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Call of Cthentacle: Spankham Asylum
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/09/2012 13:19:41

When the star(let)s are right, it is said that they shall return…and now they have! Spankham Asylum is the newest expansion for Postmortem Studios Cthentacle card game. Spankham Asylum introduces twenty new cards of various types, and two new characters to suffer the perverse attentions of the Great Old Ones.


While the amount of cards is consistent with previous sets, what makes Spankham Asylum fun is the completely shameless fun it has in its theme. Once again, artist Darkzel beautifully illustrates everything from mild titillation to hot girl-on-polyp action; the cards themselves continue to involve terrible puns, such as The Book of Eiboner and The Color in My Face.


My perennial complaint with these expansions is that the seven types of cards – the 1-5 number cards, the ! (exclamation point) cards, and the SP cards – are in an uneven amount, meaning that you can have, for example, more 4 cards than there are 3 cards. One can say that this is the natural result of trying to squeeze seven card types into a twenty-card set, but I have to wonder if it wouldn’t have been easier to just add an additional eight cards to bring things up to four of each type.


Still, I have to give credit where credit is due, and give a nod to the fact that the rules do include a half-page of card clarification. This is an important point, as card games seem to bring out the rules lawyers like nothing else. My only complaint is that there are no explanations for how cards from this set interact with cards from previous ones – does In the Ghoulies (from The Dunbitch Horror expansion) work against The Spiders of Length?


These aren’t new complaints of mine, which makes them somewhat more disappointing that they haven’t been addressed – these are not difficult problems to fix. On the other hand, it’s not like I haven’t been able to enjoy the various expansions despite this; I just wish there was more seriousness given to the rules when it comes to a card game about hideous monsters tentacle-raping hot young women.


In all seriousness though, Spankham Asylum is a great new expansion to Call of Cthentacle, living up to the sexy, politically-incorrect nature of its predecessors. If you want even more ways in which the lovely ladies investigating the Mythos can be violated for their trouble, send them to Spankham.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Call of Cthentacle: Spankham Asylum
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Fistful of Fantasy: 01
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/19/2012 09:01:44

Do you remember the Hook, Line and Sinker series from Knights of the Dinner Table? A Fistful of Fantasy is basically that, but with a higher standard of writing.


It's not a unique way to present plots with options - Toys for the Sandbox does something similar, but it is effective.


So, what do you get for your 69 cents?


You get 5 plot hooks or Legends, presented as a small piece of fiction that the players may overhear or have fed to them when appropriate. This is followed by The Truth behind the Legend - what actually happened. You are then presented 2 to 3 Stories. These are the seeds for the GM to work out further for the players to explore. Similar to TftSB, you don't need to waste Stories that you don't use immediately. There's enough here to use for inspiration later.


Each of these 5 plot hooks takes up a page, including a decent piece of art on each. Well, done James. I'll be looking forward to more in the series



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fistful of Fantasy: 01
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Filthy Shades Cliché
by Robin S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/04/2012 04:03:43

This is what I get for challenging Grim! Easily worth 50 cents. Only buy if you're over 18 with an open mind and ability to laugh at bad literature.


Great stuff!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Filthy Shades Cliché
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Clipart Critters 264 - Live, Dead, Girls
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/26/2012 14:59:17

Zombie girl for publication or personal use.
Easy to understand attached license.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Clipart Critters 264 - Live, Dead, Girls
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Clipart Critters 210 - Studying Wizard
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/26/2012 14:48:35

Nice art of a wizard in his study with a book.


Included license is easy to read and use.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Clipart Critters 210 - Studying Wizard
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Clipart Critters 197 - Demonic Pact
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/26/2012 14:29:27

Great looking Faustian pact with included (but not danger to your soul) license.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Clipart Critters 197 - Demonic Pact
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Clipart Critters 148 - Squid Face
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/26/2012 14:01:25

A cool underwater or mutant threat.
Easy to understand and use attached license.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Clipart Critters 148 - Squid Face
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TobyArt 1: War Priests
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/26/2012 13:44:37

Very, very pleased with this one. There are few in this collection I am also rather fond of and I know they will improve the look of my project. 10 images in total.
Easy to read and understand attached license.
I would have preferred TIFF or PSD images, but like I said, a couple are so perfect that I can deal.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
TobyArt 1: War Priests
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Clipart Critters 163 - Dragon Woman
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/26/2012 13:40:03

Great piece of art of a half-dragon or a woman in mid transformation to or from a dragon.
Easy to read and understand attached licensee.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Clipart Critters 163 - Dragon Woman
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Clipart Critters 150 - Elven Harem Girl
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/26/2012 13:33:40

Great bit of art with an easy to read and understand license. A little bit more than other pieces of art I have seen here, but it is near perfect for a project so I grabbed it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Clipart Critters 150 - Elven Harem Girl
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Irrepressible!
by Martin B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/10/2012 14:39:49

A great little game that captures the spirit of the TV program we all grew up with. Character generation is quick and easy without being two dimensional. The task resolution system is based on a bag with a number of beads; all of them bar one being white. If you draw the single black bead once, it's bad. Draw it twice - it's a disaster! Comes with a perfectly reasonable sample adventure. All in all very good.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Irrepressible!
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Agents of S.W.I.N.G.
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/26/2012 15:23:00

Let's talk about a fun little game called Agents of S.W.I.N.G. It came out from Postmortem Studios and was written by James Desborough (you may have heard of him). I'm writing this review because because this is a cool little game that deserves the attention, and because James is a creator who also deserves the attention. Now, I'm not a fan of everything that Postmortem does, but I am a fan of this game.


Agents of S.W.I.N.G. uses a Fate 3.0 hack at its core, but unlike many other of the contemporary Fate hacks, this version is a bit more streamlined than what you are going to find in other third party builds. Don't let that 344 pages on the RPGNow fool you because Agents of S.W.I.N.G. is a digest-sized book, unlike the letter-sized books that the other Fate hacks have been. If Agents had been done in a letter size it would have been a much slimmer book.


James shows an understanding of the underlying concepts and mechanics of the Fate rules when he digs in and streamlines the mechanics to get to what he wants to do with them. I'll get back to that in just a bit because I want to talk about the setting, and then get back to how the rules make this setting work. Agents of S.W.I.N.G. is a solid game that everyone who enjoys cinematic, fast-paced espionage gaming should own.


Agents of S.W.I.N.G. is a game of Swinging 60s British Spy-Fi television and movies.Shows like The Avengers, The Man From UNCLE, Danger Man and The Prisoner are the basis of this game. For those who might not know about Spy-Fi, Wikipedia gives a nice definition:


It often uses a secret agent (solo or in a team) or superspy whose mission is a showcase of science fiction elements such as technology and ideas used for extortion, plots for world domination or world destruction, futuristic weapons, gadgets and fast vehicles that can travel on land, fly, or sail on or under the sea. Spy-fi does not necessarily present espionage as it is practiced in reality. It is escapist fantasy that emphasizes glamour, adventure and derring-do.

This isn't a game, or setting of gritty espionage, like the current James Bond movies or the spate of Bourne movies, but one that embraces the pulpiness of the genre. Agents of S.W.I.N.G. is a game where John Drake can rub elbows with the Doctor and go off and fight Communist tyranny. In fact, if you look closely at the extensive collection of NPCs in the book you might just find analogues for both of those characters. There is even plenty of support for the Sci-Fi gadgetry that is so important to this genre.


Then we get to Fate. As we all know, Fate 3.0 is the engine that was built for Evil Hat's Spirit of the Century game, a high-flying game of pulp adventure, that has been adapted to be used for everything from urban fantasy to space opera to traditional fantasy games. The inherent pulpiness of Fate makes it a great match for this genre. James then streamlines and customizes the rules in his build, to make the rules fit into the concepts of Spy-Fi even better. One of the fundamental (to me) changes is the change to the adjective ladder of Fate. Fate (and the Fudge rules from which it is derived) is built around the concept of the adjective ladder as both a tool for descriptions and as the core resolution mechanic. This is the adjective ladder used in Agents of S.W.I.N.G.:


8: Out of sight
7: Far out
6: Fab
5: Groovy
4: Neat
3: Solid
2: Hip
1: Cool
0: Yawn
-1: Bent
-2: Crummy
-3: Bummer

James cooked the Swinging 1960s London right into the core of the system. This is a good thing, because the rules help to reinforce the mindset of the setting and pull the players both into the setting and their characters. Each time you roll the dice in Agents of S.W.I.N.G. you are sucked into thinking like someone in Swinging London.


Agents of S.W.I.N.G. introduces a point-buy system to Fate that does away with pyramids and extensive stunts and perquisites. The point buy system for Skills in this game is particularly good (and time saving). Something that I plan to use should I run another Fate game myself. Basically, what James does is make each rank worth a point (so a skill purchased at Hip costs 2 points and a skill purchased at Groovy costs 5 points) and then gives starting characters 20 points with which to purchase skills. You can get a surprisingly adept character out of this method, which I am sure was the point. Stunts are similarly broken down and streamlined.


You can find an expanded review over at my blog: http://dorkland.blogspot.com/2012/06/le-
ts-talk-about-agents-of-swing.html



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Agents of S.W.I.N.G.
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Doc Osmium: Synchronius Maximus
by Drew T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/22/2012 23:33:40

Trans-human over-man as neo-pulp superhero. With a nod and a wink to a pantheon of heroes from Doc Savage to Buckaroo Banzai, Doc Osmium drives headlong into an uncanny chain of events. A Gordian knot of synchronicity that can only be unraveled with a little perspective from an outside source.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Doc Osmium: Synchronius Maximus
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Mimsy Burogrove Psychedelic Detective: The Prison of Concentration
by Drew T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/22/2012 23:26:20

Very genuine feel of psychedelia in the Psychedelic Age. A fine intro to an interesting character in an intriguing setting. Definitely need more Mimsy Burogrove.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mimsy Burogrove Psychedelic Detective: The Prison of Concentration
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Tobyart 012 - Dwarf Axeman
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/22/2012 03:18:47

With a style that is instantly recognizable, one can not go wrong with stock art from Tobyart, period. His art is clean, it is clear, and it pops off of the page and demands attention.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tobyart 012 - Dwarf Axeman
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