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Shonen Final Burst $9.99 $7.99
Average Rating:3.2 / 5
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Shonen Final Burst
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Shonen Final Burst
Publisher: Phillip Karnell
by Geremy H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/28/2014 12:20:28

Shonen Final Burst is a steal for the price, a nearly 200 page book with full art, and a very unique system. I've been looking for a system that recreates the incredible powers of Dragon Ball Z and One Piece since the Fuzion DBZ game in the 90s, and none have done it as well as SFB. It does a great job of modeling the never ending increases of power characters in those genre tend to experience, as well as the sudden transformations that give them incredible sudden boosts.

The game has a very unique method of combat as well, using decks of cards instead of traditional dice, and assigning a characters different powers to each suit. Players have to choose between having a strong attack, a strong block, activating a powerful special move, or "powering up" to transform or launch a super attack later. Every turn has decisions to be made by the players.

The system has its flaws of course. Combat can often end up being a little samey, and relies on your players descriptions of their awesome anime combat to spice things up. It took my players a few months of weekly games to get the system well enough that they could focus on that and really started to enjoy things. While the fight mechanics are really strong, the out of combat skill mechanics are a little on the weak side. While they aren't super important in a genre like this, it makes creating interesting non combat challenges and puzzles quite difficult as a GM. It also encourages some of the PCs play the enemies in most fights to cut down on work for the GM, and if your group isn't comfortable with that, the system really sputters.

The game lacks a default setting as well. It gives a few examples of how to create settings based on a few popular anime series, but none of them are fleshed out enough to play out of the book. If you're not comfortable creating a setting on your own or with help from your players, you might have some problems. That said, you could just as easily use these rules to slip right into One Piece or Naruto and simply have your players create new characters.

Overall, the good outweighs the bad, and my group's SFB campaign has retained my player's interest longer than any game in the past few years. If you want an RPG that really captures the fast paced insanely powerful combat of Anime like Bleach and Dragon Ball or are a fan of novel systems, pick it up, its a steal at the listed price.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shonen Final Burst
Publisher: Phillip Karnell
by Thiago R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/11/2014 00:55:19

I was really disappointed by this product.

The author seems to consider any anime that includes fighting to be 'shonen'. The author even calls shonen a genre, when he himself defines it as a demographic. It's hard to take anything after that seriously when the most basic research is already proven a failure. The game tries hard to be a shallow version of a subset of a genre for a specific demographic, but sadly it can't succeed even at that, since the author doesn't really know the source material. It feels like he is working out of Wikipedia articles.

The art is just plain awful and so is the layout. I usually buy indie games gladly because I understand that even making a well polished digital product is expensive. This is obviously not the case with Shonen Final Burst. It's a half-baked excuse for an indie book and that's saying something. I would have gladly paid twice as much for a book that actually looked good.

I enjoy the idea of using decks to represent the choices and give-and-take involved in a fight and I really want to say this is the one saving grace in the book. However, the game requires too much decks. At this point, it would have been better to use a rotating dice system. Too many separate decks in a table can only lead to trouble.

This whole thing is a disaster. It's sad, since there is so much promise to the core idea, but the execution is very bad.

[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shonen Final Burst
Publisher: Phillip Karnell
by Erin M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/29/2013 15:11:37

I'm really impressed by the novel ways this system helps you bring out Shonen stories. It's for sure going to be a system I play more with my group. I really like the dedication to the genre the author shows, and the mechanics are well thought out with a very focused view of this type of storytelling in mind. It's for sure not a universal storytelling system, but a beautifully honed tool for group shonen stories.

The rules have a lot of flavor in them to help guide you in creating shonen stories, and while I generally felt it was useful, there were times when I simply wanted to move forward with learning the system, and the book didn't quite facilitate that.

Crazy fun though. I can only recommend it!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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