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Stock Art: Xaoling (Chaotic Planar Race)
Stock Art: Xaoling (Chaotic Planar Race)
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R.I.S.K. Roleplaying is Simple Kids
Publisher: Art of War Games
by Bill D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/08/2014 04:17:08
This is really very slick! This would be a great introductory game for kids or fine to use as a rules light pick up game for anyone. The game mechanic is simple enough to use for a board game but doesn't feel overly simple. It's elegant. I think it has enough crunch to make the different characters distinct, and the skilled characters clearly have an edge over the untrained. It succeeds in its stated purpose of being accessible without being overly simple.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
R.I.S.K. Roleplaying is Simple Kids
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A5 Maps
Publisher: Gold Piece Publications
by Bill D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/02/2014 00:13:09
This is really good. This will be handy for a pick up game or random side mission, or even for a Teleport spell that misfires and plops the party in some random place. Poof! you have maps!

and the maps are good too! I love the blank and DM versions.

Very useful.

Worth a few bucks, IMO.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A5 Maps
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Super Heroes Unite!
Publisher: DD Art Studio
by Bill D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/27/2014 01:57:32
I like this. It does what it sets out to do and is a value for the price.

The art is what it is, though I didn't realize it's in color: I thought it was line art that one could color oneself. This isn't a flaw, per se, it just wasn't clear to me because the cover art looks like the figures were hand colored.

Mechanics wise, it works and is a fun little system for kids or for killing time before everyone arrives.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Super Heroes Unite!
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Bad Myrmidon
Publisher: Neoplastic Press
by Bill D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/15/2013 08:44:16
I really dig this adventure!
It's well done, and the 'book' would be worth paying for just for the art!

It's a good sandbox, with well written challenges and the whole thing is fun to explore and play.

Fight on, Mandy!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bad Myrmidon
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C&C Fantasy Races Unlocked! Kobolds
Publisher: Christina Stiles Presents
by Bill D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/10/2013 19:14:20
This is totally a great expansion.
Usable with a tiny tweak or two with d20 type games too!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
C&C Fantasy Races Unlocked! Kobolds
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S&S: Spirits & Spurs
Publisher: Dave Bezio's Grey Area Games
by Bill D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/21/2013 19:58:19
This is SO COOL!

A great way to introduce a little Weird West to SnS (or other western games, if you work it a bit). This supplement allows you to play a small posse who are akin to the Men in Black, fighting demons and such that the common folk refuse to believe are real. It's a great way to add just a touch of weird west without it becoming overwhelming. (or it could, if you want).

Again, Dave's deft touch of using familiar tropes well but innovately so it doesn't feel cliche.

in 5 words or less: GET THIS

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
S&S:  Spirits & Spurs
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Shotguns & Saddles
Publisher: Dave Bezio's Grey Area Games
by Bill D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/21/2013 19:54:33
Another winner from Dave Bezio!

Clever character design that is class-less yet archetypical. Innovative yet familiar alignment and other d20-esque elements make the game a breeze to learn.

The setting (as such) characters and things make great use of the Wild West tropes without being cliched. The game is more crunchy than X-plorers, but still rules light IMO, allowing story and player to player tabletop fun to take precedence over rules lawyering.

A great read, and a great game!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shotguns & Saddles
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Alien & Robot Class Design
Publisher: Brave Halfling Publishing
by Bill D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/20/2013 19:09:18
This is a great expansion for X-plorers!
Grab a copy!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Alien & Robot Class Design
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Retro Space Set Four: Space Hero Squad
Publisher: Okumarts Games
by Bill D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/20/2013 19:08:24
Love it!
the color layers make it easy to make different squads or whatever.
can't wait for more!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Retro Space Set Four: Space Hero Squad
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Dagger for Kids: Supplemental Rules for Classic Role-playing with Kids
Publisher: Brave Halfling Publishing
by Bill D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/01/2013 05:35:49
In a word, Dagger is Superb!

GET DAGGER if you have kids or even if you enjoy rules-light gaming as an adult. It uses any OSR game as a base, so you can use Descending or Ascending AC, whichever you like better. But even if you don't have your "big" books with you, You can play Dagger on the fly, so it may serve as a good, cheap, on the go pick up game or a simple game to introduce new players or to take camping. But to introduce kids to tabletop RPGs, it's perfect.

I think I'm becoming minimalist in my gaming preferences because Dagger has no Attributes and I find that liberating! That's right, no STR, DEX, CON etc... how is this possible? You know what? it totally works!

Dagger is designed to distill OSR/D&D down to the minimum to make it accessible for kids as young as 5. I dare say it does this flawlessly. This Sunday, I 'ran a combat' with my 5 year old daughter, and she basically got it on the first try. She just turned 5 in January and it was a hoot. I can totally see this working for kids 5-10. I can see how using figures would totally help with younger kids.

The spell list captures the iconic spells of the game, and the rule book states it's a suggested list. With only 4 spells of each level (levels 1-5) you may want to add more, and it's super easy to do (which was the bulk of my house rules). You can basically just plop in spells from from S&W, OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord, C&C, D&D Oe, 1e... not hard to fudge it on the fly even. That said, since this is for 5 to 10 year olds, keeping a tight focus (that is, short spell list) is wise. Also, with no Ability stats, spells like (Bull's) Strength and Haste simply won't work.

The characters are simple but effective at capturing the essence of each class, and here, as you may expect, Dwarf and Elf are classes. You can of course, call the Knight an Amazon or Warrior Princess or the Wizard a Fairy Princess or whatever any player wants, really. They can be a Gorn or zombie, even, and the rules support this on the fly make-believe fun; as they should!

So in brief, Dagger does what it sets out to do, and it does it well. It's great as an introduction to gaming for the young or for older kids or even grown ups who are afraid of dealing with a ton of rules.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dagger for Kids: Supplemental Rules for Classic Role-playing with Kids
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(Dice Games) Ship, Captain, Crew
Publisher: Creative Mountain Games
by Bill D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/17/2013 06:25:29
A great little game. A fun variant of what you'd expect from a Farkle / Yahtzee type game. Perhaps you could call it a See-low version of Yahtzee?

Although Cosmic Wimpout is still my favorite, Ship, Captain, Crew is a lot of fun and a great side game for any evening, or to add some side fun to an RPG session.

(certainly the price can't be beat). :)

The PDF itself is well done, and based on it's strengths, I'd grab other CMG products.

PDF = 5 Stars
Game = 5 Stars

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
(Dice Games) Ship, Captain, Crew
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Castles & Crusades: Monstrous Menaces #2: Blade Dancer, Goblin, and Tharghûl
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Bill D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/23/2012 07:35:18
BUY THIS!

Buy everything James Mishler has written, it's all GOLD.

The Tharghul kicks ass, and this detailed take on goblins is very extensive and outstanding. The blade dancer is a great construct to add to your game also.

Easy to convert to d20, pathfinder or any OGL game, also.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades: Monstrous Menaces #2: Blade Dancer, Goblin, and Tharghûl
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Crypts and Things
Publisher: D101 Games
by Bill D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/01/2012 05:36:39
In five words or less: I LOVE IT!

C&T captures the flavor it intends to – the feel of weird fantasy sword and sandal pulp stories. A S&W variant, it’s more Howard, Leiber, Moorcock and Lovecraft than Tolkien, but you knew that already.

So the flavor of the game is fun and well executed, and it affects the rules in a few significant ways. There are four classes, the Barbarian, Fighter, Magician, and thief. Every PC! Yes, since “everyone is a rogue” in these stories, all the PCs can backstab if they get the drop on a target. I like this, and it doesn’t take away from the thief class.

This thief is more Gray Mouser than Bilbo Baggins, maybe a slightly better fighter than the original thief, but other than that is basically the thief we know and love.

The fighter has some neat options to customize their abilities and make sure they’re not all cookie cutter fighters. This design strikes a nice balance between feats and kits or fighter subclasses. They can be monk-like brawlers or pursue weapon mastery, for example, but can’t do it all. I find this to be an elegant way to add options without too many rules and power bloat.

The barbarian is well designed to honor the tropes of Barbarian while being distinct from the fighter class. Again, since everyone can backstab this feels very Conan to me (admittedly, I haven’t read all of Howard’s Conan stories and only a few Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories, but C&T gives me this impression).

The Magician can learn magic that in regular S&W (or any OSR or D&D game) would be Wizard and Cleric magic; now it’s just Magic: organized into White, Grey, and Black magic. Naturally white magic is good and kind and helpful, Black is evil and harmful, and Grey is the other spells that transform, hypnotize, charm, or create. Here the rules changes get interesting.

The most significant rule change IMO is that hit points are not representing one’s physical health and well being; hit points represent their endurance, willpower and stamina; their Grit if you will. So PCs are not killed at 0 hp, they start taking Constitution damage. Naturally your character is killed at 0 CON.

I really like this change! Because of it,healing is different; healing spells only heal CON damage, not HP. Also, your HP refresh every night of full rest (since they’re more about mental and physical stamina than physical healing) and you can even ‘heal’ some HP with a good stiff drink. This too, totally works for me: The heroes gird their loins, take a swing of bravery, and leap once more into the fray. Perfect. I’d argue a good rousing speech would heal some HP following this paradigm. There are magical healing potions as well, but they’re far less common than normal S&W.

This really gets interesting with magic, as White magic can be cast as often as you can memorize it (the familiar Vancian system) with no negative effects (except one 6th level White spell that pisses off the evil entities). Casting Gray Magic costs your Magician Hit Points. It’s the classic trope of suffering physical strain to use magic forces that Man Was Not Meant To Tamper With. It SO WORKS! Black magic is even better: You have to kill a sentient being to or risk Sanity Loss to cast Black magic spells. LOVE IT. And Wisdom equals Sanity Points in C&T, similar to Call of Chuthulu, but simpler.

There are most of the spells you’d expect, a few that are new (to my knowledge) and most are tweaked to better fit the setting. The "skill system" if there is one is to use the character's Saving Throw (modified by attribute bonus or penalty) to resolve any roll not covered by class abilities or defined some other way. I first encountered this method in X-plorers, and find it to be elegant - simple yet effective, and it keeps the game fast-paced.

The setting included in the book, the world of Zarth, reinforces the entire milieu perfectly. I’ll leave it at that, because it’s a good read, but I'm excited about the Shroud, which surrounds and permeates the world of Zarth and is a source of power for Magicians daring to use it. The Shroud, sort of like the Mists of Ravenloft, is the thin veil that encases and separates the world from the Outer Chaos (or whatever it’s called). Some Black Magic spells function because the caster interacts directly with the Shroud. For example, slipping into it other-worldly ethereal non-space to disappear from one location and reappear in another (teleport). Another example is to use the Shroud to become invisible, just like when Frodo puts on the One Ring and enters the Nazgul phantom zone (so there’s your Tolkien, if you must have it, LOL). Naturally, travelling in the Shroud is a sanity-bending experience for the uninitiated and it attracts all sorts of attention from the Others (C&T’s name for Outsiders/Demons/Elder Chaos beings, etc). Good stuff!

The magic items and creatures all follow this sort of design and enhance the flavor of the setting and game swimmingly, and I think the whole of C&T totally rocks, if that wasn’t clear already. The book itself is well illustrated and laid out well. I bought the pdf to save money, but even printed on three hole punched paper and put in a binder it looks great. I also like the art; it is it effective, evocative and kinetic. Just take a gander at that great cover!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Crypts and Things
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MARS: The Roleplaying Game of Planetary Romance (d20 version)
Publisher: Adamant Entertainment
by Bill D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/12/2012 05:46:45
I downloaded the free preview, and liked it enough to grab the full game. I wanted to jot a quick review while the sale was still going on.

I'd say if you're on the fence about this game, GET IT. I haven't read it cover to cover and haven't had a chance to play it yet, but it is really cool. The setting is great; it does what it sets out to do. They capture the flavor of Barsoom, add a side order of HG wells and a generous dash of HP Lovecraft. The PC white apes are a little more Planet of the Apes than Barsoom (I think, having only read A Princess of Mars) but that makes them more playable as a PC race. THe rules for the Earthman race are cool, and the classes are neat.

A very strong addition to the d20 rule-set is the Stunts rules (Making combat more interesting and swashbuckling), and I like the Device Points mechanic for the Mad Scientist advanced class.

One gripe, and this might just be my ignorance of Savage Worlds in general, is I didn't find it clear if you need the SW core book to play the SW version of Mars. This would be a fun setting in which to explore SW, and I might have tried the SW version if I knew I didn't need the core book. That said, they're both half off right now....

Summary: this seems Awesome! If you like low/non magic swashbuckling pulp entertainment, you'll dig it. Of you're not sure, try it out anyway, it might change your mind.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
MARS: The Roleplaying Game of Planetary Romance (d20 version)
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MARS Free Preview
Publisher: Adamant Entertainment
by Bill D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/10/2012 21:15:54
Looks good enough to make me want the full d20 version.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
MARS Free Preview
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