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Age of Arthur $14.95
Average Rating:4.7 / 5
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Age of Arthur
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Age of Arthur
Publisher: Wordplay Games
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/11/2015 00:21:24

SIX POINT SUMMARY

  • Production values are a mixed bag. The aesthetics of the interior, and the full page art pieces, look great. Unfortunately, the cover text seemed somewhat digitized and out of focus, either a layout issue or a printing issue.

  • Mass Combat rules are great. Mass Combat rules that heavily resemble my favorite set of Mass Combat rules, but with a few twists unique to the system, are even better.

  • As I said above, I am more comfortable with the Le Morte D'Arthur, so it did take me a bit to get into the more historical Arthur. This does a nice job of setting it apart from the other major Arthurian game on the market (Pendragon).

  • I love how the various magical subsystems are built on the same solid base, but have the unique flourishes to set them apart. Definitely not crunchy, even "Fate crunchy", but Faith feels different than Druid Magic which feels different than Shapeshifting.

  • The cultural and geographic sections of the book aim for breadth over depth, covering a lot of ground in multiple, single-paragraph or so entries. I'm not usually upset with this approach, and I find it even more acceptable in a game with a historical basis, since I can research Britain in the 400s easier than I can, say, the Forgotten Realms in the 1200s.

  • Lots of wonderful, professional touches such as a fully functional index and table of contents, as well as a glossary and a pronunciation guide, the latter of which I REALLY wish more companies would use, especially if they are using lots of fantasy names or, in this case, historical dialects.

A great product marred by small production flaws that bring down the overall package, but counters that with a great Arthurian take that feels a little grittier than your normal Fate game. Personally, I like the shoutout to the dragon in Loch Ness.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2015/04/tommys-take-on-age-of-arthur.html



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Age of Arthur
Publisher: Wordplay Games
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/06/2015 01:13:13

Bottom Line Up Front. This is not a FATE Core friendly game. Despite a text box in the book stating that it is. This game is firmly entrenched in the system used in Diaspora (that came out before FATE Core).

I really wanted to give this product 5 stars but I can't. I love the Arthur story. From "Le Morte d'Arthur" to "Dragon Lord" the various incarnations of Arthur has held my imagination. My hat is off to the authors. There is love in this book. There is thought and skull sweat present in spades...however, it is not current. It will require users of FATE Core to put in some serious thought and work to make this system compatible.

There is no Success with Spin. You pay your Fate Points for Aspects prior to rolling not after. You don't have Free Invokes or Boosts. Create Advantage doesn't exist. It is more SOTC-like; using maneuvers. Characters start with 5 free stunts and 5 refresh (reminiscent of SOTC). You can purchase more refresh with your free stunts. Stunts don't work quite the way they do in FATE core (you have to power your stunts with Fate Points) so you have to have the extra refresh or you won't be able to use your stunts (there are a few generic +1 stunts called specialisms, but these are few on the ground). You can still have aspects that are compelled to earn Fate Points, but since you have to power practically all your stunts with Fate Points you need a big supply straight out of the box. The mass battle system is intriguing and reminds me a lot of the Savage Worlds mass combat system. It does not match any version available from FATE Core (such as in the System Tool Kit book) Any FATE Core vets are going to have to do some serious work to adjust the engine to work they way they are used to. Warbands and battles get special attention, but since you aren't using FATE Core teamwork bonuses aren't used and number crunching becomes more prevalent.

Having said all that the setting itself is intriguing. Dark Ages Britain is a completely "open" time period. There are no real accurate historical records from the time the Romans left until two or three centuries later. (Bede or the Anglo Saxon Chronicle) These came out in the early to late 700s almost 300 years after the Romans left Great Britain. So little can be said for the historical accuracy of the setting other than there isn't any. That isn't a bad thing. It allows myth and conjecture to inform a compelling story about Player Characters facing off against invasions from the Saxons and from Hibernian pirates, while keeping an eye out being stabbed in the back by other would be British High Kings. Just about every aspect of the game is some sort of cultural or religious clash. Romano-Britains against the Saxons (or Hibernians) Christians against Pagans (or other types of Christians).

If this book were to get a re-write I would suggest getting rid of the dated engine. Then plug in the FATE Core engine. Get a bit more art. Change up the blocks of text to columns to de-stress your readership. (It was hard to read more that a page or two at a time). Give more examples. Of everything. Most people are not experts on the period. Move the setting to an earlier part of the book, or at least add some fiction so that the readership knows what the game is going to be about before they start making a character. This change is in fact critical if you expect Players to use the FATE Core method of setting creation prior to character creation.

The price point is too high for a game book that uses an older version of FATE that the majority of readers will find necessary to change. Any changes will necessarily be extensive and a 15 USD price tag will punish users of the FATE Core system who want to use this setting. In its present state this book may be worth 5 USD and certainly not more than 10 USD.

The setting sells the book. The engine detracts from it. Therefore I'll give this book three stars.

Edit: There is a rule for spin...in general if you get spin you get to add +1 to your roll. Again this is not typical of FATE Core. There are quite a few more dissimilarities but I won't burden the reader any further.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Age of Arthur
Publisher: Wordplay Games
by Robert N. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/24/2014 22:35:46

I have always loved Arthurian myth. The stories of Arthur and the knights of the round table have inspired me in one way or another since I was young. Although these tales have influenced me, I am also not overly aware, nor as well read as I should probably be to claim the intense wonderment that I just exposed a mere sentence ago. And yet, none of that really seems to matter with this product. Don't get me wrong, this is an amazing book filled with a wonderful world of warriors, adventure, and even a little magic; but at the same time it is not so heavily glued to the mythological fancy of Arthurian legend. It is instead a fascinating look at the potential aspects of Arthur, in a potential time period, where he could have existed. A fascinating web of historical accuracy, uncompromising historical liberties, (normally where magic, and other such elements are concerned), and wild imagination spurring wonder, all within the package of a couple hundred pages.

With that in mind on to the product itself...

While I think the pages can at times appear a bit busy, and a little bit like great walls of text, which in their own right can hinder the actual reading experience, these elements in no way hinder the experience of the product itself. The attention to detail, both with the Fate system used, as well with the historical and mythical elements described within the book show that the authors had an intense passion for the system and the the world that they described for the audience. The sheer volume of ideas, historical context, woven mythologies, and pure wonder at the more involved, and in-depth, sections of the book really get one more in the mood to play this than some of the other books I have read.

There is so much, and so little, that I can actually say as a result. It bears repeating that this book, in my more than humble opinion as a fan of RPG's, and a fan of the subject matter at hand; is that Age of Arthur, does everything that I think a book of its caliber should do: explain the rules in a way that is clear and understandable, present a world in which to inhabit or give the building blocks to build one's own world, and finally to infuse the imagination of those that read it with the desire to play the game as published. I think that Age of Arthur his all three of these points dead on. As far as I am concerned I will be hooked on this for some time to come.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Age of Arthur
Publisher: Wordplay Games
by Luke M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/22/2013 00:41:03

This is a great little product, about 300 pages and well index. The art is sparse but whats there is quite nice.

I picked it up because I had heard about the mass combat rules, and I was quite pleased with what I found there. I'll frame this with a couple points of comparison: Diaspora gives you a strategic combat mini-game that is very close to a tactical wargame played out on a map. Reign (if you can read through the purple prose to find the mechanics) gives you an abstract system for running conflicts between companies or kingdoms of any size.

Age of Arthur lays out a system for massive battles. It probably falls somewhere in between the above to examples in terms of complexity and scope. There are turns, but no map. This is okay by me, I always have a hard time conjuring up Fate zone maps anyway -- and you could probably use one if you really wanted to. Your army size is of course significant, your general has a specific role, and your PCs and heroes even have something significant to do. I have not put it into play yet, but it reads very well and I can imagine several epic battles (and even minor scuffles between warbands) that we tried to represent at the table would have been better served with a system like this.

Another area of the book that I particularly liked was in the equipment section. Perhaps it is my particular play style, but I find that too many of the newer Fate games cleave too closely to the pulp roots of SotC in that they eschew any form of equipment, weapons, armor, etc. While that is a valid play style, I much prefer the feel created by games like this that give you some simple representations of equipment and force multiplies.

Weapons and armor are basic fare. I think the real interest is in the general use equipment and magic items. They are built with the same stunts as characters -- stunts that follow a clear and consistent rubric. Too many other Fate games throw exhaustive laundry lists of stunts at you, but all you really need is presented here: some guidelines for what a stunt can do and some guidelines to get started.

The PDF is a no-regrets impulse buy. At the price you pretty much cant go wrong, and it's free if you're buying one of the printed products with it. Also, at the time of this writing, it is available without watermarks which always makes me less hesitant to take the plunge on buying a digital product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Age of Arthur
Publisher: Wordplay Games
by David C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/28/2013 13:38:47

I am a great fan of Arthurian myth, legend and history. This game hits a fantastic standard for that. Where King Arthur Pendragon takes Mallory and Morte d'Arthur as its starting place Age of Athur reflects Cornwell, Whyte and the Mabinogion.

This is not the Arthur of High Chivalry, this is a gritty, savage Dark Ages Arthur. The world of Age of Arthur is a world in darkness. The light of Rome has gone out of Britania, the savage Saxons threaten invasion, and petty kings and warlords bicker over the ruins.

The game runs on he Fate mechanics, derived from FUDGE. I am familiar with the latter, but this is my first encounter with Fate. I was very pleased by how well the game mechanics seem to support the style and feel of the game. This is a game about characters and their stories, with few if any arbitrary limitations imposed by dice or game points. Begining characters may be princes or beggars at the players' choice. Powerful wizards, apprentice Druids, knights, hunters, even scribes and clerks.

The game includes several styles of magic, which may be accessed by characters depending on their backgrounds. As befits the dedication required to work magic such characters will have fewer potencies in other areas.

I may not entirely replace King Arthur Pendragon with Age of Arthur, but they definitely will sit side by side.

And it is hard not to enjoy a game with such specialisms (special character bonuses) as "Be where the arrow isn't"



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Age of Arthur
Publisher: Wordplay Games
by Jane W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/18/2013 19:14:15

My interest is in the setting, not the rules, and I haven't play-tested this, only read it, so while I can say that they look clear and easy to use, that comment does come with a disclaimer.

The setting, though - it's always hard, with "Arthurian", trying to please all tastes. Should it be Malory re-written? Gritty historical Dark Age accuracy? Magic - none, some, the basis of the whole thing? How about religion - is it ignored, assumed to be Malory-style Christianity, a feminist rant against Christianity, or what? Well, the answer here is pretty much "yes". As an attempt goes to please all of the people, all of the time, this comes as close as anything can. All of these aspects exist, but the importance placed on each is up to the GM: or rather, the "Storyteller", and that word tells you most of what you need to know about how this works. The setting is Dark Ages, true, but if you wanted to play Malory, just accept that your Knight is wearing a mail shirt, not full plate, and ride off to rescue damosels from wicked enchantresses - the Fae are right there to use as opponents. If you want Dark Age history, you have Romans, Britons, Saxons, Picts and Gaels, plus a mass-combat addition to the rules. Suggested reading includes Cornwell, Duggan (surely as non-magical as author as you can get!), Mary Stewart and Rosemary Sutcliff, but as I read the background and possible adventures, I can see the Arthur of the Mabinogion in this, as well.

A common problem with Arthurian settings, whether historical or mythical, is their failure to allow for half the population to take any active part - not here! The part played by women is always historically reasonable, no-one's suggesting that 50% of the warriors are female, but there's no limits, and some example NPCs give a good idea of how women can take part, as warband leaders, bards, rulers, magicians, and anything else you feel like.

The default "adventuring party" is assumed to be the circle of advisors and agents surrounding a petty king, which gives plenty of scope. The worked example of a PC goes back to the male warrior, but soon develops him in much more interesting ways. If your players can't cope with the amount of invention required to create a character, don't worry, there are pre-gens at the end.

I like this a lot, and I think it may well become my go-to system and setting for anything vaguely Dark Age I want to do.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Age of Arthur
Publisher: Wordplay Games
by Paul N. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/03/2013 05:56:45

Oozing with atmosphere from two authors who know their stuff, powered by a nice clean implementation of Fate (based off Diaspora) with extra rules for mass combat and magic and evocative full page colour art. Thrilling stuff :)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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