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Leverage Companion 04: Hollywood Hacking vs. the Real World
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/18/2013 11:18:35

I'd better come clean: I am both a senior computer professional (Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society) in real life AND I like playing the Hacker when I get to play Leverage or any other contemporary game with a similar role. This book says all the things I've been saying to GMs and game publishers (and my students) for years!

Hacking in movies or TV shows is nothing like real life. Most people, even the non-computerate, have some inkling of that, but here it is all laid out for you clearly. No whizzy 3D graphics, no fingers typing so fast that they are a blur with never a backspace or an enter key being pressed... probably a very dull-looking command line and rather more careful typing of what looks pretty much like gibberish to the uninitiated. Read this book and you'll find out what's wrong with movie/TV interpretations of the hacker's craft and just enough of what's right for you to sound a bit more convincing during a game.

One thing has been left out, which is a shame because it works so well in a Leverage game as well as in real life: human engineering. The weak link in any security system, computer ones included, is the human beings involved. Finding stuff out through bluff or research (passwords for example) is a lot easier than typing lines of code, and makes for a more entertaining game as well - because you don't have to be the computer geek to do it, so the whole Crew can get involved.

That, or pit a GM who knows about computers against your Hacker... now, it was Spycraft rather than Leverage but in one game the GM came along, plonked a laptop in front of me and said "Hack"... and I did, rather to his amazement!

If you run or play a contemporary or future game where computer hacking takes place, read this book. Most of it will be useful, even if the new Talents are Leverage-specific (nice ones, too!).

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Leverage Companion 04: Hollywood Hacking vs. the Real World
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