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Shuffler - Modern and Sci-Fi Map Creator
Publisher: Paper Make iT !
by Jim L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/15/2019 00:57:23

Very easy-to-use map maker, though it's more for sci-fi and modern maps than fantasy ones (as the title states). Of course, most map makers focus on fantasy, so it's good to have one that does something else (particularly with cyberpunk games becoming more popular thanks to the hype surrounding CP 2077). Besides the ease of use, what I like about Shuffler is that it's very no-frills and doesn't fuss about with too many things — which is a double-edged sword. On one hand, map sizes are limited. You won't be able to create a sci-fi megadungeon with this (not without a few workarounds). The limit for a single map is 10"x7"; you can join maps together (up to 4 segments) using the program, making the limit 20"x14", but that's the extent of it (again, unless you use workarounds like Photoshop to manually join more map segments). On the other hand, this also means the program is really straightforward and focused. It comes with quite a few tiles that you can use (though lacking in furniture, which you can purchase as addons or import using the paid plugin), and it's just a matter of dragging and dropping.

One thing that bugs me is that the hotkeys are tricky to use, and the program does glitch out at times with objects that refuse to be deleted or resized properly. It's thus important to save regularly. The interface is also extremely obtuse, and trial-and-error is not an option here since it lacks tooltips and info bars. You'll really have to go through the guides (in the program and the accompanying PDF) while experimenting with the hotkeys and buttons to properly understand what they do. Once you overcome this hurdle, however, you'll be able to start creating maps in under 10 minutes.

All that being said, I greatly enjoy the convenience that the program brings to the table, and with the lack of sci-fi maps out there (besides those from regular creators like Heroic Maps, Loke's Battlemats and Paths to Adventure), this program is a godsend. For that, it gets 4.5/5.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shuffler - Modern and Sci-Fi Map Creator
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Interface Zero 3.0 Jumpstart
Publisher: Gun Metal Games
by Jim L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/18/2019 07:33:54

Well-packaged jumpstart that's more than just a bunch of pregenerated characters and a premade railroaded adventure. While it only has the bare minimum of options like what gear players can choose from, there are suggestions as to how GMs can create their own lists. As usual, the art is also really good (I wouldn't expect anything less from GMG).

Oh and it's Pay-What-You-Want, so you can get it for nothing if you're curious about it (I'm a very happy backer of IZ2.0's and now IZ3.0's Kickstarter campaigns).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Interface Zero 3.0 Jumpstart
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BareBones Fantasy Role Playing Game
Publisher: DwD Studios
by Jim L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/28/2019 01:43:40

Fantastic RPG that I keep coming back to. It's also very child-friendly--an absolute hit with the kids at our centre. Check out our full review to see why it's one of the best introductory games for kids.

https://swordsandstationery.com/roll-for-insight/barebones-fantasy-review-one-of-the-best-role-playing-games-for-kids/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BareBones Fantasy Role Playing Game
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KOBOLD Guide to Worldbuilding
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Jim L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/29/2018 19:56:10

This review is a summarised version. For the full version, head over to Swords & Stationery.

When it comes to creating new things, ideas are a dime a dozen. Everyone has an opinion. Yet, it is easier said than done to create something that's logically coherent. Furthermore, the well of ideas tends to run dry too after a while. This is where the KOBOLD Guide to Worldbuilding comes in. While not exactly "meaty", it has plenty of advice covering a wide range of topics. Each topic takes up about 5 pages of information, but it's concise and to the point. If I had to nitpick though, it's that not all the topics are equally well-written, but that's to be expected from having so many contributors. Art in the book is also a little sparse. It would have benefited from having more accompanying visuals.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
KOBOLD Guide to Worldbuilding
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Quill: A Letter-Writing Roleplaying Game for a Single Player
Publisher: Trollish Delver Games
by Jim L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/08/2018 04:39:33

This review is a summarised version. You may read the rest at Swords & Stationery.

Quill: A Letter-Writing Role-Playing Game is a gem that really surprised me. It's fun, but more importantly, it is an amazing tool for academic writing purposes, perfect for weaker writers and students with dyslexia. By itself, it's not perfect, but it's a genuine trove of ideas that mean well and work well. Plus, it's PWYW. Easily 5 stars from me.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Quill: A Letter-Writing Roleplaying Game for a Single Player
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13th Age Core Book
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Jim L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/08/2018 04:31:22

This review is a summarised version. For the full version, you may read it at Swords & Stationery.

13th Age is a game I've really enjoyed running, though I haven't had the chance to try it as a player. It does a great job at combining narrative and gamist elements without bogging down into bloat. Some of the concepts seem a bit heavy-handed at first, but when you get past the moderate learning curve, they become very easily internalised. I've read comments online that there aren't many viable character builds. Personally I haven't run into that problem yet, so we'll see. In any case, if you're looking for a game with excellent combat and a powerful narrative system, 13th Age is worth taking a look at.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
13th Age Core Book
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