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Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Nathan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/17/2010 22:12:04
As far as introductions to either roleplaying or Dr Who, you could't ask for better than this. The rules are written in a clear manner that guides you through everything you need to know to play in the Dr Who universe. The game uses a very simple roll + stat + skill system, with the degree by which you succeed or fail indicating how well (or poorly) you do. As an intro game it not only carefully guides players through character generation and game play, but also holds the hands of new GM's, helping them run their first sessions. If you are not a new player, don't fret! This is not a "simplified" or "introductory" set as some games are - this is the complete game with plenty of depth and detail.
One of my favourite things about this game is how the rules really force you to play to the genre - violence is very rarely the answer and players (and villains) are given heaps of other things to do before the situation degenerates into combat. Some players may find the initiative system difficult, for instance, as it is based on your action type and people talking and running away always act before people making attacks. But this is totally true to the source material - I love it.
The PDF itself is full colour and gorgeous, but a complete nightmare to print out. I would have loved a print-friendly version, perhaps without the borders, but I am guessing there is some kind of trade-dress requirement with the license that Cubicle 7 have.
In all, I think the Dr Who RPG is the best inroductory roleplaying game I have seen in a really long time, worth a look by new players, old hands and fans of the TV show alike.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space
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Badass gunslingers and lethal combat cars
Publisher: Black Hand Source
by Nathan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/17/2010 21:59:33
Awesome. This art is awesome. Full of character and attitude and really cool cars straight out of some budget 1950's car-wars movie. The detail is great in this collection, with bold lines and no cluttering with unnecessary background detail, making it excellent stock art. What more could you ask, for such a low price?

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Badass gunslingers and lethal combat cars
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Robot Sen So in Full Detail
Publisher: TwinBlade Games
by Nathan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/17/2010 21:53:58
This game is surprisingly good. I say "surprisingly" because, for 99cents I really wasn't expecting much. But within the digital covers of this product is an entertaining and challenging combat game that kept my firends and I entertained over the course of an afternoon! The tactical choices required each turn create a sense of tension as you never know if you will be inposition to make an effective attack. I really enjoyed the game play. The Twin Blade website also has some really detailed videos o show you how to play, which is a bonus.
The only downside to this product is the very "fiddly" construction required. There are a lot of cards and other pieces to print and cut out in preparation for play, and if you are lacking in patience then your pieces may not come out looking quite like they do in the book! The whole document, however, very clearly and carefully guides you through the process of printing and creating your pieces, telling you which pages to print, what type of paper to print on (it is handy if some things are printed on thicker paper or card) and how to fold the bits that need folding. I skipped a couple of steps and didn't print out the "backs" of the cards and it took my an afternoon to put it all together. Not hard stuff, and nothing out of the ordinary if you are familiar with "print and play" games.
For .99cents you can't really go wrong with this, and as I said the game play is really fun. Give it a try.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Robot Sen So in Full Detail
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Art's Polyhedral Dice Super Font Bundle
Publisher: Skullduggery Press
by Nathan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/17/2010 21:41:35
A really useful set of dice fonts that allow you to put a huge variety of dice imagery into your documents or home made charactersheets, cards or games. Personally, I used it for making unique Savage Worlds character sheets and am looking for more uses - there is almost too many dice images to use here! As well as all the common polyhedrals it also has font-images for the more exotic d30, not that I have a use for that particular one! though it does not have a d100, you can easily cover this with the d10 font. I really liked the fact that I could choose between d6 with the number or the pips (my preference - it looks more "dicey"). If you are a game designer looking for an easy way to populate your documents with dice notations, or just enjoy making your own custom charactersheets etc, this is a handy resource.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Art's Polyhedral Dice Super Font Bundle
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Cerberus Stock Art: A Decade Of Fantasy
Publisher: Cerberus Illustration
by Nathan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/17/2010 21:34:12
This is a huge collection of fantasy and sci-fi art with a diverse range of subjects, from individuals to groups. Most of the paintings appear to be dark fantasy or post-apocalypse in subject, though there are several that could fall into more generic "high fantasy" or sci-fi genres. Every piece tells a bit of a story, rather than just being a straight portrait. All of the art in this collection would be very useable as interior art for your projects and most of the pieces would also make great cover art. This collection is of a consistentlly good quality, though there are a couple of pieces that I felt needed more detail, whether in the background (there are some with just swirling colour) or in the characters themselves. But this is a personal taste - afterall, we are talking art here! In all, this is a great collection of art, useable in a broad range of projects, for a really reasonable price.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cerberus Stock Art: A Decade Of Fantasy
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you Nathan! I've been accused of being a little dark in my fantasy art and I wouldn't have it any other way. Admittedly I may have pushed the envelope as far as what can be perceived as a full page, full color piece of art. Honestly, this was my chance to bring everything to bear that I've had on the "back burner" for years and either put it out or toss it out. It was a huge weight off my shoulders to finally be satisfied with some of these illustrations for better or worse. I'm honored that publishers are finding something here they can use! I can't express enough how much I enjoy working with the indy RPG publishers. Thank you all!
MECHA - Quickstart
Publisher: Heroic Journey Publishing
by Nathan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/27/2010 16:01:53
Mecha is the best mecha RPG I have seen, hands down. I have struggled for years looking for or trying to shoe-horn other games to capture the feel of mecha anime, but too often they are either RPG's that get bogged down in the mechanical details of mecha construction, or tactical simulations with roleplaying elements tacked on. Not so in this product.
Here we have a game that is built from the ground up to handle both roleplaying and tactical combat with simple, straightforward rules. Play is divided into episodes and each episode is broken into a "personal scene" and a "combat" scene. In Personal scenes each character has a spotlight scene doing something you are interested in. I particularly like how "success" in a roleplay scene gives you a bonus in a future combat scene. In combat scenes you put down a "bullseye" map and play out the tactical encounter. Rules such as "overdrive" and "cut scenes" mean that the cool action and description don't end when you put the map down though - when you roll really well you get another spotlight scene to describe the awesome thing your character just did!
Overall, I am impressed; The personal scenes are very roleplay driven - there is only ever one die roll made, at the end of the scene, and players who don't have a character in the scene get to be the "npc's"; Combat is tactical but not overly complex (it concentrates on the important "scenes" and doesn't get bogged down); And the sample mecha are pretty damn cool!
I am really looking forward to the full game - check out this quickstart NOW!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
MECHA - Quickstart
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Western City (English)
Publisher: Vagrant Workshop
by Nathan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/22/2010 00:05:11
This is a really well put together game with great production values. The rules are interesting, with everyone given the opportunity to guide the game and play a cool western character. All the classic tropes of westerns are here and there is an entertaining "bidding" mechanic that both feels right for the theme and makes the GM-less nature of the game very workable. Each game session is broken into a "Dawn, Day and Night" sequence that frames the story and helps to create scenarios that feel a bit like real stories. Very entertaining and a refreshing change from more "mainstream" RPG's.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Western City (English)
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Spirit of the Century
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Nathan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/21/2010 23:59:54
The Spirit of the Century rules have changed the way I play games. Aspects are the coolest invention since polyhedral dice, letting you create background stories for your character that have a mechanical effect in the game. The basic mechanics are easy to grasp and there is lots of other stuff (like the stunts) that add depth to your characters. While the rules claim to be "pick up and play" you do need to have a good understanding of them before that is possible, but once you have a few games under your belt this is a fast, outrageously fun game. It hits the tropes of "pulp" adventure smack between the eyes and is incredibly comprehensive. Check them out. Play them.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Spirit of the Century
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Prose Descriptive Qualities (PDQ) System Core Rules
Publisher: Atomic Sock Monkey Press
by Nathan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/21/2010 23:52:17
This is a great "rules light" game that focuses on storytelling and interesting characters. Characters are described by "qualities" rather than just numbers and this helps to really create interesting personas. There is enough structure to not leave you "up in the air" like some games, but it is still loose enough to let you make it your own.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Prose Descriptive Qualities (PDQ) System Core Rules
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Dragon Age RPG, Set 1
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Nathan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/23/2009 20:33:25
This virtual box set consists of the Players Guide, Game Masters Guide, and a map of the campaign setting. Both books are 66 pages and cover everything you need to know to get started roleplaying in the Dragon Age setting. Both the Players Guide and Game Master’s Guide have excellent indexes, though neither has a table of contents. They are well laid out, with clear legible font and bold headings that make it easy to find information. As PDF documents they are easy to read, but they are full colour with tons of beautiful art (often covering more than half a page) which will put real pressure on your printer! Both documents are bookmarked, but that is the extent of the PDF technology used (no hyperlinks in the index or the like).
The moment I began reading the Player’s Guide I was overcome with a sense of nostalgia, finding within the virtual covers the kind of game I have been hoping for. The Dragon Age RPG reminds me of the simple games that I first learnt to roleplay with, without any of the odd, redundant or strange mechanisms that the infancy of roleplaying was sometimes afflicted with. I am looking forward to running my twelve-year-old nephews through their first adventure these holidays, and they will be doing it in the Dragon Age.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dragon Age RPG, Set 1
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Tomorrowland: The Art of Aaron Acevedo
Publisher: Sigil Entertainment Group
by Nathan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/25/2009 01:17:23
This is filled with the beautiful art of Aaron Acevedo, and many of the pieces will be familiar to rpg and collectible card game fans. Acevedo is a talented artist and his work evokes a wonderful sense of time, place and character. Tomorrowland would make a wonderful coffee table book, with a hard cover and glossy pages. As a PDF, however, I can't help but feel that something is lost. Now that I have it on my computer, I am not sure what I am to do with it - it would kill my printer to print pages, perhaps I could use some images for wallpaper. When the Drive Thru RPG print on demand program is up and running, this would make a great gift for a fantasy fan.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Tomorrowland: The Art of Aaron Acevedo
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for the kind words Nathan, Tomorrowland is also available in hardcover or softcover format from sigil.info, for those who prefer to have a physical book in their hands.
The Shotgun Diaries
Publisher: John Wick Presents
by Nathan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/25/2009 01:04:40
This game lets you easily create characters that really fit into the zombie movie genre and forces you to act in just the way you would expect them to on screen. The concept is simple - you only get to roll dice when you do something that your "type" of survivor would do (a fast survivor rolls dice when he runs away, a clever survivor only rolls dice when trying to fix stuff). If you don't roll dice the GM gets to describe what happens, which could be bad for you! This makes it really fun when you have several characters all wanting to do the thing that improves their chance of survival. To top things off, there is a neat mechanic to encourage characters to stick together, forcing hard choices to be made (Does my fast survivor stick around and hope the strong survivor can hold the door closed?). It took me a couple of games to work out "bonus dice" cannot be rewarded unless the character is actually acting to type - it seems logical now, but is not explicitly stated in the rules.
One little tip - you need to get players to consider more than just their survivor type when creating characters. This isn't discussed in the rules, but each character needs a motivation to help everyone drive the action. For example, your fast survivor might be a business man trying to get back to his wife and kids, and your sneaky survivor might be a drug addict looking for their next fix. A character sheet would have been nice.
The zombie clock is a great way to add pressure, but a GM needs to be aware of their own pacing and narrative. You need to be aiming for short, sharp scenes that encapsulate a single encounter every ten minutes - kind of like snap shots or time-lapse photography. Have a "focus scene" for each character to show what is important to them in the zombie apocalypse, and have it resolve every time the clock ticks forward.
Like a lot of John Wick's "mini" games Shotgun Diaries is cool, but not for the inexperienced. There is not a lot of detail about running games and many of the rules work on assumptions that you know RPG or genre conventions. Like the "bonus dice" I mentioned above, some of the rules need further explanation or explicit examples. But, when the infected zombie blood really hits the fan, this is an 18 page game for $5, written by one of the industries great game designers - it makes for a fun romp that does capture and replicate the tropes of the modern zombie flick. I say, give it a try.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Shotgun Diaries
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Monsters of the Game Mat: Undead Army
Publisher: Cerberus Illustration
by Nathan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/02/2009 06:30:12
The first four pages of this product are just the cover and images of "assembled" figures, kind of redundant. Once you get past these, however, you get 6 different kind of skeletal undead, including a chariot and dragon (just like the cover shows). They are attractive and nicely represent the figures - they kind of remind my of "old school" undead, I can't put my finger on exactly what it is that does this, they just do. The mounting system is neat, giving you a nice big base that helps the figure stand up. There is, however, a lot of white space around the figures (between legs, bows, boney protusions) which is a real pain to cut out - which means it is either time consuming to assemble, or you are left with big white spaces. It might be nice if in future sets Cerberus offers "plain" figures with the white space and then the same figure with some kind of background to save some fiddling!

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Monsters of the Game Mat: Undead Army
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Swords & Sorcery Set
Publisher: Arion Games
by Nathan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/29/2009 17:36:01
A nicely rendered set of figures with lots of evocative barbarian-type characters. I could see lots of uses for these sets, including stand-ups for actual characters/heroes, as well as evil sorceresses, enemy soldiers and villains. All the sword and sorcery iconic characters are included (warrior, princess, thief, sorceress etc). I really like the City Guard and Royal Guard figures - they nicely capture the feel of Conan-inspired armoured warriors, but the Evil Guards look a bit "medieval" for more liking (I don't know if its the halberds, the grey outfits, triangular shields or something else, I just don't think I will be using them for swords and sorcery). I like the fact that I have the choice of "figure flats" or the tri-fold figures (my favourites).

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Swords & Sorcery Set
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Fantasy Weapons Stock Art Pack 4
Publisher: Sade
by Nathan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/29/2009 16:50:01
A nice mix of iconic weapons (sword, rapier, mace) and more unique items (strange "ornamental" club, curved and hooked swords). Most of the weapons are blades of some kind or another and there is no missile weapons included. There is a lot of scroll work, glowing runes and other markings that clearly make these fantasy and/or magical weapons, a nice alternative to "normal" medieval weapons. All the images are PNG files with lots of detail.

As a GM: I would likely use these images to represent magic items that players find.
As a PC: There are some unique weapons that would make cool family heirlooms or personal weapons.
As a publisher: Good options if you are after distinctive weapons for a fantasy document, or some nice renderings of classic swords.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Weapons Stock Art Pack 4
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Publisher Reply:
My first staff-review! Wow, thank you! The bow pack will be my next, at least i planned this way. I hope my other clients will like this pack, as you. Sade
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