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FU: The Freeform/Universal RPG
Publisher: Peril Planet
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/23/2012 04:37:59

FU has a few things working for it. 1) You can't beat free for cost. 2) It's easy to read and understand quickly. 3) You truly can run any universe you like, if your imagination is broad and fluid.


There are a few things FU will need help with, if you play it. 4) It needs a lot of love and attention -- you will need more creativity than math skill, just like any other narrative rpg. 5) The rules need to have a little more "meat" on them, because they don't cover many instances of playing a game and sacrifice detail for efficiency. 6) FU basically has only one roll mechanic, which is only a good thing for experienced role-players who want to have less chance / game mechanics and more narrative / story-telling within their game sessions. 7) The artwork for the book is limited; it needs more "window dressing" - though the layout is functional and simply pleasant. The character sheet is a graphic design disaster; it's like driving an Edsel on the interstate. It needs to be redesigned to reflect the efficiency and simplicity of the game mechanics. (I am a professional graphic designer, so I designed my own sheets for my own game.)


The star rating pertains to providing broad information quickly to the general audience of how this game will appeal or not appeal; it should not only apply to narrative rpg players. It also reflects the cost (which helps immensely in this case). Unless you are entirely convinced that story-telling supersedes all game mechanics in rpgs, you will like this game system initially but later on, you will want the game to do more while remaining simple to play. If you like to "house rule" your games, and you are willing to take the time to do so with FU, then you will like this game for awhile longer.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
FU: The Freeform/Universal RPG
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Sticks & Stones - The Free RPG
Publisher: Nightingale Publishing
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/30/2012 10:17:20

This is a warning -- not a review. The document is corrupt -- it freezes when you open it in Acrobat Reader. Contact Nightingale Publishing to fix this problem. (Perhaps save it in an older PDF format, to weed out any hidden features that may be causing problems.)



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Sticks & Stones - The Free RPG
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Publisher Reply:
Hey Hamilton, Sorry for the issues with the document. It may be due to older versions of adobe reader not allowing split and merge files. I used Adobe Reader X 10.1.4 and it worked okay. Let me know if that fixes the issue, if not, I may have to reload the document somehow. Good catch, Sir!
Supers Unleashed
Publisher: JEN Games
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/01/2012 23:57:41

Layout -- Ultimately, the visual layout is too simple to be interesting. It is functional and utilitarian but bland and boring for a game about four-color, computer-art-generated comic book super heroes. So much more could have been done with this product art-wise; it needs more of everything. More charts, more lists, more illustrations, etc. The cover is so-so: it's a very good illustration of a boring pose -- the super girl blowing something up could have been drawn with more OOMF, and the thing she is shooting at could have been illustrated as an explosion. Overall, the layout falls flat.


Text -- Written to-the-point, as though it were a technical manual. This is not a bad thing for this product, though. The text is factual and informative, but it lacks "pizazz". A little more descriptive language and colorful story-telling, along with a sample of playing the game, would have been nice but not necessary. It did unintentionally take one of my ideas that I had about 7 years ago for super hero games, and it seems most games are going this route as they shoot more for the "story telling over mechanics" concept. // If you don't know what that idea is, I can't tell you. I am designing my own game to present later. Sorry!


Game Play -- This is where SU will shine. It is deceptively simple, IF you are a creative and imaginative person. You can do a lot with this product as you play it, IF you have the time, talent, and treasure to put into it. SU is a skeletal framework to build the super-hero comic book story that YOU want to build YOURSELF. No preconceived notions here!


Money -- You can't beat the price with an ugly stick! One dollar is a good price point, even with all the things this game lacks.


Compared to others like it -- I don't own many games like this, but compared to the other "simple, to-the-point" games I do have (and adding my bias to super hero games anyway), I think if you take all of these things in consideration, you will like this game.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Supers Unleashed
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To Be A Hero: A Super-Hero Role Playing Game
Publisher: Venture Land Games
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/09/2012 11:34:52

TBAH is your typical fan-fare game supplement into any D20 system, a no frills flight into what's mundane and what's unique in the "super-hero meets D20 Modern" gaming experience. Simply put: it is a sizable product in need of some GM-renovation, artistic talent, and huge chunks of time to read, learn, and understand before incorporating into your current D20 / Super Hero game.


APPEARANCE: The layout suffers greatly by lacking any decent art or design elements. This book is not appealing to the eye at all -- every figure in the book is either sketchy or simple line art. The cover is by far the best piece of art this book has to offer.


TEXT READING: TBAH contains just under 276 pages because the last few pages are blank. The text itself reads like any standard D20 book you may already have. It follows the formula of D20 Modern or DaD 3.5 -- it's thick and tedious. It will take a high-school or better education to play this game to it's fullest potential, which is not necessarily a "bad thing" (it's just a limit of this game supplement that you need to be aware of.)


INTEGRATION / GAME PLAY: This is where TBAH will either shine or fall. There is a lot of information within these pages, but it seems to be the basic information you have in the D20 Modern game book. (In fact, if Venture Land Games had included a brief character creation section, you would not have a game supplement -- you would have a stand-alone game). Having this much detail can be a good thing or a very bad thing, depending on if you don't mind your Power Blast taking 10 minutes to calculate whether or not you blasted your opponent into the next block! For me, this game is too detailed, much like most D20 products: the layout and text prevent the reader from easily skimming or weeding out the unnecessary information. (It's almost as if you need to take college courses just to get a broad, firm understanding of the rules as a whole. Most people don't have that much time to learn all this stuff.)


CONCLUSION: It is a boring, bland, over-whelming treatment of the super-hero gaming experience. You will need a firm grasp of the D20 system to understand it and use it, unless you like to :swipe n swap" things between games. You will also need to type a few more charts, indicating page numbers and brief information, so that if you want to use a rule from this book, you can quickly find what page it is on -- or, you can buy many folders for the many character booklets you will be writing for each character...


For a person who already has a plethora of super-hero products and D20 products, it would be easier and cheaper to just add elements to your D20 Modern game or True20 game, versus spending 13 dollars for this PDF book. If you are not the creative type and you don't mind taking 3 to 5 rolls just to see if you cross the street or not, then this supplement may be for you. (sarcasm)



  • The 5 point rating indicates the value of this product for the money spent. The review above gives you the reason for the rating. Remember that a negative review may be offensive, but then again, it's offensive to spend over 7 dollars on books that lack any artistic effort or are this hard to sift through the fluff in order to organize and use the information. I have said it before -- I will say it again -- not everyone is a graphic artist and not everyone is a creative writer. RPGs should be artistic and creative if they are this detailed and drawn-out with the information presented. There needs to be a REASON to read this much text and information.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
To Be A Hero: A Super-Hero Role Playing Game
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Other Worlds
Publisher: Signal 13
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/08/2012 22:49:43

OW is a cinematic-style role playing game. It has good mechanics for describing abilities abstractly. The book is lengthy but easy to read and understand. It does handle a wide variety of game worlds. OW lives up to the hype.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Other Worlds
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Basic Game
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/29/2012 00:00:32

MARVEL HEROIC ROLE-PLAYING GAME (MHR)
(1) Do the rules work? Do they pass the "reality check?" -- MHR has some very innovative ideas that make the game unique. Here are a few that I particularly like:


a) Using the word “stress” for damage, fatigue, or anguish has a subtle humorous ring to it. “Yeah, the Hulk may be mad, but my telepathic surge is gonna’ stress him out REAL GOOD!” (see what I mean?)


b) Lack of ability scores and standard abilities. (Before MHR, I incorporated this concept into my VaV rule set).


c) Whether a hero performs better with others or working solo.


The rules work well; they are fairly easy to understand with the first reading and are balanced with each other. There are many options with each action and the mechanics create a three-dimensional feel to the interpretation of the dice rolls. The only drawback (if it is a drawback) is that alot of dice are required to make a roll, but this seems to be a Cortex issue, not a Marvel issue. (I like Cortex as well, so it's not a big problem for me.) -- RULES? A–


(2) Is the layout viable for the information presented? -- The layout supports the PDF version in subtle ways (like page-display quirks and view size) that can be easily missed with the untrained eye. There is a definitive “art” to MHR’s layout, something you should be able to see right away upon your first review of the PDF book.


The layout is not wasteful at all; in fact, having open space in your layout allows the design to “breath” and it provides ample space for you to add your own house rules and game notes (if you don’t mind marking your rule books with writing).


Finally, placing the last page right after the first page is an excellent idea in this case!-- LAYOUT? A


(3) Is the text easy to read and understand? Is it FUN? -- The text deviates from pristine grammar and composition with orphans and widows, and you can’t learn the rules quickly if you stay up until 3am reading them. However, the writing is fun, witty, and to-the-point when discussing rules. It is exactly what you expect from Marvel; the writing is thorough and reductive but not complex or restrictive.


For those who have played other versions of the Marvel RPG experience, you will see some “nods” to them (ex: the Doom Pool compared to Marvel Saga and overt usage of adjectives and terms from TSR Marvel Super Heroes).


Also, there is an example of play imbedded within the rules; you just have to read the rules in order (from page to page) to see the connections in the examples given. -- TEXT? A–


(4) If you do see any rule problems, how would you solve them? The only thing that I might have done differently if I designed this rule set is to include a more-mechanical system of character creation (though the system given to create other heroes in MHR is excellent for what it is). -- STABILITY? A


Overall, this is a wonderful and unique game to play, and it handles what it was designed to do very well, if you like cinematic or story-telling games. In other words, if you like real role playing games, you will like this.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Basic Game
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Other Worlds Free Preview Edition
Publisher: Signal 13
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/30/2012 01:32:21

Decent size preview / makes you want to buy the game! -- Clear, concise, and easy to understand. -- Good value for the money.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Other Worlds Free Preview Edition
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HeroQuest: Core Rules
Publisher: Moon Design Publications
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/25/2011 22:12:55

Previously, I had written a review for this game that was "less than stellar", but over the holiday, I had a better chance to really study this game in more detail and to play it more. This process changed my mind about HQ: this game is deceptively good. The rules are detailed and somewhat sporatic, but once you learn them and put them into practice, Heroquest turns out to be a really good game! Give it a second chance (as I have) and you will see just how good it is, if you like cinematic story-telling RPGs.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
HeroQuest: Core Rules
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Modern Chemistry
Publisher: LPJ Design
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/22/2011 02:35:48

It's about drug use in your campaign -- it's not about combining chemicals to augment your character. Misleading at best.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Modern Chemistry
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Wordplay The Big Five
Publisher: D101 Games
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/08/2011 18:56:13

Wordplay is an excellent RPG generic system. The system works as if PDQ and (a very basic form of) Shadowrun had been smashed together into a single rulebook. The perfect combination of mechanics: simple enough to learn quickly, yet detailed enough to retain depth and scope. The price a little steep for the product, but it's not an unfair amount to pay.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wordplay The Big Five
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World vs. Hero
Publisher: Word Mill
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/05/2011 02:00:20

World vs. Hero is a cinematic, random-draw system where events are listed and then drawn when needed. For the money: if you like to write narrative and you are creative, WVH is worth $7.00 and more! It's a really good approach to story-telling, but game mechanics are vague and limiting in certain genres.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
World vs. Hero
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d6 Design Contest 2009
Publisher: Simian Circle Games
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/05/2011 01:54:40

d6 Design is an eclectic collection of diverse games. Some you will like -- some you won't. It will be the rare soul that likes all the games, because of the variety of the lot. You should be aware of this fact when buying this product.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
d6 Design Contest 2009
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Publisher Reply:
I totally agree. The whole idea behind the 6d design project was to get some eclectic games to see the light of day. It's not everyday that you get an rpg that uses chocolate candies.
-U- The Game of Stories Core Rulebook
Publisher: A'n'SR Entertainments
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/01/2011 01:28:03

The U game is a broad-spectrum, cinematic-style storytelling RPG. This book is an improvement over ANSR's last effort with this product,, but it still lacks a good layout and production-grade art. HOWEVER...


A basic over-view of the game: characters are created when players write a few notes about the type of hero that is desired. After that, some "dots" (points, chances) are applied to three common traits, some talents and items are purchased with CPs, and final details are filled in. That's basically it for characters; as for combat and story-telling, U makes these concepts a breeze to understand. If you like complex strategy and minute tactics, then stick with miniatures; if you like true role-playing with a modest amount of mechanics and detail, then U is perfect for story-telling and using your imagination.


The game itelf is a winner. Character creation is simple and quick, yet deceptively detailed and fun. The game mechanics are unique, with a little nod maybe to World of Darkness or Formless. Although the Story (World) Creation rules are skeletal and vague, I think I see the direction that ANSR is taking here -- they wanted to make a system that doesn't assume anything about the people who wil be playing U. They wanted to make a game that is playable and functional, one that doesn't get in the way of player creativity, one that is accesible due to its self-imposed limitations on the ruleset and it's economic price.


In other words, U was created to be learned, modified, enhanced, enjoyed and played! (Like I've said before -- better to spend $10 on something useful than spend $5 on something worthless ...)


At a price lower than $10, this is an EXCELLENT purchase, even with lackluster graphics. If you like simple game mechanics and easy-to-play rules for creating any world you can imagine, then U is the game for "you"!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
-U- The Game of Stories Core Rulebook
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Peryton Fantasy Role-Playing Game
Publisher: Peryton Publishing
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/17/2010 12:56:28

Peryton's gimmick is its Knack system, which is a good idea. The book has a decent layout; the cover is it's best art. Because it reads like ODaD, it inherits some of the problems of its "parent". There is some innovation here, but not enough to justify the cost if you already have a free copy of some other ODaD clone; save your money if this is so.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Peryton Fantasy Role-Playing Game
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BEAN! The D2 RPG
Publisher: Fabled Worlds
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/17/2010 12:51:54

Bean's game system is almost too simple; OK for a pick-up game but may not support long term play. Book has a good, solid, easy-to-understand layout. The game is easy to learn, fun to play. Bean is worth the price as long as it stays under 3.00. Your bean count (pardon the pun) may get a little high when tossing beans for results. (Need room to toss all those beans...)



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
BEAN! The D2 RPG
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