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Rocket Age Core Rulebook
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Guy S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/09/2013 16:10:26
Rocket Age took me completely by surprise. I had a great time reading through the book. The setting is evocative and pays homage to all the right source material and the Vortex System is a great rules-medium system that really brings the Pulp/Planet Romance style of the setting to life.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rocket Age Core Rulebook
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Snowball Wars Booster Set One: Elf Help
Publisher: Okumarts Games
by Guy S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/18/2012 15:55:12
Solid expansion for Snowball Wars. This adds rules for a new gang, Elves, as well as a few more Wildcards and rules for the Snowbeast.

The components are great. I especially love the Snowbeast.

If you like Snowball Wars, pick this up.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Snowball Wars Booster Set One: Elf Help
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Snowball Wars
Publisher: Okumarts Games
by Guy S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/18/2012 15:50:16
Snowball Wars is a great game. The rules are written very clearly and pack more tactical options than I thought I would get from a 6 page rulebook. What you have is an easy to learn system that features alternating activation, an action point system and even rules for cover and overwatch (called "On Guard" here) within the game.

The components look top notch for the price point as well. If you print them out on some card stock and attach them to foamcore, you will have yourself some great pieces. I plan on playing this through the winter as the theme and timing is great.

Good for beginners, enough meat for gamers.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Snowball Wars
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BareBones Fantasy Role Playing Game
Publisher: DwD Studios
by Guy S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/21/2012 10:46:46
The Fantasy RPG genre is certainly one filled with choices. Some might even say that it is getting overpopulated at this point. I think that is all the more reason to check out the new games that are coming out. Each author and publisher is looking to give us a new way to experience the genre and I am always eager to take a look at what might make them stand out from the pack.

Enter Barebones Fantasy from DWD Studios.

Barebones Fantasy fits within the rules-lite category as far as RPG systems go. It offers an easy to learn rules system that keeps character creation quick the game moving along. I was surprised to find out that Barebones Fantasy (despite the name) had quite a bit under the hood. So let's crack it open and see what's what.

-The Cover-

Sometimes you want to judge a book by the cover. In this case I was greeted with some traditional Fantasy RPG fare: A party of intrepid adventures about to battle the big bad Red Dragon. In my eyes this is a good thing. If you're selling a new take on traditional fantasy, why not open up with some familiar imagery to get the reader's head in the right place.

-The System-

The basic dice mechanic is a simple percentile. You roll a d100 and compare it to your Ability or Skill. If you get equal to or below your score you succeed. Simple and to the point.

There are four Abilities that make up your character. They are Strength, Dexterity, Logic and Willpower. These are used to do the normal attribute stuff that any RPG player is used to with some slight differences. Strength lets you lift objects and influences melee weapon use but also determines how much damage you can take (something a Constitution or Endurance stat usually does). Dexterity is used to shoot, jump and dodge out of the way of incoming harm. Logic is used for perception and deduction and Willpower is used for persuasion, bluffing (borrowing for traditional Social or Charisma stats) and some spell resistance.

There are eight different Skills that a character can learn and they range in rating from 1 to 6. They are: Cleric, Enchanter, Leader, Scholar, Scout, Spellcaster, Thief and Warrior. These function as areas of expertise that a character has as opposed to singular skill specialties that some games rely on. Scout, Thief and Warrior are Skills that all characters can use. The others require training (meaning points must be invested in these) for a character to use them.

-Character Creation-

Making a character in Barebones Fantasy is a pretty straight forward process. First, you roll Ability Scores. To roll up a set you roll 5d10 and add 30 for each score. Once you have four of them you can assign them to the four Ability Scores. You then pick your Race (all the standard fantasy races are included). Then you assign a primary and secondary Skill (which boost your starting score using it) and then assign one Skill rank to a skill.

Players then get to define one positive and one negative "descriptor" to their character. These are roleplaying quirks that will reward the character with bonus Development Points (XP) if they portray this during the gaming session.

Next is Moral code which steps in and takes the place of an alignment system. This is a cool change of pace as it gets rid of the tried and true Good vs Evil distinction. Instead you decide to what degree your character displays certain aspects. There are three levels: Somewhat, Very and Totally. These are used to describe how Kind or Cruel, Forcus or Unfocused, Selfless or Selfish, Honorable or Deceitful and Brave or Cowardly they are. After these guidelines are set, the GM can call for a WIL checks when the character is acting "out of character" and wishes to act outside their personal moral code.

After that you buy some equipment and determine all your derived stats (Body Points, Initiative, Damage Reduction from Armor and so on).

-Magic and Spellcasting-

Like most actions in Barebones Fantasy, Spellcasting is easy to execute. Usually this is just a test of the Spellcasting or Cleric skill. What is worth noting though is that spells have a toolbox approach that can change from casting to casting. You might have a buff spell that can improve an ally's ability score. At the time of casting you can change which Attribute is the one to get boosted. The same goes for some of the damage spells. Fireball one turn and Lightning Bolt the next. It allows for quick rules but different trappings for each casting.

-Combat-

Combat is a straight forward affair. You roll a d100 and compare to your ability or skill. If you get equal to or lower you succeed and deal damage. You'll notice that there is no "defense trait" like Armor Class or anything factored into the equation. This is because defending counts as an action. Each action after the first you take in a turn results in a -20 percent penalty to all skill and ability checks. So it creates a simple tactical decision of whether you want to defend (and make any subsequent attacks suffer the increasing penalty) or do you take the hit and hit them with your full skill rating. It also allows for multiple attacks per round, making higher ranked characters able to dish out some punishment to groups of bad guys.

-GM Guidelines and Setting-

The rest of the book is all for the GM. You have a chapter that goes into more detail on running a game. It has guidelines for bonuses and penalties to rolls as well as rules for all kinds of conditions (dazed, immobilized, prone, slowed) and different ways to get hurt (falling, starvation, fire, environmental exposure). This alone gives Barebones Fantasy a little more meat than a traditional "rules-lite" game.

There is also an included setting that is presented in a very "broad strokes" fashion. It requires the GM to fill in most of the details but the inclusion is a nice starting point for new comers.

-The Verdict-

I think that DWD Studios have a great rules-lite game on their hands. Barebones Fantasy gives some comprehensive attention to areas that most rules-lite games simply skimp on. This is especially welcomed in the areas of Spell utility, equipment lists and character statuses. The rules are simple and easy to learn and teach. I think for $10 it makes a perfect game for teaching beginners the hobby or for anyone who is looking to throw some of the crunch to the side and dive right into the game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BareBones Fantasy Role Playing Game
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Kobold Quarterly Magazine 22
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Guy S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/23/2012 22:30:11
Another solid issue from Kobold Quarterly. I would say that the look at 13th Age and the Escalation Die is top notch and worth a look all by itself.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Kobold Quarterly Magazine 22
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Shadowrun: 2050
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Guy S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/20/2012 10:52:12
Shadowrun 2050 does what it sets out to do. It takes fans of the current 20th Anniversary Ruleset and brings them back in time to where Shadowrun started. 2050 is full of pocket secretaries, big hair and obvious cyberware. It is Shadowrun back to it's roots.

The book has brief write ups on all the Shadowrun linchpins including: Environmentalism, Avoiding the Law, Security Zones/Ratings, Gangs, Crime Syndicates, Policlubs, Governments, Corporations (The Big Eight), Digital & Magical Threats and, of course, Dragons. None of this info goes into that much detail but provides enough info for any GM that might be unfamiliar with the old details of the setting.

You also have write ups for Seattle, Chicago and Hong Kong set in the 2050's.

Matrix, Magic and Gear have all been brought back in time as well. So anyone looking to run an old school Shadowrun game using the new rules will have everything converted for them already.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: 2050
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Streets of Bedlam: A Savage World of Crime + Corruption
Publisher: FunSizedGames
by Guy S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/18/2012 08:30:29
The easiest way to sell this game is to think of it as Sin City the RPG. I mean this in the most flattering way possible. Streets of Bedlam is no simple knock off. It takes the themes and look of neo-noir and runs amok with it. Anything borrowed is given its own spin so it stays unique in its own right while still being recognizable to the source. This is apparent in the text as well as the art. I have to give a shout out to the illustrator, Shawn Gaston, for creating some evocative images that pay tribute to Frank Miller's style without flat out copying it. The art goes a long way to keep your imagination in the right place while reading through the text.

Inside you will find a great setting and some fun additions to Savage Worlds. These include Character Archetypes, Interrogations, and a very clever Investigation system. Combine that with a great setting and a solid Plot Point campaign and Streets of Bedlam doesn't disappoint.

I'm glad to have Streets of Bedlam on my shelf. It provides a very good take on gritty neo-noir investigations. The ultra-violence rules make emulating the source material a breeze and the art is pleasure to look at. Best of all, it looks fun as all hell. Savage Worlds fans take notice! This is definitely something unique and well worth checking out.

For the full review check: http://www.boredandsorcery.com/rpg/rpg-review/streets-of-bed-
lam-review/

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Streets of Bedlam: A Savage World of Crime + Corruption
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