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OVA - Open Versatile Anime Role-Playing Game
by Sean K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/28/2013 14:53:23
I love it, its an easy to use system with a great deal of character generation freedom. You never really need a huge amount of dice and the freedom to do things is just fantastic. I highly reccomend it to any RPG and Anime fans.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
OVA - Open Versatile Anime Role-Playing Game
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OVA - Open Versatile Anime Role-Playing Game
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/29/2012 22:56:54
This is a new one to me, but not a new game. I just got it and I like what I see so far. The system is very different that BESM, but it has some good character creation guidelines that I think would work nice with any game. The book is a thin 125+ pages, but that is really all it needs due to it's system and design.

OVA stands for Open Versatile Anime, and it's a pun in Anime circles. It also stands for Original Video Animation. There are the perfunctory introductions for the RPG player, the Anime fan and people in general.

OVA has some artwork from Niko Geyer, the same artist from BESM. This sorta gives OVA the same feel. Going to his blog you can see some of the art in OVA and it is nice.

Character creation is the heart of OVA, and there are some good things here. The character creation has the player starting with a conversation with the Game Master and even other players. This would seem pointless in other games, but important in OVA. It helps with the next steps and helps decide what sort of game will be played. The interesting part here is that the rules encourage players to come up with their character before reading the rules. So the next step is the Concept stage.

Many games have something similar. Here though it is an actual step. Typically this can be something as simple as "magical girl with a flying cat" or "darkly handsome swordmaster with a dark past". In the world of Anime RPGs these are actually very common concepts. Since OVA is an Ability based system (more on this) the concept help define what a character can and can't do.

Abilities and Weakness are the heart and soul of OVA. Abilities (sometimes called Attributes, sort of confusing) combine the various numbers you would normally see in other games. In Unisystem this would be combining Attributes, Skills and Qualities. So things like "Magic", "Weapon" and "Cute" would replace all the other numbers that could be combined to create these; ie Dex + Armed Mayhem for Weapon. This makes for a very focused sort of character, which is exactly what you would expect in an Anime. You can add all sorts of other Abilities as needed. So our Dark Swordmaster can add Hobby (Origami) as a hobby, which would be appropriate.
Weakness are the same, only like Drawbacks, such as "Easy to Anger", "Bizarre Appearance" or "Obsession".
Abilities are ranked from 1 to 5, with 5 being the best of the best. Weaknesses are ranked -1 to -3. Characters should start around 1 or 2 with no abilities at 5. Character creation is matter of agreeing on how many points is the power cap. You can choose 0, so Abilities have to equal Weaknesses, a top point say 20 or so points of Abilities where 5 can be free and 15 are bought with Weakness points. All really easy to be honest.

There are number of sample characters covering a variety of anime tropes. Some have a lot of Attributes and thus a lot of Weaknesses, others have much fewer.
There is a stat block for "Basic Statistics" which includes the concept, age, height and weight and other basic information. It makes for a very simple character sheet that is also surprisingly full of information. There are good number of Abilities and Weaknesses, and what is not here can easily be converted from other sources. Though I could not find anything that was "missing". There are Power Perks and Flaws, which act like Power Feats in M&M.

The system is an easy one, roll dice go for a target number. Combat is similar.
There is a good DM's section and a bunch of sample characters and NPCs, all of which can be used to design other characters or use as NPCs or PCs.

The system is simple and really easy to play. The character creation is similar to another new game I grabbed "Cartoon Action Hour 2". In fact I bet you could easily convert between the two systems without too much trouble. Where CAH2 does not give too many examples of Abilities/Powers, OVA does. You could some of the Abilities in OVA as ideas for CAH2. Sort of defeats the purpose of creating your own as CAH2 suggests, but a good place to start. I also suppose that you could use the abilities from BESM 3 as well. I would bet that you could take any BESM 3 character and convert it to OVA with just a couple of edits on the sheet.

OVA certainly feels like the spiritual successor to BESM. There is a lot of similarity in feel and purpose. While BESM is crunchier than OVA, OVA is more flexible. The powers are fairly well defined and easy to use/grasp.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
OVA - Open Versatile Anime Role-Playing Game
by Salith T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/12/2011 10:44:16
I found this better than Tri-Stat/BESM, but it still has problems that need tweaking.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
OVA - Open Versatile Anime Role-Playing Game
by Michael W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/07/2010 14:52:01
OVA is a multi-genre roleplaying game much like the better known “Big Eyes, Small Mouth”. And just like BESM it's meant to bring the tropes of Japanese anime to the gaming table. I would not call myself an avid anime fan, but I’ve seen a few movies and TV series that I really enjoyed. And so it’s no surprise I eventually picked up a anime RPG.

Some years back I picked up a copy of the aforementioned BESM but I found it a bit too crunchy for my tastes. As I’ve mentioned several times before, I prefer rules-lite games. And although BESM is extremely versatile and can be used to run games in any conceivable genre, it was not was I looking for.

More recently I heard about OVA and decided to give it a chance. And I haven’t regret this decision. The digest-sized softcover book contains a very versatile but still easy rules system. Even if you are not into anime per se, OVA could be an interesting alternative to other multi-genre games. When you buy the book directly from Lulu it sets you back $29.95. This is a bit expensive for my tastes, but on the pro side, OVA has a lot of anime charm, great artwork and it’s full-color.

What makes OVA different from most classic systems is that not every character is described by the same set of attributes. When creating a character you pick and choose the attributes a character is good at. If he’s strong, you write down the Strong attribute. If he’s wearing armor, you note down the Armor attribute. Each attribute is also ranked from +1 to +5. When you use the freeform character creation method you can pick Attributes and levels as you see fit. After choosing the Attributes it’s also recommended that you pick a few Weaknesses as well. Everyone knows that a character with no flaws gets boring fast. Weaknesses are rated from –1 to –3.

Aside from the freeform method where you just create your character as you see fit, there are also several ways to limit a character’s power. One way to do this is called “Ground Zero” in which you sum up the levels of all your Strength and Weaknesses. The sum shouldn’t be higher than 5 or lower than –5 if the character is still to be considered within the limits of the campaign. Each character also has a Health and an Endurance value with describes the characters ability to sustain damage, fitness and vitality.

The majority of the book is taken up by sample characters and an extensive list of attributes and weaknesses for the players to pick from. Please note that even weapons the character is carrying or armor he’s wearing is considered attributes. And so are the spells of a magician. Most attributes and weaknesses listed in the book are described by a few paragraphs of text and give the player an overview what the different levels do.

The game provides several sample characters that not only can be used to start playing immediately but they also are great examples of the versatility of the system. I can easily imagine running anything from Full Metal Alchemist over Slayers to Love Hina with it.
The dice mechanic used in OVA is pretty easy as well. Usually you roll 2d6, take the highest number. If you have appropriate Attributes or Weaknesses, you add as many dice as you have levels. If doubles, triples etc. are rolled these are added together. The highest single (or double, triple etc.) result is then taken. Is the result higher than a difficulty number decided by the GM, the action was successful. Ones are never added together and if you have more appropriate Weaknesses than Attributes “negative” dice may be rolled. In this case doubles are ignored. So, if you roll 3 negative dice, a result of 5,5,2 equals 2.

In combat each player can make one attack per turn and an unlimited amount of defensive actions. Multiple attack actions are possible, too, but the attack rolls are then modified by the number of all actions taken. If you want to attack three times you have to reduce your number of dice by 3. There’s no Range in OVA. Either you can reach your opponent in one round or you can’t. It depends on the GM’s discretion and the situation if a target it in range or not. This is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but I have to admit, I like it.
The author of OVA has also added classical anime tropes like gag damage and the angry female strike, which is impossible to dodge (even if you saw it coming) but which is always gag damage. Gag damage is of course very painful but it wears off after a very short time.

The book also contains rules for character advancement, a short GM chapter and several sample NPCs that be used either as additional inspiration for player characters or as enemies or allies of the player characters. There book contains no setting, so any aspiring OVA GM will either have to use a homebrew setting or the world of his favorite anime. But given the nature of the rules it should be pretty easy to adapt almost any setting to OVA easily.

I have to admit I like the Open Versatile Anime RPG very much. It has pretty easy to learn rules, supports narrative gameplay and is fun to read. And even if you are not an anime fan, you can still use OVA to run games, if you don’t mind the anime style artwork and ignore some of the anime tropes in the Attributes and combat sections.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
OVA - Open Versatile Anime Role-Playing Game
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/19/2010 03:57:32
As some reviewers have already stated, this is a good game, with one major flaw: the abilities are redundant. What I have done is to re-work them down to about 50% of the number of abilities to choose from, which makes the game simpler, without really destroying its versatility. Other than that, this game is a good buy.

I rated it a 3 because this one problem is a major flaw of the system that must be over-come if you want to play OVA; you must fix this fact, in order to make the game work well.

Why not just have one ability description, and call the ability or weakness by another name to add flavor? That way, one rule works for 2 or 3 abilities; makes a simpler, shorter rule book too.

IMHO

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
OVA - Open Versatile Anime Role-Playing Game
by Chad B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/12/2009 21:38:52
System Overview: I believe OVA accomplishes its design as a fast, intuitive, simple, versatile anime roleplaying game.
Character creation is relatively simple and characters generated can be very unique at the same time. My players generated characters in about 15 minutes. The Ricochet system is very unique and intuitive. Every character starts at average- rolling 2 dice for most actions. During Character generation you simply assign abilities that are better than average and Weaknesses that are lower than average. Abilities and Weaknesses should balance but it is up to the GM and the campaign style for how balanced you want Abilities and Flaws to be.
Virtually any character can be created with this simple system and it doesn't take much time at all. In my opinion Character generation was much faster and cleaner than BESM.
Well, no system is perfect and I'll outline the games few weaknesses. First off, some players who want to min-max their characters can do so very easily without GM supervision. It can be easy to take several abilities that stack together for in one action when playing. It is also possible for some players to pick a dozen weaknesses just so they can get the points to spend on abilities. So honest, mature players who aren't trying to dominate the game are needed. This isn't a complaint though, with lighter systems stuff like this happens and you just have to have a good cooperative group who are willing to be fair.

Playtest: Well, I did an odd thing. I ran an 'Age of Conan' adventure with OVA. But my players loved it anyway. Combat resolution is simple and fast paced. There are a few options available for combat manuevers that worked fine. Since the one-shot I was running was a heavily combat-centered scenario, I give the game high marks in that area since my players never got tired or confused with how combat works, it was very fast-paced action. Combat did not get 'bogged down' for us but since it was a Conan setting, none of us had the 'Power Move' ability from the game. In OVA you can give your PC a 'Power Move' that is a staple of most anime, ie: "Magic Crystal Butterfly Attack!" These 'Power Moves' are created with different effects at character generation however, and shouldn't present a problem during combat, you just pay your 'endurance pts' for powering the attack and boom, there it is.
Anyway, my group had a lot of fun.

Nitpicks: Everyone in my group dislikes the D20 system so having 'Health Points' to keep track of was a bit of a nuisance. None of us like to subtract, erase, and rewrite our Health points. If we play OVA again we will probably find a way to make wound thresholds similar to Savage Worlds or Silhouette instead.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
OVA - Open Versatile Anime Role-Playing Game
by Russ M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/19/2007 14:04:07
A great source for any Anime or RP gamer looking to tweak the D20 or D6 rules into their own cartoony format or system!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
OVA - Open Versatile Anime Role-Playing Game
by Brendan F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/14/2007 00:00:00
Keeping this brief, I'll simply say that as long as you don't demand a high volume of complex and detailed rules, OVA is a very good little rpg indeed.

It's light enough to get non-gamers who like anime into it, and just about crunchy enough for old hands. Simpler than BESM by far, and a faster play.

It will need a good GM to run, and assumes the players will get into the apporpriate genre/style, because otherwise it's probably easy to break.

Otherwise, top stuff, well recommended, especially at the price.


LIKED: Good look, mostly good art, nice layout.

Excellent indexing and reference, fully bookmarked.

DISLIKED: No 'quick sheets' for the rules is a missed opportunity, but that's nit-picking.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
OVA - Open Versatile Anime Role-Playing Game
by Denver B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/12/2007 00:00:00
OAV is an excellent game. It has all the qualities I liked about BESM, but none of the qualities that I disliked.


LIKED: Very versitile.

DISLIKED: Nothing!

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
OVA - Open Versatile Anime Role-Playing Game
by Gungrave O. Date Added: 01/12/2007 07:35:23
OVA is pretty good, rules are simple, character creation is fast and easy. The sample characters are inspired from many anime series. Clay Gardner is certainly a HUGE manga and anime fan. But there is two problems with this game :

1st the feeling to read BESM like manual, the history of animation is almost the same and the tips to run an anime style capaign are really close. it sn't really annoying. Same thing for weapons and special attack u have to create your own.

2nd the Dice system, you roll your dice pool, you take the highest dice exept if some dice give the same result, for exemple i make a 4 dice roll and i do : 2 4 4 and 6. If i fellow the rule i take the 6 as a highest roll, wrong, i take the two 4 and add them, the result is 8... not common handy.

Exept that, OVA is a really good system, and a quicker and lighter to handle than BESM, but BESM cover more thing like Mecha.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
OVA - Open Versatile Anime Role-Playing Game
by Justin S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/03/2006 00:00:00
Intresting system though a bit light on the rules, though over all a solid system. A bit to easy to stack traits to make a character who will domonate at one particalar area


LIKED: it looks like it runs fast and would be easy to teach to new players

DISLIKED: combat could of been made a bit smoother and a bit more explation on some of the rules would of been nice. a bit too easy to stack heavly in one area

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
OVA - Open Versatile Anime Role-Playing Game
by Sean D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/23/2006 00:00:00
This is a great, fast-paced rpg. Character creation takes a few minutes, and the fact that characters are only defined in terms of advantages and disadvantages makes them feel less like a collection of numbers.
Everything is handled on a simple d6 mechanic.
If you like BESM or anime in general, but want something that captures the pace, this is the way to go.


LIKED: Simple system, lots of flexibility, beautiful artwork

DISLIKED: Lackluster GM section. Not a major concern if you're an experienced gamer, but if you're new it might be an issue.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
OVA - The Starstone Treasure
by Jeremy R. H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/19/2006 00:00:00
YAAAAAAAY OMG THE COVER I DID IS HERE!!! XD It looks GREAT!! WOW HAHAH!!


LIKED: EVERYTHING LOL

DISLIKED: NOTHING LMAO!!! ITS GREAT ITS A MUST GET!!!

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
OVA - The Starstone Treasure
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OVA - Open Versatile Anime Role-Playing Game
by Michael F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/05/2006 00:00:00
This is a fantastic little game. Its simple, elegant, easy to learn and yet highly flexible. Character creation is a breeze to create almost any concept you can imagine.

Characters have no stats - they are defined by what they can do. By looking at a characters abilites and weaknesses gives you an instant understanding as to what the character's personality is like. A character with strength +3, Intimidate +2, Lecherous -2 ... its obvious what hes like.

The mechanics are 2d6 + xd6 - yd6, where x is your ability bonus and y is your weakness penalties. e.g. The above character, rolling to lift a large rock, might roll 5 dice. If you roll doubles you add them e.g. rolling 2,4,4,6,5 means your result is 8.

At first I wan't too sure about the dice mechanics - I'm mostly a bell curve man - but after playing it I am sold. They are alot of fun and rolls don't feel too random unlike many other dice pools. Thanks to the doubling mechanic having more dice provides increasing chances of doubles.


LIKED: Nice artwork. Truly is versatile allowing you to build a virtually limitless variety of characters. Tweaked for anime feel out of the box but really could be easily adapted to any type of game.
You can do alot with a little book. Easy to learn system, I picked it up in about 3 hours, inspite of my complaints outlined below. The author is very responsive and helpful if you contact via the official forums.

DISLIKED: No mecha rules. Not written entireley clearly in places, for example there are a couple of abilites that are essentially the same thing with different names. Its also not always clear which abilities stack, and a couple of the examples are kinda confusing e.g. it might read something like "joe bloggs gets to roll 6 dice for this" but doesn't explain which abilites contribute to the 6 dice total.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
OVA - Open Versatile Anime Role-Playing Game
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OVA - Open Versatile Anime Role-Playing Game
by Ice W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/01/2006 00:00:00
I started pen-and-paper RPGs with D&D, and have worked my way through rules for a couple of systems (though my actual gaming experience has been limited). Only d20 really captured my interest, either because the others don?t have the feeling of super-fantastic abilities or where presented as too sterile.

During this time I came across OVA. I immediately liked the cover artwork, but the description of the system did not inspire me to confidence, and even the preview didn?t inform me. I put it on my wish list, dropped it, and then just kept wandering around. Eventually I decided to visit the publisher?s website. I looked over the free downloads such as the brief descriptions of the provided abilities, but it was the character sheet that sold me: It?s one page. And about half that page is space for flavor information.

Once I saw that I realized that this had to be the simplest system I?d ever come across. By then I knew that the most fun of role-playing was when the rules weren?t needed very much. Games got bogged down whenever complexities came up, and creating characters took an hour.

Every die roll uses one mechanic: 2d6 + Md6 where M is a modifier based on any abilities (positive aspects) and weaknesses (negative aspects) (and yes, there are rules for what happens if M is a negative number) against a target number decided by the GM. Take the highest number or the highest total of more than one of the same number.

Abilities and weaknesses are anything your GM will allow you to define about your character, from simple physical traits to how wealthy you are. The most complex things are special moves, anime-style named attacks, but this is only due to having to pick special effects and defects of the move (known as perks and flaws). This determines how much Endurance the move drains. Endurance is used as the spendable resource to power special moves, some super abilities, and extra dice (referred to as ?drama dice?) when you want the outcome to be especially heroic. Health is the amount of damage you can take, and both it and Endurance may be substituted for the other when the first runs out. There are three different versions of character creation presented, but these are simply ways to limit the characters to make them interesting.

The rest of the rules are simple: there are a few combat options, environmental hazards such as falling and drowning, and a tiny piece on recovery. None of this takes up the tedious pages that exist in other systems. There are simple rules on how experience points factor into the OVA system. Anything else is either one of two things: discussion of what an RPG is (most of which is a GM section that has some fairly standard sections and some quite wonderful sections) or sample PCs and NPCs. The latter truly sets OVA apart from other documents: even a short description, a stat block, and a piece of minimal art brings these people to life more than just letting the rules sit around until someone comes up with an idea. The sample PCs might be anime clich?s, but they show how even clich?s can be transformed into unique identities. Certain abilities (such as hobby) and weaknesses (such as fear and soft spot) have descriptors that reveal even more about the character, and show how a personality can be part of the rules.

Some notes for GMs:
This system is going to require you to adjudicate whether or not an ability is too good. The method for determining how ?tough? and opponent will be is called out early as an estimation. The simplicity of the system could be exploited if not checked.

Some notes for players:
This is a system for skill use and not heavy tactical combat or number crunching.


LIKED: It?s so simple it could probably be taught online as you go.

DISLIKED: While I don?t have a problem with 37.85 MB, other people will. There should be a non-art or low-art version available for separate purchase so that people with lower bandwidth and memory storage can handle it. Also the handling of negative dice modification is odd and do not seem logical.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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