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Retro Space Set Four: Space Hero Squad
Publisher: Okumarts Games
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/03/2012 19:08:56
Squid aliens, bubble helmeted spacesuits, shoulder fins, goggles, rayguns - I would readily use Retro Space Set Four Hero Squad with Tales of a Space Princess and Cosmic Patrol, or any retro- Flash Gordon sci-fi space opera you can mention - ideal for characters. This is a layers based product which, again, like other Okumarts sets, maxes out out on colour choice, plus a bonus level with some weird robots and aliens. At $2.50 - this is stupidly cheap and David Okum clearly plans to die penniless.
-Billiam B
(bit.ly/rpgblog)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Retro Space Set Four: Space Hero Squad
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ERA OF WAR: Xiarn Dynasty
Publisher: Grey Matter Games
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/03/2012 19:07:13
The work of David Kiladecus Wears becomes yet more and more impressive as he solidifies his status as a professional figure artist. Era of War: Xiarn Dynasty brings us original models of quality - which, although intended for his Era of War tabletop battle game, would adapt well as NPCs and unique monsters in RPG settings. Don't be put off by the instructions to trim such detailed work so closely - the figures work just as well with square or oval trimming.
Excellent.
-Billiam B.
bit.ly/rpgblog

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ERA OF WAR: Xiarn Dynasty
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Megadungeon Level 1 (map-pack)
Publisher: Crooked Staff Publishing
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/03/2012 19:05:48
This product covers all bases. I adore the greyscale style of CSP's maps. In this pack the DM is treated to printable PDFs and jpg sections of a truly massive area. Note sheets and maps with numbered labels are provided for the DM's own notes. I haven't used any Virtual TableTop programs myself but I've experimented with using map jpgs on an iPad with figures (allbeit a tiny area) - so I now truly appreciate the power of zoomable jpgs. It's hard to see what Kristian has left out of 'Level 1. All a DM would have to do is "populate" the dungeon - or perhaps just play using random tables. Usuable for any fantasy roleplaying game and adaptable to a variety of technologies (beyond just printing the PDFs) the $5 price tag is a very reasonable price.

This is a truly wonderful product. Congratulations again to Crooked Staff Publishing.

-Billiam B
bit.ly/rpgblog

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Megadungeon Level 1 (map-pack)
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Beasts & Barbarians: Hero Construction Set
Publisher: Okumarts Games
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/27/2012 12:02:46
(Review copy)

There are literally hundreds of possibilities with this set -using the PDF layers to flick between, torso, leg, head and arms options.

I always like OkumArt's style - it's clean, dynamic with a lot of character.

If you're in a rush there's a sheet of pre-made characters, which is always welcome.

Great stuff. :)

Billiam B.
bit.ly/rpgblog

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Beasts & Barbarians: Hero Construction Set
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Raven Downs Dungeon Virtual Tabletop Map Set
Publisher: Torn World
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/19/2012 16:33:11
I'm not currently using any virtual tabletop software, but I have to say that for free the map included as a jpg and in PDF form is beautiful colour dungeon level - perfect for a one-to-session game.
A resourceful DM could possibly enlarge and print the graphics out, poster-style, to create a set of tiles.
Nice work.
Billiam B.
bit.ly/rpgblog

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Raven Downs Dungeon Virtual Tabletop Map Set
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ERA OF WAR: Warriors Of Tauria
Publisher: Grey Matter Games
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/19/2012 15:01:07
I am mainly interested in acquiring figures for fantasy roleplaying, as opposed to wargaming, and it's not often that you see so many minotaur designs in one place. Boy, do these minotaurs have attitude and character. GMG have also provided clear assembly instructions in the attached codex. Great value for good quality art.
Billiam B
bit.ly/rpgblog

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ERA OF WAR: Warriors Of Tauria
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ERA OF WAR: Pet Drake
Publisher: Grey Matter Games
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/19/2012 14:50:22
I really like the art on this figure
Grey Matter Games are certainly a publisher to keep watching for the future. :)
Billiam B
bit.ly/rpgblog

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ERA OF WAR: Pet Drake
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Little Book of Dungeons New Year Special [BUNDLE]
Publisher: Crooked Staff Publishing
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/18/2012 14:13:41
Great bundle. The maps are very inspirational and credible as straight forward dungeon levels. The geomorphs are lots of fun!

The quality of CSP's work in black/white map design always rivals any larger level maps I have seen in Dungeon magazine.

I really like these.

Billiam B.
bit.ly/rpgblog

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Little Book of Dungeons New Year Special [BUNDLE]
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RuneQuest 6th Edition
Publisher: Design Mechanism
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/07/2012 06:16:44
This review might be a little premature, because I'm still at that excited-post-download phase when I'm feverishly clicking through the 458 pages.

I'll say again ...
Four-hundred-and-fifty-eight pages of RuneQuest goodness.

This definitely has the look and feel of an older RQ or BRP title. The mechanics and the writing style is very accessible, with the occasional black and white ink drawing.

The rules, setting and atmosphere (with a bent towards ancient, mystical, classical) is generic enough to adapt to different campaigns, whilst providing enough detail for interesting springboard points especially regarding character (and monster) backgrounds, magic, skills, "passions" cults -not to mention the gritty effects of chaos. As well as the dice mechanics, there's plenty of tips and guidelines and optional rules.

I'm also happy to say that it appears to be an "everything-you-need-to-play" publication. (I hate buying supposed "core" books only to find that there's no monster list or many references to "essential" accessories.)

As I type it's still $25 which is a good price for a volume of this size. I'm looking forward to seeing a hard copy -surely it will be a thick tome - so the PDF on a tablet will certainly be more portable for fast rule checking at the table.

Nice work, Design Mechanism! This is a respectable descendent of a noble line.

-Billiam B.
http://bit.ly/rpgblog

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
RuneQuest 6th Edition
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WARMANCERS: Battle Wizards: Set One
Publisher: Grey Matter Games
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/19/2012 17:19:07
This set contains some very likeable hard drawn cartoon (almost old school) dazzling chariatures. Clear instructions, well thought out bases. Good value. These minis can be used in an assortment of settings. Grey Matter Games have also included little card/info boxes describing the alignment, schools and spell preferences of the wizards, which is most curious - perhaps there is a bigger plan afoot here? Some of the designs are repeated, but this is in order to create different aspects like "astral" form, or simply a selection of cape colours, nonetheless it's still good value for money, especially if you already collect 25-30mm hand graphic styled figures. This is a really nice first product - certainly looking forward to seeing more like this.
Ace!
Billiam B. ( http://bit.ly/rpgblog )

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
WARMANCERS: Battle Wizards: Set One
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Achtung! Cthulhu: Three Kings - Savage Worlds
Publisher: Modiphius
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/15/2012 09:52:35
The only good zombie is a dead NAZI zombie. I'm not really into the whole zombie thing, but I enjoy the shear audacity of writers who mix-up bad guys in order to create the "ultimate" adversaries. I reckon that shooting sluggish undead neighbours with a farmyard shotgun doesn't quite have the same thrill as sten-gunning Doktor Kammerstein's experimental Ungeziefer Zombies. And that's just a very small part of Achtung! Cthulhu -Zero Point - 1: Three Kings.

Just reading the title makes me grin from ear to ear. ACHTUNG!! The setting is tense, cinematic and perhaps intentded to be played straight (almost), but I can imagine that role-playing the PCs (pre-gens included!) and NPCs could also be enjoyed as period-parody. I'm reminded of Castle Wolfenstein, the Colditz boardgame, the beginning of Hellboy, and the occult-curious Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark -not to mention films and comic strips depicting derring-do raids on enemy bases in World War II.

It's the sort of PDF that I wouldn't mind owning a book (printed) copy of. Even the "printer friendly" (white background) copy is lushly presented.

I've been reading the Savage Worlds ("Realm of Cthulhu") edition, and I was going to post that it probably wouldn't be too hard to adapt to Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu mechanics, but the nice people at Modiphius have already provided a separate edition with CoC stats and rules.

This product tends towards the more pulp style of play where players may encounter fearsome horrors directly and have access to wartime hardware and weaponry, but there's still enough conspiracy, back-story and a special forbidden tome (books, there's always a book!) to place this scenario firmly in the spirit of Lovecraftian gaming. Pockets of horror and terror overlap with, and are contextualised by, real historical events in central Europe, meaning that material is very accessible, whilst being broad enough to allow for flexibility in campaign planning by the Referee. 'Three Kings can be played as a standalone adventure or as the first part of what may become a really fabulous series.

Mein Gott in Himmel ... Shoggoths fur das Furhrer!
... and so on. ;)

-Billiam Babble.
(Adventures in Shopping http://bit.ly/rpgblog )

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Achtung! Cthulhu: Three Kings - Savage Worlds
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Traveller: Cowboys vs. Xenomorphs
Publisher: Mongoose
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/03/2012 11:03:35
This is a lovely little "mash-up" of the wild west genre and sci-fi thriller, which may appeal to fans of the Cowboys and Aliens, Alien films and steampunkers.

This is a bold move by Mongoose to use their Traveller system, deviating from traditional Traveller products as it adapts the mechanics and ramps up the equipment details to root players in a Wild West setting - as opposed to just applying generic backwater world "Low Tech Level" brush.

If you're a loyal fan of the imperial galactic "feel" of the Classic Traveller canon, this might not appeal as a Traveller product per se, but if you like the Mongoose Traveller system and have a relaxed approached the gaming you will possibly enjoy the extra gloss and grit of cinematically style cowboys and their feisty female companions.

As well as adventure details (the "Town of Bent River"), a choice of alien adversaries, there's even the class / career of "Desperado" and a bunch of fully equipped pre-generated characters which actually makes this a "pick-up-and-play" supplement in my book. Even your horse can have a personality quirk - which reminds us that horses in some ways are NPCs or hirelings with relationships to the characters in their own special way. Not to mention the fact that horse-riding can be dangerous in itself - but this is optional stuff.

It's a great little supplement (50 pages), and if you don't own any games with Western/cowboy settings, there's a fair about which can be "mined" for other systems.

At $9 it's a bit pricey if you're "just curious" - Perhaps $5 to $6 would have been better for this supplement in PDF form.

If your enthused by Traveller and Cowboys and Aliens (or Alien but with a lot of dust) this is a must-buy. If you think you can do something like with you're own choice of system, there just might be the odd little detail which will improve your game.

I'm very drawn to the Giger's Alien styled "xenomorph" vs. the Magnificent Seven. ;)

Full marks for ambition and style!

-Billiam B.
(Edited from review and commentary at http://bit.ly/rpgblog )

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Traveller: Cowboys vs. Xenomorphs
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Fiche de personnage pour Tunnels & Trolls 8
Publisher: Grimtooth
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/03/2012 09:20:32
Perfectly laid out 2 A4/Letter page, well organised with specialisations, character sheet for the French Edition of Tunnels & Trolls. A far cry from small index cards! For players who are dedicated to their characters. :)

Parfaitement aménagée 2 page A4/Letter, bien organisé avec des spécialisations, feuille de personnage pour l'édition française de Tunnels & Trolls. On est loin de petites fiches! Pour les joueurs qui se consacrent à leurs personnages. :)

Billiam B.
bit.ly/rpgblog

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fiche de personnage pour Tunnels & Trolls 8
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WIZARDS' WORLD (Original 1983)
Publisher: Goblinoid Games
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/11/2012 16:46:18
(Purchased copy)

Goblinoid Games have been really treating us recently to nibblets of the past with titles like Starships & Spacemen and Time Master.

I really enjoying buying older titles, often only to read, sometimes to mine ideas or compare and contrast with other games in my collection from the same period. With Wizards' World, it's primarily the collector, and curious archivist in me that hits the "add to cart" button (and by the way, real shoppers don't do wish-lists!). In saying that, this is an easy system to learn and play, with familiar mechanics and would definitely be enjoyed by more traditional of players

The text is an electronic scan conversion of the original rulebook (or it's been retyped) with black and white pencil and ink art - also presumably from the original book. I trust Goblinoid Games when it comes to creating loyal facsimiles. I'm guessing that this is as close as you can get to looking at the original game without maxing out of download sizes (which can happen when the original text is presented as a scanned image). At 83 pages long it's a "complete" system, but it's a pretty concise all-you-need level-based-progression D&D-type game.

Lots of space is given over to a fascinating variety of races and classes. Standing out in terms of originality are the Demonic Halflings, Metamorphic Dwarves, Jesters and Vampires (there's definitely more races and classes than in the AD&D PH). Some of the dice mechanics will seem familiar and yet it's different enough from D&D or RuneQuest to warrant a thorough look. After spell lists and a bestiary, the rest of the rules feel rather "squeezed" into this fantasy Happy Meal.

I'm guessing that if you're a connoisseur of the main game systems from the late 70s to early 80s Wizards' World will entertain and fascinate.

There's something about the production values, illustrations and writing style which really makes me want to place this game two or three years earlier than 1983: it provides more choice for players when compared with D&D B/X or AD&D, maybe T&T or RQ1, whilst not providing oodles of extra rules as in the AD&D DMG. It lacks the marketing gloss and introductory easy-play game chapters which start to appear from around 1983. (I won't be backing up this generalisation, by the way, just drawing a hazy line in my own narrow perception of gaming history. ;) However, I actually have a real soft spot for well presented do-this-then-that play-by-example games)

If you collect older games, Wizards' World is a classic, yet subtly refreshing, absolute bargain of game.

"Demonic Halfling Vampires"! What more do you need to hear?

-Billiam B. (More confused thoughts here: http://bit.ly/rpgblog_WW )

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
WIZARDS' WORLD (Original 1983)
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USR (Unbelievably Simple Role-playing)
Publisher: Trollish Delver Games
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/29/2012 14:13:46
Simple.
Compact.
Multi-genre.
Free.
What's not to like?
Awesome!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
USR (Unbelievably Simple Role-playing)
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