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Other comments left for this publisher:
Dog Town: Stripped
by Daniel D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/27/2011 21:00:53
Man! No love for this product... Many reviews have stated the original rules are complicated or flawed. Granted, I had a hard time working out that rule set but I have seen worse. Next you get the gripes about the subject matter. You play CRIMINALS (gasp)! Give me a break. As if decades of playing dungeon delvers or supernatural monsters is somehow morally superior. Know your group, be mature and never forget it is a game. Do this and you'll be fine. That said Dog Town is a mature game and some of Cold Blooded Games offerings are a little too dark (for even me). Still Dog Town is the best recreation of those gritty hard boiled crime stories from the late 70s, early 80s. Even more modern fare like Reservoir Dogs and Sin City can be recreated with this game. I did a one shot game retelling The Warriors and this did great. This system is a lot simpler but I still ran into a few glitches (probably more due to my newness to the system). Even if you don't like the system the vast material these games offer are great resources to port over to the system of your choice. The art work is very professional and appropriate. The writing is similarly well done. Did I mention both the original rule set and this mod are free? Really, the bad press this game has gotten I feel is undeserved. If you and your group are mature can handle the subject matter and are up for playing the scumbag side of the story Dog Town Stripped would be a good place to start.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dog Town: Stripped
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Dog Town: Core Rules
by Jonathon C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/03/2010 01:39:51
3 stars for me. A person not otherwise interested fictitious criminal activity has nothing here to draw him in.

While revealing the seedy underworld of the world we live in, there is just too much going on. The page count while at first impressive, is filled with a lot of details that the DM running the game would spend more time learning than ever putting into use on the game table. The details of the Life are presented in one liners from a couple big movies, the rest of the work is lists and charts for things that should be worked on during play.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Dog Town: Core Rules
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Bust: Explosive Roleplaying
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/05/2010 02:04:44
The name says it all: it's a BUST. (I would leave it at that, but I have to type 50 characters for DTRPG to list my review.)

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Bust: Explosive Roleplaying
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Dog Town: Core Rules
by Ron M. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/10/2009 12:02:54
Dog Town Core Rulebook 
From: Cold Blooded Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Dog Town Core Rulebook  is a new RPG Core Rulebook PDF from Cold Blooded Games.

I am not a huge fan of anything that glorifies criminal behavior or gives kids the chance to explore that side of themselves, so going into this I was somewhat negative. From page 5 of the e-book - Dog Town is not a fantasy role playing game featuring supernatural beings, magic or futuristic gadgetry. It is a realistic role playing game dealing with the adult themes of criminal and street sub cultures. It aims to be an authentic portrayal of urban life and criminality in 1970’s New York. Interestingly, the first thing that the author disclaims is not the behavior of criminals depicted in the role-playing but the language used, including racial slurs and sexual orientation slang. I guess the author was more worried about offending someone rather than encouraging criminal behavior. In defense of the author, however, he does state up-front that the role-playing game was inspired by the gangster and street crime movies of the 70s and 80s like Good Fellas, Taxi Driver and Scareface. DISCLAIMER: I first want to make it clear that I do not condone criminal activity of any kind. Secondly, I want to WARN the reader that there is some adult language used in this review that is straight out of the book. I have edited the language out in some places, however, in other places it is required because it is part of the game. This game is not for children and neither is this review.

From page # 5:  “Made it, Ma! Top of the world!” - Cody Jarrett from the classic gangster movie White Heat goes out with a bang.

Content: The setting is late 70s New York City, in a crime ridden ghetto. Players are "anti-heroes trying to profit" from a corrupt world. The background provides a relatively detailed historical account of NYC at the time. Provided is an extensive background of the crime culture of the time along with major names. It goes on to describe the area known as Dog Town - an isolated region on the East River in New York. It is broken down into neighborhoods which are later mapped out in reasonably detailed maps (that look like they were made in something like MS Paint, but they are functional).

Character generation is considerably extensive and detailed. Along with the systems for standard raw attributes, derived attributes, and skills, there are also Criminal Type (class), Special Talents, optional Flaws and Vices, a Criminal History system, and a way to generate connections. The classes are in general terms. There are ten Criminal Types including the Asshole, the Broker, the Heister, the Hustler, the Thug, and the Racketeer. More is explained about Criminal Types below.  

The criminal history is simply a guideline for the criminal's history and includes background information from early childhood to early adulthood. It also supplies lists of typical family names for specific ethnic groups and a general guide for nicknames. The character generations section goes into contacts, hang outs, considerable list of skills, combat values, Power and Respect, Influence, Back Rolls and Warnings as well as arrests and offenses on the criminals rap sheet. 

After the rules and combat chapters (covered below) is a the Director's (GM's) section, guiding a gamemaster through how to run a Dog Town adventure. Nothing out of the ordinary for this chapter - just guidelines on different styles of running the game.
My comment on content - it's enough. There could be more flaws and vices as well as talents, but it works.  

From page # 31: "How do jou like that eh! You f*ckin Maricon. Jou think you can take me. You need a f*ckin army to take me. I take you all to f*ckin hell.”

System: The character generation system is a point allocation system where everything costs points. The number of points is based on the style of play - punk, gangster or anti-hero. Attributes development points are differentiated from skill points which are differentiated special talent points. The Atttributes are Bulk, Power, Toughness, Reflexes, Brains, Sense, Control, Style, Experience, and Luck. These are straight values bought by attribute points and can range from -2 to 5. Then there are Derived Attributes (Trauma Resistance, Hurt Modifier, Injury Points, Move Straight Speed, Climbing, Maneuver/Balance, Endurance Short, Long, Reaction Roll, Balls, Discipline Roll, Suss Roll, Know Streets, Coping Roll, and Hostility Rating) - which are derived from the other attributes through a series of equations. For instance, to calculate Injury Points, add power x2, bulk x4 and toughness x4.

At the outset, I was turned off by this initial part of the character generation system. There needs to be a quick reference for all the equations. This did not fair well for the overall system. Equations need to be intuitive and a GM or a player should not have to go book diving for an equation. I feared that this system was also based on equations like this.

The Criminal Type was a little confusing at first. The player can choose one or two types (multi-classing). The Criminal Type does not restrict the player to anything. It simply gives the player 20 extra points to spend on certain skills, special talents and skills which are cheaper than the usual ones. There are also Drags or Flaws and Vices that the player must take at least four of. This is an interesting and imaginative approach to a class system. Something like the d6 system could benefit from an approach like this.  

Special Talents are like d20 feats. As I said before, there could be more of them, but there is enough to make things interesting. The interesting mechanic behind these is that they are divided up into packages and if the player takes them as a package, they are cheaper. Vices and Flaws are rolled randomly, if not chosen from the Criminal type.

The system is called the Split System. It is a table reference system with a 20-sided die (d20) roll. The player must generate a value and cross reference vs. the opposing value (a difficulty or opponents ability value) to determine a value to roll a d20 over. The problem I have relates to my previous worry in character generation - the equations. The values are determined through equations like the ones referenced in character generation. For instance, skill values like Break and Enter are calculated by Reflexes x2 + Sense + Brains. Every skill is different. I have the same problem as I do with the equations in character generation - too many! They should be intuitive or there should be a quick reference somewhere. 

There is an interesting mechanic if a 1 or a 20 is rolled. However, because some of the rules read like a statistic book, I do not understand the rule. From what I can gather, in either case you role a second d20 and count that into your failure or success. However, I am not quite sure how the second roll factors into the failure. Another constant problem I had with reading it was that the rules were not clearly explained, at least to me. There were occasional examples, but they were not any more clear than the rules. It made the game even less attractive.

Another interesting aspect was the Behavior mechanic set up in the game to reflect the extreme in behaviors criminals tend to exhibit. There are three factors in Dog Town to represent this - Suss Roll, Balls, and Discipline. Suss Roll is rolled when a criminal really needs to assess his situation and his chances of success. Of course, this is not a level based system, so there is no way to measure the "challenge rating" of a situation. Therefore, it is really up to the GM whether he wants the player to survive or not - a characteristic of all no-level based systems. Balls is basically the bravery of the player (and sometimes the sanity), and Discipline is the measure of how level-headed the player is.

Another interesting aspect of the game are the rules on running a Racket - the steady income of a criminal. This system provides a detailed system allowing players to create their own business deals and see the results of the deal in games terms. It is based on the character's skill, influence and finesse, and can result in great benefit or disastrous results. There is a rather large list of rackets to choose from.

There are also rules for delegating to non-player characters (NPCs) and measure the loyalty of those NPCs, Boss bonuses, giving orders to flunkies, and putting the competition out of business. There are also rules for laying low, torture and chases. These include an interesting array of classic cars and their stats. There are many other rules relating to the criminal underworld that I could get into, but it would make this review entirely too long. Let it be said then that despite my misgivings on the rules and how they are explained, they are thorough.

However, I do not want to leave out combat. The combat or violence system is very detailed and covers a wide variety of actions. It attempts to make it realistic and break it down into eight essential steps: Balls Test, Reach, Reaction Speed, Combat Mode, Attack Roll, Injury, Stuns, and Blood Loss. There are several charts and lists to refer to in each stage, making combat somewhat complicated. Injury is more than a simple roll to be subtracted from hit points, and I found myself so confused, I did not care anymore.

A nice gem however is that it does detail some fighting styles for hand-to-hand combat like karate, boxing and street fighting. That was kind of cool. Rules on shootouts were also a nice addition, although I found combat so complicated that I had no desire to even look into it.
Layout: The PDF looked nice. Art was on par from what I would expect from a PDF. Nothing outstanding, but nothing so horrible that I needed to point it out here. It is a large PDF, but it is reasonable printer friendly. The tables are hard to read (and there are a lot of them) because there is artwork behind them, so those might not look good in printouts. 

 In conclusion, I am sorry to say that I was not overly impressed by Dog Town from beginning to end. The only thing I was remotely impressed with was the thoroughness and detail. It is not a half-*ssed job. However, I simply did not like the premise, did not like the system and did not like the overall game itself. I can tell the authors have a strong passion for gaming and I wholeheartedly encourage that. I assume there is an audience for this game and to them I bid them a good luck with this game. I hope you enjoy. I know I did not.
This game is not for children. It uses adult themes and adult language even in the color-quotes from the movies. I would not recommend this to anyone under 18.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Dog Town: Core Rules
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Dog Town: Grenson Park
by Marcus G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/20/2008 08:29:21
Good PDF, everything works just fine.

This is a really nice setting reference. It gives a ton of locations and personalities which are fantastic for running a game. I don't use the Dogtown mechanics because it SUUUUCKS but the setting is well thought out and presented in a fun format.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Dog Town: Grenson Park
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Dog Town: Core Rules
by Marcus G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/14/2008 10:01:35
Awesome setting!

Craptacular mechanics!

I use this basic setting outline to run a game in another system. The tone and theme of the setting is very cool and harsh. It is a great motivator for a rough game.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Dog Town: Core Rules
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you for your comments. The rules or perhaps how they are explained are not to everyones taste (too complicated, too involved, not explained clearly enough) so you would no doubt prefer Dog Town: Stripped - a much simpler and streamlined character generation and rule set for the setting available as a free download from the Cold Blooded Games website.
Dog Town: Grenson Park
by Michael S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/30/2008 14:58:28
Excellent resource for a GM running Dog Town or any other campaign based around criminal activity. This is the level of detail that I want for this type of product. There are place descriptions, maps, and characters included in this gritty setting. More than that, though, this sourcebook provides events to plug into each location along with organizational guidelines and motivations for two competing gangs.
I'm already impressed with the Dog Town rules, but Grenson Park takes this to a whole new level. I've managed to transfer this entire setting to another set of rules, and it works just as well as when I used Dog Town. Grenson Park is maximum bang for your buck.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dog Town: Grenson Park
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Dog Town: Stray Bullets
by JD S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/26/2008 14:12:38
A solid product, and free besides!

Add occult/magic, and you have a modern-day horror setting.

Its a very good product.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dog Town: Stray Bullets
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Dog Town: Pennington
by JD S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/26/2008 14:12:08
A solid product, and free besides!

Add occult/magic, and you have a modern-day horror setting.

Its a very good product.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dog Town: Pennington
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Bust: Explosive Roleplaying
by Nathan W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/17/2007 13:45:46
With some things I agree with the previous review and others I do not. This system has a very strong base and is a cool idea but does need a little TLC but this doesn't require much from anyone to achieve. This system deserves 5 stars but unfortunately with the product promoted it hasn't earned it and I will explain why I will give it 3 stars instead of 5. First star loss automatically comes from the previously stated lack of proofreading. This system does have some of this and while from a professional standpoint the system is a mere 34 pages and this is more of a laziness or lack of knowledge and should have never been disregarded. The second star loss comes from various reasons. The system is very light and in some ways it does need some clarification but in others not as much because this is the way it is designed. The system was meant to be very open to interpretation and customizing because the author wanted the system to be able to become whatever it needed to be from those using it by allowing them to make it this way. There is a "Tweaking" section discussing this but unfortunately it is a little thin for those who need a bit of guidance to get it done. An example is power ups as it would be probable for others to advance and buy new ones like you can buy new traits, and there is new guidelines for what is too powerful or weak in creating them and there is not development point value for buying into them either (I personally work with 250 for each new power up.) And an example of something that needed to be done is style points as there is no obvious explanation for using this to the fullest extent. It explains when you gain them and what they are worth to buy a Joker but it doesn't cover recording them and documenting them. This is one REALLY EASY fix in that you treat them like Development points when scoring them and spending them. It's that easy to fix and basically every other problem is that easy to fix as well. Another reason way I dock the second star due to the lack of coverage on how to tweak the system is because the author is unresponsive about his own product. I have sent multiple emails with no response over the past year. I have even noticed a comment posted on his website which has been up for two months and no response as well. For this lack of customer service coverage of the product I have to contribute to this products shortcomings as well. To remedy this I suggest seeking out other BUST players in rpg forums and working things out together because it will be your best route of getting any help. Don't completely disregard this wonderful piece of partial-effort material..... ??? ...... It really does not take much to fully appreciate it as one gaming sessions could understand how to use it and only a few more hours to fix it. There is a world of possibilities and I wouldn't let what this author didn't do with it keep you from making it what it can be. I personally have worked on a new revised one sheet character sheet and a 4 page pdf that is all about errata and expansion that completely makes the difference and then the only thing you need is a setting and a story. 4-6 pages of work is about all this system is really lacking and for a free and wonderful thing anyone could put in the effort to fix it it and make it a masterpiece!

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Bust: Explosive Roleplaying
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Dog Town: Grenson Park
by JD S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/27/2007 04:09:41
Great product-a detailed neighborhood description which would be useful in any modern setting. Plus they fixed the map issues that were a very mild irritant in the other products.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dog Town: Grenson Park
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Dog Town: Easy Money
by JD S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/27/2007 03:54:49
A solid scenario, cleanly written and well-organized. As with the core book, the maps suffer from too much color, but its not unusuable.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dog Town: Easy Money
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Dog Town: The Felon's Handbook
by JD S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/27/2007 03:52:34
Very intense detail about criminal operations. A must have for any GM who runs a modern game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dog Town: The Felon's Handbook
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Dog Town: Core Rules
by JD S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/27/2007 01:14:29
Setting: this has to be one of the most carefully researched settings I have seen. They have accurately captured a time, place, and setting extremely well.

Support material: They do very well; the suypporting detail is excellent. My only complaint is that the maps provided a biut bit hard to read, and might have benifitted from less color. Still, a minor issue.

System: a bit clunky, although less so than d20. The writers work very hard to pull it off.

Overall: very good. Not only useful as a game, but also as support data for modern or horror campaigns.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dog Town: Core Rules
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Dog Town: The Felon's Handbook
by Michael S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/08/2007 00:00:00
This is one of the best game supplements I've ever bought. It helps to flesh out a number of different crimes and gives you all the details of how to make these effective in your game. I've used it from Dog Town, but I've also used the info with a number of other game systems.


LIKED: There is a fairly in-depth look at a wide variety of street crimes.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dog Town: The Felon's Handbook
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