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Black Streams: Solo Heroes
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by John Y. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/07/2014 08:52:34

Pros: Improves solo PC longevity but doesn't increase the class abilities as a side-effect - you still have the fun of leveling up and gaining power but your risk of dying before you ever see any kind of growth is mitigated. Simple to implement Allows you to play published adventures with a single PC with little or no modification of encounters Works with your existing character generation rules Works with existing game mechanics

Cons: If you are wed to the idea that the game is one of nobodies struggling and dying on their way to fame, fortune and hero status, this changes the very nature of the game: they are a hero of sorts at the outset, in the sense that they are able to withstand blows that would kill them in party-of-PCs game quite easily.

More thoughts on Solo Heroes here: http://tabletopdiversions.blogspot.com/2014/02/black-streams-solo-heroes-review.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Black Streams: Solo Heroes
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Chain Reaction 3.1 - Final Version
Publisher: Two Hour Games
by John Y. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/15/2013 15:21:20

This is one of my favorite rule sets and it's free! The rules provide a clearly explained tutorial on how the THW reaction system works. And, to my mind, does the best job of it since their very early releases like Six Gun Sound 1st ed and the various Mayhem titles. In fact, as much as I enjoyed Six Gun Sound 1st ed. I hadn't, until this release, enjoyed any of the successive rules THW put out. That has changed as a result of CR3: FV.

Download the rules, grab a couple of figures and follow the tutorial and you'll have a decent grasp of the game. Do not try to mentally guess how they will go. These rules can be hard to grasp from reading alone; the play is the thing.

The included "campaign" mean you have a complete game (minus vehicle rules) for no investment but the time to play through some scenarios (again, I can't emphasize that enough, you need to play the rules to really appreciate them).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Chain Reaction 3.1 - Final Version
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Hovel Paper Model
Publisher: Dave Graffam Models
by John Y. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/15/2013 15:09:14

It's smaller than I expected but it is a hovel, and free, so it's hard to complain. Works fine on the tabletop - I usually use it as a checkpoint.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hovel Paper Model
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Chronicles of Arax - Solo Adventure Game
Publisher: Crystal Star Games
by John Y. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/15/2013 15:04:16

I enjoyed the solo adventure well enough, but as a solo gamer what really intrigued me was the mechanism used for encounter generation.

It's easy enough to extract this system and use it with your own solo dungeon and hex crawls. I especially find this useful when I tire of totally random encounters (which doesn't take long) and want something with more of a logical progression to some sort of definitive end.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Chronicles of Arax - Solo Adventure Game
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FREE! Vyllage House color building kit
Publisher: Microtactix
by John Y. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/15/2013 14:58:01

I've probably built this 10 or so times - it's very easy to build, although I'm all thumbs and have trouble with the chimney. I use it for 1/72 WWII and it looks great on the table.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
FREE! Vyllage House color building kit
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Angry Flowers!
Publisher: Rarr! I'm A Monster Publishing
by John Y. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/06/2012 11:45:17

At $0.99 it does seem a bit pricey for just 7 pages, but on the plus side, you get two pdfs - 1 full size and 1 pocket mod. True, it's not anything you couldn't do yourself with any existing system (but you didn't, did you?), and it won't replace your regular RPG set, however, $0.99 for a playable, easy to run, fun game, for a break from "serious" sessions is a pretty good deal. I got mine for $.75 during the recent Christmas in July sale on the DriveThru sites, and it's definitely worth at least that.

Plus you'll get to roll your d4 more than you ever have.

For less than a dollar and maybe 20 minutes spent creating a scenario, we got an hour or so of laughing, dice rolling and story telling. What more do you want?

Ok, there must be something or I would have given it 5 stars.

What was missing? I would have liked more explanation of the telepathic powers in game terms. Healing is detailed as 1d4 , but, for example, the ability to lift X pounds, doesn't indicate whether a skill roll is required or if it's automatic. I can decide how I want to handle it, but I was curious as to the game designer's intent.

Even so, that didn't impact our fun at all.

Don't let that dissuade you from making the purchase!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Angry Flowers!
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Locket Away
Publisher: Trollish Delver Games
by John Y. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/13/2012 01:00:33

The adventure provides a good introduction to using USR's mechanisms for contested and uncontested actions, when and how to use specialisms (this is, in my opinion, the meat of USR. It allows you to create a unique character in any setting, in spite of only having 3 attributes to play with), and how weapons and armor bonuses work. Plus you get a fun story that has some replay value even after you've made your way through it successfully.

This replay value comes primarily in the choice of specialisms for your character. Mr. Lloyd limits the specialisms available - I suspect he does so to make use of them within the story. This makes sense given that it's a solo adventure and there's no GM to rule which specialism might be appropriate. It also serves double-duty as examples for people who aren't confident in their design of specialisms or using them in play.

That said, I can see the possibility of putting the onus on the player to decide if they have an appropriate specialism or not and only specify the base attribute (Action, Wits or Ego). This would open up solo adventures to already existing characters. In no way does this detract from Locket Away - just a musing on what would be cool to see in future releases.

I hope Mr. Lloyd follows this effort up with a continuation in which the player can use the same character (assuming the character survives - mine made it through by the skin of his teeth). The choices Mr. Lloyd gives the player feel meaningful - I never once felt railroaded or that my character's fate wasn't in my hands (and the hands of the dice). On top of this, the situations I found myself in had a definite fantasy-meets-pulp feel.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Locket Away
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USR (Unbelievably Simple Role-playing)
Publisher: Trollish Delver Games
by John Y. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/26/2012 14:29:15

This is a great game - simple, well laid out and very flexible.

I've used it for both a basic dungeon crawl and also as a set of small scale sci-fi skirmish wargame rules and it handled both quite well.

I understand there's supposed to be some genre specific variants released in the future but you don't need to wait - modifying to fit a given genre is already provided for in the rules, it just takes a little thought.

Highly recommended! (and free!)

More in-depth write ups are available here: http://tabletopdiversions.blogspot.com/2012/04/lunch-time-with-unbelievably-simple.html http://tabletopdiversions.blogspot.com/2012/04/usr-skirmish-game-calling-dr.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
USR (Unbelievably Simple Role-playing)
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Elves Under Hoof
Publisher: Dan Verssen Games
by John Y. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/02/2011 13:27:22

This game had been on my wish list forever, well years at least. I finally bought it last month and it's totally worth it!

Seriously, what better way to get into the holiday spirit than leading your squad of fellow reindeer into battle, blowing up elves with grenades, and kicking back some egg nog for extra power?

I'm a sucker for cartoon-y artwork and anything Christmas, so that might explain my enthusiasm in part. The fact that it's designed to be played solo is a big plus, since that's my preferred way to wargame.

Best of all though, it's a good little tactical game. The scenario design is good and use a couple of mechanisms to keep the solitaire player on their toes including giving the enemy near endless reinforcements, constraints on player movement (in the first scenario), and turn limits. There's even an Out of Ammo rule.

My only question/concern is why the M1 gets needs a 4+ at a range of 1 hex, a 3+ at 2-3 hexes, and goes up again to 4+ at 4-10 hexes.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Elves Under Hoof
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