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Pray We Make It Back
by Gilbert R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/10/2020 19:46:00

This review is loooooong overdue.

I got this game the day it came back after the creator showed me the layout. It's simple, elegant, and robust. In two pages, Pray We Make It Back (from here on, referenced as Pray) tells the players everything they need to make a character, assign their gear, and interact with the game. Pray does an amazing job of laying out the player facing rules as well giving a glimpse of what to expect in play.

The real meat and potatoes of the game are the last two pages. The GM section is filled to the margins with advice for running the game while it sets the tone for the style of play it provides. Over 20 enemies are listed with terse descriptions that leave the GM enough room to extrapolate while also providing enough structure to do that extrapolation without too much fuss. Add to that 12 environmental hazards and you have enough content for over 200 sessions!!!

Furthermore, the random tables in this section provide over 20 scenarios that Game Masters can use as a jump-off point to create missions for their players. They are brief but full of flavor and intrigue. When I ran the game, I rolled on the table three times and combined the results to create a complext situation worthy of Apocalypse Now.

Tables for random encounters in the players' base are great for breaking up the game's natural mission-to-mission structure and further adds depth to the world. The last piece of genius is the table for extra supplies. These give the players opportunities to roleplay and discover connections in the world, making it feel more alive than I thought a 4 page RPG could ever accomplish.

The amount of care and detail presented in these pages is staggering. Every single sentence is crafted to present the dread of fighting a war that humanity WILL lose but can't afford to stop fighting. Apocalypse Now meets Call of Cthulhu. Platoon meets The Mist. The Predator meets.... now, The Predator is great comparison.

It's 5 bucks. 20% goes to charity. How much more reason do you need?



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pray We Make It Back
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Q•RPG Wholesale [BUNDLE]
by Jim B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/04/2019 15:41:29

There are a few ways to use these products.

First, you can use them as presented in a lightweight, narrative session -- most likely in a one-shot session. Each setting consists of two pages. The player page takes you through a quick character creation process and it explains the core game mechanic, the Skill Test. The GM's page generates an adventure summary and offers a few tips on constructing scenes to carry it out.

The game system is heavy on narrative and improvisation. As a GM, you can do some prep work if you're so inclined, to cut down on how much you have to make up on the spot. The adventure summary doesn't generate a hook, scenes, or a plot structure for you. A typical example is "A Conquering Dark Lord/Lady and their host of Marauding Orcs/Undead want to Find/Control the Queen of the Kingdom so they can Start the Apocalypse, but their secret weakness is the sleeping gods of sky and earth." If you and your players can run with that, there's no prep work required. You might, however, want to break that down ahead of time into some events, locations, challenges, clues, and revelations.

As a player, you wind up with one each of six adjectives, six nouns, and six driving forces. These are distinct for each setting, so you might be an exiled wizard driven by a thirst for glory in one setting, or a smooth-talking pickpocket driven by revenge in another. Primarily, these are character concepts that amount to narrative permission. If you're a wizard, you can do wizard things and you have wizard stuff; the non-wizards don't have your skills or stuff. If you're a smooth talker, you can try to smooth-talk your way out of trouble, while others wouldn't be so good at it. The GM might create a challenge for you based on your exiled status or an opportunity to get your revenge. There are three core attributes (Body, Charm, and Wits) and a head-vs-heart pair that varies from one setting to another (e.g. Scroll vs Soul, Circuits vs Courage, and Luck vs Planning).

There's a good amount of replay value. Different players will handle different character combinations in their own way. The adventure summaries consist of six d6 rolls, allowing for quite a few plays before it starts to feel like the same old thing.

There are no hit points, no weapon lists or spell lists, or any game mechanics other than the Skill Test. It's easy to learn. Whether it's easy or hard to play, however, depends on your group. Some would thrive in an RPG where you use narrative to describe what that successful attack means or what happens when you fail to persuade the guard to leave his post. Players who'd rather have the crunch (hit points, specific mechanics for character death, specific spell lists, etc.) will be disappointed or even uncomfortable. I can think of some players who'd fall into the latter category. Know your audience, as they say.

That leads us to a second way to use these settings: Use your own RPG system. As a player, you might use the player page for the basic character concept (such as the exiled wizard glory-hound), letting it guide your RPG's normal character creation process. Or the GM might create some prefab characters based on the character tables. Or you might ignore the player page altogether and create your character from scratch. As the GM, you can adapt the adventure summary for your system. Figure out who that Dark Lord is, stat up the orc horde, and so on.

A third way to use these products is to fold them into an existing campaign instead of treating them as one-shot adventures. If you're running a swashbuckling Captain Blood setting, for example, you could use Cloaks & Cutlasses to generate new situations. Maybe you generate the full adventure summary. Maybe you use bits and pieces, such as creating NPCs for the Corrupt Governor, the Megalomaniacal Churchman, and so on.

Overall, these are very well done. Just be aware that you might still have some work to do, in advance and/or during play, according to your GMing style. For a few of the tables, I'd quibble over some of the entries, but the easy fix there is to make your own substitutions when you feel the need.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Q•RPG Wholesale [BUNDLE]
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Plotlibs - Medieval Fantasy Edition
by Jim B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/29/2019 04:59:05

It's a good tool for inspiring a situation in a medieval fantasy setting. You've still got some work to do to flesh out NPCs, scenes, locations, objects, and so on. This tool provides what is essentially a logline: a brief summary of the core conflict in the adventure. You're filling in the blanks on this template: "[Catalyst] just wants the party to [Quest] and thereby [Goal]. But when [Minor Hazards] and [Major Hazard] stand in their way, how can they possibly succeed? And they don't even know that [Plot Twist]!"

Catalyst, Quest, Goal, Minor Hazard, and Major Hazard are tables with 100 entries each. The Plot Twist table has 50 entries. Each table offers a good variety of stuff. A number of entries make direct references to PC connections, such as "the party warrior's brother."

What the tables don't offer is any sort of description. What's the Moon Cult? the Object of Power? the Fiery Maw? These are all "intentionally vague." It's up to you to decide what they mean, and how they're connected to other pieces of the situation. That's good news if that's all you need to get started, or bad news if you'd rather have the additional detail. The lack of description means you can easily change up the usage of each table. For example, maybe the Catalyst is the focus of the inciting incident instead of the quest-giver. Maybe you'll make a Minor Hazard your chief villain. Maybe you skip rolling on a table or two because you already have things in mind.

There are no location tables, but many of the entries imply locations (e.g. "a conclave of fairies" implying a fairy forest or meadow). Use your favorite session prep checklist to come up with locations and other situation elements (objects, supporting NPCs, scenes, connections between elements, and so on).

For those who hope (or fear) that something called "plotlibs" is going to generate a full plot outline, you're out of luck. It's just a summary of a core conflict. Anything you want to add on top of that is up to you.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Plotlibs - Medieval Fantasy Edition
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Rifled Empires: Big Battles from 1850 to 1914
by Malcolm D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/27/2018 08:19:56

These rules up the scale of even Big Bloody Battles, to which they are comparable. A stand has a mass between 1 and 6 each point is roughly 400 men, several stands make up a brigade/division, so a Crimean Russian division of 10,000 men might have 5 stands of mass 5, whilst a Boer brigade of 1600 men could have 4 stands with a mass of 1. A target's mass is used for firing if dice score + mass = required nember a hit is scored same for melee except you use your own mass. So the Russians would be shot to bits by the Boers but would sweep them away if the got in. There are adjustments for quality, cover etc in the shape of extra dice. Command, as always, is key. A variable number of orders may be given each turn to Move, Hold or Rally, but once a unit is engaged in a fire fight it is locked and unless you wish to charge or rally will not need orders.

To get this subtlety into 2 pages of A4 is very clever, and for the price it is worth owning them even if you do not plan to refight Gettysberg or Solverino.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rifled Empires: Big Battles from 1850 to 1914
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Plotlibs - Classical Fantasy Edition
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/30/2018 16:08:31

All in all, the product offers a good mix of elements that have the right feel for Greek and Roman mythology.

Things you might like:

  • The "plotlibs" template sentence lays out a decent situation.
  • The tables have generally good content for the topics they cover. They capture the spirit of a lot of stories from Greek and Roman mythology (although see below for some omissions).
  • Hallelujah, the author (or his editor) can spell and punctuate and put apostrophes where they belong. A quick skim just now finds only one editing mistake, and it's a minor one ("an disbelieved oracle"). (Okay, maybe that's "Things I might like" more than "Things you might like," but I'm saying it anyway!)

Things you might not like:

  • If you need help turning random elements into a coherent whole, this doesn't provide it. It's on you to find a way to tie the random pieces together and flesh them out.
  • A strange omission from the tables are the Greek and Roman gods themselves. Some of the lesser ones appear by name (Hecate, Pan) and a few others appear by indirect reference (god of the sea, hunting god/dess), but most of the Olympians are nowhere to be found in tables that are supposed to have "a very Greco-Roman flavor."
  • The tables don't give you any help for rolling up locations found in Greek or Roman mythology. It would have been helpful to include the rich variety of locations found in the myths, by generic type (temples, typical city-state features, magical springs, sacred mountains, mysterious islands, oracular shrines, etc.) or by specific name (specific city-states, islands, foreign lands, etc.).
  • The table entries offer no explanations. Some entries are obvious. For many items, such as the Sibylline Books, Cercopes, the Titanomachy, and Stymphalian birds, you may need to spend some quality time with web searches to figure out what they are, where they occur, and what you might do with them.
  • There are some anachronisms, such as "Gypsies," Mithraism, and the Dancing Plague, that didn't appear in the Greek or Roman myths.

None of those are negative enough to make me regret the $3.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Plotlibs - Classical Fantasy Edition
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Q•RPG: Rapiers & Rayguns
by Wade R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/14/2016 16:39:08

I used Rapiers & Rayguns to create a Star Wars themed game to run during lunchtime at work. The system was a great introduction to roleplaying games for my co-workers, who had zero experience with RPGs prior to this. It's simple, uses familiar dice, and all the information they needed was on one sheet. Thumbs up!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Q•RPG: Rapiers & Rayguns
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Plotlibs - Medieval Fantasy Edition
by Michael C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/27/2015 01:19:30

A nifty product, especially if planning and deep plots aren't your thing (and even if they are, this could kick a stuck game in a new direction). Obviously not every selection on the tables are going to apply to every situation, but most of them are quite flexible. It seems especially suited for a one-shot adventure.

I'll be looking for a sci-fi/space opera edition.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Plotlibs - Medieval Fantasy Edition
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Some Corner of a Foreign Field
by Lorcano H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/02/2015 13:35:47

Smart set of rules. Quick, easy and bloody. If you want a gunfight this is the one for you. Saying that it allows for some neat tactical decisions to be made. Bad ones get punished!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Some Corner of a Foreign Field
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Midst Battle's Din
by Ronald B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/13/2014 03:18:36

The rules seem interesting enough at first glance. My gripe with them is that they are unplayable. There is an example in the shooting rules about numbers of models necessary to cause immediate panic in enemies fired upon. This rule is mentioned in the example but is not actually in the shooting rules. Maybe I am reading it wrong.

I really wanted to like these rules but I feel they are incomplete as written.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Midst Battle's Din
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Creator Reply:
Hi Ronald, Firstly, sorry for taking so long to write back, I have been very sick this winter. The automatic Panic caused by a large group of Regular models firing together is covered in the paragraph just above the Firing Chart. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me at infoatmorningstar AT gmail DOT com, and I will get back to you as quickly as I can. Regards, Matt @ Morningstar
Some Corner of a Foreign Field
by Stuart H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/21/2014 15:12:25

I like the way the action moves but more detail is needed with particulars, such as grenades (is there a maximum range a soldier can lob one?). Helicopter action is a bit ambiguous - what happens if the chopper is shot at and not hit? Does it just stay in the scenario, while everyone takes pot shots at it??? What do it's 3 action points encompass? Leaving the field? . Overwatch can use more detail also - Is it a reaction fire to someone shooting at the character on overwatch? Do you interject at will, or do you have to wait until the enemy activation phase is finished before shooting?

Cover: If a spotted soldier goes prown in hard cover such as the top of a building with a concrete wall skirting it - A) does he get a bonus for being prown, plus in hard cover plus obscured? B) is he still considered spotted? C) can he fire from his prown position regardless of the fact that he can't possibly see through the concrete wall/skirt.? If a Soldier is prown on the ground, peering around a building corner does he get all the values as above? (In hard cover, prown, obscured)

Can a character turn more than 90 degrees per action? It would seem reasonable that someone in cover, should be able to turn as much as he wanted before moving in any desired direction at the cost of 1 action.

A PDF file with handy markers may also be something that can reasonably be added to this great game. Markers could encompass a soldier being prown or standing, running. Also markers for Lightly wounded, serious. I find that a lot of the time we are using markers while waiting to be spotted.

Nevertheless I love the game and have had good fun in painting up a first set of ambiguous troops to represent some of the different factions for playtesting.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Some Corner of a Foreign Field
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Creator Reply:
Hi Stuart, Thanks for the great rating! Sorry for not answering sooner (I was on holiday), but I will try and answer all your questions here. - Grenades do not have a maximum range because: the table represents a relatively tiny space; it\'s assumed that cover will reduce the visible area even further; on a two page set of rules, every half line counts. - A helicopter which is shot at will take Stress as normal, and will have to take a Morale check to activate - although it can move behind cover, obviously it won\'t drop prone. Its 3 action points include firing one weapon and going on Overwatch. Because it fires from an \"undisclosed\" location over what is a very small part of the battlespace, the minor movement it will need is actioned for free. - A character on Overwatch can fire at any enemy they can see at any time before their re-activation, whether during the enemy\'s activation or their own (great for supporting worse troops). This does mean that only previously spotted enemies (or enemies moving into a position with a 0% chance of not spotting them) can be shot at. Cover - A) \"Prone\" affects both Shooting & Spotting, but \"hard cover\" and \"obscured\" affect only Shooting and Spotting respectively. - B) I would say so. Just because he has dropped to the floor doesn\'t mean the enemy will stop shooting at him - if he then wriggles away to the other end of the building, I would say he breaks LOS. - C) Terrain is an immensely tricky thing to model in wargames, because no one solution solves everyone\'s problems. I tend to take a rather relaxed attitude to the lips of buildings, particularly since prone doesn\'t always mean completely flat on the ground, especially when behind a parapet. A soldier who has sneaked their rifle over the edge of the lip while keeping a low profile, or who is shooting through pre-existing (though maybe not modelled) cracks or battle damage would still count as both prone & having LOS in my opinion. - D) Yes, but see A). - Yes, characters can turn more than 90o. Less than 90o does not require an action, but 90+ does, whether it is 91 degrees or 720. - I am working on a sheet of markers at the moment, so they will be available at some point. I\'m not great with graphic design, so it is taking me a while. I\'m glad you enjoy the game, and that it has inspired you to paint more troops - I personally love only having to do a few models to get gaming. If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact me at infoatmorningstar AT gmail DOT com. Thanks, Matt @ Morningstar.
Some Corner of a Foreign Field
by Stephen Y. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/29/2014 07:23:28

£1.20 seemed too good to be true for a set of rules; so I gave them a try. The rules are only 2 pages (yes, 2 pages); and the army list is 9 pages. There is also a faq/walkthrough for players to get an idea of how the game plays.

It uses a D20 (no, it's not D&D type/rules), so to speak. There are rules for spotting your target(s), Hand-to-Hand combat, morale, etc. The army list has a squad sheet for filling in. The only thing missing is vehicles. There is some off table support (snipers, artillery, helicopter, etc).

It's actually quite good; and the price is very good; much better priced than Skirmish Sangin (Radio Dishdash: £7.50 PDF, £25 book). Some light vehicles might be interesting to see (jeeps, technicals, etc). Well worth a look.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Little Lead Wars
by Arthur H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/01/2014 17:19:39

A two page set of simple rules for toy soldier battles, very much in the style of HG Wells' Little Wars, which would provide an entertaining game for children - or for adults seeking a nostalgic experience. However, if one has Little Wars and is prepared to go to the trouble of producing one's own playsheet, summarising the rules, this set has little to add to the classic original..



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Little Lead Wars
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Creator Reply:
Hello Mr Harman, Firstly, thank you for being the first person to review one of my games. I appreciate you taking the time to do that. You are quite right that this game is unashamedly in the shadow of Little Wars. For people unfamiliar with both games, I feel that I should point out that it does add a few elements: an active role for infantry units when it comes to shooting; a much less mechanistic version of close combat; an easy points value for making equal but not identical armies; quick and easy rules for skirmishers and other irregular troops; rules for ambulances and rules to make one\'s favourite models as special on the field as they are to us. Crucially, it also dispenses with firing matchsticks at your toy soldiers to knock them down, which will give anyone who takes as much care as me with their painting a sigh of relief! This was actually the main reason I wrote these rules in the first place. I entirely accept your opinion (and thank you again for taking the time to give it!), but I just wanted to put this out there for those reading reviews to choose whether to buy. Thank you, Matt @ Morningstar
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