Hats off to Joseph M!
It has been a week since I got this and I have played through the opening scenario with a couple groups of friends. My wife who has played board games and the occasional rpg, but never a minis wargame, really enjoyed the ease of the game and making characters. She had painted up a ranger for a D&D game years ago, but now wants to get minis for the rest of her companions.
Our group is painters, and we love co-op games (which up till now were exclusively board games) and it really scratches an itch for a minis game. I own Frostgrave, and like the system, but I never really got into it because we play a number of competitive miniatures wargames. I heard about Rangers of Shadow Deep from Guerilla MIniature Games on youtube. The cooperative style of game was something we had been trying to shoe horn with other systems, to some success, but RoSD really struck me as different enough to motivate me to try it. EVeryone who has tried it has enjoyed the game, and we're concocting plans for mini painting making new terrain!
What I like:
Character creation and companion choice are nice features. There is a heroic abilty and spell list that can give your character a lot of variety to the way they play. There are enough that our characters did not have much overlap in what was chosen. The companions are a nice touch, and for me as a mini painter, I want to put together a cool retinue to accompany my hero.
Combat is very clean. To hit roll and damage are the same in this game, and seemed strange when I first heard it (in Frostgrave) but it works. There are not a lot of modifiers to the dice roll (it uses only d20) but the ones included make sense. There can be some streakiness to it....a lucky giant rat really mashed up one ranger and took down a companion. Not the stuff of heroic legends but something that might inspire players take the "dice reroll" ability.
Playing cards are used for random events, and there's is a table for when clues are discovered. It's a mechanic that can change how the story narrative of the game. The two opening scenario mission we played turned out different. One group discovered a survivor, a body and an interesting weapon, where the other group got a very valuble potion and handy herbs, while never finding survivors, or the body, or weapon.
There are 14 scenarios/missions which will provide a good amount of gaming. The random events and cards can give the same mission enough differences to make it worth replaying.
Want I don't like:
Two missions in I have not played it enough to find any issues with game play.
Shooting is handled shoot skill vs fight skill. This doesn't quite hit me...but I will need more time in the game to see how it works out.
As I own the game, I have taken it on to set up the games so my friends don't have to know the spoilers. Hopefully someone else in my group will do it when a new supplement comes out, so I don't always have to be the one seeing behind the curtain. I like rpgs, and I like not knowing the story.
Print copy. It's good enough. It's a minor complaint, but there's a grey color gradient at the top and bottom of the pages to give it a rustic look -like a parchment perhaps. It has that feel of newsprint, which is just ...dry and uncomfortable to me. Very minor. If I were to make a similar publication I would do a line border rather than the grey scale that was done. As I said very minor and I am looking for any reactions, good and ill, for this product.
All in All:
It's a winner. If you like Frostgrave, you will already be at home with the system, although there are some minor differences.
If you and your group wants a co-operative story adventure miniature (or tokens) skirmish war-game with character advancement and campaign...
This is it.
We're going to play the heck out it.
Thank you Joseph.