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Alpha Omega Core Rulebook
by Sean D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/19/2012 04:35:27
An absolutely gorgeous presentation of a kitchen-sink post-apocalypse/cyberpunk setting, that is welded to an unfortunately baroque game system. The game is set in the future, after a series of wars and disasters. Civilization is concentrated in arcologies, while the wastelands in between are inhabited by some really dangerous monsters, as well as folks trying to live free of the powers that control the arcologies. Add to this two alien races that use Earth as a battlefield every 10,000 years, who apparently are the source of our myths of angels and devils. There's a lot going on, but one can simply choose the parts you like best, and ignore the rest.

The game's mechanics are complex and at times odd. One of my players and I managed to create a character, but I simply couldn't muster up enough energy to run the system. The setting is appealing enough that I may give it another try in the future. There is more than enough good material here for me to recommend the game despite its flaws.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Alpha Omega Core Rulebook
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Alpha Omega Core Rulebook
by Thomas B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/11/2012 05:09:04
Very nice to have the rulebook on the iPad during a gaming session

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Alpha Omega Core Rulebook
by Ethan P. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/08/2010 17:12:17
We reviewed this product in Gamer's Haven Episode 42 – Young Roleplaying, which you can listen to here ... http://www.gamershavenpodcast.com/?p=260.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Alpha Omega Core Rulebook
by Michael W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/07/2010 14:08:36
For quite some time I was interested in getting Alpha Omega for myself, but for some reason I never bought it. Then a few weeks ago, I had a chat with someone from Mind Storm Labs on Facebook. I thanked them for their friend request and we then chatted about Alpha Omega. Then they asked me, if I would like to review it and I was more than happy to accept. I was told to expect up to three weeks for shipping. So I waited impatiently…
In the morning of the 31st of December I finally picked up the Alpha Omega core rulebook at our local customs office. And wow, this was definitely one of the best-looking games I’ve ever seen. I want to thank the guys from Mind Storm Labs again for providing me with this free review copy!

Introduction
Alpha Omega is a post-apocalyptic roleplaying game set into the year 2280. Mankind has survived a brutal world war and nature’s backlash in walled cities and huge arcologies. Nation states have ceased to exist and are replaced by city states. And humanity is not alone. They share their world with the Evolutionaries, the offspring of two alien species who are fighting a war that predates humanity. And for some undisclosed reason they use Earth as a battle ground every 10,000 years.

Presentation and Production Values
The 408-paged hardcover book is full-color and contains a lot of high-quality artwork. What makes it stand out is the format. As you can see in the photograph it uses a pretty uncommon horizontal format. While it allows very cool panoramic artwork, the book always stands out in my bookshelf. Ok, you can’t have it all. ;) The binding seems to be very high quality, too. So, it’s no surprise I picked the Alpha Omega line for Best Production Value in my “Best & Worst of Gaming 2009” series. It’s well deserved indeed.

But the format is not everything what sets Alpha Omega apart. It doesn’t use page numbering. Yes, you read that right. Instead of the usual page numbers the book uses the so called NavBar (you can probably make it out in the photos above.) and folio numbering. I am not sure if this makes looking for certain sections easier or harder, but it’s at least a novel idea.

Setting
Let’s have a look at the setting again. In the introduction I wrote about the war of the two species which are called Seraph and Ophanum. The Seraph very much look like Angels and the Ophanum are – you probably guessed it already – demons. They wage this endless war and every 10,000 years they come to Earth. But they are surprised how fast humanity has developed high technology and not all of their offspring are on their side anymore. Aside from this Evolutionary War in the backdrop, there is the conflict between the surviving city states and the wilderness which is overrun by strange monsters and mutated humans. The setting is so varied, I can easily imagine running three or more different campaign styles with it.

Characters
The number of available player species is mindboggling. Aside from humans, there are Necrosi (which are genetically altered humans with pale features and extremely acute hearing and low-light vision), Remnants (mutants from the wilderness outside the cities), Bio-Engineered (humans engineered for certain tasks like war, hard labour or entertainment), Nephilim (half-terrans with Seraph or Ophanum parentage), Lesser Nephilim, Grigori (Bio-engineered servants of the aliens), Lesser Grigori (offspring of a Earth native and a Grigori), Anunnaki (the rare offspring of a Nephilim of Ophanum and one of Seraph descent) and Artificial Intelligences (basically robots or androids). Each species has different abilities, drawbacks and genetic deviations that the player can choose from. The species also affects the minimum, maximum and base ranks of the seven Core Qualities (aka attributes).

Game Mechanics
Alpha Omega uses the so-called 6-6 System, which looks awfully complex at first, probably because the designers used a lot of non-standard terms like Core Qualities instead of attributes. If you haven’t played dozens of other games before, you probably won’t mind, but veterans like me, have a hard time at first.
There are also dozens of abilities, drawbacks, genetic deviations and skills to choose from, so if you are used to smaller systems, like Savage Worlds, you might feel overwhelmed fast. But if you are willing to spend some time getting into the rules, you’ll notice that it’s actually isn’t that bad.
The main problem is probably that the character creation was placed before all the necessary rules have been explained. If you try to read the book in sequence, you will have a lot of open questions when you come to the Game Mechanics chapter.

The basic system is pretty easy. When a character wants to perform a complex action, his player has to roll the dice to determine success. Each skill and wielding source (Alpha Omega’s version of magic) has a quality associated to it (you would probably call it rank or level in most other games). Using a table you can determine which dice pool corresponds to the given quality score. You then roll the dice and have to beat a certain difficulty to succeed. Combat in Alpha Omega can be as crunchy as you wish. The game assumes three different styles: Imagined Combat, Model and Game Grid Combat and Model and Terrain Combat. I would probably prefer the first, describing the actions to my players, but if you wish you could probably go all the way and use tactical miniature combat. There are a lot of optional rules, so you can scale the “crunchiness” pretty good and a lot of examples to explain things. Nice!

Wielding
Alpha Omega’s magic system (called Wielding) is player driven and very freeform. Basically the player describes what he wants to do, but of course there are limits to what a Wielder can do. There is Innate, Arcane and Spiritual Wielding which equates to Psionics, Magic and Divine Powers respectively. Each Wielding “school” has access to certain Sources with determine what Core Quality is used in the wielding check. The second component is the Intention. Intentions are what shape the Source into effect. Basically the player can freely combine his Sources and Intentions to create countless Wielding Effects. But there’s also a handy list of sample effects to get inspirations from. The magic system of Alpha Omega has a lot of promise and I am really interested how it works out in actual play.

Summary
Alpha Omega has me actually overwhelmed – but in a good way! It’s stunningly beautiful, full of cool ideas and options and it has some promising mechanics especially when the Wielding system is concerned. The only drawback I see so far is that the rules can be a bit intimidating at first, but aside from that it’s a great game that is definitely worth a look. If you love epic post-apocalyptic sci-fi settings, you won’t be disappointed by Alpha Omega!

This review originally appeared on my blog (http://www.stargazersworld.com)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Alpha Omega Core Rulebook
by Larry R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/10/2008 16:35:33
Alpha Omega Core Rulebook is a surprising first release from a new studio. The production values are top notch and as good and better than products from more mainstream publishers. The setting is a curious amalgamation of several ideas that have all been done before but come together in a unique way that left me with ideas for three different campaigns within the first few pages of the setting chapters.

Artwork 5/5
The art in this book is beautiful, there's not a single awkward drawing or badly placed illustration. Matt Bradburry is an excellent artist and provides a lot of color to the book.

Editing 4/5
The editing in the book is good and all the page references are where they should be. There are a few places where the rules made me want to look for an errata immediately, however.

Layout 4/5
The book is put together logically and everything is easy to find. They have a novel way of arranging the book and explain it at the beginning, but there was plenty of space for page numbers that they never gave us. The book also is missing an index but the table of contents is deep and references every Chapter, Section, and Sub-section in the book.

Setting 5/5
The setting is excellently put together sci-fi, combining aspects from Shadowrun, Gamma World, and Trans-metropolitan along with sci-fi explanation of judeo-christian myths that make a very interesting place. The book presents the broad setting information first and then the locations and then people and groups so you have a good understanding before you get into the nitty gritty.

System 4/5
The system is a basic Target Number based, roll and add system with some interesting variants. Its heavy reliance on a variety of dice may be daunting to new players however. Character creation is long and complicated, this gives players a lot of options but may frustrate less dedicated players. The optional rules help make the game less crunchy in places but overall this is a game for the calculator wielding variety of players. The game has a high reliance on charts and stances which make everything very structured, but at the same time could get confusing at the table.

Overall 5/5
Alpha Omega is not a perfect RPG but any game that can excite me to play and run games again after years of being burned out deserves the 5.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Alpha Omega Core Rulebook - Sample
by JD S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/09/2008 12:22:33
Hard to get a real feel for the game. The artwork is exceptional, I will say.

Appearas to be another ' the world is in ruins, society is cripple, yet the ability to develop and buiild high-tech goods is unimpaired'.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Alpha Omega Core Rulebook - Sample
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Alpha Omega Core Rulebook - Sample
by JD S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/09/2008 12:22:23
Hard to get a real feel for the game. The artwork is exceptional, I will say.

Appearas to be another ' the wqorld is in ruins, society is cripple, yet the ability to develop and buiild high-tech goods is unimpaired'.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Click here to issue a publisher reply
Alpha Omega Core Rulebook
by Stephen W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/03/2008 07:49:24
Alpha Omega is...where to start?

My immediate reaction on first flicking through the core rulebook was one of "it's trying too hard to be shadowrun". And at a first glance, the comparrison is indeed inevitable - the setting can easily be mistaken for Shadowrun on steroids, but in fact if you look past that, there's so much more here. You've got huge levels of character customisation ranging from regular humans through genetically engineered clones and mutants to AI and beyond. There are also more customisation options, weapons, genetic defects, cybernetic implant and gneerally goodness than you can shake a stick at.

The game itself is an interesting mixed bag. The basic mechanics use a dice pool system involving pretty much every polyhedral dice in the set, including d4s (I personally find the idea of a caltrop dicepool a tad unwieldy) and seems to be attempting to cover every possible base. And this is where my main grudge comes in: Alpha Omega seems to try too hard. There are thirteen possible stances your character can be taking in combat, and whilst I can just about see why rules for treading water can be useful, I do have to ask how often the average player is going to want to "monkey run" (defined as shuffling using two feet and one hand). Indeed the number of tables to be tracked for "character state" alone is a headache for those who, like myself, are not brilliantly keen on book keeping. And as for weapons... you name it, you can have it. It even has chainswords - both single and double handed! Close combat weapons and ranged weapons both range from mundane to ridiculosuly overpowere, and thanks to the wide range of abyonets and spiky bits avvailable, both can be combined into one really nasty death dealing contraption.

Yes, Alpha Omega tries too hard. But on the other hand, we're talking about a game here which contains more stuff in its core rulebook than most games would put in several sourcebooks. It's worth every single penny you pay for it. And it's honestly worth looking into for the setting alone - the setting which takes up most of the first quarter of the book. Alpha Omega is ridiculosuly OTT postcyberpunk, and what more can you ask of it?

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Alpha Omega Core Rulebook
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