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Rocketship Empires 1936

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Average Rating:3.9 / 5
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Rocketship Empires 1936
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Rocketship Empires 1936
Publisher: Storyart
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/10/2010 22:48:24

At present this system seems to be defunct. There is no website for Storyart at all, and hasn't been for close to a year. That's a real shame because this is a great concept. Ed Kaan has a blog site but it doesn't seem to have had any new blogs since Mar 09.

I know that Ed was having health issues. I hope he gets better.

I would give this system a full 5 stars if I knew it was going to be supported. Right now I can only give it one because there is still a lot missing and it doesn't look as if it is ever going to be finished.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Rocketship Empires 1936
Publisher: Storyart
by Robert C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/06/2009 14:21:53

I got this product becuase (1) I'm in a pulp phase (2) Space and Sci-Fi RPG's rock (3) Space and Sci-Fi RPG's with WWII fighters rocks even harder!

I read through the reviews as well befire ordering and I must say the complaints that I read a no big deal to me. This is a great setting and I've spent the better part of the day reading all the materials and already have some great ideas for my games. The worst review it got referenced a dearth of information on certain aspects... I think he missed the point completly, did he actually read the book? RE1963 is chock full of detail where it needs it and is sparse where it needs to be since it is a SYSTEMLESS setting. There are some holes in the setting but thats fine that helps me integrate it into anything I want.

The other reviewers commented on spelling and grammar issues, yes there are many that I've found in the book but again I got this for the setting not as a spelling primer. It completely serves the purposes of my purchase and has entertianed me and will be sure to entertain my gaming group once I get this up and running.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rocketship Empires 1936
Publisher: Storyart
by Arun R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/14/2008 09:28:09

Interesting setting, visually attractive book. However, the grammar is painful.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Rocketship Empires 1936
Publisher: Storyart
by Patrick P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/14/2008 13:46:22

A really deep setting, with tons of possibilities for adventure. Enough cannot be said about how well this setting comes across. As a systemless setting, a GM can get to the heart of GMing without trying to figure out how x in one system translates in another.

Think of this as the most detailed set of world notes you could want, to use with your favorite system. Whether it’s D20, Gurps, Savage Worlds, Fudge, or whatever. With that said there's more than enough room to make the setting you own as well. WWII doesn't have to happen the way it did in our history and for that matter it doesn't have to happen at all as there's more than enough threats out in space to keep humanity occupied without having to wail on one another.

Most of all, this product for the price cannot be beat. Think about it. For just a little more than the price of a super sized combo meal at your favorite fast food joint you get a rich and exciting setting to run your players through for countless hours of two fisted pulp adventure or grim tube-punk horror. The choice is yours. Good stuff.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rocketship Empires 1936
Publisher: Storyart
by Eli A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/02/2008 13:35:38

I have just received this product and would like to off an at a glance review. I must admit that I went into the product, having read previous reviews and well aware of its various "problems".

1) The product is neat and clean despite some minor format issues.

2) The artwork is effective and in many places incredible, making good use of computer generated/assisted art. the mechanical designs are lovely and compelling.

3) Fluff-wise, the book offers a nicely detailed footprint for a campaign setting, while leaving plenty of room for growth and expansion by either the authors/designers or the players.

4) There is no system, but what this product does is establish guidelines and tools to help you customize the product to whatever system you prefer. I found this to be one of the really interesting elements to the product. Several section include what I describe as "workbook" type resources, allowing you to fill in charts and stats from whichever system you are using within the game's text itself. This reduces the need for seperate paperwork for conversion notes, system details, etc.

All in all this is a great product and all the more so for being an independent work. I look forward to following the story and the other products promised in the line.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Rocketship Empires 1936
Publisher: Storyart
by Maurice S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/28/2008 10:27:09

I got this on a whim. I like what I see, spelling errors on no, this is some good stuff for a non big name publisher. I even went to the web page and joined the group. I wil use most if not all of the items in this book. I give Rocketship Empires 1936 5 out of 5.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rocketship Empires 1936
Publisher: Storyart
by Terry P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/23/2008 19:02:33

This is more of a review of a review. I purchased Rocketship Empires 1936 even after reading the 2 star review. I looked into the artwork issue, and found it to be totally groundless, bordering on the defamatory. The world is well envisioned, and easily ports into your favorite system. There were typos and editing snafus, which the creator acknowledges and fixes for purchasers. I have yet to find an editing mistaked which has adversely damaged my comprehension of the setting. The strongest aspect of the game is the art. Its exceptional, and as good art does, it gives life to the setting. I feel the most important aspect for ANY game is "DOES IT FIRE THE IMAGINATION?" In the case of Rocketship Empires 1936, it does. It blends the sci-fi of the 30's with strong pulp adventure. And what is wrong with a green martian? What color do you want, pinky russet or muave? The line is strongly supported personally by its creator. If you have a problem, go to the creators forums. I think another good rule is that when you have a problem, try to get it addressed by someone before you cry and gripe about it. None of the problems that were listed in the 2 star review were serious, and all, except for the colored martians, are easily remedied by the creator. I am giving it a 5, and I hope this balances out the unwarranted 2.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rocketship Empires 1936
Publisher: Storyart
by Rich M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/23/2008 11:48:27

Rules: It is systemless so I don't have to work through some unbalanced, untested, amateur rule set. I can just use the rules my group already knows. There is a great starship creation section, and everything is presented in real world units and names, this makes it very easy to convert to generic RPG systems. 1 Star

Presentation: There are several spelling errors, and the layout needs work. I cannot award this star.

Artwork: Excellent. Really fires the imagination up. 1 Star

Story: The history is painstakingly researched and there are very few continuity or logical errors in the setting. 1 Star

Fun Factor: This is always a bit hard to do with the systemless games but the overall high adventure feel and cool gee-wiz factor gfives this game a star here.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Rocketship Empires 1936
Publisher: Storyart
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/23/2008 06:09:13

I want to like Rocketship Empires 1936. I really do. There are definately two sides of a coin here.

THE GOOD The setting! The author has done a superb job imagining an alternate history. The choice to go with a pulp sci-fi approach fits spot on! Another positive aspect is the starships. Taking a Hawker Hurricane and making it into a snub fighter. And the starship design system is neat (but more on that later...).

The BAD Systemless design? Only as long as you are talking about character generation or worlds. The starship design (taking up 1/3 of the book) is far from systemless - actually a system all of its own - but you need your own combat system to "fit" the ship design system. Probably would have been better off just to give us both in this product. The presentation of the product is also very uneven. Some sections are graphics and color heavy while others are not. Consistency across the product would be nice. Speaking of consistency, I label RE1936 pulp sci-fi but the authors want it to be pulp sci-fi/hard sci-fi/steampunk/horror/mecha/WWII/mystery/suspense. Noble objective but not quite full execution.

BUY IT? For the price, the answer is "Yes," but you should understand what you are really getting into. You are buying the setting and the ships to move around within it. Bring your own characters. Bring your own worlds (at least until further supplements come). Don't expect slick, but you can expect a rich enough background that makes for an interesting pulp sci-fi setting.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Rocketship Empires 1936
Publisher: Storyart
by Rob P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/22/2008 18:52:43

I've been lucky enough to have played this game for quite some time. Got introduced to teh system several years ago at a con and I've been lucky enough to see it evolve over time. Great to see that the rules have finally gotten published so that other people can join in the fun. I guess that makes me sound a bit like a fanboi, but the fact is that I've been playing RPGs for over 30 years (eesh), and I know a good one when I play it.

Moving on, I was curious to see what kind of reception it was receiving here so I read the reviews. I wouldn't normally do this but I want to take issue with the reviewer who said that the artwork was lifted. First off, that's actually a pretty serious accusation to be throwing around in any kind of a public forum so, as a wise man once said, "Allow me to retort:" Its my understanding that the author never placed any "exclusive Rocketship Empires-only" limitations on the artists that contributed their work to the game. Regardless, I actually saw the Martian Mask artwork in its original Rocketship Empires context something like four years ago. Just saying.

Anyway, yes there are spelling errors. Yes the layout could stand improvement. Yes these imperfections are unfortunate, BUT allowing our focus to shift from the work itself is a mistake -- hence I will not be detracting points for publishing gaffs.

I'm grading on what is a well "researched" campaign setting coupled with gameplay mechanics that are extremely lightweight and set the focus squarely on the fun-factor. The result is a valuable addition to my RPG bookshelf and a game that I will continue to play for a long time to come.

Well worth your nine bucks.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rocketship Empires 1936
Publisher: Storyart
by Wyn D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/22/2008 11:30:30

How did this get top spot on OBS?... Like the last reviewer I found the abundance of typos, widows, and the clear lack of a simple spellcheck hard to ignore. A deal of the artwork is not original but lifted. I've seen the martian mask on www.maskworld.com. That's a shame as the 3D spaceship art is particularly good and let down elsewhere by 'placeholder' art. The rest is of average to low quality and does nothing to lift the quality bar. Star maps are nice though, and easy to read which makes a change.

Writing level is inconsistent, including unecessarily long introductions in which the author drivels on about himself, his troubles and how wonderful he thinks his own work is. The rest is either in dire need of an editor, or intelligent and historically poignant. Clearly the author is a fan of history and, if nothing else, Rocket Ship Empires addresses the historical accuracies of the period well then integrates actual history with alternate history in a seamless way.

Most of the rest seems to be a rehash of other peoples' ideas, from pulp fiction to small press RPG. The Martians are right out of Star Trek, complete with forehead ridges. They come in three colours too, and yes, one of them is green. If this were done with tongue firmly planted in cheek I think I could forgive and forget, but its serious stuff.

The author describes RSE as a space-opera, but in terms of crunchy there's nothing here. Space travel depends on the magical slingshot method and timeframes completely disregard the niggling restrictions of FTL. There's the usual allusion to some dark and evil presence lurking in sub-space, but its never really fully explained. The author clearly watched Event Horizon, got excited by the idea and included it in his setting as a secondary thought. Which is a shame, because given the point of focus I'd rather explore that than I would the mind boggling complexities of political relationships between nations of Earth during the 1930s period.

Aliens are thin on the ground. Martians are stand offish and keep away from humans. Mars is off-limits and there are serious impositions on exploration, so in order to stay true to the setting you'll have an alien-free game most of the time. The convoluted space-travel method will also mean you don't just get to go to the planet of your choice, but need to 'slingshot' around various stars to get there.

To conclude, I wouldn't recommend you spend your money on this title. If you've looked at the cover and thought 'that looks second rate' then looked at the number one spot and thought 'but surely it must be good if its at number 1' my advice is go with your first instinct.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Rocketship Empires 1936
Publisher: Storyart
by Phillip M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/21/2008 02:38:44

Hmm. I'm of two minds about Rocketship Empires ... but not in a bad way ... but whether to give it 4 or 5 stars.

The book is graphically beautiful ... no other word for it ... but the layout is, well, not great. Lots of widowed and orphaned section headings, which simply wasn't necessary ... a sign of an inexperienced layout artist, I suspect. Of course, while I find that personally annoying, it doesn't change the chunky goodness of the product overall.

Likewise, the spelling ... grates ... obviously they didn't use a spellcheck program or, if they did, it has serious problems. The plurals of words ending in "y" for example, end in "ies" ... one company, two companIES and NOT two companYS. Sure, minor thing. But so obvious ... and that's not the only gratingly glaring spelling error ... parachute is abbreviated as 'chute (or, maybe, chute) ... it is NOT represented by the word shoots ... I know that schools don't teach spelling as such any more (I'm a teacher, so I should), but, they DO correct errors (well, I do, anyway) ... and if the writer knows as much about WW2 as he seems to, then the mis-spelling is unforgivably sloppy.

The use of full colour fills on tabular information ... looks great, but chews through the ink cartridges ... and wasn't necessary. At the very least the layout could have included a printer friendly version or just used coloured TEXT rather than coloured FILL.

The fact that tables have no headers and are not always placed on the page to which the text that refers to them actually is ... unfortunate. It's not as if there wasn't space ...

That's the layout stuff, which, if you read my reviews, is almost as important to me in some ways as the actual content ... and its the reason why I can't, in good conscience, give RE a 5/5 rathing.

How about the chunky goodness ... the content?

Well, this is a "tubepunk" game ... WW2 (well, its set in 1936, so the leadup to WW2) in Space with Martian Technology as the deus ex machina ... and it looks like it could be an interesting campaign. Very interesting.

I have some issues with the history ... the Martians appear in 1919 and, for example, by 1936 something like (from memory) 80% of Spain's population has moved offworld ... and Spain is as much an industrial powerhouse in RE36 as it was in the real world. Which is to say, its NOT. And all this is done in freighters that rarely exceed 3000 tons. Fifteen years to move 80% of 50 million people in 3000 ton freighters. Sorry. Suspension of disbelief just crashed and burnt in flames.

However, the intriguing possibilities of the background are such that I can (and believe YOU should, if you even care) forgive the historical uinlikeliness (I'm a historian by training, so I'm biased ... or just too persnickety, I guess) because I can see the possibilities of this background.

So, yeah, some of the history is clunky and unbelievable, but the backrground as a whole has real potential.

RE36 is a systemless book ... but a considerable chunk is taken up with creating a system to show how to fit it into whatever system you actually use. Probably almost as much space, in some ways, as a cut down system suitable for the genre would have taken up ... go figure ;-)

This is especially the case with the Spaceship design section, which, for a "systemless" system, is remarkably system heavy. And some of it just a tad clunky. Well, at least you are being encouraged to use some OTHER system evil grin ... I figure that Silhouette Core/Gear Krieg would be a pretty good fit (though not, by any means, the only one! Not even, necessarily, the best ... it is just one I have some familiarity with).

Overall, the systemless system and the background are intriguing ... I can really recommend this product, despite the minor shortcomings ... it's probably around a 4.25/5, possibly a 4.5/5 ... and I don't rate things highly unless they are damn well worth it!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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