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Mindjammer - The Roleplaying Game
Publisher: Modiphius
by Joe S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/21/2014 23:24:10
I am rather partial to the sci-fi genre: from oldies like Traveler (the classic) to Space Opera (still makes my head hurt) to newcomers such as Dark Heresy (so many rules!) and, of course, High-Space (Savage Worlds fun). So when I saw MindJammer had been ported to Fate, I had to take a look.
First, the good news: This is one fracking awesome bit of world building. Only Blue Planet comes close to the attention to detail and ambition. Digging under the hood, one can find clear links to some other favorite world settings, including Warhammer 40K, albeit from the point of view of the Technocracy - or perhaps the Tau? However, the work is NOT derivative: it is more like a DJ mixing up pop tunes to create something new and deeply, pleasantly dub-step and dance worthy. The end result is a world that spins off the page. Truly epic. For that alone, the $26 price tag is more than acceptable.

Now, for the not-so-good news. I am a big fan of narrative games, but such systems do not always translate well into all world settings. Generally, they are ideal for games that focus on character over plot. MindJammer strikes me as a game driven by plot, with lots of intrigue. So I can't shake the feeling that the Fate does not do this world justice. In fairness, I've only just toyed with the game, so I could be wrong. I will be happy to be proved wrong and revise this review once I have a few additional games under my belt.

In short, if you are into sci-fi gaming, and are not a big fan of the rules heavy games such as Dark Heresy, then this should be on your shopping list.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mindjammer - The Roleplaying Game
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Act Ten Core Rules
Publisher: Act Ten Role Playing Network
by Joe S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/18/2013 17:59:49
Act Ten is a good little beast and I hope to see more of this product line. The core rules holds a lot of promise for a new gaming environment.

It relies very much on a ‘role-your-own’ approach to setting and character creation and tips it’s hat towards the Fate style of play. At the same time, it offers more structure. It is something of a hybrid between the narrative style games such as Rapture: The End of Days, and the crunchier, more strategic games, such as Savage Worlds. It is certainly miles away from the rules heavy systems, such as Dark Heresy.
Now I am the sort of gamer that enjoys the entire spectrum of gaming systems, and my selection of rules is highly dependent upon the genre I am engaging. I’ll be using Act Ten for pulpy games: super-heroes, Indian Jones, Buck Rodgers space adventures and the like. I’d love to use Act Ten for a ‘Saturday morning action/adventure cartoon series’ game: Ultimate Man of the Universe vs the Dimension Invaders… oh, man… that sounds like a great idea!

In summary, I think Act Ten gets the balance of narrative play and strategy near perfect, so in terms of rules, I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. (And I almost never give 5 stars.)

The layout is logical and relatively clean. You can certainly find what you need, when you need it. There are some inconsistencies, but none that would make me turn away from the product. 4 out 5 stars for that.

My only concern with the product is the artwork: and this is purely a matter of personal tastes. I’m not a big far of the hard inking comic book style. But that’s just me. I’ve other friends who I’ve shown Act Ten to, and they like the art just fine. So, yeah, I’m being picky. The art is mostly consistent in its quality and well placed. I’d give it 3 stars, but my friend threatened to punch me, so it gets 3.5 stars.

Now the price… You can’t go past this product for its super-cheap cost. In fact, it’s so cheap I nearly did not purchase it (often cheap games from new indie start-ups are of questionable quality). However, an email from the author prompted me to give it a go… and I’m really glad I spent the pittance to grab it. There is some excellent value to be had with this game, even at four times the cost. It's this value that makes me push this up to five stars.

In summary, get this game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Act Ten Core Rules
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Tooth and Claw
Publisher: Vulpinoid Studios
by Joe S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/27/2012 01:09:26
It’s not every day a SMALL rule systems comes along that absolutely NAILS a genre. I think Tooth and Claw is such a game. While the rules are just 8 pages, this is not a beer and pretzels game… it has some real depth. It’s about social interaction. It’s about heroics and secrets. And the rules reflect this very well indeed.
So, what on earth is this game all about? Put simply, it’s about what pets, in this case, ferrets, get up to when humans are not looking. I think ferrets are a great animal for this sort of game, because they are natural little fighters… and cute as well. I once went ferreting for rabbits on my farm, and I can assure you, these little critters are hunters, explorers, adventurers and killers in equal measure. So, yeah, perfect for an RPG about brave pets.
What most impressed me about this game was the “business sheet” concept, where social interactions are developed at the start of the game. Shades of Fiasco, but quicker and simpler (much like ferrets).
This game is no Bunnies and Burrows (which I love), which harkens back to games such as Tunnels and Trolls. It has a slick, modern ‘narrative’ game feel.
Now the drawbacks: the production value is not top-shelf, but is certainly far from the worst I have encountered. You can see the love shining through in the design, and the rules are all where you expect them to me, so I can forgive a few quirks here and there.
I can certainly see myself running this game with my young niece and nephew, or at the Children’s hospital as part of Ward Wizards. It’s a great game for socializing, and for having players generate quirky and creative solutions to any situations the GM can dream up… I’m thinking ferrets save the house from Alien invaders!
At $1, you can’t go wrong. It’s a great little game to keep around. And the money goes to a good cause too!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tooth and Claw
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Fiasco
Publisher: Bully Pulpit Games
by Joe S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/19/2012 05:35:43
Like many of the reviewers here, I would have to agree that Fiasco is not every gamer's cup of poisoned tea. However, it is not a niche game either, and it's appeal goes beyond the 'narrative only' gamers. Yes, it is a narrative game, much like Prime Time Adventures, Dungeon World and Rapture: The End of Days... but it also appeals to the competitive nature of most gamers. Messing up your friend's characters is just... well... it's just FUN. It's a good value product and perfect for those fill-in-the-gap gaming sessions.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fiasco
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Invaderz: Pocket Edition
Publisher: Postmortem Studios
by joe s. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/12/2011 01:28:30
Invader Zim the RPG! Wow. I saw this little game at $1.99 and thought to myself, what have I got to lose? What I got was over 100 pages of smart, animated comedy madness in the vein of Invader Zim (This is my favourite show!) The game itself has a light and breezy ol' school feel to it, with lots of tables (even a table for making up invader names) and heaps of weird technological treasures that will be sure to cause more problems than they are worth. If you are a fan of Invader Zim, or just looking for a cheery-fun-happy-happy-joy-DOOM time, then you can't go wrong with this little gem. Final word? Buy it. Or I will fill your cows with dookie!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Invaderz: Pocket Edition
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Weird West Roleplaying Game Basic Rulebook
Publisher: Robertson Games
by joe s. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/03/2011 03:39:39
Summary: A fist full of rules

Observations: Now I have to confess. I love the idea of cross-over games, and the Wild West, itself being a cross-over of Japanese samurai and American rugged individualism, is always a good source for a mash up. I’ve set explosive kung fu games in the Wild West, zombies in the Wild West, steam-punk in the Wild West, and the list goes on!

So you can imagine my excitement to see this product. A weird, messed up Wild West game. For a dollar? I jumped on it like a hungry cowpoke on a plate of beans.

What I got for my dollar was not what I was expecting, but certainly what I deserved.

Weird West is a slimmed down rule set – just eight pages in total, plus files to print and fold up a tiny ‘pocket book’ of the game. At first I said to myself, “What the darnation is this?” But on a closer inspection, its rules – while ultra light – make good sense and I suspect will keep a game running quickly. This is a game to share with friends and beer. Or whiskey. Or beer and whiskey. It’s one of those fly by the seat of your pants games that can be awesome fun with the right buddies. It certainly ain’t no Dead Lands picnic, but it’ll do the job, thank you partner.

What I hope to see now is some more ideas for world settings. Let’s have some detailed descriptions of mechanized monsters, aliens, wooden Indian clockwork cyborgs, elder ones, dinosaurs, etc. And for that I’d be happy to pay another dollar. Maybe two.

Joe Sweeney, Storyweaver

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Weird West Roleplaying Game Basic Rulebook
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