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Reclamation
Publisher: Architect Games
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/12/2012 01:11:01

WHAT WORKS: Reclamation. Seriously...I LIKE that there's this growing viral movement of "let's take back this world." That is reason #1 why I would pick this over other post apocalypse games. Reason #2 is the kewl powerz. (Seriously, there's some great options for Magi, Host and Pariahs, and the Survivors and Paragons have their own cool tricks, if not as flashy). Tons of examples, both short and in-depth. The flavor fiction is generally well done and kept short and to the point.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: At times it seems like it might get over complicated, but nothing that a few cheat sheets can't handle. Some of the art sticks out like a sore thumb against the rest of the pieces. Needs more random tables.

CONCLUSION: The biggest thing that sells me on the book is the whole Reclamation thing, followed by the coolness of the Marks. I like the card deck game system, but some of the book keeping seems like it could get excessive at times. Way more plusses than minus, and probably the post-apocalyptic setting that has interested me the most in a vary long time. It does need more random tables, though. You have a big, crazy, kitchen sink setting with fantasy, sci-fi and horror elements...you need random tables that you can draw cards against. That said, I always love a setting where the odds are stacked up against the PCs, and then they are expected to go save the world anyway. Big thumbs up.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/07/tommys-take-on-reclamation.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Reclamation
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Event Book (Essentials Edition)
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/01/2012 22:46:58

WHAT WORKS: Well...there's a crap ton of new datafiles, including Dr. Doom (held up alongside Magneto as an inexcusable omission from the rulebook). There's a LOT of leeway and options given for playing out Civil War with your own twists. New optional rules like Troupe Play and handling multiple support characters is great. Oh, there's a table of contents, an index, bookmarks and EVERYTHING IS CLICKABLE. Except links to the Operations Manual, but I would bet those are included in the Premium Version.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: No Baron Zemo. No Winter Soldier. What? I can't complain about MY favorites not being included? The art is really pixelated a lot of the time, but I am assuming that's a digital only artifact and hopefully they'll fix that for the print versions. If you absolutely hated Civil War, I don't think this is going to convince you otherwise. For a pre-written adventure (essentially), it'll get steadily harder to run straight out of the book as the twists and turns mount (though that certainly has it's own pluses, as it's not really a railroad at all).

CONCLUSION: An incredibly promising start to the Event Book formula, as there's a huge amount of options included to customize it yourself. The pixelated art doesn't bother me in the digital book, but I would be annoyed to have it present in a print book. Just a huge amount of information, including new datafiles, and while having many of them mixed around the book could annoy some, if you're working from the PDF this thing is so user friendly to navigate that it's not a big deal. Heck, maybe someone wants to play one of the characters not included as a full datafile (with Milestones) here (like Ant Man or Patriot)...just slap on a pair of Civil War milestones that make sense and run with it. If you didn't care for Marvel Heroic, I don't think this is going to sway you...but if you're a fan of it, there's a lot to like from this product.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/07/tommys-take-on-civil-war-event-book.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Event Book (Essentials Edition)
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The Dark Woods
Publisher: Game Arts Guild
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/25/2012 00:05:31

WHAT WORKS: A nice mix of stock fantasy elements combined with some new and/or relatively rare fantasy components. Simple system with easy enough character generation, good for a pick-up game. A ton of art for a tiny book, it never gets in the way and especially does a nice job of depicting the more uncommon elements.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Honestly, the book feels like it was almost laid out backwards. I'm used to flavor fiction at the beginning of the book and not the end, and I almost always prefer character generation before rules.

CONCLUSION: I'm not sure I'd call it an RPG aside from the character generation, and I'd be hard pressed to call it a story game. It's really almost a board game in a book, but given how easy the map is to print, and the low price point, I don't think that's a bad thing. If the physical book is laid out the same as the PDF is, I'd recommend getting the PDF over the book and just printing out the map, since the map is almost smack in the middle, then using some kind of tokens or figures to track movement around it. Definitely has the potential for a fun beer and pretzels type game.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/06/tommys-take-on-dark-woods.html



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Dark Woods
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Dark Harvest: Resistance
Publisher: Iain Lowson
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/23/2012 00:01:53

WHAT WORKS: Again, another book just jam packed full of material. It does a great job of showing the dark side of the Resistance and the noble intentions of Frankenstein and his military, establishing the shades of grey world. More augmentations are always nice, and I again love how the present the NPC stat blocks. The hunters in the introductory adventure are absolutely terrifying, in a great way. The fiction again does a nice job of bringing you into the world of Promethea.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: I could never use the introductory adventure as a campaign launcher, because of the incredibly specific start (the PCs are circus performers) and it would be difficult to replace the pregens with home made characters. That said, I think it would, in fact, make a fantastic convention scenario. The comic short at the beginning didn't really feel like it added anything to the book (though it was hardly a huge strike against it, either).

CONCLUSION: You certainly don't NEED this book to run Dark Harvest, but it does alleviate some things that were missing from the first book (like a character creation example)...but if you LIKE Dark Harvest, there's a lot to like in this book, from a setting standpoint (the fiction, the essays on the Resistance and the Military) and from a game standpoint (the extra augmentations and NPCs, especially). I am very much intrigued to see what is coming in Fires of Promethea now.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/05/tommys-take-on-dark-harvest-resistance.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Harvest: Resistance
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Streets of Bedlam: A Savage World of Crime + Corruption
Publisher: FunSizedGames
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/14/2012 02:10:12

WHAT WORKS: The writing is very crisp without getting at all cute. Nothing is hard to read here. The art sets the scene incredibly well. I love the Archetypes set-up for character creation, especially since there's still so much room for flexibility, and the Plot Point Campaign structure is a welcome change of pace. The city is a wonderful mish-mash of Neo-Noir tropes, giving you everything you need to play around, providing landmarks without roadmaps so everything is where you need it to be.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Heart on Your Sleeve is either the worst Edge ever, or a misplaced Hindrance. Entourage and Protected could also use mechanical support. Bookmarks in a PDF are always great, and they don't exist here. I'm one of the few Kickstarter members who isn't a character in the city, because I'm not a fan of "vanity rewards". It takes me out of the setting seeing Shane Hensley or Gareth-Michael Skarka as NPCs in the setting, though I understand why vanity awards are present in KIckstarters.

CONCLUSION: I think Jason L. Blair has done a fantastic job of crafting a unique Savage Worlds experience while retaining the Fast, Furious, Fun feel the game exudes. Great new additions to the rules, a big sandbox to play around in and promises of more to come. Streets of Bedlam is the "over the top" cousin to Wellstone City, serving a similar niche in an ultraviolent and extreme manner. My biggest disappointment is that I didn't have the extra at the time to kick in for the print copy. Recommended if you love Sin City or crazy Mel Gibson revenge movies, and I love both.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/06/tommys-take-on-streets-of-bedlam.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Streets of Bedlam: A Savage World of Crime + Corruption
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Dark Harvest: Legacy of Frankenstein
Publisher: Iain Lowson
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/21/2012 01:30:00

WHAT WORKS: The presentation is fantastic. There's a lot of information in here, but it never feels overbearing. The art is well-done and well-placed, never dominating the book but adding appropriate flavor. The setting is quite disturbing, with the wealthy preying off of the poor in a most unique manner, and the horrors of Frankenstein's machinations revealed in excruciating detail. The sealed off nature of Promethea also allows for extra intensity in setting that might not be there in a more "open" environment.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The health system seems unnecessarily complicated. I probably would have liked more Talents, but with Augmentations, Assets, Privileges and Contacts, there are more options there than it appears on the surface. Perhaps my biggest gripe with the setting is that, as cool as it is, it seems to be building to a Frankenstein vs Creature encounter (okay, it says so a few times), and that seems like it would exclude the PCs from playing the major role in the future of Promethea.

CONCLUSION: A top-notch product with an inventive spin on alternate history and the Frankenstein mythos. Certainly not the first product I've seen to place the Creature in the role of the hero and Frankenstein in the role of megalomaniacal madman (Dean Koontz' series did it as well), but it still has its own spin on it that feels quite cool in its own right. Not sure I'm 100% sold on the system, as it has a few parts that feel unnecessarily complicated (like Health dice), but that may just be unfamiliarity with the system shining through. The setting alone places it on the higher end of alternate history games I've read.

For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/05/tommys-take-on-dark-harvest-legacy-of.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Harvest: Legacy of Frankenstein
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Deadlands Reloaded: The Last Sons
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/22/2012 23:11:33

WHAT WORKS: The book opens with a special thanks to Deadlands fans for keeping the setting around for 16 years...and with all the shoutouts to the history of the setting, it feels reeeeaaally appropriate. I don't know if all of those callouts were were planned that way or not, but a ton of the stuff included in this book are the things I think of when I think "Deadlands". Throw in the setting rules for the Hunting Grounds, an epic plot point campaign that again brings major change to the game world and the fact that they once more made the Player's Guide a freebie, and Pinnacle nails the mark again.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The art was my major gripe. Some of itwas recycled from classic books (though appropriately placed to draw attention to the callouts) and some of it was just a bit too comic booky for what I want out of Deadlands comics.

CONCLUSION: A beefy, beefy tome that outstrips The Flood by almost 150 pages, and much of that is new content that can be used outside of the PPC, which is impressive in its own right. As a Deadlands fanboy, I'm very pleased. The Stone and Hellstromme PPCs have big shoes to fill.

For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/04/tommys-take-on-deadlands-reloaded-last.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Reloaded: The Last Sons
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Deadlands Reloaded: The Flood
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/14/2012 23:11:14

WHAT WORKS: Epic conclusion? Check. Still leaves the setting intact? Check. Righteous butt-kicking of major NPC, entirely at the hands of the PCs? Check. Random Adventure Generator and expanded Martial Arts Edges are just very sweet icing on the cake.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: I'm not really sure what you want. I mean, even if you have no use for the Plot Point Campaign, the entire player's section is free. New mechanics and all. That said, more than a few of the art pieces are recycled, and that does tend to bug some folks.

CONCLUSION: The book blows up Reloaded martial artists, provides 34 new Savage Tales and a plot point campaign that gives players the chance to get right up in the face of one of the Big Bads of the Deadlands setting and be Big Damn Heroes. $35 ain't much for a hardcover these days, and it's a gorgeous book to boot. The first of the Deadlands PPCs sets a high bar for the rest of the series.

For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/04/tommys-take-on-deadlands-reloaded-flood.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Reloaded: The Flood
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Low Life
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/09/2012 21:46:47

WHAT WORKS: It is, by far, the most unique setting I have ever read...for better or for worse. A common complaint about the plot point campaigns is that they tend to wreck the setting...this one really doesn't. Atmosphere is jam packed into the book, with the extensive listings of trappings for the powers as well as one of the most eclectic sets of Edges and Hindrances I've ever seen.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The setting DEFINITELY isn't going to be for everyone. Snot Goblin Pimps are a bit harder to get into, usually, than something more "basic".

CONCLUSION: Andy Hopp's artwork has a bizarre, yet charming feel to it. The book has a lot of things that you just can't re-skin from Savage Worlds, and does a nice job filling in the gaps. It's definitely the book I would most like to use but am the least likely to ever be able to do so, because I cannot get anyone to take it seriously when I describe it. A shame, really, because I think a lot of fun could be had with it.

For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/04/tommys-take-on-low-life.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Low Life
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Deadlands Reloaded: Smith & Robards 1880 Catalog
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/04/2012 23:29:44

WHAT WORKS: I love it when awesome stuff from Classic gets updated to Reloaded...and that's what this is. The Scrappers aren't going to be for everybody, but the insane elements of Deadlands are part of what I love about it. Plus the random tables, customization options and so on...and yeah. Good stuff here.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: We've never used a ton of Weird Science devices in our games, but MAN they seem like they would be an almost pointless money pit sometimes.

CONCLUSION: This book really is just an updating of material from Deadlands Classic, bringing it in line with Deadlands Reloaded, but as far as I'm concerned, that's not a bad thing. As more and more Deadlands Classic stuff is brought up, the less people can complain about the alleged "lack of flavor" Reloaded has, and the less work I have to do converting Classic stuff to Reloaded. Thumbs up. A MUST BUY? No...but I am sure pleased with it.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/04/tommys-take-on-deadlands-smith-robards.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Reloaded: Smith & Robards 1880 Catalog
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Servants of Gaius
Publisher: Bedrock Games
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/21/2012 00:59:59

WHAT WORKS: The way the Minions of Neptune are presented sells the book. You are given the Minions, their tactics and relevant stat blocks...and then a list of options for who and what they actually are and what they are doing, even including options like "They are time travelers come back to interfere in events". They could have been presented as a straight adversary serving Neptune, but the author blew the whole thing wide open instead.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The biggest gripe I have is some of the interior art, especially the NPC portraits, just did not feel up to par for a commercial RPG release. I'm also a bigger fan of Greeks over Romans, but what are you gonna do?

CONCLUSION: The Network System is about the only heavily skill based system that I like, so that's a plus, and like Terror Network and Crime Network before it (as opposed to Horror Show), it hits on a game type that ISN'T being heavily served right now. Combined with all the crazy options built into the game by dialing the supernatural up and down, as well as whatever route you choose to go with for The Minions of Neptune and you are left with an impressive piece of work. If only Caligula had been Greek instead, I would have been thrilled.

For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/03/tommys-take-on-servants-of-gaius.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Servants of Gaius
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Leverage: Hitters, Hackers, & Thieves
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/11/2012 21:43:25

WHAT WORKS: The Hitter section may be my favorite section written for the Leverage RPG, possibly my favorite section ever appearing in an MWP book and just a great read. Your mileage may vary, but I loved it. I also love the addition of the ready made compounds and the security system mechanics, a very useful set of additions to the game mechanics.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: I wasn't feeling the whole "psychology of a thief" thing, which is weird, because Parker's not my least favorite Leverage Crew member (that would be Sophie...and I still like her). In fact, from a Role standpoint Hacker and Thief would probably be most least favorite of the five.

CONCLUSION: I was reaching for complaints. I applaud the work the MWP crew has done with Leverage, starting with a strong core book and then two supplemental books that are not essential but dramatically expand the five roles in the game. As with Grifters & Masterminds, if you like the Leverage RPG, there is no real reason not to buy the supplemental books, at least in PDF. A great RPG treatment for one of my favorite shows.

For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/03/tommys-take-on-leverage-hitters-hackers.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Leverage: Hitters, Hackers, & Thieves
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Leverage: Grifters & Masterminds
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/07/2012 23:21:27

WHAT WORKS: The sheer amount of detail on the mindset and process of the Mastermind (especially) and the Grifter is very helpful. The "Dozen Grifters" and "Dozen Masterminds" is also useful for giving some ideas on how to make characters of those roles who aren't just Sophie or Nate renamed. The alternate settings sections was also fun, and basically any ideas on how to NOT just be playing the Leverage crew renamed is always welcome.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: A lot of the GM advice is nothing special that you haven't seen before. I'm also not quite convinced that the Masterminding the Rules section successfully provides that mechanical bridge for Masterminds that some folks feel was missing compared to Hackers, Hitters, Grifters and Thieves.

CONCLUSION: An unessential but incredibly useful book for Leverage. It doesn't dramatically change anything from the core rules, but it does provide some very useful tidbits on Grifters and Masterminds, both as PCs and NPCs. Basically, if you really like the Leverage game and either want some more options or are struggling with the Roles at all, it's well worth it. And don't complain about the extra books: There was a time when each role (including Fixer) would have been padded out into its own book.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/03/tommys-take-on-leverage-grifters.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Leverage: Grifters & Masterminds
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Due Vigilance- The Oktobermen (ICONS)
Publisher: Vigilance Press
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/07/2012 01:14:49

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: Oktobermen is "issue 1" in the Due Vigilance line, fitting in the same universe as the Smoke & Mirrors supplement I reviewed back in January. This is the ICONS version of said product, $5.99 for a 19 page PDF filled with a team of supernatural killers and assassins. Oktobermen is more than just a villain book. I mean, it IS a villain book, but it includes a relationship map for the six members of the Oktobermen, complete with a paragraph on each of the six explaining their viewpoints. The book also includes four common sets of tactics employed by the Oktobermen. The bulk of the book is taken up by the character bios and stats for the six members:

Bookbinder - An escapee from a mysterious organization called The Library, Bookbinder is the most reluctant of the Oktobermen, having joined up when Springheel Jack saved her from The Library. The can use magic in some powerful and freaky ways, like trapping people in stories or summoning literary characters to do her bidding.

The Floating Skull - He is not unlike a D&D Demilich, the floating skull of a powerful sorcerer. He can never use the same spell on a given target more than once. Luckily, he knows 666 of them.

Hexenwulf - Hexenwulf is a werewolf, but not of the common type. No, he's a werewolf of the "wearing wolf skins" type. Heavily resistant to magic, so he's usually the lead man in taking out sorcerers.

L'Enfant Terrible - The prototypical Creepy Kid, born with a soul of evil. Often used to take people by surprised...has a "bodyguard" named Mr. Bear who has a VERY disturbing secret.

Sister Sanguine - A creepy (ex)nun who answers to evil fae and gains powers from drinking blood.

Springheel Jack - A half-demon in charge of The Oktobermen, Springheel Jack is on a quest to consume take a number of souls and become a Lord of Hell. There is even a sidebar explaining how to alter his stats if he succeeds.

Also included are four plot seeds (including two related NPCs) and a set of standees fot the Oktobermen.

WHAT WORKS: Some GREAT character concepts here, as well as some nice tidbits hinting at the larger world (like The Library). I also love the amount of detail as to how the villains operate and treat each other, making this more than just a set of stats.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: My only real complaint is the dramatic art shift from the cover to the interior. I don't think either one is inherently better than the other, though the cover seems to fit the source material better, while the latter fits the ICONS feel better.

CONCLUSION: Another fantastic product by Vigilance Press, providing a slew of baddies that are just downright frightening (in power level as well as concept). At one point, this product wasn't going to be released for ICONS, but I'm glad it ultimately was.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Due Vigilance- The Oktobermen (ICONS)
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Interface Zero Game Masters Screen
Publisher: Gun Metal Games
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/06/2012 23:56:25

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: GM Screen's as we know them are fading fast. There was a Savage Worlds GM screen a while back that was clear plastic panels that you could slip cardboard panels for the game you were running in. The Interface Zero GM screen is along those lines...a "do it yourself" GM screen. The three art panels consist of some gorgeously thematic art, running a decent range of IZ material, including an android, cyborgs and mercenaries...(and a cyberpunk street samurai looking figure). The three rules panels include the Gritty damage rules, Zeek fatigue and the Hacking 2.0 rules.

WHAT WORKS: Great art, all the relevant IZ setting rules...about what you would want from a GM screen.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: It feels a TAD cluttered...but there's just a metric crap ton of tables on this thing (all relevant to your needs).

CONCLUSION: Unless you hate GM screens, this is a very good pick-up for $3 if you have access to a good printer. Much better deal than the $20 GM screen standard we've seen in the past, especially if you have one of the clear Savage Worlds screens to slide the panels into.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Interface Zero Game Masters Screen
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