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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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Little Fears Nightmare Edition
Publisher: FunSizedGames
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/15/2010 05:10:44
Little Fears NE is a well-written, intense treatment of the "Scared of Monsters" Genre. The rules are detailed and generous; you must study this game in order to play it. LFNE will take effort, imagination, and creativity, but it's an organized, comprehensive game that "crunchy" players will enjoy. (I think I saw my shadow wave at me ... eeek!)

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Little Fears Nightmare Edition
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rpgKids (v1.5)
Publisher: Highmoon Games
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/08/2010 03:15:45
I'll be honest: I didn't like this at all. It's sporadic and unorganized* , a juvenile attempt at designing a game (pardon the pun).

* When I say it's unorganized, I don't mean it has a poor layout or it's hard to understand. I mean that the information as presented is not easy for kids to understand as it stands; it seems to be more like an adult who understands rpgs will have to translate for his younger audience. (If you design a game for kids, make it easier to understand.) Sporadic means that you will use some of the information given, while you will rely on your base rpg to provide support. rpgKids sounds like it should stand on its own, when in fact, it does not.

Simply put, I could have "built one just like it in my garage" if I had been so inclined. So, why write a negative review like this? Answer: there are better ways to spend $3.

(Nothing personal, no offense meant -- it just doesn't seem like it's a product worth my money.)

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
rpgKids (v1.5)
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Loom
Publisher: Silver Branch Games
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/08/2010 03:06:46
Loom is a card-based, cinematic / narrative rpg. Since there are already excellent reviews of this game available, I would like to point out that customization will yield rich rewards if you put forth the effort. Also, the price to purchase this game is under $5; how can you beat that?

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Loom
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Strands of Fate
Publisher: Void Star Games
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/25/2010 07:21:27
STRANDS OF FATE (SoF)
Description -- SoF is a cinematic rule system for playing virtually any game world or genre you can imagine. I have got to say that I am thoroughly impressed with this rule book, and I look forward to playing many game sessions using these rules.

Easy Rules -- The presentation of the rules is simple yet detailed, easy yet complete. There are a lot of options presented within the 13+ chapters of information, giving you a very maliable rule set to play your games with. The author wastes no time in explaining what the game is and how to play it. The rules are based on the FATE system using FUDGE dice, but you are also given the option of rolling 2d6 of different colors, much like the GRIMM system by FFG.

* I would like to add my own thought here on how to make rolling 2d6 more like rolling four FUDGE Dice. What you do is you roll the different-colored d6s, counting any "6"s rolled as a 1. This increases the chance of rolling a 1 on either die, and makes a better bell curve for rolling a median number. Plus, it ensures that the roll total never goes beyond ±4, thereby imulating what a FUDGE roll can acheive.

Never the less, the rules as presented won't need so much tweeking, as they will facilitate modification easily.

This is a solid rule set for playing cinematic RPGs (personally, I think most RPGs are cinematic. As SoF says, it's more interesting to have something FANTASTIC happen than it is to have something REAL happen in game play.

Fun to Play -- By implementing my own rules for solo role-playing, I was able to graft SoF into my own way of playing. This is a factor not found in many RPGs: most of them are too hard to remember all those mechanics and roll all those dice. SoF is so versatile, you can roll first and ask questions later, meaning that there is not a lot of heavy math involved in finding out what happens. Plus the addition of the Spin mechanic really makes the game shine, because this means that players will become more involved in game play as they roll -- which takes pressure off of the Host or the GM who's running the show...

Yes, Virginia -- I do believe this game will be fun to play!

Layout and Design -- Someone was paying attention and actually gave a d@#n about what they were doing when they designed this book. It is not too garish, yet it is decorated in detail. Each page has a nice border to it (or you can read the Printer Friendly version included). There is some sporadic art found here and there within the book: not too much, not too little. The font is easy to read on the computer, which means it's easy to read when printed, too. Thank you, Void Star, for being one publisher who pays attention to detail! Good layout indeed.

Worth the money -- SoF is worth every penny as a PDF. The printed / published versions seem to be fairly priced, though $45 for a hard-back book at 6x9 format seems a little steep. However, Void Star gives you a discount for getting both PDF and Hard-back, so it's not a bad deal.

This is a very good system to have in your collection, if you like cinematic story-telling games. I recommend getting the PDF at least!
(I will get a soft cover later next month for myself!)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Strands of Fate
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Games for Goblins
Publisher: Vulpinoid Studios
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/06/2010 12:26:28
Only one thing to say here -- Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Games for Goblins
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