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Guardians of Order
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Spycraft 2.0 Rulebook - Second Printing
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/11/2007 03:04:08
Don't let the title fool you; Spycraft is no longer tied to the espionage genre. Instead, Crafty games has set for themselves the loft goal of creating the book d20 Modern SHOULD have been. And although d20M adherents will still stick to the WOTC version, Spycraft 2.0 is a superb action game in its own right and, like d20 Modern, a framework upon which other things can be built readily. The chase and duel mechanics, which can be applied to an infinity of tasks, are especially elegant and well worth melding into just about any RPG. A lovely game, the only downside being that printouts of the large, full-color book are going to be very complicated (and the most likely way to get a hardcopy until the new printing gets decent distribution).

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spycraft 2.0 Rulebook - Second Printing
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The Algernon Files (HERO)
Publisher: BlackWyrm Games
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/11/2007 01:53:51
Asking for originality from a four-color superhero campaign setting is not always wise. What Algernon Files does, and does very well, is present a playable and effective set of characters and setting ideas that are meldable very easily into existing Champions campaigns and rules. Hell's Belles in particular are likely to see use in other Champions games as free-agents or, possibly, misunderstood heroines. The presentation is very good and clear, which makes this even more useful. It's very hard to find anything to dislike about this book.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Algernon Files (HERO)
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Roleplaying Game
Publisher: Eden Studios
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/11/2007 01:48:28
If there is an RPG that compels one to burst into song in its praises, this is it. (No wait, how did Sweet get in here?) The Cinematic Unisystem is a very good system, but the real joy of the game it is treatment of Joss Whedon's legendary series and its elegant treatment of the inequality of power inherent such a genre. Among RPGs based on media licenses, this is one of the more playable, and gives GMs a lot more creative freedom than other licenses.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Roleplaying Game
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BESM Slayers: Try (Book 3)
Publisher: Guardians of Order
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/11/2007 01:37:06
The third and final season of Slayers had nice ideas and serious problems; the final Slayers UFG emphasizes the latter over the former. The sense that these very powerful characters are in waaaay over their heads in the Outer World is emphasized, and the sense that Lina is simply a pawn in a cosmic game about which she knows little if anything is the sort of thing that would kill a campaign were an RPG GM to try and use it. The series information is still well presented and illustrated, but the game material suggests nothing so much as no longer trying; there is no attempt to write up the principal villain of the storyarc because he's considered too powerful for anyone less than a god to take down. This gives heroes very little chance to actually be heroic, which is a killer in a campaign.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
BESM Slayers: Try (Book 3)
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BESM Slayers: Next (Book 2)
Publisher: Guardians of Order
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/11/2007 01:28:25
Slayers NEXT, the second season of the Slayers TV series, is the strongest story, not only exciting and funny but resonant as well (anybody who ever tells you Slayers isn't a love story ISN'T PAYING ATTENTION). So it shouldn't be surprising that this is the strongest of the Slayers UFGs as well. The game material has been cleaned up substantially and is more accurate (Lina can now actually CAST the Dragon Slave, his signature spell which somehow got left off her Book 1 writeup). The only problem from a game perspective is that several vital characters are not written up at all because they're so powerful that they would overwhelm even characters at this extreme power level. This can result in a campaign situation where epic-level PCs end up feeling like helpless pawns in somebody else's game, something GMs are best off avoiding. Thus, the book would have benefited from about 20 more pages of setting material providing manageable challenges for non-Lina's Gang PCs.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
BESM Slayers: Next (Book 2)
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BESM Slayers 1
Publisher: Guardians of Order
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/11/2007 01:22:35
Slayers was the final anime series to get the full Ultimate Fan Guide treatment, and this is a nice attempt. The first portion of the book, an episode guide to the first 26 episodes, is well-done and has some nice information and insights. Unfortunately, the game material is a mess; there are glaring errors in the proofreading and in the writeups. Slayers completists will want this book; Slayers purists will be rather unhappy with it.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
BESM Slayers 1
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BESM d20 Revised Edition
Publisher: White Wolf
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/11/2007 01:16:54
At the height of the d20 boom, Guardians of order evidently decided that to compete they had to have a d20 version of their flagship title, Big Eyes, Small Mouth. This was the sort of bandwagon thinking that probably contributed to their downfall.

The game that resulted is a somewhat broken effort to meld a point-buy system onto the d20 core mechanic. As attempts to do this go, it wasn't bad -- I have seen (and they have done) worse. However, interesting an exercise as it is, it is not nearly as playable or effective as it needed to be to really have a chance. Not so much a lost opportunity as an object lesson in the dangers of game design hubris.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
BESM d20 Revised Edition
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Big Eyes, Small Mouth 3rd Edition
Publisher: White Wolf
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/11/2007 01:10:58
One of the things that makes me so sad about the demise of GoO is that what they were good at, they were REALLY good at. The 3rd and presumably final edition of Big Eyes, Small Mouth is a grand addition to the line, with cleaner character creation and an idea-inspiring template system that is what classes SHOULD have been in most other RPGs. If you love anime RPGs, you need to have this in your collection.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Big Eyes, Small Mouth 3rd Edition
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Slayers d20
Publisher: Guardians of Order
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/11/2007 01:05:40
A very nice application of d20 to an extremely high-powered setting, and (within its limitations) a nice guidebook to the classic fantasy comedy/adventure anime. This is the RPG book you want if you too love Lina Inverse (and you know you do.....)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Slayers d20
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