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Five Parsecs From Home
by Bozz C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/23/2017 12:34:47

Five Parsecs From Home 2nd Edition

My first reaction to the email telling me about the new Five Parsecs game was excitement. Yes! A new Weasel title and an update that I'd been eagerly awaiting! I jumped straight on wargamevault.com to download the update but curiously it seemed to want me to pay full price for it, I was confused as updates to other games have been included in the original purchase price. I was also slightly annoyed because Five Parsecs went to Pay What You Want a day or two after I'd bought it and the thought of paying for it again was unpleasant. I emailed Ivan and he very kindly offered me a copy in exchange for an honest review, this it it.

What I can say now having read the new edition is that having to pay for the game is fully justified. This is a brand new system! I know it says so in the product description but this really is a whole new system that bears little resemblance to the original FiveCore-based rules. What follows are my initial impressions from a few complete read-throughs.

Let's start with the “Not So Good” stuff. I use the term loosely as most things are probably either errors or oversights and of course my own personal opinions.

Firstly, there are some spelling and grammar errors. Not the end of the world, I know, but I'm a stickler for these things and I feel they can really bring down the professional feel of an otherwise awesome document. Unfortunately, this is something I continually notice with independently produced games.

Ivan makes no bones about the fact that the page count had been heavily cut and for good reason, but I am left wondering if there is now something missing. At 43 pages, it's definitely lean and mean but there a few things I'd have liked to see left in. The fluff at the beginning of the first edition document was fun, well-written and linked the game into the Unity universe. Also, the Enemy Missions from first edition were a lot of fun and very thematic. Personally, although in general I very much approve of the massive page cut, I think 50 pages would've been fine.

There are a few errors and contradictions within the rules. They are being weeded out and dealt with though with Ivan's usual responsiveness to emails. The Non-Lethal Hit has a conflict regarding whether one has to equal or exceed toughness to score a casualty, the Campaign Reference sheet at the end of The Campaign Turn chapter is still missing multiple steps (Playing an Encounter, Campaign Event and Character Event) and the Find a Patron section of that sheet could have used an extra line to remind us of the +1 for each known patron rule. Such oversights are easily fixed and I'm sure they will be in the future.

Finally, something that is more a personal nitpicking. The Friends and Rivals mechanic has been pruned back, it used to be a really cool, and easy to track, roleplay mechanic with in-game effects. Although it would have had to have been tweaked to work with the new system I was sad to see it largely dropped.

Right. I wanted to get that done so the review could finish on the “Good” stuff. Now, where to start?

I think the best aspect of 2nd edition is the character creation and advancement system. I feel that it's a much more realised system than in 1st edition and it really lets you invest in your characters. Speaking of investing, the new economic system is something that I personally have been hoping for. For me it just adds so much more realism to my campaign than just the “It is assumed you have have the odds and ends you need to trade” of 1st edition. I actually tried to use the Fistful of Credits system from Starport Scum in my Five Parsecs games but this tailored mechanic is much better suited.

The new tabletop mechanics sound the business too. The Turn Phases with the integrated Snap Fire option are easy to get a handle on and add a level of randomness to the battlefield. The Difficult Terrain rules are simple and a good example of pruning superfluity. The Aim option is a welcome addition too, especially as you can't shoot then move, sacrificing your move for a better chance at a kill is a good trade-off in my opinion.

I was impressed to see that Difficulty Settings actually had several different options instead of the standard Easier or Harder modes. Including the Standard setting there are 6(!) levels of difficulty to play, guaranteeing the right level of challenge for almost everyone. I wouldn't mind seeing a future supplement that applied higher and lower difficulty settings for the rest of the campaign turn too.

One of my gripes with 1st edition was that I didn't really understand how one went about resolving rumours. 2nd edition has fixed this completely. I also enjoyed the inclusion of the Oddball Characters, although I missed who the crystalline life form was referring too. My own gaming universe contains aliens and it seems like I can slot most of them in to the different oddball slots.

One of the questions I had during my first read-through was “Is it compatible with Every Star An Opportunity?” In my opinion, yes! I've re-read Every Star and as it's mainly about expanding your playing world with little in-game (ie. actual tabletop encounter) effect, I still think that players who want to add a bit more depth to their characters' universe will benefit from the expansion. My favourite part of Every Star is the Starship Events chart and I think it'll lend itself well to 2nd edition with a few tweaks. Which reminds me, I'm glad to be shot of the Unreliable mechanic. If you rolled like I do, you'd understand!

So to wrap up, Five Parsecs From Home 2nd edition is an awesome game. I'm a big fan of everything sci-fi in Ivan's lineup and this is definitely no exception. It's a brand new system that will undoubtedly need a few updates over the course of its life, as most of them do, and it's a damn fine resource for solo gamers! I'll be playing a few games over the weekend and writing up an AAR, so watch this space for that.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Five Parsecs From Home
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Blade and Lockpick. A game engine for solo and two player games
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/16/2017 00:44:10

Bottom line up front (BLUF): 6 USD is entirely too high a price for what you get. The group mechanics for overcoming challenges is interesting and looks like it could be really effective for narrative style gaming. This is a very lite set of rules. The author frequently points out that it can be used with other systems. Use the oracle with your favorite system to use those rules while running solo or use the mechanics in place of the rules of your aforementioned favorite setting. In other words this is just a quick set of rules to run your favorite game/setting using other mechanics and... There are some quick tables for jumping into a randomly generated setting. FATE does that better. The oracle could be easily replaced by Mythic or any other solo system out there (the oracle is very basic). The only really original (at least to me) bit is the dice pool system for overcoming challenges.

The book lacks art. It has few (and basic) examples. There are no pre-generated PCs or settings. The page layout wastes a lot of space. I imagine the book could have been done in half the pages.

I have a soft spot for solo games. This one presented one unique (and effective) idea for running challenges. The rest of the rules are done better elsewhere. So for just the unique group creation/rules in a solo setting it deserves a 3 star rating. If there were more to these rules it might be worth 6 dollars, right now I couldn't recommend more than 1 or 2 dollars at most.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Blade and Lockpick. A game engine for solo and two player games
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Creator Reply:
Cheers and appreciate the review! We will definitely add more examples and some pre-generated player characters. Appreciate the feedback. Not adding art was deliberate for print-friendliness but we'll take the feedback into account for the future.
Blade and Lockpick. A game engine for solo and two player games
by sean m. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/10/2017 22:21:34

Buy if interested in Solo gaming.Reading made me want to try out the dice mechanics before I had even finished the book , definately going to use the Combat/Challenge system in some way in my own Solo games.I do like all of Nordic Weasel's games that I have bought,great company that caters well to the solo rpg market.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Blade and Lockpick. A game engine for solo and two player games
by Quarty M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/10/2017 03:01:14

This is a great lite system that does exactly what it says on the tin.

I found the solo mechanics quick, easy and could create fun situations on the fly:

Within minutes of looking at the solo tables I had my charming duelist and his theatrical mage mistress overhearing a plot to depose the city ruler by the head priest (after almost being caught in a delicate position in the Sun Temple).

The combat and challenge system is streamlined and fast. Yet brilliant enoughtl to handle fighting minions, big bads, environment problems like climbing walls or bluffing guards.

In short, fast simple mechanics with a fun character creation system. A steal at this price.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Squad Hammer. Dirt simple gaming for many settings..or all of them
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/16/2017 20:28:49

These are good, fun, basic rules. Just basic enough to memorize. Just complicated enough to keep things interesting.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Squad Hammer. Dirt simple gaming for many settings..or all of them
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Dungeon Scum
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/29/2017 19:16:51

Quite a nice system. Neat mechanics I haven't seen elsewhere, quck to learn, and I like the way it handles schools of magic. The production values are purely amatuer hour in terms of layout, copyediting, etc. (hence the four- instead of five-star rating), but there's enough to like about this ruleset to make me glad I bought it anyway. I work in publishing, and I'm almost tempted to offer my services to clean it up and give it a more proper release. There could be a real audience for this cool wargame-RPG hybrid system if published with more care.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Scum
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Scum of the Earth. Black Powder gaming for the rest of us.
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/15/2017 11:34:24

The game is intended to use just a handful of miniatures so that you can break out some of your figures that have been collecting dust or explore a period without having to invest large amounts of time and money. For example, an infantry unit consists of six individually-based figures.

The rules only take up about 24 of the rule's 67 pages. The rest are optional rules including campaign rules and some tools/inspiration for developing scenarios. The rules are straight forward. It is generally an I-Go-You-Go turn sequence, but there are opportunities for the passive side to interrupt the active side. Shooting and hand-to-hand combat use opposed rolls. The results of these rolls incorporate disorder and units breaking as well as casualties. This makes for a quick game and one that is visually appealing – Shaken units can be shown by a staggered line while broken units are represented by a mob of figures skulking at the rear.

Overall, I enjoyed the game. It was quick to learn the basics, but there are definitely some tactics that will increase your chances of success – like shooting at a unit twice in the same turn. If you don't concentrate your fire, it is hard to drive enemy troops from the field. However, all things being equal, that is probably a realistic result and actually models a black powder firefight pretty well.

Another thing that became clear by the end of the game was that two forces simply marching forward and exchanging volleys until one side breaks would become stale fairly quickly. That is, the rules are so straight forward there is little "rules-gamesmanship" to engage in. But this is a good thing as it encourages players to have the proper historical mindset. Real life soldiers would not have been thing about maximizing modifiers. Moreover, it makes scenarios and campaigns worthwhile – almost a necessity. And to his credit, Ivan has included some nice scenario generating tables and campaign rules.

The only area that seemed a little off to me was that units could move and fire in the same turn without any ill effects (This is probably because I'm so used to that type of mechanic and not because of any particular knowledge of black powder warfare). And I don't think is would break the game to have units give up their movement to "reload." Indeed, I think it might add to the tactical challenge. I will definitely be trying this house rule out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Scum of the Earth. Black Powder gaming for the rest of us.
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Scum of the Earth
by Thomas T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/03/2017 17:42:15

Simple, fun, definitely not a game for folks obsessed with uniform details or drill-field maneuvers but that's a strength as far I'm concerned. The only thing on my wishlist is a quick reference sheet and I have faith that Ivan will provide one.

LT



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Scum of the Earth
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Creator Reply:
We'll sort out a reference sheet. Glad you like it! If you enjoy this version, the full version will make you wet yourself :)
Scum of the Earth
by DENNIS S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/17/2017 14:43:55

So far I like it. Spend more time going back to rules than playing, but having fun so that is all that matters. I play a lot of DBA, so working on a 2x2 board is perfect for me.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
There's a lot of gamers who either are limited to or enjoy the 2x2 board, I've noticed. Glad you enjoyed it!
Chevauchee. Medieval skirmish campaigns.
by Iván d. l. O. N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/02/2016 15:17:17

I bought the Chevauchee after a handful of very successful games with the FiveCore system. The rules are an adaptation, with tables for creating troops, weapons and heroes. Nothing new, except some minimal elements, but very suitable for the period.

Just a momment to comment the review done by Keegan N, I don't know what ruleset has he revied, because:

  • "Weapons rules are scattered about the book, movement and base rules are seperated". This is a lie... the rules for the wepons and armour are located 12 and following. With tables where is explained how works the weapon, not only that, but you can created special rules for the troops, making them something invidual.
  • "Initative comes after the bulk of combat rules".. sorry but they come in the same page after combat, page number 9...
  • "The rules are full of vague statements, and several terms are left undefined, leaving it up to player interpretation".... I don't know where are those vague statements... all is very very similar to FiveCore and is clear.
  • "The most painful thing I ran into is the combination of the Stay Alert order and Guard fire" I am sure that this guy haven't read the same book than me... on page 8 says that a troop only can choose ONE ACTION... so how could you combine them?
  • "Guard fire allows infinite reaction fire" meck! in my book it doesn't happen... you can only react Guard Fire one time per turn, as is logic.

    Paraphrasing Keegan reviews "like this, make me question how much" played he this game... because I am sure that we are not reviewing the same book. And if the book has changed so much from version 1 to 1.1, what currently is available, I think that he should delete or remake the review, becuase it is giving a false image of this ruleset. That, maybe is not perfect... but sure that is not about that he was reviewing.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Chevauchee. Medieval skirmish campaigns.
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Survey and Explore. A Starport Scum expansion
by Mike B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/24/2016 09:00:47

Short and pretty sweet - the simple production keep the cost down I guess and it is really all about ideas anywy, not the look of the product. For what it cost, exceelnt VFM



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Survey and Explore. A Starport Scum expansion
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Creator Reply:
Cheers and thank you! Yeah, for stuff like this, the aim is to provide more gaming material while keeping cost down for everyone involved. Glad you liked it!
FiveCore 3rd edition. Skirmish Gaming Evolved
by Andrea G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/01/2016 08:14:02

I had the opportunity to run 3-4 games with Ivan system and let me tell you: it is in my opinion one of the best Sci Fi skirmish ever. First, it is simple to learn, but it is far from being ordinary. Second: game is actually fun and fast! there is a lot of action, tactical thinking and reactions... and all in a smooth, cinematic and fun way. This third edition is very polished and can be used for very different game scenarios (modern, sci fi, horror, pulp...). It has a nice campaign system, rules for vehicles and even random events and options for pick-up games. I strongly suggest to try it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
FiveCore 3rd edition. Skirmish Gaming Evolved
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Not Just a Brush War. Brush war campaigns for any war game system
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/20/2016 04:02:42

Published by Nordic Weasel Games, Not Just a Brush War. Brush war campaigns for any war game system is apparently a departure from their usual product range, in that it is system agnostic and not designed to work specifically with one or more of its other products. It is clearly aimed at wargamers, specifically those wargamers focusing on the brush wars of the last century, this century and the near future. The pdf has twos ections. The first section consists of tables for generating "imagi-Nations" for wargaming, these tables cover about 10 pages and are designed to be modularm, so that a player need not use all of the tables if desired. The last section is about 28 pages long and covers campaign rules, designed to overlay your wargames rules, again, they are modular and you need not use them all.

While not aimed at Sci-fi (my favourite genre) I can definitely find a use for this pdf in both my wargaming and roleplaying games. There are even rules for figuring the relative tech level of the imagi-Nation and a table for generating the name of military operations, I rather like this table and will definitely use it a lot.

I'd definitely recommend it.

I deducted one rating point, only because it is not broadly useful across all game genres. Having said that it would still be fairly easy to adapt it to your favourite genre.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Not Just a Brush War. Brush war campaigns for any war game system
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Trench Storm
by Charles E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/15/2016 02:56:12

Trench Storm is a nice interpretation of company/battion level WW I, subsequent civil wars and disorders. The rules can apply to both trench and open warfare without becoming too detailed or excessively abstract. The author understands the period and provides easy rules for extending the game to playing a campaign.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Trench Storm
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Warsaw is burning! Poland 1939
by Malcolm W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/12/2016 20:55:37

This provides the wargamer with a quite innovative way of producing a whole variety of battles across a range of scenery areas, yet it is balanced toward the games ending up with a historical feel. Poland lost and so the scenarios lean toward that, sometimes with an unerring certainty. I would recommend this to wargamers who use almost any rule types, as a means of producing some excellent games.

Mal Wright



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Warsaw is burning! Poland 1939
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Creator Reply:
Glad you enjoyed it!
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