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Five Leagues from the Borderlands 2E
Publisher: Nordic Weasel Games
by Jason S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/30/2019 14:05:30

I had the first edition, but never got around to playing it because I didn't really have any fantasy figures or terrain. By the time I got around to it, there was the second edition, which I'm really enjoying!

First, the game is solo or cooperative focused. This is great for me, because I don't get out much. Plus, solo games seem to make for better "stories", like D&D without a DM. The solo focus also means that the system is, I don't want to say "lite", but very straightforward, which is important when you're playing by yourself, and maybe trying to log the events of the "story" that unfolds while also trying to keep track of the turns and the modifiers. As such, there's not much to keep track of, and the modifiers are few, but there are still important tactical decisions to make.

The material in the books doesn't establish a setting per se, but it does hint at one through the types of characters, the backgrounds, the events and the encounters. So, it's evocative, but flexible. Also there are so many cool things that can happen. "The Palid Wanderer" floats through your battlefield. A "Haunted Stone" terrifies all who approach. The Red Moon portends bloodshed! Cool! The main campaign structure is set around eliminating the various threats to the village you're visiting, but there are also special events, some of which serve as mini-campaigns within the overall campaign, like the Sickness Below (rat-men!) and Rumors of Treasure (treasure hunt!) and others.

And of course, your characters can gain experience and skills, and find unique treaures. Or sometimes they die in glorioius battle.

So, in a nutshell, the system is fast and fun, and the options and tables in the book offer exciting and atmospheric things to encounter (and fight). I lost a Hero and a Follower in my first encounter, trying to clear out a band of raving fanatics camped outside of an old church, but I'm eager to bind my wounds and get back out there. Evil will not take this village today! :)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Five Leagues from the Borderlands 2E
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Renegade Scout - Bleeding Edge Retro Gaming
Publisher: Nordic Weasel Games
by Jason S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/16/2019 09:53:14

First, I should point out that I provided some playtest feedback and some photographs for the game, but I did buy my own copy.

With that out of the way, I really like "Renegade Scout". The problem is that it's hard to say exactly why.

I mean, it's a solid set of rules that are comprehensive and easy to understand, so that's good. It has sort of an "old-school" feel, but cleaned up and engergized with some modern sensibilities, so it feels familiar and comfortable but not burdensome or outdated. And I can't think of anything that I would want from the game that it doesn't cover. Vehicles, robots, sneaking, campaigns, character advancement, helpful and inspiring random tables, "off map support", falling, interrogation, reinforcements, and just a ton more. Maybe I'm just uptight, but that thoroughness really feels good.

Oh! And the magic/psychic powers! They're fun and semi-random, with cool names and effects. What I like in particular is that some powers are persistent, like "Float the Wind" which lets the caster hover over terrain without penalty (and without having to actually "cast" the effect), and some powers are maybe a little more powerful or desireable than others (but not too much). What I like about that is that your caster can, over several campaign games, "collect" the spells that they want, and when you finally roll up "Mind Plague" (or whatever you're hoping for), it's an exciting event. Also, the table of critical failures for powers has the possibility of warping your caster and any other figures and terrain nearby into the void, never to be seen again. It's not likely, but man, that would be something to remember!

On a less bonkers note, I also like the "sheltering" rule. It basically lets your units "hide" as they move around the board, and makes terrain important for more than just a defense bonus. Basically, your sheltering units can't be shot at if they are sheltering, unless your opponent can pass a "spotting" roll, which is based on the distance between the units. It's all very elegant and tactical, and the extra die rolls, when necessary, add to the texture of the game and aren't a burden (IMO).

So, those are some great things, but that still doesn't really explain how much I like this game. I think, in the end, it's just that when I've played, I've really felt engaged and had fun. Hooray, fun!

If you're interested, here are a couple examples of my fun:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eSlETsQ-fs&list=PLYUGDcghM-GWjAYDZPakeJzmQF4bfzGq9

https://redplayerone.blogspot.com/2018/11/renegade-scout-prydians-vs-maligs-at.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Renegade Scout - Bleeding Edge Retro Gaming
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Close Quarters: Skirmish Miniatures Rules
Publisher: Legionnaire Games
by Jason S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/08/2019 08:37:15

I got a chance to play this recently, and it was pretty fun. I like the turn sequence in general, and I liked the way that terrain and cover were described, such that they were pretty unambiguous and quick to figure out.

Speaking of figuring things out, I did have a little trouble sorting out what some things meant. Like, "force points" and "force point level" aren't the same thing (you use one to look up the other on a chart at the front of the book). And there was more than one reference to "xxxxxx", which I suppose was meant to be a page number?

But editing aside, it was a fun game that kept both sides engaged (although both of those sides were me). Unfortunately, I didn't have an opportunity to dig into all of the extra bits, like off-board artillery and Leader units and vehicles (though the rules are there and seem pretty thorough), but the infantry action was enjoyable, and the combat system quick, with few modifiers to worry about. Damage rolls are technically on a chart, but since they basically amount to "Stun and one less than the difference", I never actually had to reference it.

I don't know about balance, though. I only played one game, 88 points of veterans vs 99 points of regulars, and the regulars got stomped hard (I think that an extra action each round might be pretty powerful stuff), but it was only one game and it might have just been bad tactics on my part.

Here's a turn by turn (and couplet by couplet) breakdown of the game I played:

https://redplayerone.blogspot.com/2019/01/close-quarters-skirmish-unity-regulars.html



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Close Quarters: Skirmish Miniatures Rules
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The Department
Publisher: Joe Dragovich
by Jason S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/07/2019 15:38:31

Oh, man! What can I say here? This is a great game, at least for a certain sort of game. It's basically a solo/co-op Bladerunner skirmish game. You're a cop who hunts down renegade androids (fabricants). It's you (and maybe some friends) against the game and, in a campaign game at least, against the Internal Affairs department and your budget.

The gameplay itself is fairly solid, with a dice pool system that allows for the occasional lucky (or unlucky) result. The tables that act as the randomizer for the non-player units are quick and easy to use and produce interesting results.

Where the game really shines, however, is the campaign. You see, your main goal is to "fight the boss monster", that is, the renegade fabricant who's behind this criminal organization, and to earn the right to play that mission, you have to play other missions to collect clues. But not just any clues, so you'll have to spend clues to play different missions to earn different clues. And on top of that, each mission costs Budget which won't last forever. And on top of that, if you endanger innocents or rough up a suspect (or just question them to vigorously), Internal Affairs will be on your back, threatening to slash your Budget, or maybe just can you!

And, when you're playing a campaign, the head fabricant changes the way his subordinate fabricants work, perhaps making them harder to separate from normal humans due to high-quality "skin-jobs", or maybe they explode when killed to support their terrorist agenda.

If you like solo or co-op games, and/or cyberpunk-noir Bladerunner-esque investigative skirmishes, this is it!

There are a few typos and ambiguieties, but these are addressed in a FAQ on the game's website, and it's still totally worth it.

For a taste, here's a recount of my first mission:

https://redplayerone.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-department-of-fabricant-management.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Department
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Industrial Battleground Mat
Publisher: The Lazy Games
by Jason S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/22/2018 13:40:30

A very nice, high quality image. The grid, unsurprisingly, works great with Round of Fire.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Industrial Battleground Mat
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Unity Field Agent Elite Edition
Publisher: Nordic Weasel Games
by Jason S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/22/2018 13:38:37

One of my favorites. The card activation system keeps you on your toes as you won't know who's going next, or even how many actions will be available. And regular random events add even more spice. But it's not all chaos, as your leaders can bank cards to use later. The rules are easy to use and understand, and the factions are fun and interesting and expose some of the exciting flavor of the Unified Space setting. For a fun skirmish game with only a couple handfuls of figures on each side, I highly recommend UFA! :)

(N.B. I was in on some of the playtesting, but I didn't get paid or anything. Even bought my own copy of the rules. Worth it!)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Unity Field Agent Elite Edition
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