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Hit a Dude: World Players Guide #1
Publisher: Ryan Macklin
by Critical H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/24/2011 13:12:54
A brilliantly transgressive work, the Hit a Dude: World Players Guide #1 explores the "freemium" model applied to a non-video game (even describing the transcendent genre of Hit a Dude makes a review difficult) for the full game is available at hitadude.com, but supplements such as this that clarify the world in which Hit a Dude takes place while providing optional rules, settings, and characters is available at a cost. Indeed, you might not think of this as a $3.50, two page supplement, but instead as a $3.50 donation to the Hit a Dude foundation (whose work worldwide we all know) that happens to come with a game expansion.

As mentioned, there are new rules for Hit a Dude (completely optional, of course, but thoroughly vetted by a team of game developers), a series of settings that may seem familiar and even a bit sly, some clarifications, and a few hints at the people that inhabit the world of Hit a Dude. Harkening back to the setting excesses of 90s supplements, the details are not even called out as fodder for your Hit a Dude games, but instead, done through narrators that serve to fully immerse you in the world of Hit a Dude. Likewise, you may even discover by interpreting the text that you have been playing Hit a Dude at some different key junctures in your life without even realizing it!

For Hit a Dude fans who have processed the game (truly a monumental undertaking for which I commend you), the World Players Guide #1 may serve to further enlighten you as to the nature of the game and hold up a mirror to ourselves as we, in our daily lives, go on about our regular quest to "hit a dude." This makes it an invaluable supplement to the die-hard HaDers. To the rest who dismiss the intricacies of Hit a Dude as merely being a controversial morass of violence and unanswered questions, this will only serve to muddy your existence further, and leave you unprepared for the time in which you too might be called upon to Hit a Dude.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hit a Dude: World Players Guide #1
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Adventure Companion
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Critical H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/13/2010 20:46:50
The Fantasy Craft Adventure Companion presents three unique and well-conceived settings with a scattering of crunchy rules. The settings each expertly evoke a different genre, but herein lies the problem: at best only slight more than 1/3 of the book will be useful to most GMs. The crunch chapter is short and sweet, but only the most ardent gamers will make use of all three settings within one book.

Good

Cloak & Dagger: This setting imagines an empire modeled after an alliance of some of the greatest classical Western civilizations complete with decadence, ancient threats, and corruption. PCs tend to take roles as the brave souls that travel between the different camps of the fractured empire currying information and doing grisly work. For me, this is the setting that I loved.

Rules: Includes new classes, feats, master classes, and interesting tidbits. These can be incorporated whole-hog into an existing game or cherry picked for a supported setting, or your own custom setting. I thought they had a lot of interesting ideas and cool concepts.

Fight Against the Fantasy Rut: The system purposefully distances itself from the D&D model. Say what you will, but D&D feels like a tactical combat game that has non-combat adjudications available. FantasyCraft actively encourages characters to take a rich set of abilities aimed at overcoming obstacles and conflicts.

Bad

Multiple Settings: I struggled about how to cope with this issue in my review. I felt “bad” for not being terribly interested in the well thought out other settings: Sunchaser, a high adventure campaign focused on good/evil and Epoch which is a more primal (no D&D power source baggage intended) and savage setting. The more I think about it though, the more I think this is an inherent flaw in the book. With the depth and history presented its inevitable each reader will gravitate towards one offering and away from another. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the other work, it’s just that I could not get drawn in after I realized that Cloak & Dagger held the most interest.

Ugly

Master Classes: When the system debuted, I griped about the existence of master classes but their noticeable lack of inclusion in the basic game. People more knowledgeable than me have argued that breaking a game up between tiers can be a good way to refine game play and conceptualize a product. However, having only a few master classes to choose from without truly focusing on it seems like a disappointing half-measure.

Final Verdict: B. FantasyCraft is still an amazing system. For anyone currently running the game this purchase is a no-brainer. However, the fact that the book, as a whole, is hard to find a use for keeps it from being an A.

(originally published at http://roll.critical-hits.com/2010/11/13/fantasy-craft-adven-
ture-companion-review/)

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Companion
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