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    Realms of Death: A World Resource for Arrowflight
    Publisher: Deep7
    by Victor D. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 06/18/2021 14:47:35

    I bought my first copy of Arrowflight in 2002, and it has remained my favoutite fantasy RPG system ever since. Over the years I have acquired all the various expansions for both editions of the system, and I was awaiting Realms of Death with some considerable expectation ...

    The book is perfect bound with a good front cover and excellent internal artwork, although I did find the map a little hard to read (must be my eyes!). The artwork is in the same 'computer generated' style as Lands of Enchantment, and looks pretty nifty - and it certaily fits with the setting. The setting for this sourcebook is of a fantasy 'Africa' - and this is all but unique in my experince! Whilst a few RP games have dabbled with non-European based fantasy settings (Maztica etc), very few (if any) have been based on an entirely African theme, and this makes both a welcome change of feel, pace and substance. Rich in 'history' and with oodles of additional rules, options, ideas & setting specific monsters & character options, Realms of Death is both a major addition to the Arrowflight setting and system and a good read in its own right.

    In addition to the setting, more material is provided on the settings own 'Underworld' - both the Caverns of Chaos & the City of Truth get expanded material (including more Demonic and Angelic race stats), and (much more interstingly) a big expansion of the settings theology also provide a glimpse into some of the non-human/variant human religions and their gods realms.

    I did spot a few typo's and formatting errors in the book, but these are very minor and will probably be missed at speedy read speed or at a cursory glance - and they do not detract from either the value of the book or its material.

    The PDF contains the exact same material as the book - BUT I did find my copy of the PDF has an annoyng formatting error - some of the artwork appears to have had the images 'flipped over' vertically, resulting in some unsightly distortions that spoil them utterly. I've yet to decide if these faults are a result of the download, or they're systemic to the PDF itsefl. Whilst they do NOT affect the value of the material and rules one bit, they do mean that anyone printing their PDF will get a less than 100% version compared to the print copy.

    The book rates the full 5 stars given below, the PDF gets 4.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Realms of Death: A World Resource for Arrowflight
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    Battle for Diratia - Wargame & RPG hybrid
    Publisher: Productions Diratia
    by Victor D. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 06/05/2021 03:15:03

    Battle for Diratia is a bit of an enigma - I'm not sure whether it's a table-top miniatures wargame masquerading an an RPG-Lite, or an RPG-Lite dressed up as a table-top wargame!

    1. The rules are easily accessible and elegantly simple (but see below), but require either the player use a 3d printed proprietry dice (which don't appear to be commercialy available anywhere, at least at this time; it really is a case of print them yourself, or pay someone to print them for you) or use regular d6 but remember what each face represemts within the game system. As buying a 3d printer for some dice will be beyond most gamers, and paying someone else to print for you will suffer the usual problem with scale efficieny - who's going to be willing to print a small number of items without charging a lot more per item for them? In this case, it'll be remember what each face of the d6 means - and whilst that's none too onerous, some may feel its easier/better/quicker to simply stick with a ruleset which utilises 'regular' dice, and where what you roll is what you see.

    2. The rules are '... elegantly simple ...' well, yes, they are, but with many of the RPG elements simplified to better fit the battlegame option, veteran RPG players might find that the system lacks any real depth and substance. Almost all RPG's I've played make character creation (alongside combat and magic/psionics type setting appropriate widgets) the core of the system, yet in BFD treats character creation almost as an option in the system, and recommends players use pre-generated characters. A nifty character sheet is provided - both in colour and printer friendly b/w, as is a unit record sheet in same.

    3. Magic, that standard trope of fantasy, gets a similar light weight touch, keeping it neat,. clean and simple, but again lacking much of the depth and flavour found in more traditional rulesets. And again, with the system being lightweight, there's not much room for manoeuver. A nice touch (for me at least, it might not appeal to some traditionalists!) sees the magic in use at all tech levels (see settings below) ...

    4. Settings: The basic rules provide the barest bones of a setting, little more than an abbrviated timeline (that consists mostly of headers), a map with no immediately obvious scale and no map features at all (no towns, cities, rivers, mountains, hill ... nothing; the map is effectively a blank), and a long series of tech tables that go from stone-age rock weapons right through to atomic bombs and on to ultra-tech blasters (BFD strives to cover a LOT of timeline, but very thinly!), and a series of army list type entries that can go from cavemen (using those aforementioned stone-age weapons) through tanks, fighters, battleships (amazingly, you can play destroyers, cruisers, battlecruisers, battleships, submarines) to space ships and beyond. All the almost standard fantasy race tropes are there - Orcs, Elves, Dwarves, Humans, alonside an large range of hybrid races (Wolf Man, CatMan, Bear Man etc etc), and a decent sized bestiary is also to be found ... some of the beasties are pretty tough!

    5. Quality is pretty good, although I did spot a few typo's here and there - these do't matter too much (it's easy to discern the writers intentions) and presentation is OK. The use of pictures of painted miniatures is becoming industry standard, but perhaps some of close-ups of some of the miniatures weren't such a great idea. At 152 pages you'll either need a lot of colour printer ink to get a print copy, or you'll be paying someone to print it colour for you (which can be costly) - you could print b/w, but in turn you'll lose much of the presentation.

    In straining to cover as much as possible (stone age to space age) whilst using a simple (proprietry) 1d6 type system, BFD does the job by spreading itself very, very thinly. Many pure fantasy gamers will not need the extraneous high/uber tech stuff, whilst fantasy GM's will find the setting/blank map more tiime & work than they might be willing to invest (although some will love it - a blank canvas!), and those who are seeking a 'one-system-covers-it-all' type game will probably be already acqainted with GURPS and may well find BFD somewhat lacking in comparison.

    I checked the BFD website for further details, but as yet it's fairly light on them (and mainly reiterates & repeats the rules in the PDF) and I found the feedback section didn't work. It may be that future support for BFD will expand the game more - with a bit more substance, BFD could grow to be something very impressive.

    On balance I like BFD in many respects, but asking myself will it replace my preferred RPG or table-top fantasy skirmish/battle games? No, I'm afraid it won't, not at this time.



    Rating:
    [3 of 5 Stars!]
    Battle for Diratia - Wargame & RPG hybrid
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    Creator Reply:
    Thank you so much for your in-depth review of BFD 3.0. Your comment is important to us. We will use it to better our game, for the upcoming versions. Here is a short list of how we will make it better thanks to your review: -The availability of the dice is an issue we do not have much control on at the moment, but we are in the process of starting to produce them using a plastic cast and start selling them in cons throughout Canada and the US. -For the depth of the system, we did want to make something simple, but we agree that we need to expand on the rules to give more options for more veteran players. -For the setting, we are going to expand on it, both in the rulebook, on the wiki and in the upcoming scenarios. For the map there is a link to a full-rez version where you can see all the details: https://www.easyzoom.com/imageaccess/f698489823be4d4895e0a951f9dbcfa6 -For the Typos… We really need to be more attentive to detail when I repass through the book at every release. The fact that we are French does not help either. -For the print-on-demand, we currently update the game every month which would make it hard to say: “This is the definitive version.” We believe a perfect system cannot exist so we want to update it forever. -The comparison with GURPS is important to us as we used this system for years and what we wish to be is a simpler and easier to learn version of GURPS with added wargaming options. We posted a hotfix for the broken links in the book and will try to implement as much of your recommendations as we can in the next version. Your review really will push us forward and please join our discord to stay in contact, we need more people like you! https://discord.gg/jBsC9CDG Have a great game!
    Stars & Lasers - The Ships That Never Were...
    Publisher: Mac
    by Victor D. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 01/29/2021 10:56:36

    This is a great addition to the Stars & Lasers line of expansions ... a range of experiemntal, prototype and shipwrights cheese-dream warships, complete with all the rules pertinent to them & a good suuply of ship data sheets that only require printing and laminating )or pouches) to get straight into play.

    Each of the ship designs presented in this expansion are unique in some way, but all are 'improvements' upon the standard ship types commonly used in the game. But, as well as being faster, or better armed, or 'special' in some way, each of the ships comes with design flaws, technical faults or other (often serious) issues that can cause not end of problems (and a great deal of hilarity and fun) for their users & their opponents!

    As with all the other Stars & Lasers rules & expansions, this rule book is clearly and concisely presented, with a clean layout that covers each ship type in sequence (rather than scattering the rules throughout the rulebook), and with an index to aid finding things in a hurry. The artwork is suitable and simple too.

    Stars & Lasers - the main rules & all the expansions - is setting agnostic, and any miniatures by any manufacturer can be used with these rules without difficulty.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Stars & Lasers - The Ships That Never Were...
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    Stars & Lasers Solo Games
    Publisher: Mac
    by Victor D. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 01/27/2021 14:27:52

    A few games are written with some vague suggestions as to how they can be played solo, but it's not common for these solo play rules to be much more than well meaning 'guidelines, hints & helpful suggestions' rather than a fully written yet simple system of solo play. Yet, as gamers, we all have days when no-one else is around to roll dice with us ...

    However, the solo play rules presented here are a simple and clear means of handling typical games using writers own rules set - Stars & Lasers - but they could easily be used with other similar (or even not quite so similar) games without any major changes. These simple rules work by setting the behaviour of the opposition at 1 of 3 levels of aggression, and then providing tactical guidance as how to handle their units in play bearing in mind their level of aggression - as with many solo play systems a little bit of common sense is required to get the most from them, but they work fine and are easy to use and there's no requirement for endless & onerous dice rolls to make decisions randomly.

    To prevent the oppositions behavious from getting too predictable, the writer also provides rules for some occasional and sudden changes in the oppositions aggression level, which in turn will change their behaviour in the game - this can mean that that enemy you were beating into running away might just turn round and counter-attack you without warning! Additional rules allow for other unpredictable (and sometimes alarming) events to occur, all of which cold very well change the games dynamic suddenly.

    Using these will allow those of us who can't find a regular opponent (or are currently locked down and unable to meet old friends) to play against an opponent who can be rather unpredictable but not unbeatable!



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Stars & Lasers Solo Games
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    Aeronef Captain's Handbook
    Publisher: Wessex Games
    by Victor D. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 10/27/2020 16:11:14

    An expansion for Aeronef.

    Same simple format, the rules are simplicity itself, and most of the content is tweaks & setting tech variation.

    If you like Aeroef, you'll want these, and for this price they're worth it.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Aeronef Captain's Handbook
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    Aeronef
    Publisher: Wessex Games
    by Victor D. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 10/27/2020 16:08:32

    A very, very simple set of flying battleships rules, these make for a quick playing and fun suspend-your-disbelief-and-don't-ask-any-questions game.

    No - they don't bother to model altitude. This would overly complicate what is otherwise a basic and simple rulesset, and their inspiration of pre-WW1 ships sailing along blatting each other in gentlemanly line of battle doesn't require it.

    For the price, these are great fun rules, and if your so inclined, easily mod-able to fit your requirements.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Aeronef
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    Platoon Leader Twofer [BUNDLE]
    Publisher: Legionnaire Games
    by Victor D. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 10/27/2020 16:04:32

    Excellent value for the price. I've reviewed the rules & expansion separately.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Platoon Leader Twofer [BUNDLE]
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    Avalon Starship Counters Set 6
    Publisher: Avalon Game Company
    by Victor D. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 10/27/2020 16:03:19

    Simple & inexpensive printable spaceship counters in a variety if shapes - nicely coloured too. Very nice and a boon for those who haven't the room for miniatures, or for those whom space gaming is just a sideshow to the ground battle.

    Happy to recommend.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Avalon Starship Counters Set 6
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    Avalon Starship Counters Set 5
    Publisher: Avalon Game Company
    by Victor D. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 10/27/2020 16:03:06

    Simple & inexpensive printable spaceship counters in a variety if shapes - nicely coloured too. Very nice and a boon for those who haven't the room for miniatures, or for those whom space gaming is just a sideshow to the ground battle.

    Happy to recommend.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Avalon Starship Counters Set 5
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    Avalon Starship Counters Set 4
    Publisher: Avalon Game Company
    by Victor D. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 10/27/2020 16:02:51

    Simple & inexpensive printable spaceship counters in a variety if shapes - nicely coloured too. Very nice and a boon for those who haven't the room for miniatures, or for those whom space gaming is just a sideshow to the ground battle.

    Happy to recommend.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Avalon Starship Counters Set 4
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    Avalon Starship Counters Set 3
    Publisher: Avalon Game Company
    by Victor D. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 10/27/2020 16:02:38

    Simple & inexpensive printable spaceship counters in a variety if shapes - nicely coloured too. Very nice and a boon for those who haven't the room for miniatures, or for those whom space gaming is just a sideshow to the ground battle.

    Happy to recommend.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Avalon Starship Counters Set 3
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    Avalon Starship Counters Set 2
    Publisher: Avalon Game Company
    by Victor D. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 10/27/2020 16:02:24

    Simple & inexpensive printable spaceship counters in a variety if shapes - nicely coloured too. Very nice and a boon for those who haven't the room for miniatures, or for those whom space gaming is just a sideshow to the ground battle.

    Happy to recommend.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Avalon Starship Counters Set 2
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    Avalon Starship Counters Set 1
    Publisher: Avalon Game Company
    by Victor D. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 10/27/2020 16:02:09

    Simple & inexpensive printable spaceship counters in a variety if shapes - nicely coloured too. Very nice and a boon for those who haven't the room for miniatures, or for those whom space gaming is just a sideshow to the ground battle.

    Happy to recommend.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Avalon Starship Counters Set 1
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    Task Force Zeta Vol. 1: Ships of the Line
    Publisher: Legionnaire Games
    by Victor D. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 10/27/2020 15:59:12

    Having bought SL:PC an it's expansion I was tempted to buy these - mainly to scratch the itch I'd had ever since seeing them (when buying Starmada and womdering if I'd chosen the wrong horse!).

    These rules are somewhat less densely formatted and slightly more clearly (and simply) written when compared to SL:PC, and I found much in the rules and system to like, so as space agmes go it's a pretty good one, although it has some tough competitors in Full Thrust and Starmada. However, again the record sheets are a bit of a let down (although superior to hand drawing your record sheets in ther games) - getting the editable ones is a great idea.

    Like almost all space games (the better ones!) the game comes with a ship design system - like the rules this is quite complicated compared to some others but works well, and I liked the option for including varied tech levels. But I also felt the range of weappons wasn't quite as flexible or varied as perhaps that of Starmada (but which one is?)

    Overall this is a good game.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Task Force Zeta Vol. 1: Ships of the Line
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    Platoon Leader: Strange New Worlds
    Publisher: Legionnaire Games
    by Victor D. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 10/27/2020 15:45:47

    As well as Platoon Commander I bought these as a slice of expansion fun & then found I had the same problem as I had had with the main rules, namely the densely written and formatted rules. These rules are expansions on an already fairly chwey and complex set of rules, so it's very much a case of if you liked the main SL:PC rules you'll be pleased with these, but if (like me) you found the rules a bit much, you'll be somewhat less than delighted.

    Again the rules are worth a 4 but the solid, dense text, formatting and complexity make them a 3 for me.



    Rating:
    [3 of 5 Stars!]
    Platoon Leader: Strange New Worlds
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