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A Game of Blood
Publisher: Bards and Sages
by Devon K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/27/2013 21:16:10
This is an absolutely wonderful book. I really love reading vampire stories and this has got to be one of the better ones I've ever read. The main character changes throughout the story. The change is gradual and you're left wondering which moments, exactly, were the ones that cause him to shift. The antagonist is an awesome character, someone who I started out hating to love and then just began to love him. He's very much a vampire, and yet has a sense of wonder to him.

The story is wonderful but there were a couple of times where the book slowed down and I had to put it down and come back to it later. It's well worth the read.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
A Game of Blood
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Spirit Dance
Publisher: Douglas Smith
by Devon K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/21/2013 18:17:59
I got this as part of the 2013 Read and Feed America bundle.

This is a fun short story. It starts of and gives you just enough information to know that something is going wrong. Things are already set in motion that the main character cares about. Then, it rockets you into an intriguing meeting and action. The mythology is very fun and interesting and this story is a great read.

It only gets 4 stars because it's very short. The writing makes you care about the characters and what happens to them and then, BAM, it ends. It seems more like the introduction to a novel than it does a complete story.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Spirit Dance
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A Hunger Like Fire (Vampire: The Requiem Novel #1)
Publisher: White Wolf
by Devon K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/19/2013 12:42:03
This was a fun book to read. It provided me a look into the world of the Requiem, something I've craved as I love the game, but have never had an opportunity to play it. The politics were interesting if at times a little difficult to follow. My only complaint is that the book doesn't follow a coterie, so it doesn't serve as a How-To when it comes to playing Vampire: the Requiem. It does, however, inspire a ton of story ideas.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
A Hunger Like Fire (Vampire: The Requiem Novel #1)
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Little Wizards
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Devon K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/06/2013 21:33:22
Little Wizards is a great game. It really is. The PDF is a very easy read and the pages just pop with ideas as I read them. The game is designed to be played with children and is very accessible. I've played this with my 5 year old son many times and we've had a blast every single time. While it takes work to get him to play (not the game's fault) he loves every moment, engaging his imagination, fighting goblins, getting familiars out of trees and scaring zombies into shark infested waters.

The world is divided into two sides of a coin, light and dark. The book has little detail provided on each side of the world and small write-ups of a couple of the archipelagoes create explosions of inspiration for me. I can't stop thinking of adventure ideas as I go through the book.

I've run this game for my game group consisting of adults and we had a blast, as well. The Tails side of Coinworld has all that dark magical goodness that lets you get as dark as you want. The rules are loose and free, yet provide just the right amount of structure. This game is wonderful as a one-shot and for campaign play.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Little Wizards
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Savage Worlds Deluxe: Explorer's Edition
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Devon K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/26/2012 15:03:31
While on vacation recently, I stopped by a game store and found the print version of the Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer’s Edition. I picked it up and read through it and was amazed at the quality it contained. This book is an amazing value at just $10.

I’ve played Savage Worlds before and have read the old Explorer’s Edition extensively. The rules in the Deluxe version are not a great departure from what was in the previous book. The basics are all there and there have been some minor tweaks to the system. The most notable change was the elimination of the Guts skill from the core rules, which I think is a great move.

The thing that stands out to me the most from this book are the Situational Rules. There was a section in the old book with the same name, but the section stands out so much more in Deluxe. I think part of it has to do with the development notes that are strewn throughout the entire book. And there are now rules for social conflict! Woo!

All in all, this is a wonderful product, and it’s so freakin’ gorgeous! The value you get is worth way more than the $10 that you’re spending. If you dig Savage Worlds, you really can’t be without this book. And, if you’ve never played Savage Worlds, this book is the perfect entry for you. All the rules to play any kind of game you want, at the tip of your fingers.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Deluxe: Explorer's Edition
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Savage Worlds Deluxe
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Devon K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/22/2012 22:00:14
While on vacation recently, I stopped by a game store and found the print version of this book. I picked it up and read through it and was amazed at the quality it contained. This book is an amazing value at just $10.

I've played Savage Worlds before and have read the old Explorer's Edition extensively. The rules in the Deluxe version are not a great departure from what was in the previous book. The basics are all there and there have been some minor tweaks to the system. The most notable change was the elimination of the Guts skill from the core rules, which I think is a great move.

The thing that stands out to me the most from this book are the Situational Rules. There was a section in the old book with the same name, but the section stands out so much more in Deluxe. I think part of it has to do with the development notes that are strewn throughout the entire book. And there are now rules for social conflict! Woo!

All in all, this is a wonderful product, and it's so freakin' gorgeous! The value you get is worth way more than the $10 that you're spending. If you dig Savage Worlds, you really can't be without this book. And, if you've never played Savage Worlds, this book is the perfect entry for you. All the rules to play any kind of game you want, at the tip of your fingers.

http://sharkbonegames.com/sharkbonecast/2012/09/savage-w-
orlds-deluxe-explorers-ed/

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Deluxe
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Event Book (Premium Edition)
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Devon K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/25/2012 16:20:32
All pre-written adventures should be written like this. This book is a wonderful example of what adventure supplements can be, and it's wonderful!

The Civil War supplement for Marvel Heroic Roleplaying followed the Civil War story in the Marvel comics. I'm not a Marvel Comics fan (as in, I don't read the comics) and, if you're not either, that shouldn't deter you from picking up this book.

This Premium version of the Civil War also contains the Operations Manual. Since I have the Basic Game and have read that quite a bit, I didn't do a complete read-through of the OM as included in this book. I did skim the pages and it seems to be the exact same book, although, according to a couple forum posts I've read, there were some very minor changes to some areas of the text to clarify some of the confusing things that came to light after the Basic Game was released.

The Civil War Event consists of three different Acts. The Acts take your group through the period just before the law, as the law passes, and the aftermath of the law. There's so much wonderful goodness contained in the book! I'll try and tell you what's in there without giving anything away.

In this Event, the US Government, and other governments around the world, start out debating a law that requires superhumans to register with their government. Superheroes are going to have an opinion of this, whether they're for it, against it, or just don't care either way. The wonderful thing about the way this Event is written is that, not everyone has to be on the same side! At the beginning, this will likely cause some strife between the characters, but it probably won't come to blows.

Then, during Act II, the heroes must pick a side, because if they don't, the powers that be will interpret their non-choice as a choice. Again, this section has lots of notes on how to play the Event from either side; whether you're running from the law, or chasing down the rebels.

Act III is the culmination of the Event and has got so much explosive awesomeness that I can't even pick an item to talk about!

The Event also includes lots of new Datafiles for popular heroes. I really liked seeing the Punisher and Deadpool in there.

The part that gets me so excited about this Event is the discussion on how each side would view and react in each scene described. It's a list of possibilities and I can see story threads stretching out to an infinite horizon. There's so much to do, so many possibilities and this is an excellent launchpad for any Marvel story.

http://sharkbonegames.com/sharkbonecast/2012/06/mhr-civi-
l-war-premium-review/

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Event Book (Premium Edition)
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A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying: A Game of Thrones Edition
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Devon K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/13/2012 20:19:05
I picked this game up at the recommendation of a listener to the show. I'm so glad I did. The game rules are simple enough and very easy to understand. What I really like about the system is that, there are additional layers of complexity you can add on. If you want, I really don't see why you can't play with the basic rules. You'll still have a great game with full characters and some amazing times. That extra layer of complexity really gets me fired up to give this game a whirl.

One of the things I'm most impressed with is the House creation. All the details that are created by the group, all the points spent collaboratively to create an entity that will impact all the PCs is just wonderful. And the fact that the players can spend earned resources later in the game to make it even better just turns on all sorts of lights in my head. So many ideas and I don't know where to start!

Another thing I really love about the way this book is organized is that it provides numbered steps for combat, war, intrigue and pretty much anything you need or want to do in the game. The numbered steps really make it easy to step through the action while you're learning, so you can make sure you're doing things according to the rules. I imagine that, once you've got the rules down, you don't have to worry about the numbered steps and everything just happens the way it's supposed to.

The book is very well laid out and very attractive. The art is generally good and really adds to the text. I think the pieces are well placed and really evoke the feel the designers are going for in the sections of the book where they are added.

This game is not a simple fantasy game. You can use the rules to run a typical dungeon crawl, but I don't see why you would. With rules for Intrigue and with everyone having a House as backdrop for their character, there is so much potential for conflict and stories just by creating a character. I'm very excited to give this game a try. It's a little more crunchy than I typically enjoy, but the possibilities are extremely interesting!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying: A Game of Thrones Edition
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Legend of the Five Rings: The Great Clans
Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group
by Devon K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/30/2012 23:35:28
Five Rings? Five stars! In my opinion, this book is a must have for anyone who is playing this game, or anyone who has any interest in the setting. The writing in the book is detailed and rich. The extra options are incredible and very, very fun.

The book is beautiful. The text is well written and grabs your interest from the start. The book goes deeper into the histories of the clans and really brings the conflicts between them and their origins to life. I especially enjoyed reading the Crane section, as I'm currently playing a Crane character. The information in this book gave me additional options and ideas to bring my character to life and make him much more interesting.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: The Great Clans
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HELLAS: Wine Dark Void
Publisher: Khepera Publishing
by Devon K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/07/2012 23:58:37
Wine Dark Void is full of information for those who like their games to happen in the deep, dark depths of space. And Slipspace. It's a sizable cookbook, full of delicious ingredients, ready for you to take and throw into your game to enhance the feel and wonders of the unknown. And, it goes into space combat. And I love it!

To start, there is a really beautiful sheet to use for tracking opponent locations as well as vehicle stats. It's the kind of sheet I want to print out in full color and laminate so I can use it time and time again for space battles. And it's all centered on the heroes ship. All the maneuvers are simple and well explained to make space combats fast, furious and intensely fun. There is even a cinematic damage chart! What's cooler, blowing 5 hitpoints off your opponents ship, or causing a surge to go to the pilot's station and disable him in a halo of static and arching bursts of energy?

With all the extra locations, ships, explanations and rules expansions, this is a great book for fans of this game. If your group likes to spend time in space, this is almost a must have. I highly recommend it.

http://podcast.sharkbonegames.com

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
HELLAS: Wine Dark Void
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The Frugal Forge: 101 Magic Weapons [PFRPG]
Publisher: Creation's Edge Games
by Devon K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/01/2012 13:47:54
101 Magic Weapons has weapons that will be useful to many different characters, across many different classes and alignments. Some of them are quite fitting for a character type while others seem to fill a niche that I'm not familiar with. The book is very well laid out and quite attractive. The table of contents at the front of the book is easy to read. This book is a great resource, either for when you're looking for that perfect magic weapon, or searching for ideas that you haven't had, yet. The pages are landscape oriented, so it's very easy to use this book as a reference on the computer.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Frugal Forge: 101 Magic Weapons [PFRPG]
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Leverage: Grifters & Masterminds
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Devon K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/17/2012 11:22:20
If you're struggling with how to be a Fixer or Mastermind in a game of Leverage, this book is definitely for you! Again, just like the other supplement, Hackers, Hitters & Thieves, this book provides some wonderful discussion on the Roles and how they apply to a game and what they can do. It also provides additional options to make your characters a bit more fun, giving them more power to change situations in the Job.

But where this book shines is in the sections with additional discussion of the Mastermind and being the Fixer. Incorporating ideas from the community, there are several suggestions that really shine and can significantly add to the experience of playing the Mastermind and Fixer.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Leverage: Grifters & Masterminds
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Leverage: Hitters, Hackers, & Thieves
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Devon K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/08/2012 23:52:05
If you're looking for more ways to work with your Hitters, Hackers or Thieves, this is definitely a book you'll want to pick up. Each section is clearly organized with new information, new rules and new ideas.

Each section has a different flavor that gels with the type of character it's discussing. That hint of personality really adds to the way this book reads, making the experience more than slogging through yet another sourcebook. This book was fun to read, with lots of cool information about what it means to be a Hacker, Hitter or Thief, as well as some notable things from the past that have to do with each Role.

There is really nothing negative to say about this book. It's full of great ideas that pump me up to play Leverage more than the corebook did. The additional rules are very much bolt-on and aren't going to change the way the game plays, but definitely will give your group more options to enjoy the game.

If you're a Leverage player, get this book. You will be glad you did.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Leverage: Hitters, Hackers, & Thieves
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Leverage Roleplaying Game
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Devon K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/08/2012 21:17:05
While heist stories really aren't my thing, I wanted to see what Cortex Plus could do on the action side of things.

The game is solid. Each character is based on a combination of Traits (think Abilities in typical fantasy games) and Roles (how good they are at the different jobs in the team). This is a little too much like classes for my tastes, but it works here and they have some great discussion on how a character fits into a team with different mixes of Roles.

There are two things about this game that really shine, to me. The first is the Recruitment Job. It takes place at the end of character creation and is meant to help build the characters, who have been individuals until this point, into a working team. Each character gets a moment to shine and all the other players get to witness that.

The second part is the Experience system. I absolutely love the way it's done, here. Each job gets a title and that title is listed on the "Record". During game sessions, a player can make a Callback to a specific job, having a quick flashback to a lesson learned and then explains how that lesson helps them get out of the predicament in which they find themselves. And it gives a bonus! And you can spend these jobs for permanent increases to your character! This is actually my favorite part of the system.

If you like Heist stories, I suggest you give this game a shot. It's solid and looks like it really supports what a Heist is about.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Leverage Roleplaying Game
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Basic Game
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Devon K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/08/2012 20:56:56
When you grab this game (and you really should) be prepared for an adventure-filled ride! This game lets you play your favorite Marvel heroes and fight against the worst Marvel villains. That has been something that I have wanted to do, every now and then.

This game uses the Cortex Plus system, which continues to mature as presented in this book. This system flows much more quickly than in the previous Cortex Plus games I've experienced. The system also has quite a few dice tricks that players can mess around with, during the game, tweaking their chance of success and the degree of said success. It's very fun and engages the player that much more. It adds a bit of strategy to your attacks that I haven't seen in the other Cortex Plus games.

When you snag this book, be prepared to read and re-read the rules sections, as the rules presentation hits fast and hard. I couldn't help but think that the system was being downloaded to me as I read through each section. The rules are separated and presented in a way that I believe will be easy for most people to understand, but it does move from one rule to the next with little time for you to absorb what you've just seen. So, yes, you'll likely want to read the rules section, then go back and skim over it again. However, this isn't a big chore, since only about half the book touches on the rules.

This book is over 200 pages, yes, but the system is only about 120 of those. The rest is the introductory Event along with quite a few character Datafiles. This makes me happy on two different fronts. One, I love rules systems that don't drone on and on. And the second part, all the datafiles for the Marvel characters, lets me read up on all those wonderful heroes, without having to go out and buy comics. I finally understand what my comic-book-fan friends are talking about!

I did have a couple of complaints with this book. The first was the section on character generation. This book assumes you'll be playing one of Marvel's characters through the Events. While they do present rules to make you own, they're more of a suggested guideline and there is no discussion, that I saw, of how to incorporate your characters in the Marvel universe.

My second complaint was at how large and complicated the Event creation process is, as presented in the book. Creating an Event, as they suggest you do it, seems like it's going to take about as long as creating a stereotypical fantasy campaign. I will say that, while you're reading that section, it'll be easy for you to distill the essential elements of the Event and dramatically shorten the process, but I think it would have been good to have more of that discussed in the book, as well.

All in all, this is another great Cortex Plus game from the awesome team at MWP. Thanks, guys!

http://podcast.sharkbonegames.com

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Basic Game
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