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Maze Rats
Publisher: Questing Beast Games
by Travis P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/18/2017 11:45:47

I am incredibly jealous of what Ben Milton has managed to do. I've been searching for my ideal RPG rules for decades, and never found anything that hit the right balance. I've tried every retroclone and microclone you know, and while they all did some things fantastic and most everything else great, they are generally too restrictive and bogged down in minutea for my tastes. I've been searching so desperately for a good "0e" style system, trying and failing to write three of my own, that I was just plain frustrated with the whole industry. But upon finding Maze Rats, I immediately knew it was something special that just does everything so well.

Don't let the short length deceive you. The first time you read through a short paragraph explaining a concept, you might think it's nothing special. But the more I use these rules the more brilliant I discover their simplicity to be. This is not just a stripped-down set of rules; each sentence is very carefully crafted and each rule and even each random word is there for a deliberate, play-tested purpose.

My first reaction to the random lists was to roll my eyes, thinking "oh, I'm creative enough to not use those; what a waste of space". But upon actually using them, I see the brilliance of it. As Mr. Milton says in the text, random, external ideas are a huge gushing fountain of fun. It will all be filtered and refined through your own mind anyway, of course.

My only nit-pic is that, while in general the magic system is brilliant, it seems a little too chaotic to have every spell slot get filled in with some new random spell every time the caster replenishes used slots. I'll probably home-brew something that allows the caster either more options beyond the single spell formula and name per spell slot, or gives them a few more slots (in either case, probably adjusting the general power of spells down to compensate).

But overall, this is easily the best old-school style RPG product I've ever seen. Others are more extensive, and indeed others are quite clever and interesting in many ways. But Maze Rats is head and shoulders above the rest, as it focuses entirely on producting a great game experience. If a physical deluxe version ever came out, perhaps with some optional rules, artwork, and a sample adventure or two, I'd buy it for, say $10 in an instant, even if it were only double the pagecount it is now. :)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Maze Rats
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D&D Rules Cyclopedia (Basic)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Travis P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/16/2015 00:09:17

The scan quality is disappointing. No matter how I resize the file for easier viewing, the text is just too fuzzy; I get a headache trying to read it for more than 5 minutes. For such a significant product, which likely brings in a massive cash flow for both the publisher and this website, I'm astonished a higher quality scan wasn't done. The copy of the book they scanned seems in great shape, but the DPI settings they used for the scan were pretty low. This is definitely nowhere near 300 DPI!

As far as the content goes: This version of the D&D rules is one of the best out there, and this particular product is an excellent, complete, crisp compilation of its rules, if a bit dated. It's just a shame the quality of this file is so low that I'm basically unable to use it...



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
D&D Rules Cyclopedia (Basic)
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Stock Art Shields: Griffon
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Travis P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/22/2014 08:54:56

The file is high quality, with excellent resolution. A very good value!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stock Art Shields: Griffon
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The Quiet Year
Publisher: Buried Without Ceremony
by Travis P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/25/2013 19:46:21

I was hesitant to pay for a product that sounded fairly crunch-less, but am very glad that I did! The Quiet Year is a fascinating game of the "Scandinavian role play" style (more broadly descriptive, involving collaborative overall storytelling, rather than taking on identities of specific characters). The rules are very simple and straight-forward, yet allow for infinite creativity of the players and absolutely endless re-playability. I can see this game becoming one of my group's favorites for casual evenings when we aren't in a crunchy mood and want to exercise our imagination more than most other games allow.

I can see grade-school kids playing perfectly well. Many people may not like the fact that there is no "winner" and the game cannot truly be "won" in a sense (although, if everyone in your group wants to play it that way, it is certainly easy to do via the Contempt mechanic). I suspect most skeptics would change their minds should they give it a chance.

Despite being only 14 or 15 pages long with pictures, I feel this PDF is well worth the cost. My only criticism is that the official deck of The Quiet Year cards are kind of pricy ($25 plus shipping, from the publisher's website), but the game works perfectly well with just a regular deck of playing cards.

If your gaming group is social and enjoys cooperative games, I strongly recommend The Quiet Year!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Quiet Year
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