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Sparks of Light
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/22/2016 19:18:08

I am fond of the magical girl genre. Theough they seemed to have missed Magical Girl Pretty Sammy. I also like the FU based but rewritten system, I like the no killing aspects. OK, i didn't like the one picture of the four girl group that looked a lot more like tough punk guys (especially the mohawk) than cute girls. it also certainly gave enough background and theory.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sparks of Light
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Sparks of Light
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/01/2015 11:56:53

Sparks is a light hearted game of Magical Girls. I uses the Fate system, but it can be used as a guide for any magical girl game regardless of system.
I think the most important thing about this book is how do the characters relate to each other and too the NPCs. This is the key feature of any magical girl story whether or not it is Sailor Moon, W.I.T.C.H., Cardcaptor Sakura or even Charmed. It is the relationships that define the character. Take someone like Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon, he is (let's be honest) useless. But he does have relationships to the rest of the cast and that makes for drama. Would it make for a good game? No, maybe not, but consider Angel in the first season of Buffy. He was basically Tuxedo Mask. I also really liked the Hope Points mechanic. Magic Girls rarely see last death or injury (Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune not withstanding), so hit points don't really make a lot of sense. Plus the Darkness is not about killing really. It's about snuffing out the light or hope of the heroes. In this respect it might make it a better game for little kids. Don't get me wrong, I have played D&D with grade-schoolers and they are a vicious, blood thirsty lot. But they don't have to be. If you like Fate then is a good game to try out, especially given the price.
If you like Magical Girls then this is a must buy (even if some of this is covered in other books as well).



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Sparks of Light
by Simon H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/22/2015 16:33:21

Let's get this out of the way, I think 3 is a little on the low side and no one should be rating this product lower then this. If there was a three and a half button I could probably be convinced to give the product that.

Basically Sparks is closer to an extended essay on the Magic Girl and POSSIBLE ways for a GM to do such a campaign then a true rule book or campaign in itself. The system, such as it is, is extremely rules light and there's very few actual tools given for someone to work with. There's a little good artwork but that's few and far between, most of what's there is either poor or formulaic. And that's not counting the format. DO NOT take that page count seriously, the book likes to make chapter breaks every few pages and leave most of a whole page blank. I mean that literally in places, no art, no nothing, all too often three sentences being the only thing on the page. I find it a little telling how often this happens more to the back then the preview pages that would come up here.

Now, having gotten that all out of the way that's not to say this product couldn't be useful for you. I called this an extended essay for a reason, it's a nice one stop location for the basic things a GM should think about before doing a magical girls campaign. It might not be the ultimate resource for a GM but it makes an excellent checklist for the GM to go down and maybe get some insperation for filling in the blanks. If you like a rules light campaign this system might not be bad, it feels a little too light for me but it has some merits and the idea of a relationship web might honestly be useful in other genres as well. And one of the reasons I feel guilty for going so low on this product is, well, is a Magical Girl game really needing an ultra heavy and detailed rules system? Let's be honest here, the whole genre usually runs on a fair amount of flexibility and more players would probably appreciate that in a game rather then 'what's the difficulty rating for not being spotted by sempai, roll stealth' type approach.

All in all the books a bit too empty and fluffy, but it's not BAD. It's potentially quite useful if you're about to run your own game even if you're not going to use the Sparks system. And for it's price (I got it for $5) let's be honest, you shouldn't exactly be expecting a Pathfinder or D&D core rule book either. I have complaints and I wouldn't exactly recommend it to most people, but I wouldn't recommend they stay away from it either and there's the odd time I'd put it on someone's list.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Sparks of Light
by Lucas S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/05/2015 19:42:00

Things I like: 1) The game gave me a millionty ideas for stories. For example... Magical Moms and Dads. Tuxedo Mask with a midlife crisis. Getting to duck out of work because a monster is ripping up main street. Playing as the octogenarian in a retirement home to drive out the monsters that have taken up residence. It really just goes on and on here. A group of magical girls trying to take over Hollywood, so they can spread hope that much faster. How do they stay anchored to the bonds of compassion that are their power in a world that's all about deception? If they lose, then they will fall to excess and base selfishness. But what if they win? Is the place already taken by the darkness? Does their entrance compel a response? A group of conspiracy junkies uncovering the world shaped by the conflict between Sailor Moon and the Negaverse. It's a switcheroo game, but wow, do I want to see it become real.

2) The character creation system, and the emphasis on remaining anchored in the world. The game doesn't have hit points, it has hope points. And unlike HP, which has all those weird questions that axes tend to, hope points make sense. Attacks wear a target down, turn them to despair. They can remember what they're fighting for, get a second wind, but if they pull on it too hard, then it stops working. This frees up conflict to be anything, which the game happily points out.

3) The writing style. There are a few editing mistakes, but the tone is friendly and unashamed. Vital in a work like this, and very in keeping with the theme. The mechanics are clearly defined and consistently used. Very easy to pick up and read.

4) The game recognizes its versatility, and encourages its use. I suspect embrace the weird, page 61, will be very important for recruitment.

Things I didn't like

a) No example bond map. While the game is simple, it's also unlike most I've ever played, and the bond map is vital. An example with the sample characters at the end would make a very good appendix for the next edition.

b) The cover is wrong. Yes, it's a game about magical girls... but look at where rainbow hair is. It's a nondescript multicolored magical space. She's alone and divorced from reality. This isn't a game where that's good.

All in all, the most damning things I can say about this game are still that it's got me wondering who in my Pathfinder group of min-maxers would be up for a narrative game where everyone plays a magical girl to save the world.

Still glad I bought it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Sparks of Light
by Simon G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/10/2015 23:45:13

Sparks is a narrative game of good vs. evil that draws heavily upon the tropes of the Magical Girl genre of anime. You play a Magical Girl or Magical Knight of the Light trying to balance your personal bonds with your duty to protect the world, both physically and spiritually, from the Dark that wishes to dominate it. The Dark taints the land with the help of Dark Magical Girls and their allies but it can be fought and redeemed. Of course the real world often intrudes. Even Magical Girls have to go to school, study, do chores, get dates and avoid rabid Magical Girl Stalkers, normal people who have seen a little too much of the magical world and obsess over it.

Creating a character is a co-opearative venture, a group takes a number of turns to define a character's Bonds, interpersonal relationships with each other, NPCs and the world around them. This creates a Bond Map which represents the things that are important to the character and the group. Bonds are important for receiving Hope Points, which can be spent to give the players narrative control. Characters also has Aspects which define them personally. Players experienced with the FATE system will see correlations here. You start with a number of Hope Points equal to your Bonds and replenish the same number during downtime. Hope Points are spent by invoking your Aspects which give a bonus on rolls. There are no base statistics, only by using your Aspects and roleplaying can you gain an advantage on rolls. Magical powers are entirely descriptive and open, this is very much a rules light game.

Sparks is very specifically modelling the Magical Girl genre, and personally I think it hits the nail right on the head. It captures the secret identity, dealing with other worlds, idealism vs. pessimism and the importance of community and other elements perfectly. The art is of good to exceptional quality. My gaming group is definitely going to play this, it's a solid, uncomplicated, narrative game.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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