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- The Code of Steam and Steel -
by Maxwell T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/28/2015 18:56:21
This is the third iteration of Simon Burley's "Code of" RPG System, and it is even more refined than the previous two. What you have here is a very open, flexible system with just enough structure to get a group of people playing quickly, but with enough depth to it to provide plenty of interest for more than just a handful of pick up sessions. The steampunk genre is a great fit for this system, and I hope to see more iterations of this system to come.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
- The Code of Steam and Steel -
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- The Comics Code -
by Matthew H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/02/2015 13:30:09
I'm a fan of rules light gaming, but this is barely a game at all. Every character has three powers/facets of a power, no more, no less. One attack, one defense, one "other" power for use for everything else. Want some variety? A more/less powerful hero? Sorry, three for everyone. Rudimentary system at best. At a buck I would feel ripped off, but seven dollars is a crime for this half baked "game". I've been playing RPGs for three decades and I have never been this disappointed in a product.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
- The Comics Code -
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- The Comics Code -
by keith b. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/14/2015 23:47:40
As stated in other reviews it is very easy to learn and use. I understood the rules 5 minutes after reading and have since ran many episodes without even my pdf being anywhere near me. I used a dice app and presto instant super hero game that runs quick and allows the players to use their imagination without being dragged down by rules. I refuse to give perfect scores or I would have just for the simplicity of playing and game mastering.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
- The Code of the Spacelanes -
by John W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/10/2015 09:35:51
A decent game for beginners or for something very light.

The illustrations, example characters, example scenarios and included "episode" are suitably retro and complement the action hero characters the character creation can spit out. Gives a feeling of being a flash Gordon or boba fett type. Its flexible (but inevitably rather nonspecific and shallow) mechanics can slot in to almost any space faring universe.

The rules seem to accomplish what it set out to do. A beginner friendly retro sci-fi romp. Nothing revolutionary but a bit of light fun.

The subplot system makes each game unique for players but puts a lot of stress on the GM to introduce new elements to scenes on the fly. It can be an interesting challenge but the book doesn't go into enough detail on how to effectively work with it. It gives you this interesting tool then pushes you out into the wilderness to implement it on your own.

In terms of writing the book seems rushed. There's some confusing explanations with an annoying number of typos and spelling mistakes with one or two that make important points difficult to understand.

On the whole the quality of the game relies heavily on the skill of the GM. If they can juggle everybody's subplots and make the world seem believable then it's fun, but lacklustre descriptions and overall bland set of rules mean that its flexible but in the same way that a piece of cardboard is flexible. It doesn't do nearly enough on its own to justify interest in it over other systems but it's alright. It's not bad by any means but it can't really be said to be outstanding either.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
- The Code of the Spacelanes -
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- The Comics Code -
by Maxwell T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/23/2014 21:07:42
Since the other existing review for this product does such a good job of giving a thorough overview of the system, I will forego writing what would amount to a paraphrased version of the same.

I will say that I am a supers RPG junkie. I have pretty much all of them, and no time to play even one these days. Still, I like to buy them, read them, and check out the new twists and turns in their different approaches to a more or less common design goal.

"The Comics Code" has one of the more original approaches to that goal that I have yet to stumble across.

In short, you are "limited" to choosing three powers for your hero in this game, and, furthermore, you may only use each of those powers in a specific situation (unless you want to incur a pretty significant in-game penalty for doing otherwise). So, in this way, this is a game that seems to walk away from the usually understood contract between a player and a supers RPG: "You can create any character you want to play from the comics!"

I don't ultimately see this as a bad thing, just different, and in ways, more creatively challenging. Making "Captain America" into a character in this game might be a bit difficult, for example: if Cap's shield is his "Defence" power, then he can't use it to attack, even though he does that all the time in the comics. However, if you make Cap's shield into his "Attack" power as well as his "Defence" power, then are you saying that Cap can't punch out a bad guy without his shield?

The answer, I feel, is that: this game is not about you pretending to be Captain America. It's about creating a hero under this very specific set of easy-to-learn, quick-to-play rules, and ending up with some more limited (perhaps) characters that are not merely transparent clones of all the usual favorites (Hey, it's my version of Batman/Superman/Wolverine, etc!).

As for me, I think this game would work really well as a framework for playing some of the more light-hearted superhero-related antics, like "The Tick."

If you're into supers RPGs, but want something with a more specific focus than the usual "kitchen-sink-every-superhero-comic-ever-all-at-once" approach, this should be added to your shopping cart right now.

Note: I ordered the PDF and the Softcover. The Softcover is holding up pretty well so far, and I've read the rules about 4 times now.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
- The Comics Code -
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- The Comics Code -
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/07/2014 10:39:19
OK, there are superhero games all over the place - so why bother with yet another one?

One reason is that this is a rules-light game that lets you focus on the fun part of being a superhero. This lets it capture the FEEL of the genre without needing dense mechanics to ensure that it works correctly in true four-coloured style. But the real joy of it is that it - like the very best comic books - steps back from the nuts and bolts of operating your superpowers and lets you concentrate on the man or woman inside the fancy spandex getup, explore the way they interact with the world, with fellow superheroes and the villains they come into conflict with, and lets you pose the big moral questions: what should a superpowered being do with all that power and how do they fit into the regular world?

If you happen to be a superhero, you see, there are only two ways out: die (heroically, of course) or become a villain. You might not intend to be a bad lot, you might even not be a bad lot... but how does the public view you and your actions?

The Comics Code is designed to handle these kind of questions with as much ease as it handles an out-and-out super-powered brawl.

After the Introduction, which explains all this, we move on to Chapter 1: Birth of a Hero. This explains the relatively simple process of creating your character. The basic character sheet is well designed to support this. In essence, you need three superpowers - or three facets of the same power - which are used to attack, to defend and, well, for whatever else you might need to do with a superpower. Maybe you fly or have x-ray vision or some capability that's useful for solving crimes or getting cats out of trees... there are suggestions if you are struggling, but let your imagination go wild. The whole process of character creation is illustrated with logical examples.

There are some neat features like the 'special effect' - an off-the-wall, whacky or plain spectacular thing you can do if you roll a double on 2d6 when using a superpower - or the way in which power strengths are calculated. You've got three powers, right. Take the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Assign two of these numbers to each power, then multiply them. A vast range, great flexibility, and not too taxing for the arithmetically-challenged.

That's about the limit of the rules, most of the rest is done by thinking about how you want the character to operate and distilling that down to a few phrases.

Chapter 2: Playing the Game then shows you what you can do with the newly-minted superhero. Some of this is pretty basic and serves well to introduce newcomers into role-playing. Superhero games are a good way of doing this, after all - everyone has heard of them, even if they are not so much in to fantasy or science-fiction. There's a neat sub-plot concept which gives individual characters goals or things that need sorting out to go alongside the main storyline.

The core game mechanics are simple too. A single die roll against characteristics handles most task resolution with two dice being rolled when superpowers come into action.

Because the concepts of status and heroism are written into the rules, as well as the sub-plot concept, it can become a little mechanical but if handled with care these mechanical bits ought not to impede role-playing but enhance it by giving it a framework to hang upon.

There's some advice for GMs and a section on running battles as well, with plenty of examples and ideas for using minions, ganging up on people, desperate actions and so on... and the all-important rule that participants must describe actions and effects rather than merely roll dice! There's even a rule for cheating. Wait? That cannot be right... but it is. If a character is in a desperate state he can either flee combat or cheat. Cheating means he automatically wins, but it does of course have consequences. And you have to describe a plausible way in which you fled or cheated, of course.

Finally, there's a simple sample adventure with which to try this all out. Oh yes, and some other additonal rules and ideas that you can use if you want, but which are not necessary to make the game work. The adventure is well laid out and shows how to incorporate the way in which this game functions mechanically into whatever plotline you have in mind.

Overall, this is an excellent rules-light fun-heavy superhero game built for enjoyment over realism. Zap! Biff! Pow!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Squadron UK Basic
by Paul F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/21/2014 19:48:41
Very enjoyable character creation system that has some nice balancing features so you don't end up with the strongest characters being statistic monsters. Very close to a RPG that first got me into gaming years ago and which I have very fond memories of and which wasn't sold well to fill the super hero niche. Very friendly system that with a few expansion scenarios would fill out very nicely to fit the super hero genre. The nice thing about this though is that it works well with no super powers - the gimmicks and half power idea works well to generate games for parties where leaping tall buildings isn't the norm and Joe average could save the city if not the world.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Squadron UK Basic
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Squadron UK - colour
by Mike J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/03/2013 09:48:05
Squadron UK is easily one of the most playable Superhero rpgs I've played in years and years of gaming. While the initial character generation is random, the scope of superpowers available (and the way each can be 'gimmicked' to suit a style of play or character concept) means there's always something new and interesting to try out (and often the random element prompts a character concept you wouldn't previously have thought of).

The power level seems to be pitched squarely along the middle ranks of superhero comics characters; a level that provides plenty of action and abilities, while still leaving scope for vulnerabilities and villains that are bigger and badder than the player characters.

A really neat mechanics quirk is that super powered characters make all their rolls on d10s, while thugs and grunts use d6s. In a game where rolling high is a good thing, this is an elegant way to differentiate between the two power levels without introducing arbitrary power caps or similar (and, frankly, it helps in keeping the action moving at a cracking pace; something the game excels at).

This colour hardback is beautifully produced and offers excellent value for a complete system, especially one with a such scope and potential for long running campaigns. My only quibble (and it is just a quibble) is that I'd like to see a points allocation system for character design. Maybe that's something for a supplemental volume? Complete as this book is, I'd love to see the game grow.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Squadron UK - colour
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Squadron UK Basic
by Mark B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/02/2012 23:12:13
Excellent!

The rule-set is concisely written, with full explanations but without lots of text. Particularly enthralled with the way that the basic powers are a fairly short list but can be so drastically modified through 4 different power levels (half through 3) and then further defined with custom backgrounds. And then there's all the little tricks and additions (like costumes that conform to the powers) to further define the superhero.

All in all, a simple product for what could become a very complex game, even with just these basic rules.

Just excellent!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Squadron UK Basic
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