character to show what is important to them in the zombie apocalypse, and have it resolve every time the clock ticks forward.
Like a lot of John Wick's "mini" games Shotgun Diaries is cool, but not for the inexperienced. There is not a lot of detail about running games and many of the rules work on assumptions that you know RPG or genre conventions. Like the "bonus dice" I mentioned above, some of the rules need further explanation or explicit examples. But, when the infected zombie blood really hits the fan, this is an 18 page game for $5, written by one of the industries great game designers - it makes for a fun romp that does capture and replicate the tropes of the modern zombie flick. I say, give it a try.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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The Shotgun Diaries
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/18/2009 11:12:35
This exceptional game is very simple, very fast-paced, and brings something new to the zombie RPG genre.

It's 18 pages long, and the layout is simple - a handwriting font fills the page and grimy headings are bold.

Character creation is as simple as picking an archetype of a zombie apocalypse survivor (Sneaky, Fast, Strong, etc.)

The system is simple. You roll 6-sided dice in situations where there are zombies around in order to take risks and do something. One major omission in the game is that although the survivor archetypes say when they roll at least four dice for particular areas (guns, sneaking around, etc.), it doesn't say how much they roll normally, outside those areas. If you roll a 6, you get to say what happens. If you don't, the narrator does.

An innovative Fear mechanic replaces the dice you roll with "Fear Dice" - and if one of those is the 6 that you use for success, then you must run and hide, or otherwise save yourself, often at the expense of your friends.

There are mechanics to encourage sticking together and working together, as well as gathering and protecting supplies against the zombies. However, the most innovative mechanic of the game is the Zombie Clock. Every ten minutes of real time that goes by, the survivors' supply rating goes down by one, the zombie clock goes up by one and approximately a day passes in the game. The higher the number on the Zombie Clock, the more zombies the narrator can unleash on the characters. Zombie Clock points can also be used to introduce complications (the RV battlewagon is out of gas, the water in the faucets dries up, etc.) into the narrative.

This mechanic, the core of the game, provides a solid and visceral way for the players to realize just how bad things are getting, and how bad things are likely to get when the zombies finally do attack.

This is not a game for beginners. There is no guidance at all as to how to set scenes or who says what when. However, if you know what an RPG is, and you like the tension and suspense of zombie movies, you really owe it to yourself to read this excellent game.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Curse of the Yellow Sign, Act I: Digging for a Dead God
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/19/2009 03:41:17
I ran this during a rare RPG weekend with four good friends, and had a blast.

It's a great setting, there's room for some truly horrific roleplaying moments and some pretty grueling player vs. player stand-offs.

But as a product, it's honestly pretty sketchy. I'd skimmed it ahead of time, but wasn't counting on running it. A few hours beforehand I changed my mind and read it through 3-4 times, making notes as I went along, but by the time we started I still wasn't sure there was a game there.

The sequence of events that've lead up to the scenario are sketchy, the use of the Man in Black and his role as a Germanic folklore figure are left largely untouched and the King in Yellow, which I haven't read, isn't summarized in any way. The player characters aren't ready for play, missing combat skills (and they'll be needed I can assure you) and either miss important pieces of information or simply don't have enough. This is really more of a draft or a set of expanded notes.


I'm giving it 4, because we had a lot of fun with the sandbox setting and I would run it again in the blink of an eye. That said, next time I'll have to spend a few days preparing to iron out the inconsistencies.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Curse of the Yellow Sign, Act I: Digging for a Dead God
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The Shotgun Diaries
by William M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/02/2009 21:14:34
A nice, simple system for role playing in a zombie world...mechanics are easy and uses only D6's...different character types get a bonus for doing things specific to their role, for example, the "dangerous survivor" gets to roll more dice when using weapons, "sneaky survivor" rolls more dice when sneaking, etc...I really like the Zombie Clock concept in which you keep track of the zombies acummulating around the characters, the more that accumulate, the more things the GM can do to the players (the plastic zombies from Twilight Creations Zombies!!! games would work well as counters for this)...I was skeptical at first...$5.00 for a 16 page game...I gave it a shot and am glad I did! Well worth it if you're a zombie genre fan!!!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Shotgun Diaries
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Curse of the Yellow Sign, Act I: Digging for a Dead God
by Jim C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/01/2009 07:44:33
Ah, what's the use. No doubt there are some cruel dynamics to play out and some well-written passages. Shaky organisation, sketchy and poorly-researched setting, unconvincing scholarship of the Mythos (it doesn't help that that section misspells Derleth and Nyarlathotep). It looks like a first draft.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Curse of the Yellow Sign, Act I: Digging for a Dead God
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Curse of the Yellow Sign, Act I: Digging for a Dead God
by Andrew H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/28/2009 12:47:23
This is a game with its heart in the right place, but it's not as clever as it thinks it is. It's location and character based rather than a linear plot-based game. This is not as radical an approach as the author seems to think. The concept of setting characters against each other and then letting them loose to explore an interesting environment, rather than the GM leading them by the nose, is a fairly standard format.
There are several contradictions and inconsistencies in the text that could trip up an unwary GM and would need to be corrected before play. In particular one of the character briefs is completely missing a vital piece of information. This implies a lack of proofreading by a third party.
The mechanics are laudably thin on the ground, but (despite what it says in the introduction) they are still there, just as much as in most games. Where it does score is in its suggestions for drip-feeding information to the players in a form designed to build atmosphere.
It acknowledges its debt to "Alien", "Aliens" and "The Thing". But I would also recommend anyone intending to run this to first also watch "Total Recall", and particularly "The Bunker" and "The Keep".

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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Curse of the Yellow Sign, Act I: Digging for a Dead God
by Robert C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/14/2009 09:11:51
I've yet to run this adventure but I have read it through and found it to be very well written and it should prove to be a lot of fun for me and my players. I also really love that the author has a dedicated website to this adventure (and presumably its sequels) which has over 30 minutes of audio to use in game. Its great to a mood in games like Cthulhu and little touches like that count for a lot!!! I can't wait to see whats next!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Houses of the Blooded
by jan d. j. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/04/2009 02:59:44
a great game, if you like long story's then this is made for you.
i'm allready looking forward to more books about the blooded

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Houses of the Blooded
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Enemy Gods by John Wick
by Daniel D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/01/2009 09:11:26
Enemy Gods was the first book I picked up from Wicked Dead, and it's still one of my favorite. Enemy Gods offers an innovative take on GMing and roleplaying. Players take on both the roles of Champion ("players") and Gods ("GMs,"), which results in two levels of play, the first being a standard fantasy adventure with heroics and excitement, and a second level of godly kibitzing, where players gossip about what their characters are up to, and squabbling over minor slights, tossing out miracles to hamper the champions of their rivals while trying not to be such a jerk that players start to skimp on your purview.

The Good: Enemy Gods plays like a party game. In the role of Gods, players often toss out enough complications that as a GM, I had only to lightly direct things here and there. Mostly, I had a chance to sit back and enjoy, which is quite a change from my normal pace.

The Bad: Because every stat has an associated God, Enemy Gods lacks flexibility: I can't really imagine playing with more or less than the requisite 6, unless I wanted to sit down and rewrite the stats.

The Verdict: The game seems better suited to (somewhat wonky) one shot games than to long term play, but it can handle both. It's a very lite game, but it provides more than enough ideas to keep me inspired. If you're looking for a quick game that requires little in the way of prep and leaps straight to the action in something less reminiscent of the Big Action Movie that most RPGs resemble and more like a delightful pick-up game that you might toss together on a rainy weekend, this is the game for you.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Enemy Gods by John Wick
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Cat by John Wick
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/26/2007 12:19:48
John Wick is a long time contributor to the RPG biz. Once you get to his point then you can do a fun little game like "Cat".
Cat is great game if you are a cat fan (which I am not really) or have an afternoon and want to try something new or are sure those nasty little beasts are up to something.
The rules are simple, as they should be, and quick to learn. I call this a "template game", chances are I am never going to play it. But I will use ideas from it in my other games. And for that reason it is worth the cash. And it's fun, what is more important than that?

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cat by John Wick
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