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The Black Hack Second Edition
by Ville H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/03/2018 04:07:24

Probably the current pinnacle of OSR design.

Take a look at the preview. It gives a pretty good idea of how concise it is; the example of play illustrates the basic mechanics of the game within a very short space. It sold me on the game in a minute or two. The rest of the book is equally good, if not better.

The game has a few basic mechanics that it uses for everything. It is streamlined without being too simplistic (in my opinion, at least). The simplicity of its part guarantees that it's easy to hack and add house rules to, even if you're not too much into game design. Even the 78 spells fit on two pages.

The simplicity means that it's not for everyone. The spells are a good example. Because most spells' effects are described with one sentence, the game can't define the fictional content or detailed mechanical restrictions for them. Beginning GMs might find it difficult, and it certainly isn't suited for groups that want intricate mechanics or protection from arbitrary and unfair GMs. But for groups that trust one another and want to do all that work for themselves, it's a beautifully simple and open design.

The basic rules take up 30 pages or so, and the rest is filled to the brim with useful random tables and other rules and tools for the GM. You can read the whole thing fast, but keep using it for a long, long time. Because make no mistake, this is a book to be USED. But it still doesn't feel like a dry technical manual.

I believe the book suits a GM who is comfortable with improvisation. You don't need to everything alone - the mountain of random tables ensures that. But still, the tables only give you ideas and ways out of dead ends, instead of doing the work for you. It does require some effort and being comfortable at making stuff up on the fly; on the other hand, it ensures a surprising and rewarding experience for the GM as well.

I can't recommend this highly enough. You get an amazing product for a ridiculously low price.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Black Hack Second Edition
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The Black Hack Second Edition
by Brett M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/25/2018 22:33:18

The Black Hack's original iteration started a new sect of the OSR/DIY D&D movement and became one of the most hacked games since D&D.

However, the original TBH made a lot of compromises to speed up play. Some of the rules were weird and wonky, and on top of that, the game made odd decisions for the sake of uniqueness (I mean, let's be honest, calling Wizards "Conjurers" was...interesting)

I think the slightly odd rules almost demanded that each table tailor the game to their liking. Which in a way has its own merits. But out with the old and in with the new.

Simply put, this new rendition of The Black Hack is a masterclass in design. Not a single rule made me scratch my head. Each page made me nod in agreement. The armor rules are awesome. The class abilities are great. The leveling system is fresh and will make sessions way more fun. And adding backgrounds finally brings TBH up to Whitehack's level of worldbuilding. So much amazingness in just the first 20 pages!

The art, the Game Master sections, and everything else are not just functional, they're wonderful. The page layout is so good it makes me emotional. This book is full of tools, tables, generators, and much more. $6.00 is a ludicrously low price for what you're getting.

If you want to try simpler D&D, look no further.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Black Hack Second Edition
by Simon H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/25/2018 05:32:06

First, an interlude. Skip to paragraph 2 for the punchline. My favourite edition of D&D is Moldvay Basic, the one between the Holmes and Mentzer editions. It was much clearer and more complete that Holmes, but much more concise and generously writen than the more wordy and better known Mentzer edition. Your characters were properly heroic. Can your character ride a horse? Just note how you learned to do so on the character sheet. Want to be able to swim, or navigate or helm a ship? No problem. Then there was the 'you can try anything' rule in the GMs advice section. If there isn't a rule for something you want your character to try, just roll 1D20 against an appropriate stat and try to roll lower, maybe with a modifier. Just like that, D&D got a general purpose task resolution system that made it a truly flexible, heroic system. But it was not to be, Mentzer and AD&D crushed the game under the "If it's not on your character sheet, you can't do it" ethos of doling out permission to be able to try to do things via feats and profficiencies.

The Black Hack jumps the tracks of the whole OD&D, OSR movement into an alternate timeline where this simple attribute check based mechanic from one edition of Basic D&D becomes the hart of the game. It's not just dialing the clock back to that key moment, it takes us back to the future again with a carefully judged selection of fun new little tools and mechanics to create a tight, minimalist but very capable system. It has the equivalent of feats and such, but rather than grant permission to try at all, they make it easier to succeed. Now that's how you do it! First edition was very spare, but the second edition clarifies and organises the system and adds a host of support meterial that make it into a complete game and great value for money.

I've no idea if David Black even knows about Moldvay D&D and that cute little rule, no reason why he should. What he's built here stands on it's own as easily my favourite of the OD&D/OSR games.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Black Hack Second Edition
by Karlen K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/24/2018 18:01:28

Everything I loved about the first ruleset has been improved with this new edition. The DM section takes up about 3/4 of the book and is chock full of inspiration, tables to roll on for fun twists, and excellent suggestions for running the game.

My top three favorite new things: Advantage and Disadvantage for more than just attack rolls, fluctuating prices when shopping, and simplified spells and spell slots for magic users.

For six bucks you are getting a real deal. Buy. This. Book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Black Hack Second Edition
by Olivier S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/21/2018 11:46:16

TBH2 does everything the original TBH did, and then some: bigger, better, faster, stronger! TBH2 is (imho) the best "neo-retro" game on the market. The rules are easy and concise, the layout and artwork high-quality, 3rd-party support is ever-growing, and most of all, the game is fun as hell! If you need a game for quick one-shots at cons, but also for longer campaigns, TBH2 is your game!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Black Hack Second Edition
by D J B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/18/2018 10:34:39

Simple, elegant, looks great and most important; eminently usable.

It's basically the same player facing rules that everyone loved from 1st edition TBH, with a few minor tweaks. However once you get past the the player section (approx 30 pages) you find that the Black Hack now features added GM tools (in the form of tons of useful random tables) to help improve and flesh out your adventures either in advance or, crucially, at the table.

Also included: Bestiary, each entry has some cool art and some cool random tables (this might even be the best chapter.) Sample dungeons, 2 of them, fully fleshed out with maps and GM friendly layout.

Recommended without reservation.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Black Hack Second Edition
by Dave I. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/17/2018 18:53:04

The Black Hack is a great game. The second edition adds so much more great stuff that it boggles my mind. The art and monsters in the new version are wonderful. The 6$ for the .pdf is quite a bargain. I run this game a lot because it is easy to pickup and run with little prep. I highly recommend this game to everyone.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Black Hack Second Edition
by Dani J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/17/2018 12:32:33

I got to peruse this book after I recieved backer copy from recent kickstarter campaign. 2nd edition streamlined the format to further the ease of access and layed out one topic on a single page so that you don't have to flip back and forth. And there's plethora of options and random table to choose and, of course, let you "hack" from. Whereas 1st edition was perfect and sound in system but left you with blank tablet to fill in yourself, this one complements the basic concept of the first release with more options that should work toward the GMs' and players' convinience and fun. The book guides you step by step to make the game you put on your table easier and lethal without having to put so much effort. Those of you who are concerned with backward compatibility, yeah it is 100% compatible.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Black Hack Second Edition
by Umberto P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/17/2018 04:30:41

An excellent, "secondo generation" OSR game. Very complete, hackable and with a refreshing art. A must buy (and must play) for me!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Black Hack
by Jason W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/02/2017 13:40:31
I recall the days of the first D& D basic set from the 70's. It blew my child mind. I matured with AD & D. Then for me it changed with v3.5. I hated it. The game became slow, as a GM it was a arduous. A game session became endless tables and rolls. It killed the flow and fun. I stopped playing. Years passed and I stuck to board games. Then I looked for a rules lite rpg. I found The Black Hack. Immediately I recalled the old days of gaming that didn't require an accounting present to play. I love this system. It is simple to the extreme. More a set of basic game physics than rules. A breeze to learn. Fast gameplay. Combat with no pauses. I like the attribute test engine and the advantage disadvantage roll. Yeah its basic but thats the point. Make rolls up as your go, maintain the theatre of the game with no "hang on I need to look that roll up" in addition you can use any pre written adventure and tweak it without difficult conversions. I'm dusting off the old TSR module's for some retro fun. It's incredibly cheap and pdf friendly. I'm padding out spells with my old AD&D books. In fact use any rule book or expansion and improvise. If your a number cruncher you will hate it. If like me you just want to get on with play with total flexibilty you will love it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Black Hack
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B/X Monster Reference Index
by Todor P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/05/2017 14:10:02

It's what it says on the tin, but the real kicker here is that the PDF purchase also comes with an Excel spreadsheet that lets you edit out anything you might not need and fine-tune it for your games / system.

I cut a bunch of monsters out and reduced the columns to a smaller number that I need for running The Black Hack and it's the fastest monster reference ever!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
B/X Monster Reference Index
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The Black Hack
by Ken G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/15/2017 15:49:42

Good little resourse. Sortof a pared down generic RPG from a "classic" perspective. Useful for gameplay, but also as a baseline for comparison while designing new RPGs. Nice and succinct, which is hard to come by.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Black Hack
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The Black Hack
by Alan S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/05/2017 12:24:27

This game is really cool IMO. A very elegant and quick game. I have seen lots of quick games, but this one has mechanics and aspects that I actually find compelling rather than just functional. I think I would use this as an alternative for some of my players for some stories. It is quick simple and interesting none the less. I think this one is right up there with Dungeon World and DCC. And it is even easier than Fate Accelerated. I would rather use this to introduce new players to RPGs than 5th edition. Its good. Check it out.....



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Black Hack
by SIMONE P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/17/2017 11:09:11

It's a minimalist game and I like it for its semplicity. It's amazing how the D&D literally reborn through this thin manual: it seems to play to a totally new game. It's pretty easy to roll characters, make up a party and start to explore all in the same evening: it's a save-timing game. I have bought other Hacked products because I like this style to roleplaly with my friends.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
1st Ed Advanced Character Sheet
by Will H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/16/2016 22:27:46

Interesting that absolutely no one mentioned that there is no place for "TO HIT ARMOR CLASS" numbers: believe it or not, that's kinda important in a pre-THAC0 system.

Oh, and it's missing SAVING THROWS as well -- you might need those if you actually played AD&D 1st ed.

It's got a large area for thief skills, "notes," and "misc", because everyone can just use those during melee or while under magical attack?

Is there supposed to be a second page?

A previous reviewer claimed "This character sheet is, from memory, an almost exact reproduction of the kind I used to play AD&D back in the late 1970s and early 80s."

No it isn't -- the TSR 1st edition character sheets looked absolutely nothing like this. Nothing in the 70s or 80s (or 90s) looked anything whatsoever like this sheet.

The dark borders are pointless, and likely to use a dollar's worth of toner per sheet.

Compare this to the sheet in OSRIC, which has places for every essential piece of information imaginable, even places for armor class with various armor, shields, etc added. And Saving Throw numbers and "To Hit Armor Class" from -10 to 10.

Alignment diagram in the bottom right doesn't help me know what I need to roll to hit or save. Really a tremendous example of style over substance.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
1st Ed Advanced Character Sheet
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Creator Reply:
Sorry you don't like the sheet. It is an almost exact replica of Games Workshop's 1978 character sheet that was extremely popular in the UK. The PDF version here was created as the original for a very limited print run of new pads a few years ago.
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