RPGNow.com
Close
New Account
 
  
 
 
You will lose your chance to get the free product of the week.
One-click unsubscribe later if you don't enjoy the newsletter.
Close
Log In
 
 Forgot password?
 

     or     Log In with your Facebook Account
Browse
 Publisher Info









Back
Other comments left by this customer:
13th Age Bestiary Preview
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Michael C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/27/2013 15:00:19
This preview has me excited for the actual product.

I think that too many games have way too much in the way of stats for monsters. Basic d20 had lots there, and Pathfinder took it and made it more, but that's a lot of stuff to go through. The 13th Age Bestiary, on the other hand, goes in the opposite direction with the presentation of the monsters' stats and makes them easy to reference at a glance with their simplicity.

However, what it lacks for in multitudes of stats it makes up for in information. If you don't have ideas for using these critters after looking at this, you're not reading.

The bestiary doesn't stop at just a basic one-off set of stats, but easy-to-read stats are also made for variants of these creatures. You don't just have an orc, you have an orc battle screamer, a death-plague orc, and orcish archer, a pit-spawn orc, and others. D&D 4e tried to do it this way, but I think it was pulled off better here. This was done with all three monsters included in this preview.

The preview includes creative ways of using white dragons, orcs, and nagas. honestly, I haven't given nagas much thought until now, when I read the line "Naga aren’t unreasoning monsters. They generally have perfectly sound reasons for wanting intruders dead." Looking at the rest of these creatures, I wanted to actually write up a way to use them right now.

My only real complaint is that the 3 creatures were put into 3 different PDFs. I'd rather have just had one to download.

All in all, i really liked it, and more and more want to play 13th Age the more I see of it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
13th Age Bestiary Preview
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Capes, Cowls and Villains Foul
Publisher: Spectrum Games
by Michael C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/03/2012 16:21:12
One thing I've noticed is that when a company decides to specialize in something, it tends to do that one thing very well. In the case of Spectrum Games, they've chosen to do genre emulation, and thus far, they've done that very well.

I'm happy to say that they haven't missed the mark on Capes, Cowls & Villains Fowl.

I've played a few games that are supposed to emulate the superhero comics genre, and they do an okay job of doing it, but in the process, you wind up with a set of complex and confusing rules that almost railroad gameplay. Add to it that the character creation rules are almost non-existent. Bear in mind, I like open-ended character creation, but there has to be at least a little crunch in my book.

CCVF satisfies both the need to have some crunch in my characters as well as having a simple set of rules emulate the comics. The game does both well.

For character creation, you simply list abilities and add modifiers, linking and levels to them. There's nothing preset about the abilities, you make up what you want and that's it, although modifiers do allow you to fine-tune those abilities more acutely. I like them in this regard.

Generally, open-ended abilities can cause a deer-in-the-headlights reaction as you try and put together all the possibilities, but the bright side is that the game includes a few pages of ideas to pour through and organizes them well enough that you can pull from different areas and make the character you want.

The modifier I like most in this game is Versatile. Many supers games try and have a “do anything” power that either is too powerful or it requires use of math in the middle of play that can slow it down. Here, it's just cut and dry: Each time you buy the modifier, you get one aspect of the power that's always available, and one aspect of it that's open, and you can buy it up to three times. The open aspect can be defined once per issue. Not bad, although I might house rule it for things like Annuals and 80-page Giants to be able to use it a little more often, but have you ever seen Green Lantern or Doctor Strange use really “out there” abilities more than a couple times in a regular issue? Not really.

Conflict is resolved through rolling the dice and taking setback tokens. Both parties roll, and the loser takes the token. Once four tokens are acquired, the character is out of play in one form or another. I think this, more than anything else in the game, is where CCFV shines in emulating its chosen genre. Hit points and damage tracks don't do well in supers games, and the definition of what they do is too narrow to capture all that can happen in a superhero comic.

Filling up on setback tokens can mean anything: capture, falling asleep, being knocked out, getting fed up and stomping off in frustration, being bound in place by a pile of tires, whatever the story and character demands. It CAN mean death, if that's the kind of game you're playing, and the rules do address killing combat. When I played with my group, we had a lot of fun with this rule, and it required a greater creativity, which added to the fun.

To really be able to write a good review, I did play this with a group, and it does live up to the promise of being able to play in the fast-paced action of a superhero comic book. Sometimes the math involved with higher results on the d12 slowed play slightly, but it's easily forgivable. I love how the game plays.

I think the biggest trouble came in understanding how to build characters, or where linking comes in during character creation. I think the creation rules could have been a little clearer here. There was a little bit of “human error” in my group, as they only tried buying powers rather than buying powers and other things that their heroes could have used. But when they bought all of their abilities, there was a lot of points left over and we couldn't figure out where to put them. This was cleared up later, fortunately.

All-in-all, CCFV takes the superhero genre and does it really well. It's got enough in the rules that we can make sense of the action, but loose enough that action is fast and smooth. Hero building is flexible without including too many rules. Of all the games that make the claim of superhero comics emulation, I'd place CCFV at the top of the list. Not only do I want to play it again, but my fussy group is also clamoring for more.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Capes, Cowls and Villains Foul
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Princess Lucinda Preview
Publisher: Channel M Publishing
by Michael C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/17/2012 23:59:41
I enjoyed reading this. The story is fun, the art is really nice, and I get a huge kick out of Lucinda.

My only complaint about this comic is that it really needs some serious proofreading before going to print - the biggest sin being punctuation. A lack of commas made the story a little hard to read; it was very distracting.

If that can be fixed, it'll be perfect.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Princess Lucinda Preview
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Part-Time Gods
Publisher: Third Eye Games
by Michael C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/06/2011 19:44:29
My first thought looking at Part-Time Gods was that, if White Wolf were to make a superpowers game for the World of Darkness, it would look a lot like this. It has many of the same ideas: supernaturally-endowed people hiding amongst humanity, split into several societies that they hang out with, all with different agendas. It works there, and it works in this game as well.

First off, the book is pretty to look at. The illustrations are nice, and I like the side borders. It adds a nice gothy/dark feel to it. The layout is easy to read and nicely written. There's a good history on the world and people in it that's not too lengthy big gives you a good idea of what's happened and what's going on now.

The point of the game is that you're playing ordinary people that have been given the divine Spark, which makes them gods on the level of the Asgardians or Olympians. However, they need humanity to keep them grounded, some kind of attachment to a person, group or location (no items - there's a good explanation why), otherwise they're overtaken by their divinity and the basically go insane, becoming more a force of nature than a god who listens to followers.

I like this take on the achievement of godhood. In a lot of games of this sort, you have to separate yourself from humanity because you're no longer one of them. Here, you need them in order to keep being the person you are.

In reading it, we get to my biggest gripe about the game: It really needs to be proofread. There's no spelling errors to speak of, but a lot of cases where the wrong version of words were used: accept/except, they're/there, picque/peak, etc. Seeing that is kind of jarring to me.

The mechanics are nice and simple: Attribute + skill +d20. You use that for everything, and it works quite nicely.

Making characters can be a little lengthy, but that's because it requires a little forethought. Like I said before, human attachments are required to keep your sanity, so you have to decide who or what you're attached to, like a parent, sibling, best friend, organization, whatever. Names are good, too. So you have to plan out a little ahead of time.However, the creation system is fairly straightforward, so it's not a problem at all.

My only other problem with the game is in the setting setting. When you make your character, you pick which group you're a part of, like Clans in Vampire. In this case, they're called "Theologies." I had some trouble sympathizing or finding something to like about most of them. While they all do have some strengths that are good for characters, most of them seem like a bunch of right bastards. This is a minor thing, however, and might make for a good role-playing challenge.

All-in-all, though, I enjoyed looking at this game and I look forward to playing it with my group. The setting is clever and nicely thought out, and the mechanics are simple and easy to do. Characters are complete with a little preplanning and balanced out well. I'd definitely recommend Part-Time Gods.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Part-Time Gods
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Macabre Tales rulebook
Publisher: Spectrum Games
by Michael C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/07/2011 20:34:40
Macabre Tales

Since I'm a fan of H.P. Lovecraft's works I was excited to get my review copy of Macabre Tales. I've been waiting for it release for some time now. I was not disappointed.

The download includes two files: one normal one, which includes illustrations as well as the page backgrounds, and then a print-friendly version which preserves the layout but removes the background and pictures. Both versions include the cover.

The book looks like an old magazine, similar to the kinds that Lovecraft wrote for. In fact, the title page features a publication date of October, 1931 and the table of contents features some clever advertisements along the side. So the immersion starts even where most games would be boring.

Next, we're treated to a short story by HP Lovecraft himself. It's a good mood setter.

Chapter One covers Lovecraft himself and his stories and what went into them to make them the classics that they are, listing the tropes involved and explaining each.

Character creation is fairly quick. I was able to build a satisfying character in a few minutes with a little thought. It's simple: pick a package of adjectives to distribute among three stats and then distribute a pool of points among aspects, which are skills and abilities. Think of a few things that are special about your character (numerous examples are given), calculate your two derived values and you have a character. Fast and simple.

Mechanic: I thought this was interesting, since I've never seen anything like it. Instead of dice or cards, like other games, Macabre Tales uses dominoes. Depending on how high your stat is, the domino that's laid down is either read with the lower side, the higher side or both added together. You add an aspect score if it applies and try and beat a difficulty number, which is not revealed to the player (scared yet?).

There also rules covering blanks and double blanks andd doubles. Also, NPC's are presented as a series of difficulty numbers instead of adjectives, which speeds up play.

The game is meant for one-on-one play with a GM (Narrator) and a player, and plays best this way, seeing as how Lovecraft's stories has one protagonist. However, if you'd like to play it as a group, there are rules to expand play.

An addition that really liked was a chapter for players. Most games come complete with a chapter for the GM, to help him along with his duties, but you never really see a player's section. This chapter has a lot of great advice for players, especially in terms of helping the Narrator tell a good story.

On the other side, though, the Narrator's section gives great advice for running a horror story, from content to story structure. There's a lot of good information here, and story even affects the mechanics.

The only shortcomings are minor things, aesthetics, really. The PDF's, both of them, don't include hotlinks in the table of contents, requiring scrolling or typing to get where you need to go.

Secondly, While I appreciate the ink-saving efforts in the printer-friendly version of taking out the illustrations, it's obvious that they were merely covered up, and they do load, which slows down the scrolling some, and then they're blocked out with white once they're loaded.

Lastly, I wish that the game had included rules for alternatives to dominoes, in case the players didn't have any and wanted to play right away. A trip to the store solves the problem, of course, but some options still would have been nice.

All in all, I think Macabre Tales does an excellent job of capturing the feel of Lovecraft's stories, from the games presentation to its play style (I do like the domino mechanic). In fact, I'd go as far to say it does it even better than current and long-time releases that are also set in the Cthulhu universe. This is definitely a storytelling game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Macabre Tales rulebook
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Quick20
Publisher: Mob United Media
by Michael C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/06/2006 00:00:00
I actually thought about writing up a d20-lite system for myself and to publish, but upon seeing this, I think I'm going to change my mind and not bother. Quick20 fits the bill quite nicely. It takes the ideas from the OGL system and boils it down its very essenses.

The game uses a kind-of success by consensus, which I've seen used in other games. I'm looking forward to trying this concept out.

The product delivers on everything that the description promises. I recommend this OGL interpretation highly. I'm hoping to see a modern version soon.


LIKED: I think that Quick20 is elegant in its simplicity, both in presentaion and in the system itself. I think it compares to the way Tunnles and Trolls simplified AD&D.

The thing that really caught my attention in Q20 was the greatly simplfied magic system, which boils OGL magic to a system of effects, and has rules for either memorization or creating spells on the fly, and by itself, it's worth the cost of the book.

The experience system is pretty neat, too, and unlike any way I've seen, and does away with the whole XP concept, and works a bit more like what we see in heroic fiction.

DISLIKED: I have to admit, it seems to miss a certain... something not having the standard ability scores, but what it does have works well. Also, I think it could have used just a smidge more detail - just a tiny bit. A little more explanation on magic and experts (or maybe put the Expert special ability with the class description). Otherwise, it works nicely.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Quick20
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Displaying 1 to 6 (of 6 reviews) Result Pages:  1 
Back
You must be logged in to rate this
0 items
 Gift Certificates
Powered by DrivethruRPG