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Stars & Crosses
by Peter S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/12/2016 06:34:27

Stars & Crosses provides an easy-to-learn wargame experience with basic and expert rules, modular board, and rich possibilities for extended and advanced play. At $2.99 for the PDF rulebook and printable component file, Stars & Crosses is a fantastic way to dive into the board or miniature wargame hobby.

(Note: I know Doug Anderson from various online community interactions focusing on gaming; he provided me a comp download of Stars & Crosses, though I bought a print-on-demand rulebook as physical reference at the game table.)

Stars & Crosses uses some original, intuitive rules to provide a company-level wargame experience a step or two in complexity beyond “battle games” like Memoir ’44. The mechanics evolve from traditional chit-and-board wargames, with core rules for a basic game and individual expert rules to add gradually for greater depth of play. Each piece includes expected information for a wargame unit: movement rate in hexes, attack power over range, number of dice rolled when attacking, and the unit’s “armor” value when resisting damage. Players alternate moving three units and then attacking with three units. The basic movement and combat rules cover only two pages each. The overall presentation of the rules and pieces lends to easy reference during play.

The use of a modular hex tiles to create the board increases the replay value and – with the scenario set-up material included in the rulebook – enable players to create and fight skirmishes between American and German companies across the entire northwestern European theater. The printables PDF includes all the markers, unit pieces, and hex tiles to print as needed. If miniature wargaming is more your style, use the print-and-play hexes for ideas on modeling your own terrain.

For those who enjoy World War II but might find wargames intimidating, Stars & Crosses offers the perfect introduction to chit-and-board wargaming, an entry point into miniatures wargaming, and excellent potential for continued play with new scenarios, additional units, and expert rules.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stars & Crosses
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Publisher Reply:
Dear Peter, Thank you so much for your positive review. I appreciate it. Doug
MonsterMore for Dungeonteller Fantasy RPG
by Alastair M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/30/2015 05:54:28

Everyone always wants more monsters for their RPGs, making this a welcome addition to the suite of Dungeonteller products by Blue Boxer Rebellion, presented in the company's usual, colourful, lively, beautifully-illustrated style. Maybe more than thirteen new creatures would have been better - there are at least as many again which feature in Blue Boxer's "Big Hexyland" world without description, which have still to be presented in Dungeonteller format, for example, aside from those monsters which appeared in the early drafts of the rules and monster books which didn't survive to the published versions. However, lines must be drawn somewhere, and a baker's dozen is perhaps as good a quantity as any.

The monster descriptions follow the format of the "Dungeonteller Monster Book", with similar quality, interest and quirkiness in their forms and habits apparent here too. Devils are ranked by the number of their head-horns, for instance, and start off as something a little unusual, maybe even orcward... Kobolds too are closer to their European folklorish originals than monsters of comparable name found elsewhere, as dwarfish "knockers", heard in deep mines rather than being seen, very often, and potentially problem-causing in such places. My favourite though was the Nimblewing, a large, intelligent bat which crafts magical objects, quite a contrast to the villainous role giant bats are often called to fill in RPGs.

No counters are yet available for these monsters unfortunately, yet an extra page or two with some could surely have been included here, perhaps also with markers for the three new Dungeonteller character types that have appeared since the rules were published, the Pixie, Witch and Ranger. Indeed, this might have made into a fuller game-supplement by including the character sheets for these three as well (available separately as free PDF downloads already). The fourth page of the Ranger's character sheet includes three additional creatures not yet available elsewhere certainly - the wildcat, mastiff and pack pony. On this basis, I've marked MonsterMore down a little, as not quite "More" enough for me.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
MonsterMore for Dungeonteller Fantasy RPG
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Big Hexyland 2 Modular Fantasy World
by Alastair M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/30/2015 05:50:45

Although calling itself a sequel to the original Blue Boxer Rebellion's "Big Hexyland", this is really a rather different product to that original, albeit in a similar style. Maybe a different name - "Big Hexyland Modular Expansion Set", perhaps - would have clarified things for anyone who thought this would continue the earlier Big Hexyland world in new directions, and in the same way, with text-description node maps as well as the beautiful coloured landscape ones.

However, this set has its own strong appeal, and the option to turn off an array of individual terrain items on all except one of the maps, provides a fascinating customising option beyond the original Big Hexyland's "fixed" world. The maps are again wonderfully-drawn, if maybe a touch less colourfully than in the original set, though as before, they'll benefit from being printed on a home inkjet at the best quality level, and paper stock, you can muster. It's definitely worth sitting down and going through this set carefully, experimenting with the different terrain layer options, before deciding how to print any given map to fit your own world as well - or indeed to extend the original Big Hexyland world, because that's equally possible.

The labelling is the only real disappointment. There's just the option to have all the labels on or off on each map. They're also in black, so at times there's no colour contrast, and become hard to read against some terrain features. But worst is they're totally unimaginative for the most part, and serve really just to tell you which feature is which for the layers list - something you can easily work out by simply switching on and off individual map layers anyway. Even had the names been more appealing, the single "all or nothing" option of them being on just one layer, defeats any customisation of the map features. Of course, adding layers to label each feature separately would add considerably to the file size, and the complexity of configuring your own maps, so perhaps providing a single layer option to name all features using the properly contrasting label colours of the first Big Hexyland, and with imaginative names, would have been a better compromise. Maybe the labels could be omitted entirely for the hex-corner barrier mountains, as these seem most likely to be features GMs will wish to alter especially.

As noted already, one of the maps is different, "The Gnashfang Chaos". Strangely, this map is drawn with only two layers - the map and its labels - so separate features on it can't be turned on or off. Also, its labels are all imaginative, and are presented in properly contrasting black or white, as best suits the landforms they're set against. Indeed, this looks more like an escapee from the first "Big Hexyland" set. If only it had been given a node-map description page too!

A reworking of the labels, to become like those on "Gnashfang Chaos", would make a real improvement to this product. Even so, I'd still give it a four-star rating for what it is currently.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Big Hexyland 2 Modular Fantasy World
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Venture Hold: A Dungeonteller Adventure
by Alastair M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/30/2015 05:47:02

This is an interesting, pleasingly detailed, lengthy adventure designed for the "Dungeonteller Fantasy RPG" system, in which the typical party of 3-6 Dungeonteller starting characters could engage easily for several game-sessions (the designer suggests 6-10), and perhaps still longer, should the GM grasp the option to extend beyond what's provided, as the closing page of the text suggests. Placed in and beneath the town of Lastward, this product also ties-in with Blue Boxer's separate "Big Hexyland" mapped world, because Lastward features on the Quibble Marches map of Big Hexyland, a couple of game-days travel from the city of Stormgate, which city is described in the main Dungeonteller rulebook. Not to give any secrets away, this is only one of the Big Hexyland connections in this adventure.

There is a set of lovely hand-drawn perspective maps showing the entire subterranean prospect for the GM, along with a similarly-drawn, labelled view of Lastward. An unlabelled JPEG version of just the town drawing can be downloaded freely from the Blue Boxer Rebellion blog for player use. Perhaps it could have been included here too. The whole, text and maps, prints out clearly using a "normal" home inkjet printer setting - indeed the text is clear even on an ink-saving "draft" or "fast" printout - though it's probably worth considering doing higher-quality prints of the maps particularly, and maybe laminating or otherwise protecting them for repeated use, and also to allow making easily-erasable GM notes on them.

Venture Hold's format, with its numerous pages of densely-typed text and separate map pages, fits with that established for the first major Dungeonteller adventure module, "Welcome to the Plunderdome" (available as a set of free downloads from the publisher's blog, though written about a year before the RPG rules were published). However, that gives it a surprisingly drab, pedestrian appearance, by comparison to the colourful, lively, well-illustrated range of the company's other Dungeonteller products. This seems quite a mistake, as at least a few colour illustrations, with portraits of some of the key NPCs and the new monsters, scattered through it would have enhanced its look considerably. Even inserting some player-aid unlabelled drawings in black-and-white of the more important and intricate parts of the dungeon at relevant points in the text, would have helped give this a less forbidding, text-wall, appearance, as well as fitting with the other works Blue Boxer has already produced.

I'd also like to have seen a set of extractable pages featuring the new monsters here, in the standard, beautifully-illustrated, Dungeonteller format of the rule and monster books, so they could have been printed-off and stored as part of a complete set of available monsters by GMs. Their absence, and the fact there's no index to let you find the stat blocks for these creatures quickly in a printed-off version of Venture Hold, again seems a badly missed opportunity.

Although there are a few minor typos, missing words, and so forth occasionally, of little real concern, I did spot one mildly more problematic item. A new cool power (= skill for those not versed in Dungeontellerspeak) on pages 41-42, "Summon Nightmare", is described as the same as "Summon Hippogriff" from the Dungeonteller rules, yet the actual power (rulebook page 31) is "Create Hippogriff". What the power does isn't at all clear, since from the subsequent text notes, it makes a hippogriff appear to allow the summoner to ride it and escape, yet the place it's to be used is a location that seems to have no means of getting to the outside world by a creature that can only walk or fly. This needs revising, as a nightmare, perhaps able to pass through walls magically with its rider, might be a better option here. Plus it would also allow the introduction of another new monster. This is a rare lapse, however.

Overall, this is a good scenario product which will last a healthy number of gaming sessions, and is potentially open-ended. I've marked it down because it's visually disappointing, other than the maps, so fits less well with the overall Dungeonteller product line.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Venture Hold: A Dungeonteller Adventure
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Ultimate Hand-Drawn Isometric Battle Maps
by Alastair M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/30/2015 05:42:07

Technically, this is not a pack of pre-drawn battle maps, with the exception of the last three pages, which provide respectively a bridge across a deep dungeon floor trench in two versions from different angles, and an area with two floor pits, one pit with two levels in it. Instead, it's a more generic product, with seventeen pages of components from which you can print, cut out and make up your own dungeon floor plans.

The artwork pages print crisply and cleanly even using a "normal" setting on plain paper with a home inkjet machine, and whose lines and textures (all in greyscale only) are clear and bold. It's good to see this product applying some of the lessons learnt from Blue Boxer's earlier battle map products. Indeed, as pages 8 and 9 duplicate identical pages from Blue Boxer's "More Battle Ready 25mm Dungeon Maps, Set 2", if you have both products, you can directly compare how the drawings here are much improved in this respect. Perhaps some colour, even as background washes, would have been nice too, but the drawings look splendid even without.

There's a great selection of floor and wall features and markers, including doorways, fireplaces, bookshelves, statues, pillar bases, plinths, stairs, wells, furniture and debris, plus four free-standing stone staircases intended for in-room use. There are also wall and floor pieces, all beautifully executed in the company's trademark realistic, hand-drawn style, using an isometric, so 3D-look, viewpoint. This makes the maps ideal for solo play, or if constructed into complete room views, as RPG pictures to show the players what they can see. Unfortunately, this viewpoint limits their suitability as true battle maps for group gaming, where people will be sitting around the map at all angles, as for most it will be rarely clear just what's being looked at. And clarity is key for any gaming battle map.

Overall though, a beautifully-crafted product.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Hand-Drawn Isometric Battle Maps
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Dungeonteller Monster Counters
by Alastair M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/30/2015 05:37:59

If you use visual-aid flat battle maps or 3D scenery for your RPGs, you need some means of showing where the player-characters and their opponents are on those layouts. Commonly such markers are in the form of cast 3D miniature figures or 2D standee printable paper minis, but counters in various forms have their devotees too, as robust, flat-pack options to bulkier figures. This print-and-play PDF set from Blue Boxer Rebellion provides 163 monster counters, plus six more for each of the main character types, from those in the "Dungeonteller Fantasy RPG" rules and "Monster Book" volumes.

All the counters are drawn in full colour, in Blue Boxer's characteristically lively cartoon style on horizontally-elongated diamond shapes, intended to work with the company's preferred isometric battle maps for tabletop use. Counter sizes fit roughly with the creature sizes from the RPG, using four size classes for these counters, ranging from 3.5 cm/1½ inches across their longest central axis (which form the great majority), up to 19 cm/7½ inches for the dragons. They're designed with four fold-down edges per counter, so in theory you shouldn't need glue to construct them, though in practice, it's recommended a small weight, such as a washer or coin, be glued to the underside of each counter (the larger counters might need more than one, though this isn't noted in the instructions).

The counters benefit from a photo-quality print on matt photo paper when using a home-inkjet printer, as a "normal" level printout looks very pale and washed-out. Most creatures have the same illustration as used in the Monster Book, occasionally with a slight variation, and sometimes in mirror image, where more than one counter is provided for a creature type (there are ten Goblin counters, for instance, and quite a few of the other lower-level monster types have five or six counters each). This picture is set on a graded, single-hue background. Multiple monsters also have a number printed on their counters (though oddly the number "1" is missing from the Barghest, Mummy and Skeleton counters on Sheet Three, and the Delf Sentinels on Sheet Four). None are named on their counters. In general, most of the illustrations are clear enough using this format, though the colour-contrast is poor on the Skeleton counters, and especially those for the Ghouls, which look rather like disembodied skulls.

Strangely, the six character counters have completely different illustrations to those in the rulebook. While this provides some interesting variety, it seems a mistake, since in the absence of any names on the counters, once cut from their printed sheets, the Warrior and Dwarf could well become indistinguishable, for example, and the others will be perhaps less clear than they need to be.

Although claiming to provide counters for every monster in the Monster Book, there are no counters for two of the three types of Dangerous Mushroom (the Puffbomb and Sporegalore Torpedo) from Monster Book page 41, nor for two supplementary monsters, the Merwell Fighting Fish (page 39) and the Packs of Huge Rats (page 45), although for the latter, a normal Rat Pack counter could be simply designated as of "Huge Rats", of course. In addition, the Iso Battle Grid on which to use the counters does not feature in this PDF, an unexpected omission, given it's clearly mentioned on the product's description page.

Whether the isometric counter shape works will be a matter of personal choice. Such 3D drawings as battle maps only really function clearly when viewed from a single direction, whereas most gaming groups will likely surround a table, so this is not an ideal option for any except probably solo games or very small groups. The smaller counters here will probably still work on most square or hexagonal gaming maps, but the larger ones, notably the huge dragon counters, probably won't with sufficient clarity as to their actual location. For construction, I'd mount these counters onto thick cardboard, and ignore the fold-down counter edges, since this would make them far more durable and easier to handle for typical game use. The loose fold-down flaps will be too flimsy to survive much handling.

Overall, I'd have preferred square counters without the fold-down tabs, but I've rated the product as it's described, marked down partly because of the missing isometric board.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeonteller Monster Counters
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Dungeonteller Monster book
by Alastair M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/26/2015 04:47:26

Given the very limited quantity of sample monsters (only six) in the "Dungeonteller Fantasy RPG" rulebook, this is an essential adjunct to that game, providing a good selection of typical fantasy RPG monster-types. Not all are quite what you'd expect however, as there are some pleasing variations, such as the rather more folklorish Goblins, who appear in somewhat shadowy, vaguely animal-like, forms, or the scarlet-skinned Orcs, creatures only summonable from another dimension for short periods (we discover why in the subsequent "MonsterMore" Dungeonteller book!).

There are some "delightful" additions too. For instance, Crypt Worms feed on subterranean corpses, then pupate into blood-sucking Deaths-Head Moths. Said Moths love to flock to light sources underground, thus making both creatures low-level irritants for dungeoneering parties, but with a workable life-cycle that also makes sense. My favourites though are the near-science-fiction/steampunk Gnomes, looking a little like fantasy-variant "Grey" aliens using high-tech gear, such as suits in which they can pass through solid rock as if it were pudding.

Every monster is attractively illustrated in colour, described briefly, and fully statted for "Dungeonteller", the images in Blue Boxer's usual bright, lively, cartoony style. The PDF benefits from being printed out on best-quality paper at the highest standard you can manage, if using a home inkjet, as a "normal" printout on standard paper will be quite washed-out and pale otherwise.

As ever, it's easy to think of more monsters which could have been added here. It's a particular curiosity that the earlier prototypes of both the rule and monster books, still (August 2015) available on the Blue Boxer Rebellion blog as free PDF downloads, contained notably more creatures than are provided here, including several types of "normal" animal (none of which feature in this book). There are some stranger omissions too - like the Lich, and the Ice Troll (as the Cave and Water Troll variants did both make the cut into this volume). Conversely, there are also quite a number of unstatted monsters, and some which didn't feature at all, in the earlier monster text which have appeared in this final work. Maybe some of the "missing" will feature in future Dungeonteller products, perhaps most likely the Lich, but monsters such as the Wolfbat (earlier text-only rules) would get my vote too!

Overall, a splendid product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeonteller Monster book
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Dungeonteller Fantasy RPG
by Alastair M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/26/2015 04:40:46

Recent years have brought a glut of games intended to entice more novices, of whatever age, to the wonders of RPGs. As others have already commented about "Dungeonteller" here though, this is one of the standout products among that crowd, and which, from my limited reconnaissance through the rules and a few try-outs so far, also seems to do what it promises, as an easy-to-pick-up system you can get playing quickly.

The rules are beautifully and colourfully illustrated throughout, using an attractive, mildly cartoon-like style, that often works to draw your eye to key text-passages, thus finding things quickly for the GM (the eponymous "Dungeonteller" here) is made a little easier. Despite the cost and effort involved, it's tempting to think of preparing a fully laminated copy of the rules for general use, and certainly, the character sheets would work particularly well that way, robust and usable with erasable markers of some sort. If so, you'll also need to do a photo-quality printout on good matt photo paper if using a home inkjet machine, as a "normal" printout came out too pale for me.

More could - indeed perhaps should - have been added to this package, not simply greater sets of character options, monsters, treasures, play examples and game-creation advice, but providing things like the tokens and cards suggested as useful for play, for extra equipment, gold, gems and other treasure items. It's noted on page 22 that players should make their own using index cards for these, clearly acknowledging a need the game currently fails to fulfill by the designer. Even providing a series of suitable .jpg or .png images with the rulebook would have helped people construct their own printable cards, perhaps including some for the various have-to-look-that-one-up skills ("cool powers" here). In a print-and-play PDF product, there's little excuse for such essentials to have been left out. Marker tokens for the player-characters could have been given as well (some, though oddly using different illustrations, are available, if rather unannouncedly, only in the separate "Iso Battle Counters" set from Blue Boxer Rebellion). Plus it's strange the dice-roll character generation mechanism, an optional extra not noted in the rules, is available just on the designer's blog, rather than adding maybe one more page with it here.

There are helpful extra items provided in the book though, including the complete annotated "Quibble Marches" map from Blue Boxer's "Big Hexyland" world set, from which the major city of Stormgate is featured in detail, with map-drawings and five pages of place descriptions and history, plus another three pages with a cutaway drawing and descriptive notes on the Tides Inn, likely to be the player-characters' first stopping-place in the city. Plus there are one-page tables to help GMs create plots, villains and dungeons, without resorting to random rolls.

Overall, this is a good, basic RPG rules-set, splendidly presented, if one that could be still better with a few additional tweaks and printable components.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeonteller Fantasy RPG
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you for the thoughtful and incisive review of the entire Dungeonteller line.
Big Hexyland Modular Fantasy World
by Alastair M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/26/2015 04:33:38

This is one of those products you see and then just have to buy straightaway - or it was in my case! From its bright, lively colours, through the excellent detail provided for each map, including evocative name-labels like Hardscrabble Vale, The Iron Sea, Skygard, Dreadmoon and many more, the juxtaposition of beautifully-drawn terrain features, the novel use of larger-scale hexagons for different land areas, and the provision of node-maps showing how to get from place to place, with notes on who-lives-where-doing-what-to-whom-and-why, to its intended 3D-look design layout, with mountain-peaks and other uplands extending beyond the hex boundaries, this just seemed a real delight. And so it's proven in reality!

A "normal"-setting home-inkjet printout will get you clear, fully legible text pages, though rather pale hex artwork, which latter is best realised using a suitably high-quality print setting on good matt photo paper or card with such a printer. The final maps could be mounted to thicker card hexagons (so the protruding-edge terrain can overlap the adjacent hexes still), and maybe even varnished, or laminated, to give them extra durability.

The descriptive node maps should give enough snippets of information to get the creative juices working for most GMs, if necessary. Some of the creatures referred to would have benefited from a little more detail, such as the pterripus (Midwaste & Jade Coast maps) and the ivory-bearing megaphant (Plainsea - presumably a form of huge elephant). Although the pterripus - a type of flying horse - did feature in Blue Boxer's prototype rulebook for the "Dungeonteller Fantasy RPG", still available in August 2015 on the publisher's blog as a free PDF, it didn't make the cut into the published rules or monster volumes unfortunately.

Maybe some cutting outlines - just a skywash blue background shading, say - could have helped novice papercrafters work out better where to cut the irregular map edges in places. Those with a little more experience won't need them though, and it's scarcely a real fault in this overall stunningly gorgeous set.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Big Hexyland Modular Fantasy World
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More Battle-Ready 25mm Dungeon Maps Set Two
by Alastair M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/26/2015 04:27:38

There are two parts to this PDF package. Four pages of door and doorway markers, a plain floor area, and a page of eleven two-by-two-square room furnishing markers (comprising a circular fireplace, a well, treasure chests, a bed, debris, sacks, barrels, table and chairs, two benches, a trapdoor, and a sluiceway) form an opening do-it-yourself component, while the remaining pages present eleven individual pre-designed rooms, one per page. Everything is drawn in pencil-sketch greyscale, using an isometric (3D) viewpoint, as also in Set One. Where Set One was presented as a single, specific dungeon, with some notes on fleshing it out for RPG use, Set Two forms a more generic product.

This Set suffers some of the same problems and limitations as Set One, however. The drawings are certainly bolder and somewhat more assured, if still too faint in places to work on anything except a "photo" quality printout setting on good photo paper for most home-use inkjets. There are the same "ghostly" archways, walls and pillar bases in parts too, intended to aid clarity, but I found them sometimes confusing. The translucent cavern walls on page 14 give an impression of an Escher (so impossible) drawing, not the immediate clarity a genuine battle map needs, for example.

Although again designed to work for US "Letter"-sized paper, thus needing reduction to fit the "A4"-sized paper many gamers elsewhere will have access to, some allowance has been made for that here, so the squares are around an inch (2.3 cm) or so in maximum edge-length at times on an A4 print (albeit inconsistently applied across the full Set). This should make Set Two less problematic when used with 25mm-30mm scale gaming figures, certainly. Even so, the one-direction viewpoint isometric drawings require, means most round-the-table gaming groups will find it difficult to make proper use of this product, beyond being handy player visual aids.

There's an eclectic mixture of hallways, staircases in different forms, and set-piece rooms in the pre-drawn section. Without being comprehensive, these are useful and do have their points of interest. It's curious there are so many doorway options provided in the opening pages, yet doorways are also drawn on to the complete rooms, and that where the rooms have a specific purpose, they're also drawn as fully furnished. This seems at odds with the concept of the furnishing markers, and maybe more pages of such markers, and predominantly empty rooms, would have made this seem less of a compromised product, as if unsure whether it wants to be a set of battle maps for a defined dungeon, or a full set of pieces from which to create your own dungeon settings. The weakest is the "tavern" drawing on page 10, which is less assuredly sketched, and is far too cluttered with immovable furnishings to work as anything other than a "this is what you see" players' viewpoint drawing.

Overall, this is closer to its intended "battle-ready maps" aim than Set One, within the limits of isometric drawings, and I've rated it accordingly.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
More Battle-Ready 25mm Dungeon Maps Set Two
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Ten Battle-Ready 25mm Dungeon Maps Set One
by Alastair M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/26/2015 04:19:31

This is an interesting product, presenting hand-drawn greyscale sketches of a ten-room dungeon, with some notes to help GMs flesh it out for RPG use, including overall sketches of the dungeon, the nearby small town and its landscape setting. The drawings are largely presented in an isometric, so 3D, realistic style. In general, they're pleasing to the eye, and would work well as both GM's reference tools, and to show players what they can see at any given time.

For home-printing using an inkjet, I'd suggest using high-quality matt photo paper and at least a normal "photo" standard setting, as the drawings are rather faint, making them indistinct too often on a "normal", plain paper inkjet print, for example. The text prints clear and dark even on a "fast" or "draft" inkjet setting though, which may indicate more pre-publication testing would have been useful.

In parts, the isometric viewpoint shows its limitations, where ghostly archways and walls (sometimes apparently in cutaway), plus occasional coloured lines and labels need to feature for better clarity, while the right-hand wall of Dungeon Room 2 (page 8 in the PDF) has needed to be artificially curved "out" a little, otherwise the important blocked doorway on this wall would have been almost invisible. Also, while such a view works very well as a diagram, or for solo gaming, for a typical RPG group, where players and GM will surround the table and any visual aids on it, this style of mapping provides clarity for just one or two people - most likely not even the GM - so this pack can't really be considered a viable option for RPG battle maps, which need easy clarity for all. In addition, the drawings have been designed to fit US "Letter"-sized pages. So for many people elsewhere, for whom "A4"-sized paper is the nearest equivalent, this will leave the options either of cutting off some of the drawing edges, or reducing the image to fit the paper, which latter means the typical squares end up barely 2 cm or 9/10 inch across, likely a little too small for most 25mm-30mm scale miniature figure bases.

One further minor irritation is that the labelled town map is missing from the PDF, billed on the "Thumbnails" index page as on page 3, but that's where the Thumbnails are! It is possible to zoom in to read all-but one of the town map's labels, and then hand-copy them to a print of the unlabelled player's town map from page 18, but this seems a careless omission, again maybe suggestive that more checking was needed ahead of this product's release.

Overall, it's a nice package, useful as the basis for a small dungeon, after a little work, but I've rated it down because the isometric viewpoint doesn't really work for its billed battle map use, and the product needed a little more work before publication.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Ten Battle-Ready 25mm Dungeon Maps Set One
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Dungeonteller Fantasy RPG
by Cynthia C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/22/2015 11:36:21

I'm kind of torn about how to review this.

First, I should say that based on what's already here, this is one of the best kid's RPGs I've ever seen, and even as an adult I'm finding this a lot friendlier and more casual than a lot of games on the market. The same kind of rules set that works great for teaching kids works equally well for low-stress games between friends who aren't looking for a tactical challenge but just want to have the fun of an old-school dungeon crawl without all the math. With a group of adults you can be playing a satisfying game inside two minutes of starting time.

So why only four stars instead of five?

Like I said, what's here is fantastic ... and it's worth it at the price point (even keeping in mind that you NEED one of the accompanying books of monsters). But it feels like there should be more. Not in the sense of more complexity -- the amount that any one player has to think about it just about exactly right.

But there need to be more characters to choose from, a longer list of monsters, a longer list of treasures, an extended example of play, more information on dungeon creation, and ... well, just more of everything in general. This could be handled with supplements, but I'd kind of rather see more of a "boxed set" approach with a player book, a monster book, and individual character sheets.

I can also note that the game does seem to assume that an adult will be running the game. That's not necessarily true (and I say that as someone who DM'd her first red box D&D game at around Dungeonteller's target age). But, again, this falls into the same category of "I want more."

Finally, the usual small comments. Individual PDFs for the characters from the same book would be a good addition. The monster counters are a good idea ... but using an isometric view instead of overhead makes it harder to make them work visually when used alongside actual miniatures. The version of the pixie included in the bundle seems to be incomplete; you can get the full pixie by downloading the pixie add-on separately. Also, using pixel or "cartoony" paper miniatures (Octopus Apocalypse, Battle Studios, Darkfast, etc.) gives a REALLY nice friendly visual to go with the friendly rules.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeonteller Fantasy RPG
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Publisher Reply:
Hi Cynthia, Thanks for the positive review -- I really appreciate it, and the suggestions you make have merit. I\'ve already begun converting the monster counters into non-iso views. I take your point about having more hero types -- what would you suggest the next free hero add-ons should be? My daughter has been clamoring for a centaur hero. Might be your chance to have a say! Warm Regards, Doug at Blue Boxer Rebellion
Big Hexyland Modular Fantasy World
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/18/2015 22:35:46

I have had this product for some time. I love it. Great originality. Very evocative. I like the story lines presented with each map. This product is well worth the price. However, with the creation of Big Hexyland2 I am wondering if it would be possible to use some of those features on this product. Layers would be great as an update. Being able to print these maps for players while hiding certain aspects from them would be great. The lack of these layers is the main reason I gave this three stars.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Big Hexyland Modular Fantasy World
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Big Hexyland 2 Modular Fantasy World
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/18/2015 22:30:48

This product is so generic it is meh! I loved Big Hexyland. I loved the stories and aspects of the terrain presented. I loved the names. I loved the time taken to cross a region being shown on the map. None of that made it into this product. The layer idea is great, but when it robs the maps of originality, go back to the old style. I suggest you give us another three layers. First, a layer that gives a set of original sounding names for the terrain features along with paths and distances plus a story line of some sort for each significant feature. Second, a layer where you can put in your own names for terrain features (form fillable). A layer that replaces the drab terrain feature names on the maps with the new names. It seems very odd to me to go to all the trouble of making these wonderfully drawn maps and then label them in such a generic manner.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Big Hexyland 2 Modular Fantasy World
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Publisher Reply:
I appreciate your feedback -- I feel a bit chastened for not having included node maps this time around. I\'m glad you appreciated the non-generic names and the node maps from the first set. I\'ll reconsider adding those features if I do a third set.
Dungeonteller Fantasy RPG
by Paul L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/17/2015 15:37:51

I like this game...alot. I purchased to play it with my family. I like the simple rules and way it is explained. Very well done. The presentation is not dark or dreary but vibrant illustrations. It's kinda nice to have a cheery feeling to a rpg. You play pre-made character types BUT the author on his site does supply a way of randomly generating your stat numbers. The way the character pages are setup is great. Easy to read and understand. The character abilities are quite nifty and there are some new ideas. For new players...very little setup. Pick a character and adventure. Some may not like that.

For what it is meant to be...it is quite good. If you want more control over your character then it may not be for you. A die hard gamer may not like not having tons of character creation options. It's perfect for my games with my family. Younger players in particular. I know I will end up making my own character types for the game. :D

I enjoy this game and wish I had developed this one myself. I'm rating it 5 based on my expectations and who I play it with. My young family. Others may disagree due to it's simplicity. Not enough options etc. The last thing I want to do is deter anyone from this game. Do your research and see if it is right for your type of gaming. For my purposes it is a very fun game.

I see an adventure is available for it and I will pick that up soon. Good job.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeonteller Fantasy RPG
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Publisher Reply:
Hi Paul, Glad you liked it! Thanks for the positive review. Doug, Blue Boxer Rebellion.
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