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Medieval Landscapes: Peasant House
Publisher: Alea Publishing Group
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/26/2020 16:37:10

Wonderfully well-done and very useful materail. Thanks! Hope to see more!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Medieval Landscapes: Peasant House
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Ghost Punchers - Bare Knuckle Edition
Publisher: Hardy Tales
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/18/2020 19:12:46

I'm not at all familiar with the web-comic this may have been based on, so I can't speak for it's fidelity. I was interested in as a non-Ghostbusters take on ghosts. In that it succeeds very well. A good set of rules and ideas about what ghosts do, why they do it, and how to deal with them (spoiler alert - punch them).

It's a little thin, otherwise.

Some neat ghosts powers, some basic ideas for the types of people and organizations that would punch them and a few ghost write-ups.

Nothing bad, but I rather wish I'd only gotten the PDF rather than the print version (which is completely un-illustrated).



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Ghost Punchers - Bare Knuckle Edition
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Strange Nations: A Worldbuilding Resource
Publisher: WMB Saltworks
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/02/2020 08:09:23

The best book on cultures for rpgs I've ever seen. A detailed look at over 20 different and distinctive cultures that will work well in a multitude of fantasy games - high magic, swords & sorcery, etc.

No stats, all flavor and mostly human.

My only complaint is there is a little/way too much detailed food information. Not very useful.

But otherwise a definite must have for world-builders.

I hope there is a sequel!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Strange Nations: A Worldbuilding Resource
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DINOSAUR TABLETOP GAME: Cretacea - The game of gargantuan survival
Publisher: EZPainter
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/28/2020 10:34:55

I’m pretty sure that I have every prehistoric miniature game every printed since 1970. REALLY.

So far this is the best one I’ve ever seen. Simple, common sense, and fun.

It works with any scale dinosaurs you have and in a reasonable amount of table space. Only uses six-sided dice as well.

If they add cavemen to the game my search will be over.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DINOSAUR TABLETOP GAME: Cretacea - The game of gargantuan survival
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Creator Reply:
This is so very kind. Thank you, i really tried to keep things simple and fun and slimlined but also i didn't want to lose the sense of these hulking beasts roaming the plains. I am glad you enjoy it. If you haven't already try watching Walking with dinosaurs froim the nineties, its a bbc show and it inspired the entire feel of the mechanics for the game.
Witch Girls Adventure Rule book
Publisher: Channel M Publishing
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/16/2019 11:46:23

Terrific set of rules but the inability to search greatly limits the usefulness of the PDF.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Witch Girls Adventure Rule book
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Hex Scouts Guide to Cryptozoology
Publisher: Channel M Publishing
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/26/2019 12:55:18

“The Hex Scouts Guide to Cryptozoology” is a supplement for the Witch Girls Adventures role-playing game that deals with a girl-scout like organization for the magical girl.

Anyone who liked the “Secret Saturdays” cartoon shouldn’t hesitate to pick this up immediately!

A great idea with a terrific backstory and organization. It makes it very easy to get into the structure of a game with “earning badges” consisting of very interesting and varied adventures.

It is a 98 page PDF, with most of the book (around 67 pages) consisting of a ‘monster manual’. The rest is detailing the nature and organization of the “Hex Scouts”.

The PDF has readable fonts but it is on the dark brown ‘parchment’ like background that is extremely unpleasant to read. Searching the PDF is especially difficulty because it’s almost impossible to tell the highlighted word from the background.

There is color art scattered throughout some of it appropriate to the text, some of it not. It mostly depicts Hex-scouts ‘day-in-the-life’ scenes. The style is ...unusual. Almost like stained glass with rich colors. A step up from the “Super Crusader” art if you’re familiar with that style.

I’m not sure why thematically a blood splat marks the page numbers, but it does the job.

Personally I don’t think it even comes close to the art in the “Witch Girls Adventures” core rulebook. It’s not out of place and better than nothing but I wouldn’t call it “playful” or “inspiring” either.

The art for the badges and chapter separators (mostly just badges) is very good and very inspiring for the material.

All in all it does what it says on the tin and gives enough material to easy creating an episodic game of the adventures of a troop of young witches.

What is there is excellent and will be perfect for setting up an easy to run game with a varied cast of characters who can come and go as the players schedules allow (something very much needed in today’s busy world). So if you’re looking to run a “open” game, I can’t think of a better way to organize it.

A great history and background, an explanation of the organization and specifics on meetings and events make it very gameable.

Earning “Badges” is done by accomplishing a certain number of missions, with the older girls getting the more complex missions. The missions are open-ended enough that getting them will be fun and not subject to the “leveling-up” mentality prevalent in a lot of RPGs. There are 12 badges described and all of them seem interesting to play.

For example, earning the “Mermaid” badge requires visiting a total of 12 oceans - including earth and other realms. The adventures practically write themselves.

The scouting activities are well described and inspire great ideas for wholesome adventure where combat isn’t necessary or expected (mostly).

Four new Cliques are added: A horse rider, an archer, a monster whisperer and totem spirit watcher.

Skills gives some new skills are added: Animal Training, including a list of the tricks the animals can be taught.

Crafts including example difficulties and time to craft. It mentions “Wealth” with no explanation as to what that is.

Fighting: Range Weapon is also given, along with a list of nine maneuvers its possible to do with this skill.

Herbalism skill and Languages along with a list of “exotic” languages.

Medicine is also given along with eight example difficulties and modifiers for the type of patient.

Riding skill and Survival skill along with seven example difficulties.

Track along with 5 different example difficulties and terrain modifiers.

Cryptozoology is considered a Magical skill and is a knowledge skill.

An absolutely excellent skill section that doesn’t skimp on the details.

New scout/nature oriented talents are also given: Capricious, Environmentalist, Flower-child, Naturalist, Relentless and Survivalist.

Heritages are also given: Moon Maiden, Monster (with monster examples), Summoner and Shape-shifter all with a good amount of details.

The Magic section gives examples of Summoning and Summoning spells and Totem Bonds with two pages of examples.

Another excellent and well-detailed section. It might be too many rules for some, but they are all well written, detailed and distinctly different from anything else, and well-suited to magical scouts.

The Equipment section is not and has not only a fine selection of camping equipment but “Add ons” which for a cost can add abilities to the weapons as well.

Finally there is the rest of the book - the Cryptids.

It first describes several pocket dimensions where cryptids are kept in a form of magical nature preserves.

Cryptids are given a sort of “Challenge Rating” that compares their difficulty to defeat with the equivalent “Stars” and “Groups of Stars”.

The Cryptid descriptions are pretty standard “monster manual” descriptions and all take up one or two pages.

They give some extra information in terms of the locations where they are likely to be found and their motivations and some “common traits” that can be chosen that mean that not every cryptid of the same type will behave the same way.

They also give some ‘hooks’ that are good for inspiring an adventure and ‘facts’ that can be used to for researching.

Also, every cryptid is illustrated and truthfully, while I’m not very fond of the ‘human’ depictions in this book I think the cryptid illustrations are excellent and evocative. Forget everything I said before! Go figure.

There are some ‘classic’ monsters and some entirely original ones (at least new to me). These descriptions are overflowing with plot ideas and this is something I WILL be using and WOULD be willing to get a printed copy of! Though please get a white background!

The variety is amazing and if you play games like “Monster of the Week”, “Meddling Kids” or “Cupcake Scouts” there is a lot to like here.

There’s even stats for normal animals as well.

Unfortunately it is marred by the worst editing I have seen in quite a long time - and I buy a LOT of PDFs.

Extra spaces in sentences are the smallest of the errors. Extra lines between paragraphs. Misspelled words (that won’t get caught by a spellchecker). Weirdly worded phrases and dropped words are most common. Hex-Scouts sometimes has a hyphen and sometimes doesn’t. Missing commas that make the sentence confusing. Words after semi-colons sometimes capitalized sometimes not. For example:

“Most Covens have three or more, meet twice a month...”. In the next paragraph it states that Covens have monthly meetings. So do they meet once a month or twice a month?

“If the creature isn’t to dangerous...”;

“Hex Scouts depending on their skill explore those places and even help map and them.”

“Hex Scouts competed on broom carpet and flying steed amongst a coven and other covens in various races...”

“...as members as long as the are of age and....”

“.This magical uniform provides +_1 bonuses to resist intense heat and cold, Changes to Standard uniform, Casual uniform and dress uniform for 1 Zap point and is resistant to dirt wear and tear” So if you spend at Zap point they are also resistant to dirt and wear and tear, but if you DON’T spend a Zap point they resist intense heat and cold? And what the heck IS a Standard, Casual and Dress uniform? They are never mentioned again.

“To show this Directors..”

“Basic Perks” What are the basic perks? I think they are the uniform(s) and skill bonuses, but it’s never made clear.

“...don’t have I easy...”

I could go on, but I think you get the drift. It’s mostly understandable but a frustrating and jarring read.

Especially considering the high production values of the other Witch Girls Adventure book, this is especially glaring.

As a supplement to mine for ideas and a campaign, I highly recommend it.

The information is so dense and useful I’d even buy a print copy.

(Like most Witch Girls Adventure products) This Is Good Stuff.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hex Scouts Guide to Cryptozoology
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Cupcake Scouts the RPG
Publisher: Splintered Realms Publishing
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/26/2019 10:50:02

I’ll admit that “Cupcake Scouts” was an instant-buy for me. So it already started with the advantage of being unique and something I haven’t seen before.

But I was pleasantly surprised to find it was a simple single six-sided dice system married to a very clever background.

In a quaint town, the monsters and have agreed to a sort of truce created by the bribes of baked goods. This mission is carried out by the Cupcake Scouts gathered by an elder spirit called the Scoutmaster. In addition to delivering a wide variety of baked goods, are also trained to do battle against cursed creatures of darkness.

So in essence, it’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” where every player gets to be a ‘chosen one’!

The system as a simple 1d6 difficulty system with the scout’s “level” added to the roll.

Levels in the Cupcake Scouts is granted by earning Badges.

It’s important to note that this game has NO attributes (Strength, Mind, Personality, etc.) and this may be a deal-breaker for some.

You have your Troop (class), Level and Health and your special abilities.

The difficulty checks are broken down into well-thought out categories that make it easy to adjudicate without adding any rules overhead. The checks are Attack, Knowledge, Resist, Skill and Social checks.

Like “Swords & Six-Siders” a roll of 6 is an automatic success and a roll of 1 is an automatic failure.

Advantages and Disadvantages are also given in the same manner as in the “Barbarians of Lemuria” game (and now I think even in “Dungeons & Dragons”) with easy to remember ‘cancelling out’ rules.

Combat is handled as an Attack roll against a monster’s “Challenge Rating” which serves an armor class/defense. Scouts have Health points and are merely ‘defeated’ when they reach 0 Health. Challenge Ratings are derived from a monster’s level.

Cupcake scouts are always supposed to exemplify good behavior - brave, capable, friendly, helpful and smart - but they are categorized by “troops” which exemplify certain behaviors and acts a ‘Classes’ for the game.

Each troop gives special bonuses and a spell-like abilities. The troops are well-done, being unique and following standard RPG tropes (cleric, wizard, ranger, bard and fighter). I like the way these are done, but ‘disguised’ but definitely given unique roles and abilities, though the smart/wizard-like troop seems especially powerful.

The brilliance of the troop idea is that every character must embody the scout trait - pretty much restricting bad behavior (or encouraging good behavior as you will).

Scouts are already geared up with weapons, magic gems, a backpack, cupcakes and their handbook.

The Handbook serves as a clue-finder/portable google that allows scout-specific knowledge (including magic and lore) to be gained on the trail.

The Backpack is a fully stocked bag of tricks for monster hunters.

Even the cupcakes (or other treats) have a chance of having magical powers.

Levels are gained by earning badges and provide all sorts of bonuses, including one optional ability per level.

Optional abilities work like talents or feats and it’s great that even in a simple game like this you have mechanical and choice-based ways of distinguishing your scout from the others.

Earning Badges including Baking, Hunter, Slayer and Troop badges. You do the straight forward thing a certain number of times to earn them. Baking, killing, more killing and being exemplary at your troop’s trait.

Its like experience points, but the adventure itself is what gains the advancement.

The Scoutmaster is given the common Gamemaster advice, but also noted that they are a character in the game as well. Rather a ‘Mary Poppins’ type of character. It gives an outline of a typical adventure that gives them an episodic structure. This might not work for everyone, but I like it a-lot.

It also gives simple rules for random events and guides on setting ‘challenge ratings’ (the difficulty levels that need to be rolled over), and suggestions on assigning Advantages and Disadvantages. Very thorough and well done for such a light rule system.

Now because the game has no ‘skills’ of any kind, it talks about common situations - climbing, holding breath, leaping, swimming. It also talks about the effects of darkness. It even has a sort of ‘challenge rating’ for determining the difficulty of the opposition. It’s things like this that indicate that the game has actually been played rather than just written and very much appreciated. Even in “rules-light” games, these kinds of things are very helpful and for me, determine whether something is truly playable or not.

There is a fairly typical “Treasure” section, though it admonishes that cash is not really a viable option. Against the code and doesn’t travel to the mortal world. I’m not sure I wouldn’t like to see a little more creativity in this area. Maybe something that had to do with earning badges.

The Creature chapter is suitably brief, giving monsters a single Challenge Rating Number and ‘Tags’ which seem to correspond to something like ‘creature type’. Corruptions, Cursed, Elementals, Lycanthrope, Spirits, Undead, Vermin, etc.

Special abilities are buried in the monster description. The monsters would not be out of place in a “Dungeon Scouts” game. So much so that it’s almost a disconnect. The rules are written to work with the game, but for example the bite of a Hellhound can only be healed over time. While there is plenty of healing in the game, doing it over time is never described.

The Adventures are suitably short, but thankfully each of them has a map which is always appreciated. The artwork in generally is excellent in its own quirky style and suits the game well.

There are four of them which makes for a very nice start. They are rather dungeony, though, and the rewards for them are mostly of the ‘monster’ hunter badge type. I’m sure it’s fine for a game played with your daughter but I could certainly see more variety in the types of adventures for cupcake scouts.

The adventures tend to suggest that the town of Raven’s Hallow may in fact be in a medieval fantasy world rather than the modern world. There is a gnome apothecary, a family of (apparently) halflings and faun’s running the town library. I guess it was never explicitly said that the scouts were in the modern world, but it would be nice to have this explicitly stated. Maybe it’s just not the kind of thing the audience for this book would be too concerned with, but I’d like to know!

Believe it or not there is a Campaign section. THIS is the place where it talks about the ‘world’ of Cupcake Scouts. I wish this chapter was a LOT earlier.

So it states that there is a “land of humans” but it doesn’t actually say if that is a modern land.

Well, at the end of the day its a charming, playable rules-light system with an imaginative background and a great premise that seems fun as hell to play.

I’d play it in an instance and buy a printed version.

I truly hope there’s more coming!

PS: The only reason it's a 4 instead of a 5 is that the background world isn't explained very well.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cupcake Scouts the RPG
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Creator Reply:
Thank you so much for the detailed review. I am glad to see that you responded so well to many of the design decisions. The game really came together nicely, but I know that it absolutely fits a certain 'niche'; although I did think of it as a game that you would play with a Supernatural or Buffy vibe. For the record, it is a modern town that is basically a 'borderland' between the mortal and mythical worlds. So it's got kindly grandmothers who tend their gardens with the help of gnomes, and everyone gets along quite nicely, thank you very much.
Bulletproof Blues
Publisher: Kalos Comics
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/26/2019 08:32:34

BULLETPROOF BLUES REVIEW

I think Thomas B.'s review said it better than I could. It's well, though sparsely illustrated, well edited and well written. It's just...boring. There's nothing new here. I think that "a poor-mans' mutants & masterminds" is giving it a little too much credit, but that's about the closest it comes to. With 8 attributes and the mutants & mastermind 'power rank' structure, it's not rules "light" by any means. It's not super-crunchy either however. So "rules-medium". There's no sample adventure, nothing in the way of example NPCs, no weapons, no vehicles, no animals. The world background is trite and derivative (though intentional it would seem). It's much less complete that other superhero offerings, being basically character creation, combat and world background. It basically doesn't have anything that hasn't been done before and there's nothing particularly interesting about the way it's done. I'd say why bother, but it is affordable to check out easily if you haven't found anything else you like. But really, this seems more a set of house rules for Mutants & Masterminds than a full game.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Bulletproof Blues
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for leaving a review! I may not understand it, or how you have come to the conclusions you have, but you spent time writing it and you seem sincere, and that's always appreciated.
Note: This review is for the second edition of the game.
Barbarians & Basilisks
Publisher: John M Stater
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/04/2018 09:04:41

I didn't have very high expectations for this product and didn't buy it for a quite a long time. I've been burned before ("Barbarians of the Gothic Wastes", "Barbarians, Booze & Battle-Axes", "Crypts & Things") by products with titles promising sword & sorcery but delivering half-baked, hand-wavy games that would take more work to get into playable shape than the time it took to write them originally.

So I was blown away by Barbarians & Basilisks (B&B). It not only reads as completely playable out of the box, but very well thought out and it reads like it actually was played! And even at such a short page count is more complete than many "OSR" style games.

I agree with the previous reviewer - the game is very much in the style of "Swords Six-Siders" (and can make a good supplement/pairing with it). A very bare-bones d6 only "old school" style RPG. But it delivers and deservers bigger recognition.

Wish I'd bought it much, much earlier.

There is a print edition at Lulu and I'm buying it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Barbarians & Basilisks
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Spell Casting 101: Verbal components
Publisher: Rob Masters
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/28/2018 10:44:48

No graphics, not very fancy, but it does what it says on the tin.

A few anacronisms that might seem a little lame ("Magic please don't make me look like a chump.." but most of it is pretty usable and suitable for most fantasy worlds.

Only the second product I've ever seen do this.

I liked it alot.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Spell Casting 101: Verbal components
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Life and Death Zarth Edition
Publisher: D101 Games
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/15/2018 10:29:30

WARNING! This adventure does NOT take place on Zarth!?! WTF!?! If you want to write a D&D adventure,then don't say it's a "Zarth" edition! Call it a "BS pocket dimension edition"! RIP-OFF. I want my money back! }:{



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Life and Death Zarth Edition
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for the balanced and well thought out review. Its called the "Zarth" edition to tie it into Crypts and Things default setting. From the introduction (which is viewable in the preview): "Where in the World of Zarth? If you intend to use this adventure with characters who have previously adventured in the Continent of Terror, here’s some suggestions on where The Shattered Lands exist: • Far across the Reapers Sea on another continent. • In its own pocket dimension or Other World. Characters from Zarth arrive via a magic portal, such as the one in the Black Monolith in the Haunted Lands in the main Crypts and Things Rule Book ." So as you can see I give two suggestions: one is Zarth based, the other is a pocket dimension/Other World.
111 fantasy maps (lowres)
Publisher: Megaton Games
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/26/2016 16:04:20

I'd agree with everyone else - the maps are good, but they are very low resolution. I'd pay for higher resolution.

I'm also not crazy about some of the maps being on multiple pages, but that's a quibble.

Another quibble is that sometimes the map is a very small part of the page for no obvious reason, making it a big waste of ink.

Other than that though, it's a great collection and I'd love to see more of the same (with higher resolution!).



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
111 fantasy maps (lowres)
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Ultimate NPC Deck
Publisher: LPJ Design
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/15/2016 16:04:06

It's okay for what it is, the art is good, but for my money there are way, way, way too many "gonzo" characters. An otter pirate? When am I EVER going to use that? More importantly how could I EVER use that MORE than once!

So while there are 68 cards (and one blank - what the heck am I going to do with a blank), I'll be lucky if I can use 30 of them.

If you're okay with each of these guys being usable only once, you might like this. Otherwise, there's not a lot of 'normal' NPCs here.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate NPC Deck
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Inked Adventures Map and Dice Playing Cards
Publisher: Inked Adventures
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/14/2016 12:57:54

Just a quick note to say these are VERY cool. Better than I was expecting actually. Most 'geomorph' cards like this (and there are quite a few here) have pretty uninteresting pieces, but each card is unique and each card has a very interesting 'section'. It could be used to quickly create a dungeon or even combined with other geomorophic cards.

I like the fact that the card suits are here as well - at the very least they could be used with Savage Worlds.

I'm not sure why the dice are there. Useful I supposs, just not particularly 'neccessary'.

There are no instructions on how to use the deck...but really, it's pretty easy to figure out, though it would be interesting to see what the origionators idea on using them was.

The back of the cards are just plain dull but that's no big deal. Just a note that not even a 'brand identity' is here.

Very much the best card set for RPG's I've bought here - and I've bought a few!

I hope we can see more 'geomorphic' cards from this company. The art is terrific and I personally thing the form-factor is much more usable than 'tiles' or anything else.

Anyway, very nice, thanks!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Inked Adventures Map and Dice Playing Cards
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Role Playing Game Rating Sheet
Publisher: Critical Hit Publishing
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/21/2016 10:23:39

I'd have liked to see the explanation for how to use the survey in the document itself. Maybe even expanded to suggest different ways to approach players and groups of players with this document.

It wouldn't kill it to be two pages instead of one.

I like the 'weird' names. I think they take the edge off starting a game with homework.

I think the "Which system" question is valid. You could always change it to "RAW" (rules as written) or "Rules as Guidelines" but I think most game systems themselves actually give you an idea of how they should be played. And since ALL games have 'house rules' which system is a more informative question.

In short, I recommend this 'as is' and I'll try to use it myself.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Role Playing Game Rating Sheet
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