Adventure! is a game of "pulp" high adventure set in the 20's and early 30's. The game wants to hearken the feel of Flash Gordon, Indiana Jones, The Shadow and other cliffhanger serial movies and books. Does the game do this? Is it fun? I'll break it down and show how the game has some strengths and weaknesses that almost pull it off.
First things first, lets get to the PDF layout out of the way. Though this may not be a deal breaker kinda element it can determine ease of use and when having to flip though everything when first starting out can be quite frustrating. Everything is pretty easy to find and reference which is a good thing. The setting is located in the beginning in book 1 and laid out nicely. Book 2 has all the rules and character creation. Again everything is clean and neat and laid out in a logical easy to find fashion.
Now the downside. The setting is again set up front and written like you joined a secret order. Some of the notes and typing are a pain to read and dull. Also with the setting set up right out of the gate somethings come off as huh? In all I did not like it. It's bland, boring and with it being up front gives off a bad vibe to the whole book. Things come a little more together once you get to character creation but why this was done I haven't a clue. The short story is fine as a starter but the rest just falls flat. Overall *** out of five
Character creation is really simple and easy to do. The uses a 0-5 point box system and based on your choices you get points to spend to flesh out your character. It is really well put together and with skills, subsets and knacks you can really make a varied and interesting character.
The only con is the one sheet instruction summary has a couple of steps out of order. There are stats that should be tallied up at the end but is has you do it mid character and then update again at the end. Pointless. For newbies this might cause some much unneeded erasing and or confusion but overall doesn't kill any fun in creating a character you want. ****
The meat and potatoes of any game. For me this can really make or break a game. So the basics are this is a dice pool game using D10's. You basically take your skill and base stat add them together to see how many D10's you roll and try and roll a 7+ on each one. If you you do that counts as one success. I'm going to be honest, I'm not a fan of dice pool games in general. To many dice needed sifting through just to get one success. It's cumbersome. I get why people like it as it gives a very power-gaming feel to things but just isn't my cup of tea.
The aim though is to create high drama and extraordinary "pulp" human beings. In essence because things can be relatively easy, even for beginning characters, to pull things off, the rules work most of the time.
Where it fails though is the fast paced feel of combat. The game wants you to be fast and furious, and give a sense of jumping headlong into dangerous situations full of peril and high stakes. Due to the nature of rolling sometimes 10 dice at a time the intial combat resolution becomes bogged down. If kept to some simple one off rolls the rules work but combat with multiple targets and people can become a nightmare to slog through. This part really defeats the spirit of the game.
An interesting addition to the rules though are inventions. The basic though behind it is really great to pull off the cheesy special effects like weapons and gadgets of Batman, Flash Gordon, G-Men, Rocketeer and so forth. There is a lot of fun to be had here but watch out there's also some serious crunch involved. It's not overly hard but things can get cumbersome so if you are not into basic Algebra then this might turn you off. ***
In short dull, that's the simplest way of putting it. There are a couple of so-so short stories that introduce main NPC's and the overarching dilemma but it just didn't captivate me. Everything is laid out lik agent files and for the most part a lot of the files and notes are a frustration in reading and following along. Things are smashed together and look like huge blocks of run on sentences and paragraphs. Just a huge mess.
For beginning game-masters there is no sample adventure or adventure hooks with ideas to get games rolling. As pulp can sometimes be hard to fully flesh out of the gate this would have been an nice addition. As it stands if you have no idea how to run a pulp campaign or this is your first foray into running a game, well good luck your dead in the water. Unforgivable. *
Adventure! sets out to create a pulp game and in some cases does just that. The characters you can make hit the mark. The system at intervals can help weave a great "Pulp" story of your own making. Just don't look to the makers of the game to help flesh that out if your new to this all. Stay away from prolonged combat as it becomes a tedium of dice rolling and figuring out dice splitting for multiple actions and things will stay moving. All in all Adventure! is a decent game in need of a better combat system and setting. **1/2 out of five
[3 of 5 Stars!]