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VAMPUNKS
Publisher: ThePunkWrangler
by Patrick H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/06/2021 23:53:33

Gloriously dumb! I love everything about it. Simple system, absurd setting, excellent adventures ("Cyber-Vamps From Beyond the Web"!). Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
VAMPUNKS
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Creator Reply:
Thank you very much! Glad you enjoyed the game!
Relics: A Game of Angels
Publisher: Tin Star Games
by Patrick H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/21/2021 23:09:43

I backed the Kickstarter. I tried to love this game. I really did. But I just can't.

Playing: The system does not support the setting. The Fugue system is built for games where the characters don't know who they are, and learn about themselves through the stories of others. Applying it to angels, who have established personalities, leads to memories that don't make sense for the way the character is being played. Some people might enjoy this, but it does not work for me.

GMing (spoilers by implication): There's an entire chapter of this book devoted to alternate cosmologies before they actually tell you what the "official" cosmology is. Now, when I first read this book, preparing to run it, I described the cosmology as "buck wild," and it seemed fun. It doesn't in any way match up with one single detail of what the players have read, but I'm okay with some interesting secrets, even if they are basically just a blend of Nephilim and Rifts. But once I combined it with the published scenarios, it just felt dumb. Nothing the players do ultimately serves any purpose. They are ants in a tank, except that's not what I signed up for when I bought A Game of Angels. The meta-knowledge effectively destroys any enjoyment of the actual playable portion of the setting. Maybe I could see a campaign that's all about discovering The Truth, but the system (as I have noted) is very ill-equipped for that.

Reading: This PDF does not have a table of contents. The book has one, but it's on page 30-something, so you'll want to make that your first highlight and build a bunch of bookmarks, but it's still going to be a hassle as you flip around. There's no index, either, so make your peace with that. It's an absolute mess for navigation.

I cannot recommend purchasing this product.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Relics: A Game of Angels
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City of Mist Case: Carnival of Machines
Publisher: Son of Oak Game Studio
by Patrick H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/16/2021 17:07:35

Absolutely brilliant. The utterly wild combination of Rifts is my favorite part of City of Rifts, and this one doesn't hesitate for a moment before slamming together utterly incompatible mythologies. Plus, the abandoned carnival may seem cliche when it comes to horror movies, but how often do you actually see one in a tabletop RPG? Great stuff.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
City of Mist Case: Carnival of Machines
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Mothership: Player's Survival Guide
Publisher: Tuesday Knight Games
by Patrick H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/16/2021 15:42:20

The average stat is 33. The highest tier skill you can get at character creation is "expert" which adds 15%. So the average space marine is sent out on their first assignment with just under a 50% chance to hit, and that's if they spend two of their three skill points on Firearms training.

Listen, I get it. Horror genre, everybody dies. But there has to be a way to tell stories about competent people being overwhelmed by powerful horrors, rather than schmoes who go down because they're completely incompetent. This game is one long exercise in frustration.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Mothership: Player's Survival Guide
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Tall Pines, A Surreal Murder Mystery Game
Publisher: Self-Critical Hits
by Patrick H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/13/2021 13:42:57

Does what it says on the tin.

Toe to tip, that's a Twin Peaks!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tall Pines, A Surreal Murder Mystery Game
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City of Mist Case: Broken Glass
Publisher: Son of Oak Game Studio
by Patrick H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/16/2020 23:41:28

Content warning: a significant portion of this case involves a psychiatric hospital and the involuntary commitment of a number of people, potentially including the PCs, by malicious and abusive mental health professionals.

Maybe I should've guessed that from the fact that therapists were the secret bad guys in the last two cases. Maybe not. Either way, now you know and can make an informed decision.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
City of Mist Case: Broken Glass
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Creator Reply:
Thank you for your feedback, Patrick, and for helping to clarify this point to others. Please note that the product description explicitly describes the case as pitting the PCs against "the villain’s operation, a twisted mental health organization." We apologize if the content caused any inconvenience and are happy to refund your purchase. If you have suggestions to how we can improve, please reply here.
Santa vs. Santa
Publisher: Mystic Ages Publishing
by Patrick H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/16/2020 12:11:15

Fun times! My elves stopped a plane hijacking then went to the moon to play chess with a body double of Evil Santa. Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Santa vs. Santa
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Creator Reply:
Sounds like fun! Thanks for playing and for your support!
Madhouse: A Lockwood's Asylum RPG
Publisher: Blackout Games, LLC
by Patrick H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/07/2020 23:58:26

Holy Moses this is offensive. I mean come on. This isn't "eldritch horror in the shadow of a 1920s madhouse," this is a modern day mental hospital full of abuse and murder and trauma. The representation of insanity, cheerfully sorted into five nearly distinct "disorders," is both downright facile and hugely insulting. And don't think that just because they put in a 1/6th page sidebar saying "hm, mental health is actually much more complex than this" they're magically off the hook for the absolutely reprehensible way they present the lives and sickness of people who aren't "technically" real but absolutely resemble the public's fevered imaginings of actual mental patients.

Let me be clear, I am not saying "oh this might hurt someone's feelings." I am saying that I, as a bog-standard psychiatric patient, am actively offended by this. I am aghast at its existence, embarrassed by its presence on this website, and furious that real life trauma could be so readily commodified into a spinoff of a card game. This roleplaying game does a hateful disservice to the one in four people in this country that have experienced or will some day experience mental illness. Such willful misrepresentation of real-life trauma and suffering can only be described as mean-spirited, and I wish upon the creators nothing but the obvious repercussions of the energy they've chosen to put into the world.

I am repulsed.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Madhouse: A Lockwood's Asylum RPG
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for your feedback, Patrick. As stated on the product page, Madhouse is a game in the survival horror genre, and thus is deliberately set in a dark and unrealistic world filled with sanity-draining ghosts and monsters. We apologize if the content caused you any distress.
City of Mist Case: Killing Her Softly
Publisher: Son of Oak Game Studio
by Patrick H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/07/2020 14:55:25

Excellent! Complex, plenty of red herrings, some good places for the PCs to screw up and shut off leads without shutting out the rest of the story. Shame the title of the piece is basically a dead giveaway of the plot, but that's hardly the end of the world. Also the absolute randomness of the Rifts in this is hilarious, in my opinion.

Oh! And disability representation! Man, everything about that character was great. Well done.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
City of Mist Case: Killing Her Softly
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City of Mist Case: Demons in Cross End
Publisher: Son of Oak Game Studio
by Patrick H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/07/2020 14:51:28

Good stuff! Good Halloween themed case. It's worth noting that if the players go at things in a certain order, one has to awkwardly withhold certain characters until later. That said, I don't know how you'd build around that, considering the incredibly obvious nature of the action ... eh. Either way, four stars. Good stuff.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
City of Mist Case: Demons in Cross End
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City of Mist Case: V is for Going Viral
Publisher: Son of Oak Game Studio
by Patrick H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/07/2020 14:49:03

A good case, although some elements are easy to overlook. I had to wing it as far as the behavior of teenagers who were already involved, because there's no real guidance to exactly what that's about. But it's good.

STG, I'm taking off an entire star for that title. V is not, in fact, for Going anything. G is for Going something, V is for Viral. GTFO.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
City of Mist Case: V is for Going Viral
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City of Mist: Player's Guide
Publisher: Son of Oak Game Studio
by Patrick H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/28/2020 00:54:04

This is a really great game. It's the one good part of Fate grafted onto the PBtA system and it works perfectly. Honestly this might be my new model for future games, too. It will accommodate any setting that involves magic with basically no changes.

As for the setting, I love the glitzy surface level of it but I'm actually reluctant to dig any deeper. There's a lot going on in the lore expansion books but ... I just don't care? I don't actually want to know, and I say that as a Forever GM. We just play in a Dark City-style Quantum 80s where the cars have fins, everyone wears a trenchcoat, and there's Facebook, but no cell phones. The city is all there is and who cares about the rest?

Really, though, this book is all you need to play the game. There may be good stuff in the others, but they are optional. I recommend trying this out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
City of Mist: Player's Guide
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Dino-Wars: DUOLOGY (bundle)
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Patrick H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/22/2020 16:22:46

I wanted to love this. Dinosaurs? Riding dinosaurs? Awesome! But the books are a mess. The order of information is nonsensical, the PDF ToC is incorrectly tiered in the second book and just not present in the first, the text makes reference to appendicies that aren't there ("See Gold-Tusk’s Unfinished Map (Appendix C)"--Appendix C is Monsters and NPCs), and this has obviously never been spellchecked. It also suffers from Quantum McGuffin; if the players don't happen to retrieve a powerful but unmentioned item on their way, the person who needs it just has it. Plus, there are a dozen-odd places on this island described in detail that your players will never get to--I guess that's not that bad, but it feels pretty pointless. This whole thing could be tightened considerably.

Significantly worse than any of that, in my opinion, is the characterization of the Paku in the first half. Please take note:

  • You can see that one man sits in a throne made from what looks to be the bones of some large creature. He wears tribal warpaint, a sharp claw from some long dead dinosaur is pierced below his bottom lip, and long, heavy dreadlocks fall around his muscular shoulders and bare chest. He raises his fist and the room becomes quiet.
  • He begins to talk in broken common ‘Tribesmen, family. Me Chief Cargoth call you here with regret. Terror comes Paku’s way from east! Evil strangers from distant land come to take our home! New friend here...’ at this he motions to the slender form in the shadowy corner ‘...comes to warn Paku tribe. Paku hunters must prepare to defend Paku Village by manning Nula Ruin, enemy comes by way of Three Horn Valley tonight!’

Yikes. Yiiiiiiiiiiikes. At least that doesn't continue into the second half, but still. Yikes.

Overall, it's not worth the price, nor is it worth the hassle of running it.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Dino-Wars: DUOLOGY (bundle)
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The Interview
Publisher: Glass-Free* Games
by Patrick H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/07/2020 18:13:09

This is cute! To picture the setting, just see Foster & Digby talking trash in Stranger in a Strange Land. I will say that it's a little difficult to maintain the positive outlook this calls for in this year of our lord 2020, but hey.

One tweak I'd make is that the Executive makes a resume of their greatest accomplishments/disappointments, then notes a few things about their reactions to same. You're meant to share that with the Spirit so they can steer towards them, but I think if I were to do it again I'd keep the reactions to myself, and only inform them of the events, so the reactions can come out in play. Otherwise a nice simple game.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Interview
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Taverns, Inns, and Taprooms: In Hell
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Patrick H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/25/2020 13:53:39

Good content, bad PDF. I like two of the three Inns here (the other is a Guy Fieri joke that doesn't do it for me, but YMMV). I really dislike the fact that PDF navigation is broken, the text is a jumble when you copy & paste out of it, and that things aren't labeled properly. (Like "glass of reverals" is in the items as "revisal hourglass" and for some reason searing "hourglass" only turns up the text in the appendix and not the part of the text where it talks about how you get the hourglass and basically the whole thing is just a mess.)

I love the ideas, but I'd be better off printing it out and flipping.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Taverns, Inns, and Taprooms: In Hell
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Creator Reply:
Very strange - I've not heard any other complaints about the text search functionality of the PDF. I'll have to look into that when I do the update for this PDF - but I can't seem to recreate the issue on my end. How often acrobat updates and uploads cause issues, it's sad that it's not a huge shock to me. Hopefully I can find what's causing the problem and sort it out for the next version.
OH HEY, if you're having trouble copy/pasting from the PDF - try the Printer Friendly version. I tested both and printer friendly version seems to hold the formatting much better since the background is a non-issue (white). Depending on a NUMBER of factors, that might be easier to navigate on your machine! Happy hunting in hell.
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