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Other comments left for this publisher:
Hack-n-Slash: Fantasy Roleplay - Gamemasters Edition
by Garrison B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/23/2013 16:25:21
In a nutshell: Solid system, but way overpriced and with poor production values.

Firstly, this product does not bring enough new material to the table to warrant the price tag. In most ways it's a vanilla Fudge implementation, with some material carried over almost word-for-word from the (totally free) official Fudge rules. The setting is generic DnD fare.

Furthermore, the production values are lousy. There are punctuation errors in nearly every paragraph. The art is a mix of black-and-white line drawings and incredibly ugly 3D models.

Ultimately, the game system is pretty solid, and aside from the aforementioned grammar/punctuation mistakes, the rules read clearly enough. There are a few nifty rules outside vanilla Fudge, such as the skill-leveling system, or the miniatures rules. But all in all, there's not enough here for the price.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Hack-n-Slash: Fantasy Roleplay - Gamemasters Edition
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Fudge Dice!
by Chet C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/15/2012 23:50:23
Once a very useful device, now almost completely obsolete. I'm sure there are a few phones left out there which run Palm OS, but the days of the standalone Palm devices are gone - and Palm phones don't seem to have much longer. This needs to be re-released for Android and Nook, and will once again be an essential tool in your tookbox.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Fudge Dice!
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for your comments. Yes, the palm platform definitely isn't what it used to be but there are still holdouts. That said, we are looking into multi-platform phone and tablet development as I write that and its likely something will be coming to android and windows 8 later this year. Thanks for your interest in our products.
Hack-n-Slash: Fantasy Roleplay - Item Cards, Set #1
by Tim L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/23/2011 07:33:56
These are six-to-a-page item cards for Fudge Hack 'n Slash. They show the item, how much damage (or protection) it does (or absorbs), how much it costs, and how much it weighs. That sentence provides some basic information the cards lack. I printed mine out then glued them to some light cardboard. I like it and hope they come out with a critter/monster deck and a character deck (complete with personalities and motivations).

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hack-n-Slash: Fantasy Roleplay - Item Cards, Set #1
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Hack-n-Slash: Fantasy Roleplay - Action Resolution Deck
by Tim L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/23/2011 07:31:32
These are six-to-a-page acrtion resolution cards for the Fudge system to use in Hack 'n Slash. The show the result of a 4dF roll to modify your trait level up or down, or as a Situational Roll. That sentence provides some basic information the cards lack. I printed mine out then glued them to some light cardboard. I like it and hope they come out with a critter/monster deck and a character deck (complete with personalities and motivations).

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hack-n-Slash: Fantasy Roleplay - Action Resolution Deck
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for your comments about the new action resolution deck. Your right, the various card uses are described in the product description but not on the cards themselves. We will likely include a usage diagram card in future sets to help in that regard. Speaking of future sets, we have a number of them in the works including the soon to be released 60 card spells deck and upcoming Giflts/Faults deck, Skills Deck and ongoing sets of NPC, Item and Monster cards. We have also considered making theme decks, key NPC, Monster and Item cards to detail an adventure / story.
Hack-n-Slash: Fantasy Roleplay - Gamemasters Edition
by Chet C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/16/2011 23:52:09
Probably the best example of how to put Fudge to work. Here, the Fudge toolbox has been opened to create a fantasy S&S game which plays realistically AND fast. Players, even those new to RPGs, will catch on to the system almost immediately. And with the Fudge #1 rule of "just fudge it," the GM will never have to worry about players becoming bored with the Same Old Encounters. It takes no time and almost no imagination to surprise the PCs with - for instance - a female orc with wings who limps and is fond of wearing pretty hats. (Yes, this DOES take PCs aback!)

Combat is fast, simple, and terrifying! PCs can get hurt severely rather quickly, and will find themselves being more cautious. There's none of this "I'm practically invincible" unless the GM really wants things that way. And overpowering magic items? Forget it! The GM can determine whatever side effects he or she wants.

Players will find many more opportunities to "get into" their characters than with any other fantasy game, save (perhaps) for second edition Runequest. This, however, remains simpler to enter, and easy to grow with.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hack-n-Slash: Fantasy Roleplay - Gamemasters Edition
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Hack-n-Slash: GM Screen
by Tim L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/08/2010 08:03:30
Extremely useful GM's aid for Hack-n-Slash (GM's Edition). Includes the random dungeon creator with read-to-cut-out floor tiles. If you already have the player's edition (the first edition), add this to create quick solo-adventures.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hack-n-Slash: GM Screen
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Cartograph Studio
by Richard C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/14/2009 17:34:08
Major Feature - flexibility and ease of use.
I would concur with the comments of the previous reviewer adding this: I had given up using prettier and more "professional" mappers and tilers because I found them just too difficult to use or too inflexible (PDF style tilers). This allowed me to get up and running ever so quickly. I really like the scaling feature - so easy to use. I note the designers comments about the output being easy on the inkjet and that is important too. I just wish there were some more tilesets - perhaps some dungeon furniture, etc. I note the designers comments about png.s and will look for these but I am not sure how to import them.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cartograph Studio
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Hack-n-Slash: Fantasy Roleplay - Gamemasters Edition
by Jerry S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/26/2009 19:35:59
Honestly, you could do without this.

Has some neat ideas, but nothing completely revolutionary. Nothing you can't do for yourself with the FREE FUDGE GM guide and a set of patient players.

Let's be honest: If you're playing with FUDGE, you're not the type that need expansions and instructions on how to do things.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Hack-n-Slash: Fantasy Roleplay - Gamemasters Edition
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Hack-n-Slash: GM Screen
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/13/2009 09:30:55
This product consists of a 3-panel screen with the usual player-side art and collection of handy tables for the GM, plus a selection of floorplans for those who like to use miniatures.

The GM's tables are laid out clearly and make it easy to find what you want even in the heat of combat - and combat is what Hack-n-Slash Fantasy Roleplay is all about, after all. The player-side artwork is a bit disappointing from a company with high design standards like Digital Alchemy - formulaic and cartoonish, with one female fighter wearing the most uncomfortable-looking chain vest (no padding and no support for her form!) that I've seen in a long time... bring back the chainmail bikini! The males don't fare much better, a leather posing pouch does not provide much protection in a brawl!

The floorplans are very generic, fine for a scratch fight but if you have done any serious designing for the dungeon in which your crawl takes place, you might want to look at some of the more specialised floorplan sets available.

Overall, useful for the tables alone.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Hack-n-Slash: GM Screen
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Fudge Dice!
by Chadd D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/01/2009 04:28:02
Nothing against the developer, I just couldn't get the things to work...I used window to search for the program to run it, and it couldn't find it. So, I read the read me file, and Opps...It's a palm application, if you where looking for pc this isn't It.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Fudge Dice!
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Publisher Reply:
Its unfortunate that FUDGE DICE wasnt what you were looking for, but in its defense it states "PalmOS Die Rolling" at the start of its description making it pretty clear that its a PALM OS application.
Fudge Dice!
by Tim L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/20/2008 17:59:12
PalmOS Die Rolling for the Fudge system. You can set difficulty levels and roll both Unopposed and Opposed actions, getting word results on the return. Hope that one day this is updated to include combat and wounding results. A good, free program.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cartograph Studio
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/29/2008 13:04:19
Talk about an awkward first date. Cartograph Pro did not start our relationship off well. As a matter of fact it left a pretty bad impression and never offered the type of sophistication I request from my map designing software.

Cartograph Pro is new cartography software designed by Digital Alchemy. Its purpose is to create simple world and dungeon maps for your Role Playing games. And by simple, I mean bare minimum simple. If you are hoping for any type of detail you should file that wish with the Easter Bunny, Santa Clause and a decent Ben Affleck movie. The company advertises that users do not need to have any type of artistic capability to make a map. Apparently that also applied for designing the artwork. The images in this software would have been amazing 3 generations of RPGs ago when Atari graphics were cutting edge. I can image the ohs and ahs from my 15 players as we mull our way through 14 hour in the Dungeon of Never Ending crawling. However, in an age where companies give users the power to make meticulous maps by click on PDF options, Cartography seems outdated or, at best, an Open source project that should have remained that way.

If not for the graphics, this would be a pretty cool program. The interface is easy and lets you do a ton of different things with each art tile. Savvy users can create scripts to automate tasks and randomly generate maps based on criteria. It uses a fantastic layering system. The art manipulation features are robust. This is one of those pieces of software that will probably take off a year from its release once the fans get involved. However, for now it really lags behind the competition.

I mentioned earlier that the relationship between the software and I did not get off on a good foot. This is because I could not use it for 2 days after purchasing it. Sure there was the flimsy “trial” version, but If you purchase a program, you expect to use it relatively soon. Instead the form email told me that it would be up to 24 hours before my registration code was sent to me. Instead the code arrived 2 days later. I see this over security of software by independent developers all the time and it could not be more annoying.

For the DM

This software could be used to design very quick and dirty maps when you absolutely do not have any other choice and preparation is not an option. A better function of this software was to use it for small regional overland maps in which my only intention was to show key locations of particular places. Even still I hope someone designs some Isometric tilesets soon.

The Iron Word
The tilesets for this software are disappointing. They are such a poor complement for to a cartography programs that potentially could be used to produce the comprehensive type of maps that map using DMs are used to. The interface is simple and easy to use. There is also a method for adding your own tilesets, something I strongly recommend.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Cartograph Studio
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for taking the time to review our product and our apologies for the delay with your registration code. There was a problem at launch in the product settings with RPGNow that prevented us from being informed of your email address so a registration key could be sent. This has since been resolved, codes are sent within 24 hours and usually within minutes of product purchase. In your review you say that the product doesnt meet the level of sophistication you wish from a mapping software and thats really the point. There are plenty of sophisticated software packages out there for producing beautiful maps given time and effort but the focus of this software is quickly creating maps either by designing them or creating multi-level maps in seconds using our excellent random generation and scripting tools. The included tileset is admittedly simplistic by design and while it might not be as pretty as it could be, it also wont drain your printer ink dry. This makes it useful for those on the fly spur of the moment battle map needs. For example, try printing a 9 x 7 page (63 pages total) miniature scale map using hires 24bit color tiles without changing ink cartridges. Those wishing more detailed tiles may create their own tilesets using any of the 1000s of PNG mapping images freely available on the web or use additional tilesets as we provide them to our users along with application enhancements via web updates. Obviously, everyone is different, and not one solution fits all. For those interested in our product I would suggest they try out the demo for themselves to see if it fits their needs.
Firing Solution
by Tim L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/08/2007 08:15:52
Very very frustrating not to have a combat and wounding example for the ships. That is the only reason this rates a middling review. Really really want examples other than the ship building examples that come with the product or the free preview available at the Digital Alchemy site. Good to see the ships, but the lack of the combat example pull the review down a notch.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Firing Solution
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Hack-n-Slash: Fantasy Roleplay - Gamemasters Edition
by John D. S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/09/2007 13:47:16
This is easily the best rpg I've seen in a while. It uses the fudge system and is rules-lite as well as very easy to both learn the rules and to adapt them. I only have one problem: The name and advertising blurb are misleading - this isn't a mindless hack n' slash game, but an acutal role playing game where you create an interesting character. I still think it's great, and the random dungeon is fun to play by yourself.

I'm very satisified and recommend this to anyone who wants a basic rules lite rpg.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hack-n-Slash: Fantasy Roleplay - Gamemasters Edition
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Firing Solution
by John G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/07/2007 23:06:21
This is a simple (not simplistic) easy-to-learn game of tactical starship combat (in two or three dimensions). It is customizable (both in the rules difficulty and the ship design); it is adaptable (large fleets or small), and it is fun (one playtest with a friend had several nail-biting moments). Poor grammar and the lack of bookmarks do not detract from the fun and replay value of this gem.

Writing this review, I can't help but compare to the other two tactical space combat rulesets I've played: Starmada and Full Thrust. Both are GREAT games that would also earn 4-star reviews. (I played Star Frontiers Knight Hawks many years ago, and I own Slag! but haven't yet played it). It's hard to rate these rules against the others out there, because Firing Solution is more complicated and detailed in some ways and much simpler and more basic in others.

Compared to Starmada and Full Thrust, Firing Solution is easier to learn on first skimming the rules. FS rules are simpler and more basic than Starmada or Full Thrust. The simplicity of the rules make it very easy to add optional rules, such as 3-Dimensional combat and rolling to bring weapons to bear. Love hexes? Hate 'em? You can play this with a hex grid or no map whatsoever with no changes to the rules.

There is a core mechanic involving rolling 2D6. You get a number between -5 and +5. One die is negative, one is positive. This did not take much getting used to, and when we added 3D movement it made a lot of sense (as the elevation levels are -5 to +5 as well). Ship's traits (such as thrust, defenses, etc) also have ratings in this exact range. It helps keep the rules simple and easy to recall during play.

Throw in the 3D combat, and suddenly your big gun might be completely useless--elevation is very important in 3D, and your dorsal Big Freakin' Gun can't shoot at anything below you. But you can always roll your ship.

Movement seems to place a lot of emphasis on forward momentum. I am guessing that the assumption is the ships have been accelerating towards each other in order to get into combat range, so if they are moving forward of course they will have to spend Speed points between turns and elevation changes. As I said before, ships move forward. There is no vector movement here (I don't mind that at this rules level). Given the simplicity of the rule mechanic, I'm not sure that vector movement would be difficult to house rule. To add complexity (something the rules allow for at every stage of the game turn), there are movement orders (such as Full Stop, Defend, Self Destruct, etc) that have concrete results on the game. Again, I am sure that it would be easy to create your own house-ruled movement orders.

Ship customization is a snap. Really. But again, it's not boring or overly basic. Weapons and defenses, as the description states, follow a rock-paper-scissors approach. Energy weapons (long range, medium damage) are stopped by Shields; Kinetic weapons (short range, great damage) are stopped by Armor; Guided weapons (precise) are stopped by Point Defense. Call them whatever you want (Phasers, blasters, proton torpedos, whatever)--they all do the same thing. Each weapon can have other characteristics that produce modifiers to their range, damage, potential for critical hits, etc. Unlike in Full Thrust, it is impossible to build an uber ship that cannot be defeated. (To be fair, FT has been around so long that people have had time to find the loopholes in the rules; something about massive amounts of drones). As the rules say, no ship excels at everything. Good fleet balance is the name of the game.

Combat is fast-paced and easy to keep track of. You need lots of 6-sided dice of different colors (for keeping track of elevation and rolls when using the 3D rules). FS plays a little more quickly than Full Thrust and Starmada; the damage system seems to have a little more depth and description. The gameplay definetely has a simpler feel compared to the other systems I've played. This is neither a strength nor a weakness ... it just depends on what you're looking for. Oh, and this ain't Saganami Island Tactical Simulator. That's way out of the ballpark on complexity (but give it a try if you can).

Every ship belongs to an Empire, which grants bonuses and imposes penalties to certain ship characteristics. The Empires are each composed of one race (Humans, bird-people, badger-people, and bugs--an overly simplistic descripion. The fluff text is pretty good). Humans don't get any bonuses or penalties. Don't like the empires as written? Make your own. Pick what you want them to excel at and suck at, and as long as the bonuses and penalties add up to 0, you're fine. It would be fun and easy to make, for example, the Galactic Empire and the Rebellion from Star Wars; the UPF and Sathar from Star Frontiers, etc.

There are brief fictional excerpts from the bridge of ships during combat; these open each chapter. The lack of punctuation (or the wrong punctuation--a period in place of a question mark, for example) is appalling. There are a few run-on sentences, one of which is in the rules. It took 5 reads to figure out what they were trying to say. Punctuation is missing in many places in the rules. My grammar ain't perfect ;) but I expect a little effort to make the text readable. That's a pet peeve of mine and it's the only reason I didn't give this game 5 stars. It just makes it look like the authors didn't care about the quality of their product. And it is a good product. If Digital Alchemy is going to become a viable force in the Indie gaming industry, they will issue an updated pdf with (at least semi-) proper grammar and punctuation. Luckily, 90% of the abysmal grammar is in the fictional chapter openers. The rules are otherwise clear and easy to pick up.

The learning curve is not as steep as Full Thrust or Starmada (it's not very steep for those rulesets either)--especially as regards ship construction and fleet building. All other things being equal (good opponent), the gameplay basically delivers the same level of challenge and playability.

Ultimately, Firing Solution won't be permanently replacing Full Thrust or Starmada as my ruleset for tactical space combat. But I will definetely play it often. The authors attempt to provide a set of rules for space combat that are easy-to-learn, fun, customizable, and able to simulate some complexities (such as 3D combat and movement). Their final product meets these goals.

If you are looking for a game that has good challenges built into the rules that is easy to learn, quick to play, and easy to customize, Firing Solution might be exactly what you are looking for.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Firing Solution
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