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VANGUARD RPG 'Varmisk Fallen' Core Rules
Publisher: Broken Tower
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/13/2016 15:13:07

02/13/2016 Review of Vanguard RPG Varmisk Fallen:


Layout: The production quality of this rule book is Excellent, with creative use of colors and artwork shapes. The consistent use of the hexagon is a reminder that people paid attention to artistic layout, and it demonstrates that they actually gave a d---n about what they were doing.


Text: The writing is straightforward, which is something I like when I read a rulebook. Just enough fluff to keep me interested, but it gets to the point quickly, cleanly, and it's easy to understand the first time you read it.


Game Play: Although this game is geared for kids, seems to be aimed at young kids? It is a very specific and detailed game. This will take away from children being able to play it, though it does say to simplify things if you find them too detailed. It uses d6 dice, so having common dice is always a plus.


Story / Content: It is a fascinating take on science fiction meets woodland creature aliens, a concept that sounds stupid at first... but it sneaks up on you.


Worth the money? Just barely worth the cost, though I think a second edition is being published. I am not sure if the second edition is an update or a rewrite, be aware of that situation before you buy this edition. Otherwise: a little expensive for a first edition that may be out-of-date.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
VANGUARD RPG 'Varmisk Fallen' Core Rules
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Wasuremonogatari, the Anime & Manga RPG
Publisher: Voidspiral Entertainment
by Petr P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/10/2016 02:12:16

Wasure Mono Gatari. (I break up the name with spacing, so that I know how to pronounce it.)
(2 Stars)


Layout and artwork. Design structure is fantastic, top-grade graphics and satisfactory or better anime sketches. Art will inspire you to play this game, if you can make it through the rules and theme (see below).


Game Setting. Entirely Asian culture-based, very imaginative but also very chaotic, unstructured. Reading the genre and theme in the text is detailed and informative, but it is also like watching Speed Racer mixed with Pokémon, or like eating sugar covered chocolate and washing it down with some soda (it's good for about 1 minute - then, it's too much!). Character concepts are highly-creative and heavily influenced by Asian culture. Make sure you understand that: this is not a "one-size-fits-all" game. Your group must be focused on anime / manga / chaotic oriental fantasy, all the way. It's like Jade Empire goes to 11 - once again, that sounds good... for about one minute. But then, it falls apart because it has no foundation in reality at-all. For western considerations? It's too much, too quick.


Game Mechanics. Actual game rules are easy enough: some simple formulas, an efficient skill list. Combat trait lists are a little much, though. Rolling dice is easy: roll a set pool of six-siders and add bonuses; reminds you of Silhouette Core, which is a system I like to use for crunchiness and variable dice outcomes. Not bad for Wasure Mono Gatari. That being said, it is a cinematic, narrative RPG even with the cool dice-rolling mechanic.


Price-Point: too expensive for what I paid for it, even with the discount. This game is over-priced, even though it is a decent enough game. This is why I rated it 2 stars: there needs to be more information, more pages, more art, more examples, more creativity. Page count is low - price is high. Not a good combination. This one point will hurt sales.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Wasuremonogatari, the Anime & Manga RPG
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Rocket Amoeba
Publisher: Silver Branch Games
by Petr P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/21/2015 02:34:09

Rocket Amoeba core rules. —


Easy to understand? Yes, RA is a deceptively delightful game core rules system. Simple - easy to grasp - written well. Straight to the point. Illustrates how game mechanics work while hiding a game depth that is undiscovered until played.


Fun to play? Yes, RA is fun to play. It has a few innovations that make it more interactive in the physical world. It has a simple, yet deep dice rolling mechanism and application. It needs some tweaking, but if you are an experienced game player (as I am), you should recognize right away what the problems may be for Rocket Amoeba. I fixed the problems within two hours of study and rules rewrites. Not much tweaking is needed, and the game is fun to play, which makes up for any problems.


Worth the money? Yes, RA is worth the money. There is a print copy available, I suggest you get the printed book as well. It is not a Graphic Design Monument to the Artist, but it is functional, clean, and well-written. As a PWYW product, you can't beat the price.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rocket Amoeba
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CORE Command Big Nasty Aliens
Publisher: Dream Pod 9
by Petr P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/20/2015 13:52:04

Core Command - Big Nasty Aliens


Is it easy to understand? BNA is a game supplement for Silhouette Core Rules, published mid-2000s. It is a dated RPG system, so this is a dated supplement for that system. However, it does do what it was designed to do: give you more aliens and story additions to play Core Command. Yes, it is easy to understand.


Is it fun to play? BNA provides background information that is only hinted at in Silhouette Core Rulebook and Core Command Player's Handbook. It is fun to play only if you have these books already.


Is it worth the money? Paying over $5.00 for a dated, unsupported supplement or core rulebook is a bit pricey, but not unreasonable at $7.00 or less (if you play Silhouette Core or the RPG in-question).



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
CORE Command Big Nasty Aliens
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CRGE, Conjectural Roleplaying GM Emulator
Publisher: Conjecture Games
by Petr P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/20/2015 13:44:52

Review of CRGE, Conjectural Roleplaying GM Emulator.


Description. CRGE is a universal game tool where you can emulate a GM's simple, basic responses to random events as they are created by the game's mechanics. It is NOT a replacement for a living, breathing human being, BUT it is a pretty good tool to create random events on-the-fly with simple questions and dice rolls.


Rules are easy to understand, simply laid-out for the reader. CRGE draws much influence from Mythic Role-Playing Game engine in the form of Yes / No questions and resolution chart. I think personally it does a better job of handling increasing intensity in the RPG game, but CRGE does not handle random events as well as Mythic. This is a tool, not a game - so, it is fun to use only if you think your RPG Core Rules are fun to play.


The Layout and Design of this product is simple, straight-forward. Nothing gets in the way of reading and absorbing the information. (A few more nicely-rendered illustrations may have helped, but not necessary.)


Is it worth the money? as you can Pay What You Want, I say it is definitely worth a few bucks. I suggest that you purchase this product, try it for yourself, if the reviews give you a clear idea as to what this game product can provide for your RPGs as a tool.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CRGE, Conjectural Roleplaying GM Emulator
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you for the review!
[%]
Publisher: Malachi Sharlow
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/17/2015 06:09:39

[%] -- I call it Chance -- is a Generic-Theme, Cinematic, Versatile, Abstract, Universal RPG game system, utilizing percentage chances to determine the outcome of action rolls.


Layout -- This Layout is deceptively good. Yes: it has stick figures. Yes: the layout is simple and somewhat spotted as far as margins and columns of text go. But it works and it looks good. The appearance and theme of a layout must succeed in order for people to try it. More work could have been done on the cover, and I would have liked to see more artwork, but it is pragmatic - simple - easy and fun to look at.


Text -- The game rules are simple enough, though you may have to review certain game functions a few times to get what the author is saying. You have plenty of examples and optional rules, though, to get the idea that this game not only needs House Rules - it actually encourages you to create House Rules as part of its core mechanic. If you are creative - most gamers are - you will like this system once you learn it.


Game Play -- This is where [%] shines, because it is not like many other games out there. Now, Hamilton, you said this game was simple and based on percentage rolls - how is that different? I will have to let you buy the game, to see how Chance cooks up percentage dice rolling differently. I want designers to make their money, which leads me to my next issue...


Value -- This game is heavily over-priced. It is a good value because the pages are packed - literally - with information... HOWEVER, There is still not enough effort put into this product to warrant a $10 cost - last few pages are optional rules and quick start charts (rehashed information, that is).


I want to give this game 5 stars for Layout and Game Play - but the Value is just not there for $10 cost, and until it is repriced, I can only give this game 2 stars due to the Value issue.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
[%]
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D6xD6 RPG Core Book
Publisher: Popcorn Press
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/28/2014 05:02:53

D6xD6 RPG Core Book is a hot mess.


Layout -- The rules for playing do not jump out at you, nor do they inspire you to play the game. The artwork is a hodge-podge jumbled pile of incoherent Photo-shopped photograph bits. (Some people think that they can put tomatoes, cheese, bread, and pepperoni into a blender and mix it into a pizza -- this is what D6xD6 seems to be like as far as the Layout is concerned.) Is this supposed to be a Universal system, or do you stick with Cthulu themes? I am confused when I look at this book, and confusion is bad in graphic design.


Text -- Text is satisfactory. Fonts are uninspired, bland. It does the job, I guess. There is no clear explanation of how Focus works: it almost seems that the less Focus you have, the better you are to accomplish tasks. I may have this wrong, but like I said: this work is confusing. I want to play games - not reinvent the wheel and muddle through uninteresting text and confusion to learn a new system.


Game Play -- Never even tried it, so I don't really know.


Compared to others like it -- How do you compare garbage to trash? I hate to be so harsh, I like to give good reviews - but what I hate worse is spending good money for things like this. I feel like it is a waste of even 2.99 in whatever currency it is charged. With all due respect, Mr. Smith: go back to the Drawing Board on this layout and game. The concept is a GOOD concept, but how it is executed here ruins the concept.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
D6xD6 RPG Core Book
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Starmada Nova Rulebook
Publisher: Majestic Twelve Games
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/31/2014 05:53:21

Layout -- POOR. Boring layout, limited art that is pristine but not interesting or inspiring. There are not many pictures depicting space battles, neither inside the ship nor outside in space! The cover of the book is EXCELLENT, whoever designed the cover showed that s/he actually gave a d++n about what s/he was doing. It needs more art, and more-interesting art, something that will inspire me to play this game.


Text -- GOOD. Excellent for a tech manual, but not inspiring. The text does an excellent job for what it is supposed to do, but nothing more.


Game Play -- POOR. Mechanics are good, but there are absolutely no diagrams for spaceship design! It's all text and numbers, there are no layouts that might inspire what ships look like.


I don't know of any other games like this; this was my first purchase for miniatures spaceship battle. I am sorely disappointed: the cover sold me on the game, but I should have suspected something was not entirely right when I found there is no sample to review the PDF before paying 11.30 for this. I feel somewhat robbed; I hope I can salvage this space game (no pun intended).



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Starmada Nova Rulebook
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Fate Core System
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/21/2013 12:36:19

Fate Core is a stream-lined version of the Fate mechanics. The selling points for this book are three fold: 1) Fate Core makes playing Fate rules much simpler without sacrificing game satisfaction, 2) The artistic layout of this book is excellent: easy to read, yet charming, organized, and inspiring. The artwork is appropriate and fun to look at, and 3) you are given permission to create a hard-copy of the PDF book for your own private use. This is a HUGE bonus, making this purchase well-worth the money you may spend for purchasing the product. These three facets have renewed my interest in creating games for Fate game mechanics.



  • I highly recommend paying for this particular book, for your RPG collection: as an RPG enthusiast, if you are like me, you will want people like those that work at Evil Hat Productions to publish more material like Fate Core, but they can't do that if no-one supports the products they can make with fairness and by balancing their work with a fair payment for their publication.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Core System
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Prime20: The Easy RPG
Publisher: Beach House Games
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/12/2012 00:17:17

Prime 20 is a reworking of sorts, drawing on elements of OGL D20 games and "refitting" them in a more-sensible fashion. However, I write reviews for three reasons: does the game deliver on it's advertised promise? does the layout appeal to the senses? and is it worth the cost to purchase it as is? I also like to deliver quick, simple answers, so here we go. (Each issue listed below will get a "+" mark if it is a positive remark, meant to cause the reader to purchase the game for that reason.)





    1. Does it deliver on "learning OGL games quickly" or "learning OGL stripped down to its essence"? I review these two issues, because the other advertised claims are ambiguous and can be fulfilled or not fulfilled by one's opinion of this game book as it applies to the OGL games others play. In short, it is more accurate to say that Prime 20 actually replaces other OGL games, and in this case, I think this is a good thing. (I tend to like cinematic, loose-ended RPGs and I shy away from mechanic-heavy rule-sets. Rules can get in the way of playing a game, and Prime 20 does a good job of explaining that.)






  1. Does the layout appeal to the senses? The book is a mere 34 pages of material (including a few pages of cover art and TOC); however, most of the pages contain mostly text with some simple line art illustrations. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it is just a disappointing aspect of the layout. In short, remember you are paying about 36 cents a page for a short-story project, where you could get a larger book for less money. Remember: RPGs are games and they are books, and that means they are also an art form. Art is important in a visual medium: Prime 20 fails to impress in the visual design respect, especially since I have experienced this game via PDF only. It feels bare-bones when read, and it's layout is juvenile: it needs work. (Not meant as an insult, but as information).



  2. Is it worth the cost to purchase this? To me, it is BARELY worth the cost, because the raw data is very useful and I will use the rules as written, with some minor tweaking. I don't like the current artistic effort so much; then again, I am a graphic artist by trade (perhaps I am too critical, for it is a better effort than most independents have provided. It's the PRICE versus quality that kills it for me.)


The bottom line: a great idea implemented in a poor manner for a rather large price. It feels complete and unfinished at the same time. Although I will use the rules, I am not happy at the cost to attain them.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Prime20: The Easy RPG
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BareBones Fantasy Role Playing Game
Publisher: DwD Studios
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/31/2012 16:31:40

BareBones Fantasy RPG (BBFR) is THE answer to the need for a simplified yet solid fantasy game experience. The rules balance complexity with core essence and value. This is a good value, jam-packed with information that skips all the "window-dressing" found in many other games. DwD took the best ideas in modern role-playing and formed an entirely new system around those concepts.


I highly recommend purchasing this product if you long for the days of sitting down to play a simple game, versus attending 8+ years of RPGU just so you can get your "doctorate degree" in one or two complex RPG systems!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BareBones Fantasy Role Playing Game
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The genreDiversion 3E Manual
Publisher: Precis Intermedia
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/16/2012 04:46:35

GD3E is a good system -- but there are a few major flaws within the rules.


Game mechanics are fine until they deal with Hit Points, Health, and Damage management. These issues are too complicated for the type of system that it pretends to be. If you can rework the health and damage, as I have, then it gets another extra star in the rating.


Also, GD3E is based on Active Exploits, a diceless variation of this system. My question is: why two systems for the same game? and why not in the same book as well, or more specifically, why not one book for one system? Why does the one book that explains this concept cost about $8, where as the diceless edition is free?


Another pet peeve I have is when I have to write my own skill and feat lists, when a game does not include these lists within its text. GD3E does not have an easy list of skills and feats (as such), so you will have to write these things down, in order to review what skills are available at character creation. It seems like an unnecessary, yet vital chore for me to perform. Make the lists, fer' cryin' out loud!



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
The genreDiversion 3E Manual
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HackMaster Basic (free)
Publisher: Kenzer & Company
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/16/2012 04:28:21

Hackmaster is an extensive set of rules. I am rating it based on this fact. While the five star and four star reviews will rate the game based on what it can do (and, in a detailed fashion), it also shows one important fact: if you are going to make THIS particular set of rules your ONLY set of rules to play a fantasy genre, then Hackmaster can be a very good choice. (You should just be aware of the time involved in learning this game.) The price makes up for the fact that it is a very intricate and detailed game experience; otherwise, a lower star rating would have been more appropriate. In my opinion, it gets three stars for recreating the wheel and making things too complicated, where other games have simplified certain game mechanics, but it is free after-all... until you want to upgrade to the next level of Hackmaster, that is...



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
HackMaster Basic (free)
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Creatures & Caverns 2nd Edition
Publisher: Griffon Publishing Studio
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/16/2012 04:18:02

Creatures & Caverns is a very simple OSR game, based loosely on the most popular fantasy RPG in the world. It's strong points are that it is indeed very simple to learn, and that it has good game mechanic balance because of that simplicity. It can be improved by adding more races and classes, monsters, tools for the characters, and other role-playing game rules. Not the worst game out there, and the price makes getting it worthwhile, if you want to briefly consider a different sort of fantasy rpg based on what you already know.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Creatures & Caverns 2nd Edition
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DCS Core rules
Publisher: DCS
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/05/2012 18:38:30

DCS: what can I say that is accurate and yet fair? (This is harder than it looks.) In one sentence, DCS looks like someone typed notes about a home-brew system and thought it was so good that it could stand on just the notation form of presentation. This PDF lacks a layout, lacks art, and lacks cohesion. If you are good at putting puzzles together, and if you want to give 5x the patience to deciphering the easy yet confusing rule set, then you MIGHT enjoy this game. However, there is not enough "new" or "sizzle" here to warrant the amount of time it would take to fix it. Even at under $2, in my opinion, this is a "miss". Perhaps with a little more TLC and thoughtfulness, DCS could come into its own.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
DCS Core rules
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