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Kill Sector Core Rulebook
Publisher: Bahunga Worldwide
by Daniel O. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/07/2022 06:41:52

A great piece of fun and madness, with some slight caveats for those going in unprepared:

  • The game is advertized as an RPG, but I'd say it#s more of a middle-ground between a RPG and a cooperative skirmish game (and you could use it as a full skirmish game with little issue). Then again one might argue that many RPG sessions eventually turn into a cooperative skirmish game, so what do I know. Just don't expect a "traditional" RPG.
  • The art is certainly unconventional, but I'd say it fits the game perfectly. It's like a child's fever dream involving action figures and way too much power metal
  • I hope you're not prone to option paralysis when creating characters. This is the most front-loaded RPG games I've ever seen. The actual rules take up just a handful of pages. Pretty much everything else is character options, and all the supplements add even more stuff on top of it.

Now, if you wanna make a gonzo gladiator teeming up with fellow weirdoes to blast the crap out of robots, monsters and mutants for fun and profit, this might just be the game for you. As mentioned above the game has a lot of character options. Some are simple weapons or stat boosters, while others are so elaborate you could build several character concepts around them. The game really encourages you to come up with crazy concepts and see how much havoc they can cause.

A neat thing about building characters is that it is very easy - and heavily encouraged - to write down the "recipe" for the character, listing all the options and modifications chosen to build the character. This additional bit of transparency makes it a lot easier to understand how the whole process works, and the vast majority of premade characters in both this book and the supplement come with their recipe. Another cool thing is how easy it is to convert characters to one of the two power levels: PC (for not just the player characters, but also major opponents and of course bosses) and NPC (for most antagonists and the occasional minions a PC might've purchased). The difference is mostly that NPCs have lower base stats, and it is once again encouraged (and usually also practiced with the example characters) to write down two stat lines for both the PC and NPC version of a character. Though the math is easiy enough to convert this on the fly, it's pretty convenient to be able to use any character for both power levels, making every grunt a potential PC, or every PC build you've made or found into an opponent.

The default way of play is geared more towards one-off sessions, where the players fight their way through a gauntlet of multiple waves of opponents, culminating in a boss fight. This structure of play kinda reminds me of Japanese tabletop RPGs (particularly Double Cross), minus the mandatory investigation and roleplay bits between the set piece battles. You can of course run a campaign around multiple gauntlets. Character advancement can be handled pretty flexible in this case. Maybe there is no advancement at all. Maybe completing a gauntlet grants everyone more points to slap even more options onto their characters. Or maybe you're running a troupe style play, where every character has a roster of different characters which may or may not have different point values (or multiple versions of the same character).

The game can also be run in a player versus player mode, essentially turning it into a skirmish game. You could easily convert your favorite arena shooter.

Fluff is pretty light, but the general implied setting is that of a gonzo sci-fi universe where professional asskickers compete in televised gauntlets for fame and fortune. It's a bit like professional wrestling meets Takeshi's Castle - except there is no kayfabe, and all the "obstacles" are critters that want to kick your ass.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kill Sector Core Rulebook
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PseudoTech: Arcade Operations
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Daniel O. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/03/2022 08:11:13

Essentially an expanded version of an older April Fools supplement called TacOps PowerUps (an "optional" expansion for Tactical Operations that added MechAssault-style power-ups to the game), this product adds a lot of silly and random power-ups to any BattleTech match, from the somewhat reasonable (repair power-ups or an extra artillery strike) to the truly absurd (ever wanted an UrbanMech to pick up the hammer from Super Smash Bros.?).

But this supplement doesn't just stop at power-ups. There are also rules for achievements (again ranging from the reasonable to the absurd), as well as several scenarios meant to emulate classic arcade and other video games (ranging from Pac-Man to Space Invaders and even Metal Gear Solid).

For proper versimilitude, there are also rules for respawning, as well as a slight nod to the MechWarrior video games by way of the Patch Day rules (will your PPC be nerfed or OP this match? The dice will tell you!).

The supplement gets a slight point deduction (not reflected in the final score due to rounding errors) for not having rules for finishers in the Melee Kombat! scenario.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
PseudoTech: Arcade Operations
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Battle Century G Remastered
Publisher: Gimmick Labs
by Daniel O. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/22/2022 18:31:47

Battle Century G Remastered is the end of an interesting little journey. Before working on Monsterpunk, the author updated his blog with the "BCG Retrospective", where he'd go back to the original release of Battle Century G. Each chapter and feature was scrutinized, with insight on how it got there and how it could be improved. This eventually led to a PDF of suggested balance changes, which post-Monsterpunk would be greatly expanded upon to eventually lead to this Remastered edition. Overall a pretty interesting "behind the scenes" look.

So what is BCG, exactly? It's basically a tabletop adaptation of Super Robot Wars and SD Gundam G Generation (though that in turn is basically a SRW fork), aka a game about tactical anime mecha combat. The game doesn't try to directly translate the various video game mechanics, but the influences are clear if you're familiar with the source material.

Character and mecha creation is pretty similar overall, with each having six (albeit different) stats followed by a collection of various offensive, defensive or utility upgrades/weapons/skills/etc. Everything is bought with points, which in turn are limited by the current power level. Aside from the stats, you don't really have to deal with numbers. Skills don't have ranks, but are trinary (unskilled/specializes/the full package). There's also no skill relating to mecha piloting. This is a mecha game, after all, so it is assumed that everyone knows how to pilot one. The main thing pilots bring to a mecha fight are their Genre Powers, powerful abilities that can turn the tide of battle through buffs, debuffs or other trickery.

Combat for characters and mecha is handled differently, with the former being a slower, more dangerous affair. Though if you want there's really nothing stopping you from building a "mecha version" of characters for use with character-scale combat, which would be quiet fitting for campaigns emulating Super Sentai shows, or crazier mecha anime like Mobile Fighter G Gundam where every pilot is also a crazy fighting game character.

Mecha are don't have a lot of crunch, but are still full of tactical nuances. You don't have to worry about stuff like weight or how many slots you have, but (almost) everything you buy has to go into one of the mecha's Areas. Every mecha has the same amount of Areas, but what they represent can vary from mecha to mecha, and depending on how you refluff them you can also have tanks, jets, monsters, battleships, or really anything.

The length of any given battle has a sort of soft time limit in the form of Tension: The longer a fight lasts, the more dangeorus it becomes for everyone. On top of that there's a downwards spiral for damaged mecha, as hitting damage thresholds causes on Area to "turn off", robbing the pilot of whatever upgrades were put into the Area. Though fear not, for there are various ways to still use upgrades from damage Areas at least temporary.

Weapons are handled pretty clever. Most of them technically have the same damage potential, but they each grant advantages in certain situations, offer new tactical possibilities, and/or are stronger than average but come with additional drawbacks.

Bosses deserve special mention. Tey have their own collection of special Genre Powers, upgrades and weapons, most with wonderfully evocative names like "Behod my True Power" or "Bullet Hell". And don't worry about Boss fights getting potentially too easy due to the above downwards spiral. Bosses actually power up as they get damaged.

The Remastered edition compiles the original Battle Century G and its supplement Battle Century Z into one book, with a generous helping of balance changes, clarifications and advice. New optional rules are also included, like a corruption mechanic inspired by Monsterpunk (which interestingly can't make your character unplayable - as long as you don't leave the cockpit, at least) or guidelines to create your own weapons (the original edition relied on pre-made weapons that you can refluff to your desire, though the book admits that the construction rules aren't perfect; if you're idea for a weapon is similar enough to an existing one, you're probably better off with that one).

The example fluff has also greatly been expanded, though the original setting (a typical SRW affair that has been around since the days of Giant Guardian Generation, the precursor to BCG) has been abolished in favor of a new one, which is basically what happens if Turn A Gundam meets Nausicaä; a more optimistic post-post-apocalypse where the characters live in a now alien Earth, threatened by cyberpunk fanatics and the strange cybernetic monsters that have become the new dominant species.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Battle Century G Remastered
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Monsterpunk
Publisher: Gimmick Labs
by Daniel O. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/24/2021 10:24:44

A post-apocalyptic tactical RPG inspired by Megami Tensei.

Fluff-wise, the default setting presented is probably closest to Shin Megami Tensei II, in that the initial monster invasion has happened so long ago that the world has become completely recognizable, and humans have ince managed to arrange themselves with their new neighbors and overlords. Sure, they tend to be rather low on the totem pole, but the same can be said for monsters that don't make up the upper echelons of their hierarchy. As such, it is no wonder that some humans and monsters would join forces to form a mutually beneficial pact.

In true Megami Tensei tradition, the world is dominated by a number of rivaling factions, each with their own vision of how the world ought to look like. The various categories of monsters (which are closer to the monster types of D&D than the sometimes esoteric classifications in a MegaTen title) are split roughly equally among the factions (though that's just where you can usually find certain monster types; sufficiently talented and/or ruthless monsters can find employment anywhere), which can lead to some interesting combinations. My personal favorite is probably Elysium, which is a joint venture of angels of necromancers - because the only thing better than fantatically loyal soldiers are fanatically loyal soldiers that can still fight for you in (un)death.

Mechanics-wise, the game is recognizably derived from Battle Century G, although with obvious tweaks. Stats don't exist outside of Hit Points and Movement Points, so characters are entirely defined by their selection of Skills, Features and Techs. Action resolution is a lot like in BCG, but with a few Apocalypse World twists: the game throws in twists instead of a simple pass/fail system, and instead of trying to beat a Target Number you just look at your highest die (or a lower one, if you want).

Combat is very tactical, with stronger Techs requiring simple cooldown or resource management (you can't keep using the same Advanced Tech over and over again, and the powerful Limit Techs are like Super Moves in a fighting game in that they are generally not available from the start of combat). Like in BCG, there are tweaks to ensure that combat doesn't drag on for too long. Whereas BCG used Tension (which makes combat more dangerous the longer it's been going on), Monsterpunk gives every Tech a Base Effect: No matter how poorly you roll, you will always deal some damage, and your debuffs will generally stick unless the target is immune against that particular debuff. Negotiations are a common feature in Megami Tensei games, usually peformed to recruit enemies you encounter or at least convince them to leave you alone. In this game, there are a number of Negotiation Skills one can use to demoralize the enemy, which can cause debuffs and even surrenders. One does not necessarily need guns or lightning bolts to "defeat" enemies in this game.

Player Characters use a more restrictive level/class system compared to BCG (though there are optional rules for creating your own classes for a maximum of customization). Classes are divided into roles (Assault, Control, Healer, Tank) and type: Summoners fight alongside their monster partner (though it's generally the monster doing the heavy lifting), Riders use their monster as a mount, Hybrids are a permanent fusion between human and monster (think Devilman, or the Demi-Fiend from Shin Megami Tensei III), and finally Solos are for those who don't actually have a monster partner and instead rely on magic, psychic powers and/or technology. As a nice touch, each class gets the same number of slots for Skills and Trick Techs (class-specific out-of-combat abilities), meaning everyone has something to do outside of combat.

Battle Century G was already big on refluffing (ranging from just renaming the weapons to turning the entire game of piloting giant robots into something completely different, like say a tokusatsu game). Monsterpunk cranks this up a lot. Almost every class type can be refluffed into any other class type: A Rider can just be a Solo with a special vehicle, and Hybrids and Solos are very interchangeable. Even Riders don't necessarily need a mount (they can technically dismount during combat, but that can't happen against their will and there's really not much of an incentive to do it willingly) and might just be a very fast Hybrid or Solo. Even Summoners aren't safe from refluffing, and there's even an official "Solo Summoner" in the form of the Tuplamancer (who is effectively a Persona/Stand user because he doesn't summon a monster, but a being from his own subconcious). In order to encourage this refluffing, each and every class comes with three example character concepts, only of of which will follow the default fluff of the class.

And of course, the entire setting can be replaced with something else, like say some kind of monder day urban fantasy setup.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monsterpunk
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Monsterpunk
Publisher: Gimmick Labs
by Daniel O. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/24/2021 10:24:44

A post-apocalyptic tactical RPG inspired by Megami Tensei.

Fluff-wise, the default setting presented is probably closest to Shin Megami Tensei II, in that the initial monster invasion has happened so long ago that the world has become completely recognizable, and humans have ince managed to arrange themselves with their new neighbors and overlords. Sure, they tend to be rather low on the totem pole, but the same can be said for monsters that don't make up the upper echelons of their hierarchy. As such, it is no wonder that some humans and monsters would join forces to form a mutually beneficial pact.

In true Megami Tensei tradition, the world is dominated by a number of rivaling factions, each with their own vision of how the world ought to look like. The various categories of monsters (which are closer to the monster types of D&D than the sometimes esoteric classifications in a MegaTen title) are split roughly equally among the factions (though that's just where you can usually find certain monster types; sufficiently talented and/or ruthless monsters can find employment anywhere), which can lead to some interesting combinations. My personal favorite is probably Elysium, which is a joint venture of angels of necromancers - because the only thing better than fantatically loyal soldiers are fanatically loyal soldiers that can still fight for you in (un)death.

Mechanics-wise, the game is recognizably derived from Battle Century G, although with obvious tweaks. Stats don't exist outside of Hit Points and Movement Points, so characters are entirely defined by their selection of Skills, Features and Techs. Action resolution is a lot like in BCG, but with a few Apocalypse World twists: the game throws in twists instead of a simple pass/fail system, and instead of trying to beat a Target Number you just look at your highest die (or a lower one, if you want).

Combat is very tactical, with stronger Techs requiring simple cooldown or resource management (you can't keep using the same Advanced Tech over and over again, and the powerful Limit Techs are like Super Moves in a fighting game in that they are generally not available from the start of combat). Like in BCG, there are tweaks to ensure that combat doesn't drag on for too long. Whereas BCG used Tension (which makes combat more dangerous the longer it's been going on), Monsterpunk gives every Tech a Base Effect: No matter how poorly you roll, you will always deal some damage, and your debuffs will generally stick unless the target is immune against that particular debuff. Negotiations are a common feature in Megami Tensei games, usually peformed to recruit enemies you encounter or at least convince them to leave you alone. In this game, there are a number of Negotiation Skills one can use to demoralize the enemy, which can cause debuffs and even surrenders. One does not necessarily need guns or lightning bolts to "defeat" enemies in this game.

Player Characters use a more restrictive level/class system compared to BCG (though there are optional rules for creating your own classes for a maximum of customization). Classes are divided into roles (Assault, Control, Healer, Tank) and type: Summoners fight alongside their monster partner (though it's generally the monster doing the heavy lifting), Riders use their monster as a mount, Hybrids are a permanent fusion between human and monster (think Devilman, or the Demi-Fiend from Shin Megami Tensei III), and finally Solos are for those who don't actually have a monster partner and instead rely on magic, psychic powers and/or technology. As a nice touch, each class gets the same number of slots for Skills and Trick Techs (class-specific out-of-combat abilities), meaning everyone has something to do outside of combat.

Battle Century G was already big on refluffing (ranging from just renaming the weapons to turning the entire game of piloting giant robots into something completely different, like say a tokusatsu game). Monsterpunk cranks this up a lot. Almost every class type can be refluffed into any other class type: A Rider can just be a Solo with a special vehicle, and Hybrids and Solos are very interchangeable. Even Riders don't necessarily need a mount (they can technically dismount during combat, but that can't happen against their will and there's really not much of an incentive to do it willingly) and might just be a very fast Hybrid or Solo. Even Summoners aren't safe from refluffing, and there's even an official "Solo Summoner" in the form of the Tuplamancer (who is effectively a Persona/Stand user because he doesn't summon a monster, but a being from his own subconcious). In order to encourage this refluffing, each and every class comes with three example character concepts, only of of which will follow the default fluff of the class.

And of course, the entire setting can be replaced with something else, like say some kind of monder day urban fantasy setup.

For extra customization and options, the book also covers faction management and custom classes (either by mashing together two existing classes, or make one from scratch based on one of the class types).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monsterpunk Unleashed
Publisher: Gimmick Labs
by Daniel O. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/18/2021 15:45:55

Monsterpunk Unleashed follows a format similar to Battle Century Z in that it is packed with loads of new stuff for player snad GMs.

Classes

The new classes follow a different design philosophy than the ones from the core. They are not tied to any specific role, and can in fact be developed into any role since they can pick Techs from a pool shared by all of the new classes (which is made up of Techs from the core book). What sets these new classes apart is what I like to call their "big gimmick". Just to name a few examples:

The Binder for example has made a pact with multiple weaker monsters and can control all of them at the same time.

The Monomythian also has multiple not-Personas, but he can only have one of them out at the same time. In what sounds like a great tweak to the Social Link system found in newer Persona titles, each summon was born from a relationship the Monomythian has with someone else (most likely a fellow Player Character because there are synergy effects between summon and "parent").

The Secret Weapon is for those that love big super moves. This class has access to extremely powerful Limit Techs, but must jump through additional hoops in order to activate them.

The Covenant Caster (along with a few others) has access to a custom tech creation system (which should also prove useful to GMs).

Purebloods are the opposite of Solos in that they are a monster without a human partner. Sure, you could already refluff one of the core classes into being 100% monster, but this class has more monster-related flavor. It has various ways to create Orgone (the crystalized life force that serves as the currency and monster food of the setting) and use it to power up Techs. It also replaces Humanity (aka long-term damage) with Integrity, a corruption that crytalizes the monster's body itself.

Monsters

The new monster types presented here are generally rarer than the core ones and more or less trickire to use due to mandatory benefits and drawbacks. Flora (aka plant monsters) for example benefit more from healing effects, but their reduced Speed generally forces them to rely on teleportation and similar movement Techs to get around the battlefield

Optional Features

Offers a number of fun customization options, for example the option to become a lycanthrope or vampire. The Integrity mechanic from the Pureblood is also available here, so one can still refluff other classes as pure monsters without missing out on this monster-specific mechanic.

New Enemy Options

Of course there are many new ways to customize NPCs, like Machine (NPC is immune against negotiations, but becomes suceptible to the new hacking action) or Hubris (NPC loses spike damage potential in favor of being tankier; the campaign presented later in the book uses this a lot). New Techs are also included, and one can come up with even more thanks to the Custom Tech system.

Allied Reinforcements

A variation of the system found in Battle Century G, it offers a simplified way of added NPC allies to a fight without danger of them overshadowing the PCs.

**Consumables, Surgical Enhancements and others***

A selection of useful one-time or permanent upgrades for those with the cash to spare, along with boosts for familiars and other follower-types. Of note are also the advanced crafting rules, which offer neat enchantments that require the slaying of a powerful foe to complete.

Any Oasis in a Desert

A "short" campaign (relatively at least, it takes up the majority of the book) focusing on a fey city in the middle of a desert where all hell has broken loose after an Elemental uprising (who are usually employed as glorified batteries, ventilation and security systems). Overall it's a pretty good showcase of what you can do with the system. The main plot itself is pretty straightforward, but there's a lot of exploring, negotiating and scavenging to do, featuring encounters with mad scientists, cackling villains and the most diabolical of foes: lawyers.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monsterpunk Unleashed
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Fight! 2nd Edition Movelist
Publisher: Divine Madness Press
by Daniel O. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/17/2021 05:43:48

A most useful supplement for players and GMs alike.

Building moves for a Fighter can be fun and creative, but also daunting, especially if you're new and overwhelmed by the options presented in the core book. Sure, it comes with a list of pre-made moves, and has a helpful info box telling you most moves will probably only need to pick from a small list of core elements, but still, what if you need more examples and inspiration? This books helps with that.

The book is effectively split up into 3 parts:

Weapons

Weapons are mainly window dressing for moves, so this section is all how to represent weapons from an effects-based perspective. It offers a list of different weapon groups, each divided into multiple packages of elements to mechanically represent the weapon, along with guidelines to apply these packages to any of the moves further in the book.

The Movelist

This makes up the lion's share of the book. Divided into multiple levels and categories, this section offers common - and some less common - moves from the source material, along with contributions by Fight! enthusiasts. Some moves even come in variants to show that there can be multiple ways to represent a fighting game move.

Veterans of the genre of tabletop fighting RPGs may notice that the categories - and some of the moves themselves - are inspired by what is probably the first entry of this genre. Yes, the Cartwheel Kick is here, and no, it's not broken.

Random Charts

Rounding up the book are several lists to randomly roll up moves from the book, most useful for GMs and players looking for inspiration.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fight! 2nd Edition Movelist
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Battle Century Z
Publisher: Gimmick Labs
by Daniel O. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/26/2020 05:41:28

This supplement is packed with good stuff. Many new customization options enable new kinds of mecha builds (or help builds that didn't quite work too well with just the corebook). Personal highlights include Versatile Model (for the typical protagonist Gundam that uses melee and ranged weapons roughly in equal measures), Remote weapons (for if you like your Funnels to work more like they do in the shows instead of how they work in SRW or SD Gundam G Generation), and new fun combination options (Invincible Super Combination for units that are much better combined than they are as individual units, and Universal Component for units that can "combine" with - or rather dock onto - any ally unit).

The new rules systems are also a welcome addition. The Element System can help with certain niche mecha properties (like the Lord of Elemental spin-off of SRW), but are also useful to reskin this into a mon game. Rules for Faction Management further add mechanical crunch to the players' mecha combat antics, while Hardcore Difficulty offers options for more long-lasting consequences and unexpected circumstances.

The book closes with a bestiary of challenging opponents, plus a number of scenarios to use them (like a classic Asteroid/Colony Drop scenario).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Battle Century Z
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Battle Century G
Publisher: Gimmick Labs
by Daniel O. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/01/2020 09:50:46

Battle Century G is essentially the 2nd edition of Giant Guardian Generation, a homebrew title meant to capture the spirit of Super Robot Wars, a popular video game franchise of tactical RPGs featuring mecha from just about every mecha IP owned by Bandai. If you've touched even a single SRW game, you'll feel very familiar with BCG, and many design decision will become very clear.

What the game offers is a satisfying tactical RPG that handles things like transformable mecha or combiners with ease. Everything his heavily flavored for mecha action, but with just a little bit of reskinning the system can be used for anything from Super Sentai to action anime.

There are plenty of ways to customize your mecha, but the general system is very streamlined - so much so that you get to name the mecha's areas aka hit locations, which is also a very clever way to ensure you can use the same system for just about any vehicle or monster. Some might get put off by the fact you can create your own weapons, but the weapons are yet again very streamlined (usually falling into broad categories like "better in specific situations" or "better in general, but with downsides") and just begging to be reskinned.

The game also comes with a simplified combat system for out-of-mecha fights, but there's really nothing stopping you from using the main combat rules for more depth and customization.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Battle Century G
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Starmada Unity Rulebook
Publisher: Majestic Twelve Games
by Daniel O. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/09/2020 08:38:34

Easily my favorite system for ship combat. It's easy to wrap your head around, easy to play, but offers a whole lot of customization options.

After the somewhat more abstract Nova Edition (too abstract for some), this Unity Edition is essentially a heavily revised version of the Admiralty Edition, reigning in many cheesy options from that version while streamlining the overall gameplay. Many things have been sped up, without sacrificing tactical depth. I especially like the way fighters are handled. Previous editions had fighter flights of different types take up different amount of hangar space. With Unity they always take up the same amount of space, but the flight itself might contain more or less fighters. This makes it a lot easier to tinker with a carrier ship's fighter loadout. Seekers (anything from homing missiles to attack drones) have been greatly expanded in this edition, now fully customizable like any other type of weapon.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Starmada Unity Rulebook
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Starmada: 2020 Rules Annex
Publisher: Majestic Twelve Games
by Daniel O. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/09/2020 08:23:26

This Rules Annex, like the ones from previous editions, is filled to the brim with new ship system and optional rules. Also included are rules updates to the core rules themselves, the majority of which is centered about tweaking the construction rules for better balance (though nothing too wild as too completely invalidate older ship creations). This rules update has since been applied to the core book proper.

A good chunk of the book is dedicated to new movement system. Included are a very simplified inertialess system, a slightly simplified version of the default movement system, and a new vector-based movement system which is the most realistic of the bunch (or as realistic as you can get with 2D). Looks pretty fun, but can probably go a bit out of hand when there are too many ships around.

A fun new option introduced here are System Half-Hits, which result in a more even allocation of damage over a ship. Another huge new addition to the rules are the Customized Range Bands. Now every weapon can have its own custom range bands and a different weapon profile for each range band. This not only removes the need for the old range-based weapon traits, but also makes it much easier to accurately convert ship designs from other systems.

The one thing I didn't really like is the Point Defense System, which is pretty much the old Anti-Fighter Battery. I just prefer how Unity turned the AFB into a purely passive effect. Another odd thing is the lack of new rules for Fighters (outside of mentioning how other new rules and system interact with them). Though then again I'm pretty satisfied with the more streamlined approach to Fighters from the core book.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Starmada: 2020 Rules Annex
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Fight! 2nd Edition
Publisher: Divine Madness Press
by Daniel O. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/29/2020 11:26:21

I'm a pretty big fan of the first edition of Fight! (I ended up backing this edition, after all). It's not really the first fighting-game-inspired RPG I've tried, but it's certainly the one that clicked with me the most. The game essentially didn't try to translate a fighting game into a traditional roleplaying game (as say the Street Fighter Storytelling Game did), but rather used roleplaying game systems to emulate a fighting game (if that makes any sense). This 2nd Edition effectively takes everything I loved about the first edition and refines it. I'll split this review up into two parts. One talks about the changes from the last edition, while the other part will be more geared towards newcomers.

But first: Possible Misconceptions.

There's a bit of a "myth" regarding Fight! about int only being about 1-vs-1 fights. Truth be told, that's an easy assumption considering the source material (and the 1st edition itself didn't really talk all that much about multiple combatants), but trust me that this isn't the case. Besides tag team rules, there really isn't anything preventing fights involving multiple characters at the same time. Really, if there's a fight you can run in say D&D, you could probably also run it in Fight!. Mind you, the fight itself will probably involve more air-juggled Kobolds than most grognards would approve of, and will likely end up looking more like Dragon's Crown or those D&D arcade games made by Capcom...

What's New

The first thing that springs to mind is the layout. Being a full-color book with spiced-up formatting gives everything a clearer and more professional look. This time around, there's only a single artist for the whole book: Royce "FooRay" Southerland, who previously did the covers for the two Unlockable supplements. This not only gives the art a more consistent look, but was a good chocie overall because FooRay's art is absolutely gorgeous. The characters are highly dynamic and oozing with personality. My favorite bits are easily the amazing two-page-spreads before each chapter, most of which are done to resemble screenshots from a hypothetical fighting game. The characters aren't pixelized for a more "authentic" feel, but that's about the only complaint I could possibly bring up (except I won't because I love the art too much).

The rules themselves aren't a drastic change from the previous edition, and a good chunk of the changes are dedicated to the various Elements that serve as the building blocks for your character's Move (which makes sense seeing how the chapter on Elements has always taken up the biggest chunk of the page space). Some Elements have been dropped, new ones have been added, and the rest has been adjusted. Special care has also been taken to better explain and clarify how an Element interacts with things like combos or multiple opponents, making the rules overall less ambiguous. The new core book also incorporates many Elements that first appeared in the Round 2 supplement. It doesn't contain all of that supplement. Then again a good chunk of Round 2 was about various optional rules and adjustments to emulate specific fighting games like say Mortal Kombat or Guilty Gear, all of which is still compatible with the new rules.

Two of the biggest changes are the introduction of Keywords (a series of tags that serve as a sort of summary to a Move's Elements, which helps keeping track of things like how the Move interacts with combos, or if there are any special effects to worry about), and a complete overhaul of Style Changes with a system that is much more sensible and less confusing than the previous iteration.

Character generation and advancement has also been changed up a bit. Thinks like the capability to use ranged attacks or whether or not you have multiple styles are now choices you have to do at character creation. There's nothing too gamebreaking about allowing both later down a Fighter's career, but it definitely helps having a clear vision from the start. And don't worry about characters like Sean from Street Fighter 3. You can still have ranged Super Moves if you can't pull off regular ranged attacks. Super Moves are now less restricted in general. There's is now also a better support for characters that didn't spent too many points on ranged attacks or a high combo count. Want something like Potemkin from Guilty Gear who can't do fancy combos but instead just hits really, really hard? Or someone like Ken from Street Fighter whose uppercuts have better anti-air capabilities than his colleagues? Both are now better supported.

Combat has also been spiced up. Fights can now take place on a 2-dimensional grid for something less abstract and more traditional. Rules for Environmental Hazards (like walls and ring-outs) have also been overhauled (the old rules could get very confusing, especially if there were more than one hazard around). Another fun addition are rules to scale up Thug groups, in case your idea of Thug Thrashing looks less like Final Fight and more like Dynasty Warriors.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with how the book turned out. It changed what needed to change and refined the rest, overall ending up exactly how I'd imagine a second edition to be.

Fight! in General

Fight! tries to captures the essence of fighting games in tabletop form. Combat therefore makes heavy use of things like combos, hit stun and Super Moves. The "arenas" where the fights take place are handled very abstract, with the distance between characters being more important than what this distance actually translates to in-game. Are they just fighting in a simple tournament ring? Or does the fight take place on the roofs and/or walls of several skyscrapers? It matters not.

There are no predetermined classes, fighting styles or weapons for characters. Everything is defined by a character's move set, which is build in an effects-based way using Elements and Liabilities. For easier conversion from the source material, the Level of a move (higher levels having a higher starting number of Elements) can be based on the move input it would have in a video game, which is a pretty ingenious idea. I also love how high-level moves are balanced by being harder to pull off during the actual fight, which elegantly prevents situations seen in other effects-based systems where a clever player just pours all points into a single power to rule them all.

At its heart, Fight! is a toolkit, meant to be shaped to emulate whatever fighting game the group likes the most. Want combat to feel more like Tekken than Street Fighter? That's an option. Want something like Guilty Gear or BlazBlue where (almost) everyone can double jump and air dash? That's an option. And how does Super Energy work? Does the campaign even have Super Moves? It's all for the players and GM to decide.

The game even comes with different combat systems for different tastes (which you can even switch during a session): The standard system is the closest emulation of a fighting game, with characters building intricate combos on the fly to juggle each other. This system is also the most unorthodox for a roleplaying game (and easily the combat system with the most crunch in this book), but the learning curve isn't too steep. But what if your group's idea of a fighting game RPG is less like Street Fighter II and more like Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie?. That's what Dramatic Combat is all about. Moves are a lot less spammable, and characters can now make use of their Skills during combat to get the upper hand on their opponent. This system is overall more streamlined and more in line with a regular tabletop RPG. But Fight! can do more than just fighting games. The Thug Thrashing rules are an optional add-on for both combat systems that allow the players to fight their way through waves of cannon fodder, similar to Final Fight, Streets of Rage and other beat 'em ups.

And I dare say Fight! is even more versatile. The toolkit approach of the game make it a good candidate to capture the feel of various action titles, with Devil May Cry and pretty much everything made by Platinum Games being good examples. Things like Dark Souls or Monster Hunter aren't too out of the question as well, though they'd probably require more house rules.

Naturally, it's easy to think the game is mainly to play out tournaments, but that's kind of like saying D&D is mainly for gladiatorial combat. Players aren't at all limited in the type of adventures they can have. Even if genre covnentions will probably result in violence being an even more common solution for every problem than is usual for tabletop RPGs.

Overall, the game can feel like an unconventional blend of abstractness and crunch at times, but it's a wonderful engine to emulate video game action with all those combos and juggles kept intact.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fight! 2nd Edition
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Blade of the Iron Throne B&W Edition
Publisher: Iron Throne Publishing
by Daniel O. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/14/2014 11:43:41

After hearing a lot of good things about "The Riddle of Steel" (but sadly never having a chance to try it out), I was pleasantly surprised when this spiritual successor was announced.

"Blade of the Iron Throne" (no affiliation to "A Song of Ice and Fire", though the system is certainly more fitting to the setting than say D&D) is a low fantasy roleplaying game with a heavy slant towards the Sword & Sorcery tales of the pulp era; a genre in which society is corrupt and/or lawless, nonhuman races have either long gone extinct or become secluded, monsters are rare and never used as cannon fodder, and magic is both powerful and dangerous to its user. Characters will therefore not exactly walk around with a bag full of magical items, and even money is handled quite abstractly (as treasure is just an excuse for S&S heroes to go adventuring; not that they are particularly good at keeping it, anyways...)

Like it's predecessor, BotIT is a success-based dice pool system, with the most obvious change being the switch from d10 to d12. The TN is usually 7 (the typical "You roughly get one success for every two dice" setup for these kinds of systems), but there are other TNs used, especially to simulate the different "handling" of the various weapons and shields. Very servicable and lightweight.

Character creation is done in a similar style to older Shadowrun editions, in that you set priorities for various aspects of your character. Freshly created characters can almost max out certain aspects, but are very flawed in others. An interesting meta-aspect of the rules allows players and the game master to earn "karma", which they can spend to give their next character a head start.

Two very interesting aspects of a character are Assets and Passion Attributes. Assets are like Advantages/Disadvantages seen in other systems, but most Assets can be both good and bad (at the same time, no less!). A big character for example can be very intimidating, but also clumsy. This offers some nice roleplaying fodder, as player characters have to come to terms with their flaws, shaping them into something useful in the process.

Passion Attributes represent the goals and maxims of a character. They give the GM an idea what the player wants to expect to see in the campaign, and they increase and change based on campaign events. Points gained in a Passion Attribute can be spend for character advancement, and they also give the character a helpful dice pool boost should a conflict directly involve one of them. It is therefore wise for the player characters to avoid unnecessary confrontations not related to their goals.

The centerpiece of BotIT is its combat system. It uses a very cinematic "limelight" system: Instead of a rigid initiative system, every fight is instead broken up into scenes focusing on a different important character (even if the scenes take place at the same time). Each scene can take any number of rounds, usually ending when the opponent is slain or something dramatic happens. A rather clever, narrative-based system.

A round is of course more rigidly defined, as this is where the actual combat happens. Every character involved in the round has a pool of dice depending on their weapon proficiency. This pool has to be divided over two "Exchanges" (the actual attack/defense procedure). A plethora of available maneuvers and a nice back and forth between attacker and defender makes this a very tactical system in which knowing how to properly spend your dice is just as important as just having a big dice pool.

A realistic combat system would of course be nothing without hit location tables (fans of the Warhammer roleplaying games would feel right at home here). While ranged combat uses the typical "Roll for a random location, which you can then change slightly depending on taking an optional to hit penalty", melee attacks require you to pick a rough hit area (which makes sense as you don't just swing at the opponent as a whole, but at the approximate location you like to hit). This makes hits to the head more frequent than in other systems, but that's why helmets are important. And rest be assured: heavy wounds in other locations are barely less lethal.

Interestingly, the game doesn't actually use a map for combat. Maneuvering is instead approximated in terrain checks, which you can make to get into a more favorable position, or maneuver around a group of enemies so that only one of them can actually attack you (and trust me, you don't want to fight multiple enemies at the same time).

Overall, the system is quite enjoyable and very recommended for historical / low fantasy settings. It manages to be realistic while not actually being all that complicated. To reduce the grittiness, there are two optional rules: One allows player characters to shrug off wounds with pure willpower, whereas the other one gives bonuses to half-naked barbarians (basically the "chainmail bikin" rule).

A note on the score: I'd rather set it to 4 1/2 as there are some little quirks to the book, which may bring it down to 4 or even 3 1/2 depending on your taste:

  • the character sheet mentioned in the book can only be downloaded from the official site, and only after registering (but why wouldn't you? The creators and other fans give you lightning fast replies to your questions)

  • around a handful of rules are not as clear as I'd hope to, though the RAI is often quite obvious

  • the melee weapon list is not sorted alphabetically, but by general weapon type (blades, axes and blunt weapons, sticks with pointy bits). This can be quite confusing the first time around. Then again, the list covers just about any weapon from any era and continent in just 11 pages that go by quite fast.

(Man, this review got a bit long; to anyone who got this far: thanks :D ! )



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Blade of the Iron Throne B&W Edition
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Creator Reply:
Thank you sir, we are most grateful for the thoughtful review, and are glad you are enjoying the game! - The Blade Team
Fight! Challengers
Publisher: Divine Madness Press
by Daniel O. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/09/2014 16:37:25

Fight! is a fantastic system for crazy fighting game action, but it can be quite daunting for the GM to come up with a large and diverse roster of NPCs to fight and befriend. Fight! Challengers helps in this task by providing a bestiary of sorts. It includes enough characters to fill a KOF-esque campaign, with characters from every Power Level. The two PL 8 characters even have stats for EVERY power level, allowing you to introduce them whenever you want without having to advance them yourself.

The characters themselves (including former player characters from the very first Fight! campaign) have for the most part not much to do with each other, and they should all fit well into the typical "modern day with a bit of magic and futuristic technology" fighting game setting. They are also helpful for players and GMs alike because they showcase various builds and playstyles a fighter can have.

Rounding up the book is a list of thugs in all shapes and sizes, from your typical street thug to mecha.

All in a VERY useful supplement with lots of characters that can be used as is, retooled or used as an inspiration.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fight! Challengers
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Fight! Round 2
Publisher: Divine Madness Press
by Daniel O. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/04/2013 06:50:22

This is how an expansion should be: Fight! Round 2 is full of new options, rule subsystems and move elements to emulate just about any fighting game, though the main focus seems to be games like Samurai Shodown and Soul Calibour (more complex weapon and armor rules), Guilty Gear and BlazBlue (all kinds of exotic special moves and risky instant kill attacks), Mortal Kombat (various kinds of finishers) as well as some King of Fighters games and the "vs Capcom" series (helpers and tag team super moves).

There are also rules for mor unorthodox "fighting" games, from social combat to traditional fantasy to DBZ-style battles where everyone can fly (turning the simple, one-dimensional battlefield into a two-dimensional grid). Even a Tokusatsu and/or mecha campaign is handled.

I can't recommend this enough if you already liked the core book. If there's something you couldn't properly emulate with Fight!, it's very likely you can do now with Round 2.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fight! Round 2
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