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FrontierSpace Player's Handbook
Publisher: DwD Studios
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/28/2017 12:16:27

FrontierSpace Player's Handbook by DwD Studios A review TLDR summary: Great game, good possibilities for tinkering, great art, good setting, great writing. Buy it, for it is fun. I will admit first of all that I have been looking forward to this game for quite some time. When I bought BareBones Fantasy several years ago, I learned that the authors had taken the system they loved from Star Frontiers and had carved it down to a lighter version which they called the D00 Lite system. Among the changes made to the system, attributes were changed, a new critical mechanic was given, and skills were changed to the class-as-skill model I have seen used successfully here and elsewhere. The BBF game was really a great innovation, to my mind, and I was left with an eager desire for the day when I would see my old friend Star Frontiers (by TSR back in the early 80s) take flight again in this system. I eagerly devoured Covert Ops soon after BBF, and saw a few more changes to the system that adapted the game to that setting, showing how versatile the game engine could be. My eagerness only grew. Now that I have my copy of the game, I am even more eager to take it for a spin. The first thing I saw from the game was in the notice of the download which contained the author's’ invitation for anyone to take the system and setting and do whatever they liked with it under the Creative Commons license. This impresses me especially as a game tinkerer and is a refreshing change from some other games. I already have a couple setting ideas that almost write themselves, and a few more ideas within the setting as it is written. And now the game itself. In the introduction of the game the primary setting ideal is explained, that this game is about small fish in a very big ocean. The frontier is the star of the show, so to speak, and the players part of a far larger whole. Here I got a glimpse of the quality of writing I could expect throughout the book, which was engaging and clear; dramatic yet succinct (if I am using that word correctly.) It is a gritty setting. The discussion then continues to explain the role players and referees each serve in, and the all-important golden rule of RPGs, that when the GM makes a ruling, accept it and move along. The dice system is broken down and explained in the beginning of the first chapter. All dice are ten sided. Most rolls will be percentile, with two zeroes read as 00 and not 100. You succeed if you roll under the target number, usually a skill plus an attribute plus modifiers. Rolls for damage or some other effects are the dice rolled and added together. There are six attributes which cover whatever your character is going to do. Skills follow the class as skill model as in the other outings of D00 Lite, but here instead of the previous games’ formula to arrive at the overall skill, it is simply expressed as a number between -20 (untrained) and +30 (top in the universe) with 0 being basic professional level training. At first I was thrown by this idea, but as I got used to it, I began to see how brilliant this is. For one, it is possible to use the same skill with multiple attributes. If you have a Medic skill, for instance, you could use it with Perception to examine your patient, with Coordination to perform surgery, and Willpower when you are telling the patient to relax and heal. Character creation is in the second chapter, and has a couple of neat points. You can roll for your attributes and then put the rolls where you want them or choose a predetermined array that includes a good mix of values to give a character enough depth without being overpowered yet. Species are discussed elsewhere in detail but are conveniently summarized here. The Referee’s book will have the means to create new species but the five included in the book are plenty to start with. (I have to wonder how hard it would be to adapt the various fantasy races from the BBF supplement Flesh and Blood. Probably pretty easy, and just a bit of re-flavoring and reskinning.) Characters start with one skill at 0 and two at -10. This I like because you then have a character that can do one thing well and a couple others (out of 12) that they do sort of well. I like the way character creation comes together as a fast and easy thing. The rest of the book follows along as a logical progression through the technology and the culture of the game and winds it all up with the setting. While glossing over much of the book and encouraging you with my opinion that it comes together well, is well written, and engaging, I will say that the game makes a few assumptions that pinch just a little. The setting is somewhat limited to a couple dozen systems but with a lot outside of this area left nebulous enough to be mysterious and so forth, but in saying that I have to giggle a little at myself since I haven’t seen more than a quarter on my own state and rarely leave a hundred mile circle of that. Ships are kind of on the small side but only when compared to Star Destroyers and Trek ships. The only other annoying thing about the setting is the number of loose ends set up in it which would all be things one could use as story hooks to get player characters doing cool stuff. It would be really easy, though, to port in any setting you like with this game. The artwork throughout the book is pretty cool and captures the essence of a spacefaring gritty story based game. Only a couple of the spaceship drawings were not quite up to my standards, but are still a ton better than what I manage. One thing the old game did that is rare to find elsewhere in science fiction shows and games was that almost all of the ships were built on the tower model rather than the boat model, which is to say that in a spaceship decks would be best placed perpendicular to the thrust so that you have acceleration as your false gravity. There is very little evidence that gravity floors would be possible let alone cheap enough to be ubiquitous. It appears that the space vessels are built on the boat model for the most part. Really that is my only gripe with the art. Everything else is awesome. Those boat model space ships are pretty awesome, too, really. Fair or not, I judge games on several criteria, mostly having to do with feelings. Frontier Space wins first because I have been excited for a long time to get it. It wins again in how confident in the way the rules are laid out that I could easily play and enjoy it. It wins in that I can see myself walking around on many of the described worlds, talking to Yar, Erakai, and Novim friends. It wins in that I can see piloting huge freighters and nimble fighters through the deep voids of space. It wins in that I cannot think of any ways in which it loses, with the only exception being the relative obscurity of the game, which is something I can at least try to do something about through this review and getting the word out on other places. I was going to ask for more D&D books for Christmas and birthdays upcoming, but since i got this as an early present from a kind benefactor, I think I would rather get printed copies of this book and the referee’s book, which together would be less than either the 5th Edition DMG or Monster book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
FrontierSpace Player's Handbook
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Mini Six: Bare Bones Edition
Publisher: AntiPaladin Games
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/24/2016 21:53:18

Taking an existing system and boiling it down to the bare essentials, adding in some varient rules to aid ease and speed of play, Mini Six is a great game engine product. Obviously not as detailed as other generic rpgs, but therein is the charm. The title including the phrase "Bare Bones Edition" is a tempting teaser that has me looking for a more comprehensive product, but really this book and a couple notebooks for whatever I add on would be perfectly sufficient for most sorts of games.

I like the book enough that I bought it here even though I already have the pdf just to fling a couple bucks at the producers and to be able to write this short review.

Also of note, the d6 system as boiled here is also used in a couple of other neat projects which will be easy to see on a search of Mini Six. The licensing terms are quite favorable for those who want to publish their own games using this engine, which is pretty cool.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mini Six: Bare Bones Edition
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The Anime Hack
Publisher: Okumarts Games
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/23/2016 12:35:14

New to the Black Hack family of games, I bought this as my first choice. The Anime/Manga type of game is covered well in other books, but most often with a bewildering array of options and choices for both gms and other players. The Anime Hack avoids this trap rather nicely by boiling down the tropes and ideas just as the game engine is boiled down by the rule set the author used. D20 roll-under is not a new concept, but it is nice to see it handled effectively and clearly written as well. I particularly like the classes used for this game, and I am not disapointed that one of those posted on Facebook got me to buy the book. I even found myself dreaming up scenarios for the game that made me write them down before being able to sleep.

To sum up my review: Buy it. Plan it. Play it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Anime Hack
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Oath of the Dead (fiction)
Publisher: DwD Studios
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/17/2016 19:47:30

The short story takes a brief glance into the world of BareBones Fantasy's 'Karanak Kingdoms' setting. In its 24 pages gives me nothing I did not enjoy. The writing style is accessable and fun, without the kind of shorthand jargon that so easily can be taken for granted in the fantasy gaming community. The only thing really wrong with it is that I now want to know the rest of the adventure and just what happens to the people in the story, which is really quite easy to imagine just how to run in a game of my own. I am prone to leaving a lot of five star reviews, as when I like something well enough to review it, I am usually that pleased wirth it. This story stands well in that esteemable company.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Oath of the Dead (fiction)
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Stargate d6 Unofficial Character Sheet
Publisher: Wicked North Games
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/16/2015 16:05:57

A pretty ordinary character sheet. Perfectly adequate but not flashy or particularly cool. It is free, so not bad that way. Not really worth keeping on my hard drive unless I am currently playing the game related.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Stargate d6 Unofficial Character Sheet
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d6 Magazine Issue 2
Publisher: Wicked North Games
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/07/2015 00:22:28

The second installment of the D6 Magazine continues to impress with its community submitted content. Not going to live up to the quality of a Dragon or a White Wolf, of course, but then free is a pretty good price.

I have a feeling that even when things seem all quiet, D6 is going to always be one of those systems that is going to be quietly simmering in the background while it is not flaring brightly out on the scene.

My favorite bit is in the second article. I cannot decide between the oversensitive torch or the razor. I can think of comedy routines lasting hours or days at any one of my game tables over those.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
d6 Magazine Issue 2
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Heaven's Shadow
Publisher: Bedroom Wall Press
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/03/2014 21:15:54

A chilling world where evil walks in human form and it is up to the assassins of Heaven's Shadow to take out the demon spawn before they taint the world so much that the final curtain is called. The author has come up with a world in which the profession of a murderer is, instead of a deadly sin, a good thing for humanity. There is a lot of room here for the kind of gallant wetwork found in so many games, and there is ample room in this world to explore the existential horror of the life of a killer. All this and using the amazingly fast and simple rules of Mini Six version of the OpenD6 system from our old WEG games.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Heaven's Shadow
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Keranak Kingdoms Fantasy Setting
Publisher: DwD Studios
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/13/2014 01:12:02

I really like this book. Whether on its own to use with another game system, where its rules free run down on the places of the world allows easy prtage into any game you wanted to use the rules for, or in conjunction with the BareBones Fantasy game, with or without the third volume Flesh and Blood (which provides stats for the various other sapient species of the setting), this book does what it is supposed to do, providing a armature to refine into your very own world to play in. I reckon you could even use the ideas for larger scale battle and conquest games, if you had a mind to. Point is, it gives sparks to light off your own imagination rather than having everything just so and all the dots on the map and labeled and all. It might seem more convenient to have everything done for you already, but this way if you misremember something and it is not just like the book says, well, that merchant guy you were hearing stories of the place from was either wrong or joking, because I don't see no magic horses 'round here.

Yeah. Especially for the price, this one is a must-own among the many various world books you could have. I'd love to see more like it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Keranak Kingdoms Fantasy Setting
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Decahedron Magazine #1
Publisher: DwD Studios
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/31/2014 12:32:56

For a free zine, and even for a zine in general, this is so good. It is obviously a labor of love. I plan to follow the series and keep on downloading as long as they let me. The concentration is on the BareBones Fantasy game, but I hope future issues will have material for all of the D 00 Lite games. What is in there is pretty awesome, and there is plenty. A new power, a new PC race, and an adventure complete with the monster stats as far as you can need them.

Thanks for a good game and terrific support.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Decahedron Magazine #1
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d6 Magazine Issue 6
Publisher: Wicked North Games
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/18/2014 12:30:02

Obviously a labor of love, and a very well done at that. Nifty art scattered throughout, but the cover, with its tatters and wrinkles and fantastic action scene is the best. The adventures within are fun and evocative of both the system and the various settings.

A fun read and a good download.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
d6 Magazine Issue 6
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BareBones Fantasy Role Playing Game
Publisher: DwD Studios
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/31/2014 23:27:05

If you have read the other reviews, you have a pretty good picture of what this game is. It is a simple, easily understandable system. The rules are basically percentage based, so you know exactly what your odds going into any task. The game states one of the best things ever said to a novice role playing gamer: Go to a local shop, find a group, and learn there how to play rpgs, then come back and play BareBones Fantasy. With an awesome beginners' game right here on my desk, And every other game I have ever downloaded or bought, clear back to the red and blue boxes of yore have all the chapters about what a role playing game is and how you play, so the choice to omit these obligatory chapters is a bold, but sensible one.

Rules light, with an old school feel in the right places, tis is a really great game.

The touches about the setting are light enough that you could use them or drop them as you see fit. The races are limited to the basic four of every fantasy game, but like the setting, have an expansion to cover much more information. There are also new rules and new ideas in the free Decahedron magazine which is slated as a quarterly release support. Play by the core book or expand it with the Flesh and Blood and Kerenak Kingdoms books, either or both or neither one, and you will be fine.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BareBones Fantasy Role Playing Game
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Covert Ops - GMs Screen Print & Play
Publisher: DwD Studios
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/31/2014 23:09:15

Very nicely laid out, the tables grouped sensibly, and in the landscape format. What more could you ask for.

A great accessory to a great looking game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Covert Ops - GMs Screen Print & Play
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Mermaid Adventures Coloring Book
Publisher: Third Eye Games
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/22/2014 01:51:33

My seven year old really enjoys having the pictures from the game book to color. The art is well suited to coloring. Definitely worth a couple bucks if any coloring book is.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mermaid Adventures Coloring Book
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Star Frontiersman #24
Publisher: Frontier Explorer
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/11/2014 18:52:45

A really neat magazine for a really neat blast from the past. There is a lot to love in this issue. The crazy awesome architecture on the cover is a taste, but the stuff inside is great!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Frontiersman #24
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Pixel Mini: Base Station
Publisher: Octopus Apocalypse
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/22/2014 01:13:20

Brilliant concept and utilization. The bases' textures are great for their intended 8 bit figures, and the way the whole thing works is great. I would like to see the same idea reiterated with more complex textures to work with other more complex art, too, but these are great regardless. they make it so you don't need a lot of extra space because your bases are part of the model. Take down for storage is great idea.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pixel Mini: Base Station
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