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Magic & Flintlock
Publisher: Solace Games
by Mark N. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/08/2014 14:54:07
Ron Edwards describes a certain type of game as a heartbreaker - lots of enthusiasm by the writers but a product that is ultimately flawed. Magic & Flintlock (M&F) is probably one to add to his already extensive list. D100 games have been around the block a bit and my favourite implentations are Open Quest which is fairly generic fantasy and Renaissance, which develops Open Quest but is tailored to a specfic setting, England during the Civil War. Most significantly, Renaissance drops the standard D100 magic system (comprising divine, sorcery and battle magic) in favour of Alchemy and Witchcraft.

M&F takes the Renaissance SRD and adds in the magic system used by Legend, with a few new tweaks to it. Legend is another D100 system, this time using divine, sorcery and spirit magic. So this means M&F more or less adds back in the system dropped by Renaisance in the first place. It is IMHO a strange decision to take the Renaissance SRD as a starting point... especially because the re-editing of the SRD is poor. There are several references to things which are unique to Renaisance and which should have been dropped from M&F. One glaring example is in the references to Alchemists and their pursuit of the Philosopher's stone - a key part of Renaissance magic system but not supported in M&F. In general, the author claims that his intent is to produce a generic game, but too many elements remain that smack of the English Civil War game it derives from.

There are some useful looking additions, rules for ships and enchantments for example. This is is the only thing that stopped me giving M&F a lower rating. At the moment this game has the appearance of being the result of some decent house-rules being cut and paste into an SRD in a hurry. This might do for distribution to a gaming group. It does not however look like a significant enough change to warrant commercial publication.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Magic & Flintlock
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The Hand Unseen: The Black Book Sourcebook
Publisher: Eden Studios
by Mark N. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/23/2012 14:39:46
A decent book but not quite what I expected.

In the world of Con X, where Aegis are the white hats, The Black Book are the Black Hats - making deals with aliens, ruthlessly covering up the Truth and probably (cf. the X files) run by a guy who smokes non-stop and who really just wants to be a writer. What is the agenda of the black hats? How do they operate?? What other secrets are they sitting on???

This book answers none of these questions.

At first I was annoyed. More money down the drain on something that isn't what it promised to be. On second thoughts I changed my opinion, as this could be taken as a whole different approach to the game where Aegis are the rebels (and not in a good way) while the Black Book are the loyalists.Yeah, that works, and for that purpose this is extremely useful. Just a shame that this isn't spelled out a bit more clearly before you put your money down...

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Hand Unseen: The Black Book Sourcebook
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G-Core
Publisher: Dilly Green Bean Games
by Mark N. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/25/2011 14:29:16
on the plus side it is cheap... on the negative side 'you get what you pay for' which in this case is very much on the 'homebrew system that looks a lot like the others'.

I'll admit to having a preference for simple systems so as soon as I find something with page after page of tables I tend to lose the will to continue. What G-core needs is something that makes it different from all the other near identical systems. If you want a good selling point check out the elegance of Icons, the detail of Mutants & Masterminds, the flexibility of Truth & Justice.

If you want a simple comparison have a look at Resolute - which does everything you need in a fraction of page count

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
G-Core
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Publisher Reply:
We are sorry you didn't like G-Core. The tables weren't resolution tables, they tell players what things mean for their character. They are quick references for players and game masters. Add to that, G-Core is a modern take on the classic FASERIP system. But one must play the game to appreciate the value that it brings. The other reviewers gave G-Core that chance and there are plenty more convention players that would agree that G-Core is a pretty cool game for the superhero fan. This review is more like a platform to promote other supers game that fall into the crowded fanbase and less like an actual thought out review with with detailed reasoning 'why' the buyer didn't like the game.
And to help back that up a little: From an actual player http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbKsUQilXhU And a great in-depth review: http://www.hazardstudio.net/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/gcore.wav
Chthonian Stars Core Setting
Publisher: WildFire
by Mark N. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/17/2011 15:49:10
I have to admit to coming to Chthonian Stars with a low expectation. I disliked a lot about the Cthulhutech line but thought that there might be a few things I could rip out of Stars. I was wrong. It's blooming brilliant. My read through (OK I admit to not having played it yet) convinced me that this was written by someone who loves both the Mythos and the Traveller universe. Reasonable ficltion, good artwork, and a whole lot of good ideas about what happens when the dark stars are almost right.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Chthonian Stars Core Setting
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Rubble & Ruin
Publisher: Chaosium
by Mark N. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/28/2011 08:56:40
Oh dear, this does try to capture the feel of its inspirations - films such as A Boy and His Dog, Mad Max, etc - but really...

The layout is terrible. I had a bad feeling when the page marked 'contents' was entirely blank. There are sections that appear in odd places, including a section for character generation that appears in the index. Did anyone proof read this?

The art ranges from quite acceptable to the really awful - the latter being some of the character sketches that look like they were culled from an old character sheet.

The content is at best weak. There are a few additional skills, although I don't plan on making use of the rules for use of farming skills any time soon. There are stats for robots which were simply too brief.

It all could and should have been so much better. As an example of a simple premise done well you only have to go as far as AFMBE. Ignoring the (excellent) rules, you get ideas for survivors and the worlds they live in, background discussions of the gentre and fiction - all of which makes me want to dive straight in.

Chaosium has got some excellent monographs. I'm a big fan of their Dark Ages line. R&R was based on fiction from the 1980's. It really does feel like an rpg product from that time too.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Rubble & Ruin
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Field of Daisies (w/Quickstart Rules)
Publisher: Columbia Games Inc.
by Mark N. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/24/2011 06:48:15
Overpriced
I'm perfectly happy to pay a couple of quid for some quickstart rules, which are included in this product. The trouble is this 'field of daisies' adventure could better be titled 'basic dungeon crawl'. There is a lot of detail on the local village, but the only information to be gained there by the characters is a fairly obvious 'go adventure in this location' sign post.

This should be called Quickstart rules and sample encounter... but would anyone buy it if it were?

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Field of Daisies (w/Quickstart Rules)
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