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Dice and Dramatics
Publisher: UKG Publishing
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/18/2010 04:37:55
Dice and Dramatics is an excellent, one-stops source for doing exactly what it says it will do in the description. I tend to write reviews that will help you decide whether it is worth the money or not -- that's what I think the review system in RPG NOW is for.

Therefore, for 7.00 dollars, this is a good product if you are fairly new to the RPG game world and you want to really get into the meat of acting out your adventures at the game table. Otherwise, it is merely an OK product for play, but it does have a nice layout and graphic design.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Dice and Dramatics
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EPICS roleplaying system
Publisher: Dragonslayer Games
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/18/2010 04:32:48
Epics is a cinema-style game, with some pretty extensive, yet basic rules to follow. The PDF / book does not have an easy-to-understand layout, which hurts it greatly, but for 5.00 dollars, it is not a bad deal.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
EPICS roleplaying system
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Big Eyes, Small Mouth Revised Second Edition
Publisher: White Wolf
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/12/2010 02:34:59
BESM is a generic-mechanics game based on the Tri-stat system, for use with any genre that you want to play in. The term “Big Eyes, Small Mouth” refers to the premise that the game is based on common Anime tropes and story settings. You can create any type of game you like, from swash-buckling fantasy to inter-galactic space opera, all seasoned with a Japanese animation flair. If you see it on TV “Anime-style”, then you can play it at home “table-top style” with BESM.

This is the second edition of the rules; I do not currently have the third edition yet. Actually, I think that this is an advantage for the following reasons:
(1) this PDF is a solid, economical purchase when compared to pricing of the third edition PDF
(2) it follows the Tri-Stat System more closely than does the third edition (from what I have read about it)
(3) most of the supplements seem to be native for the second edition rules here - not for the third edition

In a nutshell, the TS(d6) system is very simple to learn: you have three primary attributes, a few derived scores using simple formulas, some background information creation requirements, and two lists - one for skills and traits, the other for defects and hindrances. (I like simplicity in games, because most of my players are not lawyers, doctors, bank managers, or accountants -- they are actually people who have time to play games. A simple concept like this could revolutionize the industry; less is truly more.)

* I suggest that you buy this game BEFORE you get the free copy of the Tri-Stat rules. BESM explains the TS(d6) system core mechanics better than does the free PDF, in my opinion. Plus, you get a nifty game universe to play in. (I got the free PDF and did not like it; I got BESM later, and now, I like the Tri-Stat system. Graphic art and layout really does matter when it comes to entertainment and communication of a complex idea …)

BESM 2nd revised delivers a solid, yet simple game system to create your own fantasy / fictional world. This is book is not short on information, flavor, or creativity. If you are looking for an easy-to-learn-and-use system, that has many supplements to support it, BESM 2 will be a good game system for your group.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Big Eyes, Small Mouth Revised Second Edition
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Villains and Vigilantes
Publisher: Monkey House Games
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/11/2010 14:02:03
Villains and Vigilantes is a (somewhat) dated, and yet relatively strong game system for playing super-heroic characters like you would find in an American comic book. It’s one of the premiere role-playing games of the 1980s -- no question about it, meaning that nostalgia and fondness for similarity could be the primary driving forces to its current success. If you are looking for the latest and greatest innovation in role-playing, then Villains and Vigilantes will not surprise you (though it does hold it’s own for innovation in it’s own right -- the game is still unique, even with its d20 influence imbedded in the rules).

If you are looking for a fantastic super-hero game to play, then V&V is a swell game indeed!

Characters are created using your own identity and specialized formulas, and the game is played with various random tables and rules for mundane items and traits. All in all, it’s a creative mixture of information that you can use to create your own random game world.

(Personally, I like the random factor over other point-based systems, because it’s much easier to choose one or two things, and then, add randomness for flavor later -- rather than pulling a concept from thin air. The one thing that some game designers seem to miss is this: most people are not creative -- but almost everyone likes to play a game. Randomness is the key to getting others to try new things, and V&V fills that niche rather nicely.)

Does all this mean that Villains and Vigilantes is for the silly, veteran game player -- not hardly! It only means that Villains and Vigilantes is a unique game with some interesting traits that will appeal to the number cruncher and the die-hard comic book fan.

I am rating it a 3 / 5, because honestly, it is not an entirely simple game to play (there will be a lot of tedious number-crunching and variable dice rolling involved), but it is a FUN game to play -- and that’s the primary purpose for playing any game. I don’t like to rate things a 3, because I think it is a cop-out normally, but it is a fair rating in this instance for all the factors involved.

Overall, you will not be disappointed to play Villains and Vigilantes, and the price is just right. (I would love to have a hard copy of this game -- maybe one is in the works?)

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Villains and Vigilantes
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Quest - The Storytelling Game
Publisher: Crystal Star Games
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/03/2010 01:26:33
Quest is a fantasy-setting, DaD style, simple story-telling game, meant to be a basic entry-level RPG. You pick 1 out of 3 classes to play, apply the simple concepts, and play the game. That's it - that's all you get for $5.

Note: the PDF does not include the cover art.

LAYOUT / ART: Good layout, shows promise for a Work-In-Progress (but fails as a Finished Work). With the sketchiness of the rules, it's hard to tell if this is a "finished work" or if this is an attempt to sell a test-drive advertisement. If it is a TDA, then I am sorely disappointed in CSG's approach and I feel like I have been tricked into buying a "used car without wheels". I hope this is not the case.

GAME SYSTEM: Simple to a fault - if you are looking for something innovative here, you look in vain. Crystal Star Games have a great idea, but they did not "follow through with the shot" and hence, they "fell short of the green".
* (If you like to engineer and tweek your games, this may not be a bad choice for you to tinker with - there's enough here to cook up a decent game with.)

GAME PLAY: It plays OK -- overly simple, but it's so easy, a caveman can do it. Hey, an empty soda bottle could play this game ...

CONCLUSION: It's a decent, simple game that is over-priced at $5.
However, CSG promises to make "advanced, expert" rules that may close the gap between a great game and a flop. (Only time will tell.)

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Quest - The Storytelling Game
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Publisher Reply:
Hi there, Thanks for the review. Not sure why the cover art isn't included; when I download it it is there. Anyone else having this problem? I'll look at adjusting pricing. You are right though, this is supposed to be very simple and rules-lite, but the advanced and expert rules will expand it greatly. Thanks again for the review.
WHAP Deluxe Pulp Adventure System
Publisher: Peryton Publishing
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/12/2010 22:05:35
WHAP is a bare-bones, almost no "flesh" quasi-ruleset for playing pulp action adventures that would date from the 1860s to the 1930s. This is a short, 50 page book that is severely over-priced. When I downloaded the product, it didn't even come with the cover (seen here). I don't know if the PDF is only a part of the printed work, or if it is, in fact, the whole enchilada. Whatever it is, this game feels like it is unfinished and headed on the wrong track, mechanics-wise.

RATINGS: Is it ...
1) Straight-forward? Yes, but that's done by accident - not design. There isn't enough typing, background info, explanation, or story-line present to cause any kind of deviation from the subject.
2) Easy to Teach? No: this game uses formulas of addition, mixing and matching abilities / attributes, to produce calculated secondary attributes. This method is not "going the extra mile"; it's "going in the wrong direction".
3) Easy to Play? Not really: the results are gleaned after reading formulas - not after reading dice or reading the GM's reaction.
4) Appealing? Yes, the idea is appealing, and the cover art seems promising (on the computer, reduced in size). However, close examination and reading the rules will kill any pre-conceived joy.
5) Functional or Creative? Neither: in my opinion, this game, this game book, this rule set is not finished. It's not even out of the gate.

I am not happy with this purchase. Peryton Publishing needs to drop back and punt on WHAP ... or, send it to the side-lines for good.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
WHAP Deluxe Pulp Adventure System
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Space Opera
Publisher: Fantasy Games Unlimited
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/19/2010 04:01:18
The reason for buying this product is for the information in it. The game system is entirely dated, and overly complex, but it has a lot of information about how to run starships, psionics, weapons and types of items. It is loaded with stuff.

* Us older gamers will buy it for nostalgia too.

However, I must rate it as a stand-alone game, for it may be the only game someone plays. If this person stops at this game, it would be a shame for him to miss out on the other excellent products available.

QUALITY: Fair
VALUE: Good
EASE OF PLAY: Poor
VOLUME OF INFORMATION: Excellent
LAYOUT: Poor
ARTWORK: Good (but BW and limited)

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Space Opera
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OVA - Open Versatile Anime Role-Playing Game
Publisher: Wise Turtle Publishing
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/19/2010 03:57:32
As some reviewers have already stated, this is a good game, with one major flaw: the abilities are redundant. What I have done is to re-work them down to about 50% of the number of abilities to choose from, which makes the game simpler, without really destroying its versatility. Other than that, this game is a good buy.

I rated it a 3 because this one problem is a major flaw of the system that must be over-come if you want to play OVA; you must fix this fact, in order to make the game work well.

Why not just have one ability description, and call the ability or weakness by another name to add flavor? That way, one rule works for 2 or 3 abilities; makes a simpler, shorter rule book too.

IMHO

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
OVA - Open Versatile Anime Role-Playing Game
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Ex Machina
Publisher: Guardians of Order
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/19/2010 02:56:09
Simply put, Ex Machina is Shadowrun for the Tri Stat system. If you already have Shadowrun, you may want to skip this one; the information is very similar in function. However, it is a good product, and the price is just right, even if you already have another cyberpunk world setting.
WRITING: Excellent
LAYOUT / ART: Excellent, though "ink heavy" when printed
QUALITY and VALUE: Both are good

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ex Machina
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z_OLD - -U- The Game of Stories (core rulebook -revised)
Publisher: A'n'SR Entertainments
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/19/2010 02:40:01
U want to like "U", but I couldn't get past some of the clunkiness of this game. I have said it before and I will say it again -- layout and design matter. This game might be fun to play, but the art and the layout of the book is amateur and predicable (not in a good way). U will buy this game, read it, and think, "well, I want to try it, but the layout makes it confusing, so I will wait until later, when I have some free time, to try it out." It's odd how the free time will never come.

Other than that, I think this might be an OK game to play. It has some concepts that are nifty at first, but you get over that quickly. The core mechanic is not entirely original, although they do throw a surprise in there for you ... if I reveal it, then I will spoil what little this game has going for it.

You see - I keep typing this review, so it proves I want to like it, but I just can't bring myself to. Even at its economical price tag.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
z_OLD - -U- The Game of Stories (core rulebook -revised)
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The Book of Dumb Tables
Publisher: Hex Games
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/19/2010 02:33:26
A must-have, if you bought QAGS. For the price, there's no reason to refuse purchase: you might as well have the full set. This book is exactly what it says it is, yet the tables are not so "dumb", if you ask me. A fun game to play, and this book makes the game better.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Book of Dumb Tables
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The One Page Dungeon Codex 2009, Deluxe
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/19/2010 02:31:35
A simple book for a simple concept. The art is well-done, the presentation is quick, easy to understand, and painless. This is a winner, if you like simple dungeon crawling and you want a set of rules to guide you on how to make a quick and easy one page dungeon, for any story or game system.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The One Page Dungeon Codex 2009, Deluxe
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Gear Up Issue 1
Publisher: Dream Pod 9
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/19/2010 02:29:48
This is a good looking magazine. I hope Dream Pod 9 gives information for it's other games too, like Jovian Chronicles, Core Command, and event the Silhouette Core rules.
QUALITY: Excellent
VALUE: Excellent

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gear Up Issue 1
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Cartoon version Engle Matrix Game Rules
Publisher: Hamster Press
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/15/2010 22:16:37
I know what you're asking: "why in the world would you want to rate a free game? Isn't it easy enough to download it for yourself?" Good question, one that deserves a good answer: I believe in giving credit where credit is due.

OVERVIEW: Engle Matrix is a story-telling game, simple in design and function. Most of you hard-core, crunchy RPGers won't like it; there's no meat to sink your teeth into. None the less, it is a good idea and a likeable game.

Go ahead and download it. Try it on for size. For the creatively-challenged, it's a good fit.

GAME SYSTEM PLAYABILITY: Strong

ATTENTION TO DETAIL: Fair

REPLAY VALUE: Strong

CHARACTER PROGRESSION: Weak

COMPATIBILITY: Strong

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cartoon version Engle Matrix Game Rules
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Star System (#1) - Intro & Generator
Publisher: Adamant Entertainment
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/12/2010 23:56:08
Star System Generator is a helpful, simple, bare-bones booklet that shows you how to adopt your game system / core mechanic to a science-fiction, space fantasy setting. A detailed and dynamic story-creating chart system is included with the other basic space opera material. You get what you pay for -- and then some!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star System (#1) - Intro & Generator
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