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T2013- Shall Not Perish
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/10/2008 07:30:21

Not what I expected. What you get is a little promotional brochure with a (long) "Presidential Address" embedded as an audio file that is supposed to set the scene for you. I am an old T2K v1 and v2 player and what I was looking for a reason to invest in this new version. The packaging is unique and interesting in a way, but it fails to tell me WHY I should buy this newer(?) version.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
T2013- Shall Not Perish
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MT DTRPG Guide to MegaTraveller
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/10/2008 07:11:11

More a product catalog than any real background. Useful for determining just what was published in support of the system.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
MT DTRPG Guide to MegaTraveller
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The Force of Destiny
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/10/2008 07:05:34

An excellent adventure that does not require that you be a Traveller fan to understand. Good gritty starship battles. Few minor format or typo errors, but not enough to distract from the overall quality of the product. Recommended to ANY science-fiction starship battle fan.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Force of Destiny
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1793 Caribbean Campaign Compendium
Publisher: Victory By Any Means Games
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/10/2008 06:57:57

Picked this one up wven though I am not a VBAM player. Found the campaign system easy to import into GMT's FLYING COLORS or Clash of Arms CLOSE ACTION games. Provides a simple campaign background that gives meaning to battles.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
1793 Caribbean Campaign Compendium
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T2000 v1 Boomer
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/10/2008 06:50:34

Third and last installment of the "Last Sub" Trilogy. Decent storyline but the adventure seems much bigger than your small - yet hardy - band of characters should be up for. Makes for a real challenge.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
T2000 v1 Boomer
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T2000 v1 Mediterranean Cruise
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/10/2008 06:48:01

Second installment of the "Last Sub" Trilogy. Tried to bring GDW's (then) house version of Harpoon naval combat into the T2K world, but with only moderate sucess.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
T2000 v1 Mediterranean Cruise
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T2000 v1 The Last Submarine
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/10/2008 06:46:20

First installment of the "Submarine Trilogy" for T2K. Runs very much like ther pre-planned adventures, and even seems a bit inflexible if characters stray too far from the given storyline.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
T2000 v1 The Last Submarine
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T2000 v1 Howling Wilderness
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/10/2008 06:43:57

An absolutely necessary supplement for the original T2K crowd. Want to really know what happened in the (no longer) United States? Howling Wilderness is the answer. Just enough to whet the appetite of a gamemaster/referee but not enough to box in the creativity for adventure.

Liked: Regional Descriptions complete with military force laydown.

Disliked: Encounter Charts seem too phony and generic.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
T2000 v1 Howling Wilderness
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The Gunslinger Betty
Publisher: Storyart
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/23/2008 06:32:08

In the intro to GUNSLINGER BETTY, the author states "My dream in writing this book for my own group of players was a ship operations manual which practically dripped rocket fuel and oozed engine oil." Well, he got real close.

THE GOOD At 48 pages, this is the most extensive single-ship background book that I have encountered in an RPG. But it is more than just a description/deckplan/compartment-by-compartment look at this ship. Within each area are links to characters - what they do. This makes GUNSLINGER BETTY more than just a ship description; it is a guide to roleplaying starship crews.

THE BAD While the text is rich, the graphics are both a blessing and a curse. The cutaway views are nice...but don't always match the text. In some cases I feel that they are taken directly from "our reality" and not modified to match the text (for example, the text states a weapons locker is directly behind the pilots seat while the graphic is clearly marked "Escape Hatch").

BUY IT? If you are serious about understanding starships in ROCKETSHIP EMPIRES 1936 then GUNSLINGER BETTY is a requirement. It is not perfect but it is still a valuable sourcebook on starship operations.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Gunslinger Betty
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Rocketship Empires 1936
Publisher: Storyart
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/23/2008 06:09:13

I want to like Rocketship Empires 1936. I really do. There are definately two sides of a coin here.

THE GOOD The setting! The author has done a superb job imagining an alternate history. The choice to go with a pulp sci-fi approach fits spot on! Another positive aspect is the starships. Taking a Hawker Hurricane and making it into a snub fighter. And the starship design system is neat (but more on that later...).

The BAD Systemless design? Only as long as you are talking about character generation or worlds. The starship design (taking up 1/3 of the book) is far from systemless - actually a system all of its own - but you need your own combat system to "fit" the ship design system. Probably would have been better off just to give us both in this product. The presentation of the product is also very uneven. Some sections are graphics and color heavy while others are not. Consistency across the product would be nice. Speaking of consistency, I label RE1936 pulp sci-fi but the authors want it to be pulp sci-fi/hard sci-fi/steampunk/horror/mecha/WWII/mystery/suspense. Noble objective but not quite full execution.

BUY IT? For the price, the answer is "Yes," but you should understand what you are really getting into. You are buying the setting and the ships to move around within it. Bring your own characters. Bring your own worlds (at least until further supplements come). Don't expect slick, but you can expect a rich enough background that makes for an interesting pulp sci-fi setting.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Rocketship Empires 1936
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Thousand Suns: Rulebook (RG Edition)
Publisher: Grognardia Games
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/23/2008 04:52:29

Thousand Suns reminds me of the original Traveller Little Black Books - simple rules and a basic metasetting to play in. However, in today's world of indie e-publishing many make a claim of simplicity and rich settings. Thousand Suns actually delivers! The game uses a core system called 12 Degrees. The core mechanic is 2d12 +/- modifiers. Simple. Character generation is a point buy system. Simple. In combat you roll 2d12 and must beat a Target Number (with modifiers). Simple. The equipment list is just extensive enough to get you started but not overwhelming. Starships and starship combat (at least for smaller ships) is included but there are no starship design rules (to come in a later supplement?). Though you can't design a starship you can design aliens and other worlds. There are also no robots and no genetic engineering (but that plays into the background...). The background detailed enough to convey the depth of thought the author has given to this universe, but not defined to the point that the players are stuck in a setting. Indeed, after broad sweeping historical accounts, Thousand Suns actually give the GM options as to what background you want to play. Thousand Suns is not perfect. Others have talked about the border and wasted ink. I actually find the two-pages landscape presentation better for my onscreen reads of the book. I wish there was more artwork/drawings in the equipment section. I yearn for a starship design system. But in the end, I don't hold these (minor) points against Thousand Suns. I like this simple setting. I like these simple rules. With the simplicity I have control of the setting and don't get bogged down by mechanics. My group can PLAY and ENJOY and in the end that is the most important metric!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Thousand Suns: Rulebook (RG Edition)
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Battlestar Galactica Role Playing Game
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/17/2008 05:10:24

(First my bias - My first RPG was the original TRAVELLER Little Black Books back in 1980. CLASSIC TRAVELLER is still the standard I compare all other systems to.)

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA ROLE PLAYING GAME (BSGRPG) has many good things going for it, but it is not perfect. The first part that may throw people is the Die Type mechanic. Better skills equal a better die (d2 thorugh d12). I have used Ground Zero Games Full Metal Anorak System in DIRTSIDE II and STARGRUNT II so this mechanic didn't upset our group, but if you are comfortable with D20 this system may take a bit of getting used to.

Character generation is also easy. To generate a character you use points to buy attributes, skill, and traits that come in two flavors; assets and complications. The more experienced a character, the more points you get. There are no classes or talent tree's or career paths here. The real emphasis on on your Traits and how you role-play them. I like this part - Assets and Complications MAKE give your character their character!

The rule mechanics are simple and relatively straightforward. They definately encourage a cinematic-style of play. The core mechanic is to compare your attibutes die type + skills/traits die type against a difficulty number. In some cases you may also have an opposed die roll. Plot Points are your salvation and should not be used sparingly, instead they should be traded/awarded/used often.

The background of the game is the first season of the re-imagined BSG. If your players have followed the series you will likely have to update some portions of the background, but that is actually a really small point.

My only complaint is the Vehicle Combat Rules. I know that the BSG TV series emphasizes human drama (making for good RPG elements) but face it, starship combat happens and with so many characters centered on being Viper or Raptor pilots one would think that the starship combat rules would be clear. They're not. I was not expecting a wargame-approach to fighter combat but the rules in the Core Book lack clarity and require much analysis and GM interpretation to get working. There is assistance out there on the net with cortexsystemrpg.org being a great place to start.

Overall, BSGRPG is a very good system that provides both a great background (faithful to the series) and a rules system that fits the universe and encourages an adventure-style that fits the series. The only weak point is the vehicle combat rules. Even if you are not a BSG-fan the Cortex System is worth looking into.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Battlestar Galactica Role Playing Game
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Luftwaffe 1946 Role Playing Game Open Core Edition
Publisher: Battlefield Press
by Ian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/26/2006 17:18:10

LUFTWAFFE: 1946 Role Playing Game Jonathan M. Thompson and Michael Scott Battlefield Press, Inc., April 2004 (First Printing) Downloaded from DRIVETHRURPG.com January 2006

Luftwaffe: 1946 is a role-playing game based on the Antarctic Press comic book series of the same name. I had a slight familiarity with the comic book series so when I say this game I purchased the e-book version. I wish I hadn’t.

Luftwaffe: 1946 RPG uses Gold Rush Games ACTION! SYSTEM as its core mechanic. This is both the advantage and disadvantage of this game. It appears that the authors wrapped the ACTION! SYSTEM with the Luftwaffe: 1946 background material. Unfortunately, it appears they didn’t translate enough. For instance, combat uses 5ft, 50ft, and 250ft scales. However, the distances in the Combat Modifiers Table (pg 66) are all in meters. Other times it is an inconsistency with naming conventions. For instance, in Chapter 7: Vehicles under Vehicle Speed, paragraph Initiative, the rule states: “ An alternative is to roll initiative for each vehicle, using the vehicles initiative modifier." Yet in the Table: Sample Vehicles (pg 88) as well as A List of Typical Luftwaffe 1946 Aircraft (pg 90) there is no “Initiative Modifier†listed, just a Maneuverability Bonus (MB). Is this the same, or not? It is issues like this that render the system near unusable.

One would imagine that in the world of Luftwaffe: 1946 that aerial combat would be key. Air combat rules are here but they are very simplified. If you are looking for an air combat game to add to your role-playing this is NOT the system. You are probably better off finding a simple set of miniatures rules and figuring out how to fit them in yourself. The game includes stats for only 17 aircraft (none with pictures). The least the authors could of done was gone to the Luft ’46 website (http://www.luft46.com/) or even used the Antarctic Press Luftwaffe: 1946 Technical Manuals for more illustrations. Furthermore, to an old grognard like me, the only real difference between aircraft is the Maneuverability Bonus. They range from +5 for an A6M5 “Zero†to a –3 for large bombers like the B-35A Flying Wing. This extreme simplification is too much for me. I imagined a robust air combat system in a game where air combat is so important to the storyline and plot. It’s not here.

Finally, there is a touchy political issue here that offended me. In the introduction, Ted Nomura (author of the Luftwaffe: 1946 comic book series) gets his say. He discusses the early influences on his art and his quest for accuracy and details in models and eventually drawing. Near the end of his introduction though, he makes some statements that I have trouble just letting go. From page 7: “Being educated in America and thus thinking that we’re a free-press society, I found the obvious censorship of history highly insulting to my intelligence. Thus, beginning in the early 1970s, I made a careful study of Nazi Germany and found out that their atrocities were not much worse than what other major countries had done to their people and their neighbors throughout the centuries of warfare. Focusing on a selected few seemed not only unfair but inaccurate. Telling only half-truths was just as bad as telling half-lies.â€

If you can put the politics aside, then this game may be for you. If you are focused on the RPG aspect and very familiar with the ACTION! SYSTEM them you may be able to use these rules. If you are looking for an air combat game to use in your RPG world, STAY AWAY.

A final note: Apparently there is a newer version of this game out there that has 160 pages versus the 109 in my version. Not having seen this later version I cannot comment further on it.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Luftwaffe 1946 Role Playing Game Open Core Edition
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