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Slasher Flick: The Director's Cut
Publisher: Spectrum Games
by Michael H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/16/2010 12:33:42
Slasher Flick is a rules-light roleplaying game meant to emulate this horror film subgenre. The Director’s Cut is a nicely formatted version of the original rulebook, with some bonus material.

The rulebook is 170 pages and a pretty quick read, with good writing and organization. There’s occasional almost cartoonish art and lots of sidebars giving hints and rules advice. The pdf is not bookmarked, and there is a smattering of typos throughout.

The system is very streamlined and meant for fast play. Each character has four attributes (Brawn, Finesse, Brains, and Spirit) associated with a die size (d6, d8, d10). Task resolution requires rolling four of the appropriate dice; success requires matching numbers. Characters also have qualities that grant or take away situational extra dice, and the GM can also add/remove dice based on the task’s difficulty.

There are several innovative mechanics to emulate the slasher genre. First, players have both primary and secondary characters. The latter are less developed and die early and often. Second, players get “genre points” when their characters do something appropriate to the slasher flick genre – including death. These act like action points in other games.

Third, the killer is not treated as a normal character but more as an element of the story. He (or she) has no attributes. Each player’s goal is to accumulate 8 survival points during a “kill scene” by making appropriate checks – fall to zero and the character dies. A killer is very difficult to defeat, and the expectation that only one or two characters will survive is literally built into the game.

The rules are very brief, so there’s lots of additional material, including an enjoyable analysis of the tropes and plots of slasher flicks. There’s very useful advice for convincing players to go along with the genre and a long section for GMs on creating and running stories. There is a complete adventure (although I found it a confusing one). Finally, the Appendix presents a host of character templates – like “Brash Punk Rocker” and “Curious Archaeologist” – that are ready to use out of the box.

The creators of Slasher Flick set themselves a difficult task, to emulate a genre in which almost all the characters are meant to do stupid things and die. There are a lot of clever ideas in here for making it work. Nevertheless, the game forces you to stick pretty close to the tropes in a somewhat heavy-handed way, and there’s a bit of a sense of railroading there.

Overall, I think the unusual mechanics and structure would be fun for a one shot or two (especially a campy one), but – like the films themselves, at least to me – there’s little room for variation in the plots, so it wouldn’t sustain a long-term game. I did especially enjoy the advice and analysis of slasher flicks, so it is definitely a good read.

Note: I received a free review copy (in pdf form) of this title through DriveThruRPG.com.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Slasher Flick: The Director's Cut
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Noble House Set
Publisher: Arion Games
by Michael H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/05/2010 14:50:54
Excellent looking paper minis for what I would consider a good (though not great) price. The minis have nice colors and look good.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Noble House Set
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Kobold Quarterly Magazine 14
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Michael H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/05/2010 14:25:21
Kobold Quarterly is easily the best RPG magazine currently available with top-notch writing and a great look - it reminds me of a better looking version of the original Dragon magazine I grew up reading. Even the ads are interesting to read. KQ #14 lives up to previous issues with a variety of interesting articles spanning the various forms of D&D now available. It's not exactly cheap for a PDF but considering it only comes out 4x per year and the contents are always good, it's worth the price.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kobold Quarterly Magazine 14
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Ground Set #8 - Volcano, lava
Publisher: Lord Zsezse Works
by Michael H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/02/2010 08:24:26
An interesting, good looking set of tiles for any game using a 1" grid. You get 15 tiles, with various configurations which can be mixed and matched to produce an infinite variety of layouts.

Pros: Very good looking; excellent price.
Cons: While the basic configurations are covered, there aren't a lot of interesting features on the tiles (you can only really build corridors or rooms framed by lava) so they're not terribly exciting; they will use a LOT of ink to print out (but that can be said about any sort of print-your-own dungeon tiles).

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ground Set #8 - Volcano, lava
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Soldiers of deep space
Publisher: Black Hand Source
by Michael H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/29/2010 02:49:22
The stock art in this collection is excellent - I especially like the "floating corpse" piece - with two versions (B&W line art & grey-scale shaded) included for each of the six pieces. Although it's sci-fi in nature, the style borders somewhere between hard sci-fi and more space opera. While the style isn't going to suit everyone's taste, it's hard to argue with the price since you're essentially paying $1 per piece for what amounts to excellent quality stock art.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Soldiers of deep space
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Publisher Reply:
Dear Michael, thank you for your review.
Avalon Design Elements, Asian Set 4
Publisher: Avalon Game Company
by Michael H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/29/2010 02:36:41
Very nice art, considering the price, although they are highly specialized (you get a couple variations on an Asian bird and flower design). The price includes both a pdf and .tif versions of the art elements which is a big plus. My only criticism is that the .tif files (contained in a zip file for download) aren't properly named with the .tif extension so I had to rename each in order to get them to open properly in Photoshop. For a $1.00, it's hard to go wrong with this product if you like the bird and flower design shown on the cover art.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Avalon Design Elements, Asian Set 4
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Mecha - SRS Paper Minis - Steel Gunner
Publisher: Heroic Journey Publishing
by Michael H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/29/2010 02:06:33
Although Steel Gunner paper minis are designed to be accessory for the Mecha RPG, they're generic enough to use for almost any anime-styled mecha game. The PDF includes 6 different mecha minis, along 10 character minis (including one in power armor). The product is black & white line art, although the characters are shaded in varying shades of grey. The art is quite good - the character art excellent with very good detail and shading. The mecha art is decent but somewhat washed out and flat looking since they're strictly B&W line drawings without any shading.

Overall, given the low price, I think these paper minis are a great value and well worth purchasing for anyone looking for some mecha minis on the cheap.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mecha - SRS Paper Minis - Steel Gunner
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