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Cartoon Action Hour: Season 3 rulebook
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Cartoon Action Hour: Season 3 rulebook

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Remember those bygone Saturday mornings and weekday afternoons spent in front of our television sets back in the '80s? Remember how we watched the eternal struggle between the forces of good and evil unfold right before our young eyes as our heroes stopped at nothing to out the kibosh on the seemingly endless machinations of the villains? Remember how these wondrously cheesy shows drw us in and spoke to us on a personal level, all the while trying to sell us action figures?

We remember it too! 

Cartoon Action Hour: Season 3 is the third edition of the game that was nominated for  "Best RPG" at the 2004 Origins Awards. The game faithfully and meticulously emulates the action-adventure cartoons of the 1980s, using "cartoon logic" as the basis for every aspect of the system. This is not just a universal game that just happens to be adorned with genre-appropriate art. Every single design decision was made with the purpose of bringing to life the retro-toons of yesteryear, right at your gaming table.

Everything you need to play Cartoon Action Hour is included in this full-color rulebook. Some of the features include:

Sleek and Exciting Game System: You roll a d12 and add one or two ratings to it. That's the core of the system, making it extremely easy to jump right into the animated fray. Every nuance of the system (transformation, vehicles, playsets, etc.) utilize the same game mechanics as a whole. 

Action Scenes: In Cartoon Action Hour, there is no "combat system". In its place is the "action scene" system, which covers far more than just a slugfest or a laser-filled shootout. Violence is de-emphasized and players are rewarded for making indirect attacks of a less overt nature ("I shoot the tree branch, so that it falls on top of the enemy!"). Characters can be given Setback Tokens, representing anything from physical damage to confusion and everything in between.

Series Creation: The GM and the players work together to construct the series via the series creation system, which includes character creation. Speaking of which, creating characters has never been this easy in previous versions of the game, as the bookkeeping is now very minimal indeed.

Sample Series: The book includes eight series seeds and one more detailed sample series.

26-Page Action Scene Example: This ultra-detailed example of an action scene answers any question you care to ask.

Preface by Flint Dille: The legendary cartoon writer offers up an insightful preface that discusses the way cartoons were created in the 1980s.

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Reviews (5)
Discussions (18)
Customer avatar
Joel S January 03, 2022 1:18 pm UTC
I've been looking for a way to play RPGs based on all of the action cartoons that I grew up watching in the 80s. After discovering this game, it looks like it fits the bill perfectly. I'm currently working on making a character right now.
Customer avatar
Tim M April 23, 2021 6:39 am UTC
First, this game is fun and imaginative. And I wish that was where I could leave this.

But, business practices matter. Spectrum produced this game using a kickstarter, where with the help of 474 backers, they raised $18,654. About 300 of those backers were owed physical rewards. At my best calculations, less than half received those rewards. The Kickstarter was over 7 years ago, the last update was in 2019. Yet, this book is a best platinum seller. They are still producing and selling new games. But the hundreds of people who paid into the kickstarter and never got their rewards? Forgotten.

I personally pledged $110 for this book in pdf and print, some add-ons, and cause I loved the project. Everything I actually got would cost you $29.95 in their current bundle sale, and $65 normally.

How a business handles itself and its finances matters. And a company that betrays the fans who helped them make their product is not a company that deserves your support.
Customer avatar
Fabian L April 10, 2022 8:30 pm UTC
I'm a kickstarter supporter who never received anything as well. I've pretty much given up on ever getting anything.
Customer avatar
Samuel T September 08, 2020 12:10 am UTC
I tried going to the website, but there's an error? Is there a new website?
Customer avatar
James M August 06, 2020 11:52 am UTC
Can anyone adapt the rules, guidelines and format inyo a Live Action Tokusatsu Action Hour? You know, for something like Mighty Morphin Power Rangers except adapting Gokaiger instead of Zyuranger, with far beyond 199+ additional character sheets to go with each of our five man band plus Sixth Rangers. multiply the ranger form sheets by the players, multiply that with both male and female variants and have all these ranger form sheets at the ready for every player. (A lot of Paper had to go out with all their might to make the Morphin grid.)

The Ranger Form Character Sheets overlap with the Base Civilian Form stating the additional stat buffs and debuffs with the details on stuff like "Proof of Purchase" being marked with "Please see base civilian form for this stat."

Alongside things like the Vehicle, Auxllary Modes, Zord and Megazord character Sheets overlapping the Ranger Character Sheets when needed, their details will be different to the Morphed state Character...See more
Customer avatar
Tim S July 24, 2020 10:04 am UTC
For those wanting POD version, it's not likely to happen. It was promised that POD versions would not go on sale until after print versions were distributed to those who Kickstered this project years ago. Since print fulfillment was never completed and the KS page went silent, I doubt this will ever see a POD release as the screwed-over pissed-off Kickstarters would descend on this page like locusts.
Customer avatar
Warren L July 16, 2020 11:23 pm UTC
Everyone wanting POD: you could always give Office Depot or similar a try (buy the PDF and upload it on their website to order printed copy). I often do this with game PDFs and the cost is usually acceptable, depending on the size of the book and the options chosen. The results thus far have always been nice.
Customer avatar
Stacie W November 10, 2019 9:37 am UTC
Still no PoD option... tsk tsk tsk... It's only been 6 years since the pdf came out. *sarcasm noted*
Customer avatar
Ryan W July 02, 2019 11:13 pm UTC
Can we get a POD option? I know I can get it printed off myself but I'd rather have a professional looking print.
Customer avatar
Iriah W September 14, 2018 7:39 pm UTC
When this becomes available in POD please send out a notice. Thank you.
Customer avatar
Alan B November 24, 2017 7:33 pm UTC
I'd echo the previous requests for a PoD version.
Customer avatar
Tim O June 07, 2018 12:20 pm UTC
I do as well.
Customer avatar
Iriah W May 02, 2017 2:55 am UTC
Print on demand version please!
Customer avatar
Stacie W April 24, 2017 7:07 am UTC
Any chance this will get a Print version soon? Likely hood of purchasing item listed above increases by the chances of 98.675% if a print version ever comes available.
Customer avatar
Jonathan L February 14, 2017 6:24 pm UTC
Still eagerly awaiting hard copies of this and Retrostar.
Customer avatar
Brian R August 15, 2016 9:29 pm UTC
It would be nice for those that helped create this book by Kickstarting it would actually receive the product before it was put on sale. Spectrum has so far been full of empty promises so I doubt I will continue to support the game or company. I wouldn't be surprised to learn they were not going to release anymore of the many promised products
Customer avatar
Edgar G November 16, 2015 12:52 pm UTC
When will you release the Going Japanese supplement? Im eager to have it on my hands! Im really looking forward to play something with the vibe of Dragon Ball and that kind of japanese animation.
Customer avatar
Bryan A April 23, 2015 1:34 pm UTC
Is the PDF in that landscape divided page format? Want to get to read on a 7" tablet and do not think that format would be the best.
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File Last Updated:
March 25, 2014
This title was added to our catalog on November 09, 2013.