This starter pack for Dakkar Unlimited's "Hot Chicks: The RPG" definitely passes muster as a great way to be introduced to the system and its world, though a couple of items aren't really "essential" for beginning the game.
First up, there's a copy of the main "Hot Chicks" rulebook, which of course is a genuine "essential". Coming quite late to the party - less than eighteen months now till the actual time, 2015, "Hot Chicks" was originally set in - I was impressed by the thought and energy put into this game. With flexibility paramount, so anything from an action movie is possible, it comes down to individual gaming groups as to how they wish to play it. Yes, it's a game for mature adults only, so encompasses all the themes that implies, but if some of them don't suit your group, you're not forced to use any of it. Adult game, adult choices. There's plenty of background detail here to spark off ideas for games from one-offs to full campaigns, in what can at first seem a dauntingly long book. If the general concepts appeal, don't let that latter put you off. While it's easily possible to copy, paste & print sections from the PDF file on a PC as normal (and do a quick spell-check and correction on the way!), or run-off selected pages complete, it may be time now for a revised edition to make using it electronically easier, given the increasing availability of lightweight tablet-style notebooks, for instance. That would also allow shifting the setting date to something a little less immediate. 5/5.
It may seem odd to find a copy of "The Hot Chicks Free Preview" included in this bundle, judged by its title alone. However, this short book includes a new alien race, the Greygore, complete with two-page character sheets to stat them up, and enough description to help you set up an opening encounter in the "Hot Chicks" game-world. There are also several human characters here who could be used as PCs or NPCs, to further help things along, making this an excellent addition. 5/5.
"Major Malfunctions #2: Mall of the Future!" is a good starter scenario to ease players into the game. Background text sketches the main features of a central-computer-run Mall, how it functions and what's really going on there, with a list of story hooks to get your players involved. NPCs are again detailed on clear, two-page character sheets, and there are five simplified plans of the Mall and its surroundings. Nothing is described in minute detail, so the GM can decide just how the adventure is to pan-out, and where the key locations are. While that does create more work, it's very much in-keeping with Dakkar's policy of retaining game flexibility. As usual, Dakkar's CGI artwork is fully in evidence, the one artistic failing being the Mall map and plans, which are remarkably basic drawings with not even a scale on any. Indeed, it's odd, given the numerous paper standee figure sets Dakkar have produced to support "Hot Chicks", that they've not branched-out into making quality printable floor-plans for structures like the Mall too. Even a detailed sample shop-unit layout or two would have been helpful here, for instance. However, the adventure's very nicely thought-through overall. 4/5.
Somewhat less immediately useful, though still interesting, "The V-701 Series" is a supplement describing a class of humanoid robots that, as the cover subtitle states, can be servants, defenders or companions. This is a showcase for more CGI artwork, often full page, with short notes on most describing the different robot types, with a few pages of further background notes, concluding with character sheets to stat-up the different models. The whole is designed to look much like a sales catalogue, a concept which here works quite well. It's also a simple matter to copy & paste selections from the text for printouts, to make the whole more manageable when running games using hardcopy. A helpful guide if humanoid robots are to feature in your campaign, expanding upon the basics from the main rulebook. 4/5.
The "GM's Screen and Quick Reference" pack is surprisingly lengthy, at 60 pages. Such screens are devices I've never liked and stopped using very early on in my RPG activities, but this one's of acceptable standard if they're more useful for you, with three bold artwork players'-side panels, whose content shouldn't offend many. Most of the book comprises collected tables from the main rulebook and several supplements, a handy compilation. 4/5.
"One Hundred and Thirty Guns for Hot Chicks!" is exactly that, described in a 20-page supplement, albeit most are simply minor variations on the basic weapon types already in the main rules. There is also a list of adventure seeds based around firearms, plus a few fresh items, notably the possibility to introduce electro-thermal weapons, ones with greater range and penetration than the usual gunpowder weapons. 3/5.
[5 of 5 Stars!]