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Aeronef Captain's Handbook
Publisher: Wessex Games
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/14/2009 06:47:10

Companion to Aeronef that expands tothe surface of Mars. Must-have expansion.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Aeronef Captain's Handbook
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Aeronef
Publisher: Wessex Games
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/14/2009 06:46:16

Simple rules make for an easy-to-learn game that emphasizes setting over technology.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Aeronef
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Universal Decay: Dead Stars Primer
Publisher: DaemonEye Publishing
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/14/2009 06:40:20

For a free primer this is nearly a complete system.

DEAD STARS uses an "alternate d20" system. This primer apparently lacks artwork and several sections (metasetting??) found in the full system.

Enough to play with. Enough to know it is a very close cousin to d20.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Universal Decay: Dead Stars Primer
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Future SRD
Publisher: Infinite Dreamers
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/14/2009 06:33:19

Future SRD is a bit cleaned up layout. Makes for good reference document.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Future SRD
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DWE-C Darkwing Class Escort
Publisher: UKG Publishing
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/14/2009 06:31:46

Good supplement to se what UKG publishing does. There are better out there but this product line is still worth exploring.

PRICE: Great!!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DWE-C Darkwing Class Escort
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Battlestar Galactica GM Screen
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/14/2009 06:29:58

POSITIVE: Most of what you need is here.

NEGATIVE: INK HOG!!

Better to buy this hardcopy and professionally printed.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Battlestar Galactica GM Screen
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Future Nexus Core Book
Publisher: Deist Games
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/14/2009 06:28:19

As much as I love sci-fi rpg, this game just fails to grab me. I found the rules hard to read (the single column layout is so simple it becomes hard to follow...and wastes much space with left-justified tables that leave much white space). The core mechanic doesn't appear until page 94 of the 250 pages. Most of what is before that is character creation, and what follows is combat and metasetting.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Future Nexus Core Book
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Future Armada: Venture
Publisher: 0-hr
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/14/2009 06:13:40

Great production values make this a no-brainer. The Free Trader is a very versatile ship that can be dropped into most any adventure.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Future Armada: Venture
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PrecisRoller (Windows Version)
Publisher: Precis Intermedia
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/14/2009 06:10:15

A handy little app that I put on my desktop. I find the xDx portion very useful...especially when rolling up a character.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
PrecisRoller (Windows Version)
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T2000 v1 Twilight: 2000
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/14/2009 06:06:44

TWILIGHT 2000 (T2K) was a RPG of my youth. Growing up in the 1980's the thought of "going nuclear" was always there, though somewhat distant.

T2K owes much to Frank Chadwick. Mr. Chadwick made great miniatures rules, such as Command Decision, which clearly influenced T2K. Which means combat is the forte of T2K...not the RPG engine. T2K characters lack real dimension and the result is more of a skirmish game than an RPG.

But the setting! How do you use all that modern high-tech gear outside of a major war? T2K makes the post-apocalypse into the Middle Ages, where the players can be the heroes, just passing through or trying to settle down.

POSITIVE: Rich setting, combat

NEGATIVES: Lakc of real RPG character development.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
T2000 v1  Twilight: 2000
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Thousand Suns: Transmissions from Piper
Publisher: Grognardia Games
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/14/2009 05:57:47

TRANSMISSIONS FROM PIPER is not your usual supplement. What you get in 208 pages is actually three short-ish stories written by H. Beam Piper (Naudsonce, Last Enemy, and Ministry of Disturbance) each followed by "hooks" explaining how you can use the story in a game of Thousand Suns.

THE result is a book of 208 pages, of which 10-12 are "front/back" matter, 137 are stories (66%) and only 59 are "game content" (29%).

POSITIVE: The game content itself is very good and shows a real appreciation of Piper's work and how his stories can be grand inspiration for players and GMs.

NEGATIVE: I found the balance of story:game a bit upsetting. The writings of Piper have passed into the Public Domain and are readily available on the net. I just can't help but feel like I paid for something that is mostly free.

PRESENTATION: Nice and clean, though if you want to print you have to deal with the watermark background.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Thousand Suns: Transmissions from Piper
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Rocketship Empires: Ship Compendium No. 1
Publisher: Storyart
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/06/2008 01:01:41

This book is probably better described as a ship supplement for the first setting book in RsE, that being IN FURY TRIUMPHANT (IFT). This product has three parts; the first is "rubber science" descriptions, second is ship descriptions, and third is a story set in the authors RsE universe.

The "rubber science" portion is OK, nothing really outstanding here other than a means to gain insight to how the author views RsE. I am of a torn opinion here...the RsE setting encourages the GM/Director to take control and this part seems in a way to try and constrain me. As a Director I read and acknowledge, but will probably use it only sparingly.

The second portion, the ships descriptions, are really the heart. All the ships are related to adventures in the Spanish Civil War, described in detail in the product IN FURY TRIUMPHANT. You really need both products together to get maximum milage from this section.

The third part of the product is a story. Frankly, I could of done without it and would of rather seen more ships.

Production values continue to improve. In this product StoryArt finally dropped the colorful (i.e ink-hogging) banners across the top of the pages. Don't miss them, and my printer/wallet appreciate it too!

Overall I have to withhold a star for the inclusion of the story. Just not what I was looking for. However, I still recommend a BUY because even without the stroy, the price makes it very affordable and useful for RsE adventures.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Rocketship Empires: Ship Compendium No. 1
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In Fury Triumphant
Publisher: Storyart
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/06/2008 00:50:14

In Fury Triumphant (IFT) is the first setting book for Rocketship Empires 1936. The focus is on the Spanish National Corridor and the Spanish Civil War. If you are not a history major you don't have to worry because IFT uses our history as jumping off point and explains how it works in the RsE setting.

IFT is marketed as a "systemless" design and the writers have done a good job of giving the user enough background without limiting them through use of a particular setting. IFT tries to be apolitical, but that's a little hard to do when one faction is so closely aligned with the Nazi's! One part I really appreciate is that the writer left some parts open for the Director/GM to complete. Let's one take ownership of the setting!

Production values are good. Earlier StoryArt products were a bit uneven in the publication editing but you can already see improvements. Bodes well for the future of the publisher. If I have a (minor) complaint here it is that much of the artwork is recycled from other products. Unfortunate because it is this very art theat helps inspire and set the mood for gaming in the RsE setting. This is a colorful book...if you are going to print you WILL use lots of ink.

If you already have RsE then get IFT and checkout the setting. If you are still on the fence about RsE I say go ahead and try the corebook and this supplement...together they provide more than enough meat for a Director to get adventures going.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
In Fury Triumphant
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Imperial Starmada Sourcebook
Publisher: Majestic Twelve Games
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/23/2008 02:34:28

I am new to the Starmada system so I wanted to see some pre-generated ships. I hoped to be able to learn a bit about designing ships using the Starmada system. If you read my review of SAE then you know I am not a great fan of the ship design system to begin with. Unfortunately, this supplement did little to change my opinion there, but that's an aside point. ISS is a meaty book (82 pages) with which you get 30 ship designs and background material for five empires. You also get an easy campaign system and about a dozen new rules. As much as I appreciate the work the authors put into the background, that is not what I was buying the book for. I would of rather seen more ship descriptions (what is the design philosophy?) and a bit less history. Each ships page has one nice graphic but data cards for two ships of the same class. One could of doubled the number of ships here easily. Overall a good sourcebook for empires but not that great a ship design supplement.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Imperial Starmada Sourcebook
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Starmada Core Rulebook
Publisher: Majestic Twelve Games
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/23/2008 02:07:36

This game squares off with FULL THRUST in the battle for the most versatile set of generic starship combat rules. The result is a very good game, but not without some quirks.

Lets just say the designers appear to be of the "design for effect" school and if you accept that thinking then the game systems make sense. If you can't get that through your head then this game may be real confusing!

Movement: Not a vector-based system, but not cinematic either. Does a decent job of making the user watch speed...too fast and manuevering becomes impossible. I like this - the DESIGN EFFECT forces you to think about manuvers. The system does take some getting used to, and a bit more math than usual ("absolute difference"??? Where is my daughters math help book...).

Combat: A little quirky. First off, the firing arcs are NOT your "traditional" 60 degree hexes, but rather offset by 30 degrees. A ship straight ahead is in both the A and B arcs. For an old grognard like myself this took some getting use to. The use of Accuracy and Impact ratings allows for "table-less" combat actions but some rules, like Minimum/Maximum Rolls

Ship Design: This is really the heart of the system, and my biggest gripe. First off, you have to accept (and really buy into) the "design for effect" philosophy here, which is not necessarily a bad thing, just takes some real thinking. For instance, the designers point out there are no POINT DEFENSES but if you want the EFFECT of POINT DEFENSES then just use SHIELDS and rename it. These leaps in logic are not too hard, but still need to be consciously made to get real enjoyment. But that is minor; the biggest problem I have with the design rules is the need for a scientific calculator to do anything. When the first formula presented is (Total Space Units = Hull Size to the 1.3 power x 100) well, I can't do that in my head. Fortunately, Majestic 12 Games provides an excel spreadsheet on their website that can do all the calculations for you and makes the design process very simple; but at the cost of not really understanding the process. Some (many?) will be comfortable with that, but I'm not one of them since the design system is supposedly the HEART of this game.

In the end, I like STARMADA: THE ADMIRALTY EDITION CORE RULEBOOK but just cannot award it a full 5 stars. I have to withhold one star for the "overly mathmatic" design system. I almost want to withhold a second star because the design system is what makes it attractive as a generic system that can be dropped into whatever universe you have, and if there was no online resources (like the excel spreadsheet) then I would of.

Buy it? Yes, but be ready for some thinking. FULL THRUST this is not. I feel SAE does not replace FT, but does deserve a place on your bookshelf.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Starmada Core Rulebook
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