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Savage Worlds Horror Companion
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Idle R. H. P. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/09/2012 05:31:50
I'll start this review off by saying that I'm not really a fan of the Savage Worlds system. Which is why I was surprised when I found myself actually liking the Savage Worlds Horror Companion.

The book is basically a collection of new rules and options for GMs and players who want to run horror style games in Savage Worlds. The book doesn't have to be used as a whole, but rather allows players to pick and choose specific options and rule modifications to create various flavors of horror. There are rules for making different sort of monstrous characters if your players actually want to be the things that go bump in the night; there is new equipment that ranges from serious to silly and spans several eras; and there are setting rules to turn your game into a gore-drenched slasher flick, a Lovecraftian game of cosmic evil, or an action horror game of monster hunting. There is a substantial section of horror creatures taken from many different traditions, a chapter on using magic in horror games, and a great section on how to game master horror games.

I think I like this book so much because it tones down some of the "heroes should be heroic" feel that the standard Savage Worlds game has. I prefer games that feature ordinary people thrust into extraordinary situations and seeing if they are able to rise to the challenge. This book allows me to do precisely that. I would even encourage people who find Savage Words a bit too heroic to give this title a look. You may find that the system is capable of doing things you didn't think were possible.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Horror Companion
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Eclipse Phase: The Stars Our Destination
Publisher: Posthuman Studios LLC
by Idle R. H. P. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/08/2012 05:29:57
The Stars Our Destination is a great product at a fantastic price. It gives Eclipse Phase GMs a nicely detailed view of a notable Scum swarm, including swarm politics, sample ships, and sample characters. It does not provide a set adventure or any definite way of using the swarm in your game, but what it does provide is a whole host of plot hooks, story ideas, and interesting tidbits for GMs to mine from. Highly recommended.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: The Stars Our Destination
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Agents of SWING: Gosh, Spies!
Publisher: Postmortem Studios
by Idle R. H. P. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/08/2012 05:19:53
I'll start this off by saying that I don't own Agents of S.W.I.N.G. (the book that this product is a supplement for). Instead, I picked this title up to mine it for ideas on running games with teenagers as the main protagonists as well as to see what advice it offered on running simplified RPGs for children, especially girls.

There are some good ideas here, both for someone interested in running games for children and having teenage characters in their games. There is a nice discussion on Saturday morning cartoons, and how to attempt to capture that genre in a game. Although specifically created for the FATE, the stunts, flaws, and powers found in this book are easily adapted to other systems.

This title interested me enough to where I'm considering getting Agents of S.W.I.N.G. There are a few typos in the text and a few of the sample characters are a bit too close to the source material the book is taking it's inspiration from, but those flaws are easily overlooked given the rest of material.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Agents of SWING: Gosh, Spies!
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The Agency
Publisher: Realms Publishing
by Idle R. H. P. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/08/2012 04:54:06
The Agency is a nice little rules-lite storytelling game of Sixty's inspired spy action and supernatural horror. The book is brief (only 64 pages long) but as a lot of things that happen during the game are left up to the players judgement and tastes, this isn't a problem. There is a simple yet solid set of rules here to keep the Director (GM) impartial and fairly dictate character success or failure.

One of the interesting mechanics here is the Threat Pool; this is a pool of points that the Director takes from to create the threats, hazards, and opponents that the characters face during the story. The number of points in the Threat Pool is determined by the number of players in the game, meaning the difficulty level instantly scales for different sized groups. Threats in this game are rather abstract and individual opponents are not given statistics. The Director simply starts with a number of dice that represent the danger level of the threat, chooses a number of special abilities for the threat, and selects three skills that can be used to defeat it. The open nature of the rules allows the same mechanics to be used for a wide variety of different dangers allowing the Director to focus on the story instead of remembering lots of different rules. The Threat Pool is also the game clock, as a number of Threat Points are allocated to each scene and those points are taken away as the PCs achieve successes. When the number of Threat Points in a scene reaches zero the scene ends, and when the Threat Pool is completely empty the PCs have completed their mission.

If I have one complaint about this game, it would be the lack of examples of play. There are a few, but they are fairly short and didn't really help clarify the rules. Still, this product gets a solid 4 stars and would make a great game for players who enjoy more narrative systems.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Agency
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BattleTech: Field Report: The Clans
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Idle R. H. I. R. H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/08/2012 01:14:17
If you’re reading this review, I’m assuming that you both like the Clans and you like the Jihad storyline. I’m giving this product three stars because, while a good value, I’m not terribly interested in knowing where specific clusters are located and at what strength. If you are interested in those things, I can see you giving this product four or even five stars, especially considering the price.

The product opens with a four-page report to Devlin Stone from David Lear, which I found pretty interesting. This is followed by a brief status report for each of Clans in Inner Sphere space with the location, experience, loyalty and strength of their clusters. I found this a bit dry, but fans of these reports would probably appreciate them more than me. The book then ends with five pages of color maps showing the deployment of the units. Despite just saying that I didn’t care for this information, I actually found this map really cool and I’ll probably refer to this more than the actual status reports.

Overall, I think that this is a good product for the money. On a side note, I’m glad that Catalyst Game Labs has embraced PDFs because it’s letting them pump out niche products like this. If you absolutely have to know where Hell’s Horses’ 11th Mechanized Cavalry is, then here you are. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for pdf additions to Jihad Conspiracies: Interstellar Players 2.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: Field Report: The Clans
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Cosmic Patrol: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Idle R. H. I. R. H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/25/2012 05:06:39
Cosmic Patrol is probably one of the best rules-lite storytelling game we've come across. It's simple enough that anyone can narrate a session (even a complete beginner) yet has enough of a system behind it to appeal to established RPG players. Although the default setting is 1930's pulp space opera adventure, the rules are universal and can be used for almost any genre or setting with only a little imagination. This game is an absolute blast to play, and is a great way to introduce people to the RPG hobby.

You can listen to our full review of Cosmic Patrol here: http://www.idleredhands.com/?p=1095

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cosmic Patrol: Core Rulebook
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