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Iron Age
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Peter L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/31/2010 22:36:00

The Good: I may be a little biased because this happens to be my favorite age in comics since it was my introduction. The breakdown on the history of Iron Age is fantastic! It accurately goes down the finer points of what led to the Iron Age, and covers its ideals in an organized manner. On the mechanics side of things, there are plenty more options opened up. Everything is pointed in the direction of grittiness - big guns, leather, chains and spikes. The hero and villain archetypes we saw over and over again in the Iron Age are well represented. Lastly, the helping hands toward GM's are actually pretty good. I found Chapter 4 to be a decent guide. The writers did a great job of being specific, but not pushy (if you know what I mean).

The Bad: Most of the extra content in this book is merely recycled - and most of that from the Mastermind's Manual. Just about the only crunch I didn't see from other books are the extra skills, and I'm not personally attached to the idea of increasing my skills list. All the different gun types are good for the age, but they really didn't require to be listed out. People can make a sub-machine gun's damage modifier one point less than an assault rifle without any help. A lot of the content just seemed like they were pressed to fill out this book's mere 130 pages. The Bad Medicine adventure towards the back is bland and laid out horribly. They should've ditched some of the recycled content for the sake of improving the adventure.

The Ugly: A lot of this art is so bad that it hurts; featuring inconsistent colors, horrid proportion, and almost no perspective. In contrast, there is some quite stunning art (see the Force Ops team starting on page 97). And, retouching on something I brought up before, I place a hex on the writers and layout designer for thinking these were good tables. Why were half of them even necessary, beyond just covering page space?

Overall: If you dig the Iron Age of comics and want a little push in the right direction with running the game, this is certainly a good buy. If you're a player seeking out more options for your character, I wouldn't recommend getting this book. Perhaps it could be a good buy if you're looking for inspiration on your characters. But, you'd probably be better off just picking up some old Image Comics titles.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Iron Age
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Serenity Role Playing Game
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Peter L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/09/2009 11:22:33

THE GOOD: This game uses the Cortex System, which is overall solid and easy to grasp. As such, this leads to fast-paced gameplay with, hopefully, fewer questions asked. The best part of all is that it’s very flexible. Quick on-the-fly calls for GM’s are pretty easy. You won’t have to memorize this book, because if it makes sense to you, chances are you’re making the right call. At first, I thought that I wouldn’t like the Assets and Complications system, in which the player selects the good and bad things about their character. I don’t like railroading players and I thought this would do just that. Turns out, it promotes roleplay (something I usually keep mechanics away from as much as possible) and can lead to some good laughs at the table.

THE BAD: There are the usual small things every now and then that playtesters missed. For instance, with the way character progress works, you can advance more quickly if you choose to do nothing. My fix for this is to simply choose when the players advance to the next tier – no gradual advancement. Also, the attribute rolls on page 142 could easily be condensed (Get Out of Harm’s Way and Initiative combine into Reaction at my table). No big deal. As I said, this game is easily tailored. I can’t really make many bad remarks about the game itself.

THE UGLY: This book. The design is cluttered, the wording is sketchy, and the organization is horrible. They really shouldn’t have had full bleed backgrounds. It would’ve been cheaper and easier on the eyes to just have white backgrounds. Learning the rules of this system for the first time using this book can be a pain. A big example would be the Crew Creation table on page 30. Step two is choosing traits, and step five is choosing skills. Yet, the traits and skills are both listed in Chapter 2, while not using the same point pool in character creation. The steps in between are scattered throughout the book. The skills are organized poorly. Each one gives an example of what difficulty levels represent what, which was previously covered anyway. A lot of the things they wrote tables on don’t need tables, and there were things that needed tables, yet did not have them. In the skill Perception, there are the specialities called Deduction and Intuition. Can you tell me the distinct differences between the two? Neither can the writers, it would seem. My biggest irk is, on a number of occasions, the writers seemed to be trying to tell GM’s how their games should play out. I can decide my own game style and pace, thank you very much. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

OVERALL: Fun, solid, fast-paced game. Buy it. Just be prepared decipher what the means, rather than what it says. I would’ve given this four out of five stars, but the book seriously bothered me that much. I give it a “meant-in-the-nicest-way-possible” three out of five stars.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Serenity Role Playing Game
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