The Independents: Dust Bowl Galaxy

You are in a tin can with half a dozen other scoundrels and there is literally nothing outside for light years. You are tumbling through a bitter galaxy that used to have a lot more people. You are going where many others have gone before. The trick is surviving to come back. You are looking for a new rock for your people to call home. And once you find it, the refugees can leave their overcrowded slums to become settlers so you get rich doing the right thing – just this once. On an unrelated note, you are not pirates. “Not in this port, officer.” Such is the world of a space western game with quick-shooting dice, details in the cards, and a wrecked and dangerous universe to rediscover: Dust Bowl Galaxy by Ilya Bossov and Lagging Dice LLC! Continue reading The Independents: Dust Bowl Galaxy

Bargain Bin Gaming: Ironsworn (ENnie Gold Winner!)

Well, it was quite an eventful ENnie season this year! Our site had the honor to be nominated, even if we didn’t win (there is still a continual “what?” on loop that we even got considered). The hard work and dedication of the judges is wonderful, serving not only to excite us when we rediscover something that had been previously reviewed, but also offering us the opportunity of new things to explore. It was partially through ENnie nominations that Bargain Bin Gaming began, and this year I had planned to do another set of quick summaries of each of the items in the category of Best Free Product.

And then I started by taking a look at Ironsworn and I found myself unable to do it justice with a simple summary.

Continue reading Bargain Bin Gaming: Ironsworn (ENnie Gold Winner!)

Kickstarter Wonk: August, 2019

August is GenCon season, but it’s still bumping on Kickstarter! This month we’ve also seen the tagline “Break Kickstarter” pop up, which has produced some intriguing campaigns. Needless to say, there’s plenty to sift through. Don’t worry though, because sift I did, and I’ve come up with my top nine for the month! Check out some hacks, some new games, and some truly odd design projects.

Continue reading Kickstarter Wonk: August, 2019

Meet the Party: Star Wars: Separatists

An entrepreneur managing armies of battle droids instead of finances and job orders, trying to find some way to turn a profit in all this. A member of the Separatist Senate who truly believes in the cause, working to sway both allies and enemies. A warrior of an ancient tradition, fighting for glory in a galaxy that condemns him. A swordswoman skilled in magicks, out in the galaxy to prove herself and perhaps even learn a thing or two. The Grand Army of the Republic and the Jedi Order aren’t the only ones with stories to tell during the Clone Wars . . . so deploy the droids and get ready to fight for freedom from the Republic with this ready-to-play party of Separatists for Star Wars Roleplaying from Fantasy Flight Games!

Continue reading Meet the Party: Star Wars: Separatists

Traditional Games and Why We Love Them

I’ve made plenty of hay over my opinions about D&D. D&D is not a bad game, but it’s such a limited expression of what a role-playing game can look like. The most common counter-argument I get to saying that a gamer should play games other than D&D is somewhere along the lines of “if that’s what they like, that’s what they should play”. This is usually followed by pointing out several more obscure games, which usually look absolutely nothing like D&D, and harping on about how that’s not the play experience they want. And this straw man argument is one of many reasons I’ve decided to sing the praises of the giant middle ground of the hobby, the traditional RPGs.

Continue reading Traditional Games and Why We Love Them

System Hack: Cyberpunk Chimera Combat

The one subsystem that all traditional RPGs bolt onto their core resolution mechanics is a conflict system and, like it or not, the most popular iteration of a conflict system is one for physical combat. Cyberpunk 2020 had a combat system designed with realism in mind, and, thanks to a statistical basis in actual criminal activity using guns, did very well in terms of combat verisimilitude. This did mean that some of the “imbalance” in the system, namely the overwhelming power of a high initiative roll and the destabilizing impact of armor, were based on reality. Quirks aside, what made ‘realistic’ fun was that the system played quickly and had enough detail to mean that player choices in terms of tactics and weapons mattered. The issue with Cyberpunk’s conflict systems, really, is that combat is much more ‘baked’ than the other conflict system, netrunning, and the only semblance of a social conflict system is the ‘facedown’ mechanic, which is one die roll for one specific situation. 

Continue reading System Hack: Cyberpunk Chimera Combat

Star Wars: Collapse of the Republic Review

“The Clone Wars rage on. Both the GALACTIC REPUBLIC and the SEPARATIST ALLIANCE have had great gains and losses in territorial battles and planetary allegiances. Years of conflict have exposed doubts in the JEDI ORDER, as veteran clone troopers question their own role. Other organizations take advantage of the chaos of war to pursue their own agendas. Bounty hunters and criminals ply their trades. The NIGHTSISTERS of Dathomir conduct esoteric rituals to further their plots while the DEATH WATCH of Mandalore escalate their terrorist activities in the name of tradition. The Force brings these agents together in the most unexpected ways…” This is the end of the age of heroes, but has it saved the best for last? Let’s find out together and bring the Clone Wars to a close as we go chapter by chapter through Collapse of the Republic for Star Wars Roleplaying from Fantasy Flight Games!

Continue reading Star Wars: Collapse of the Republic Review

Adventure Log: Masks: High Impact Heroics Pt. 6

As the doors of Halcyon City High School #5’s auditorium blasted inwards in a ball of fire and debris to interrupt the semi-formal dance, three things happened in rapid succession. First, the majority of the students present began to scream in panic and terror. Second, Gil and the Hemophiliac each separately took one look at the explosion and grabbed their dates, rushing Emma and the Sea Tarantula out a back door to safety. Third, the Lawman stood up from where he’d been knocked to the floor, drawing his revolver. Fanning the hammer he sent a hail of bullets through the smoke and dust . . . but there was an answering chatter of automatic fire. The revolver clattered to the floor as the Lawman went down, lost in the smoke and debris. The only active adult superhero and A.E.G.I.S. agent present was out for the count, maybe even dead. It looked like the younger breed of heroes were going to have to step up.

Continue reading Adventure Log: Masks: High Impact Heroics Pt. 6

Fate Space Toolkit Review

I’m a fan of Fate Core, and my favorite additions to the Fate Core family have been the purple books, the System Toolkits. What makes Fate so interesting to me is the level of modularity and genericization available in the rules, which both let players run pretty much anything they can imagine in Fate. With all that flexibility, though, comes the simple fact that there are a hundred ways to do anything, including some really inventive ones that any single player probably didn’t think of.

Continue reading Fate Space Toolkit Review

The Independents: Goblinville Gazette

Here lies Lump, Expert Lamplighter, Goat Rider, and The Iron Gut. He was a good goblin, and a better friend. He once let me borrow his shovel, and was barely even mad when I sold it for mushrooms. It’s unfortunate that he was killed by a gelatinous cube, and even more unfortunate that the cube was then eaten by a giant cave lizard. We bury this lizard mess in remembrance of him. To Lump!

Welcome to Goblinville Gazette, a game of bumbling adventure, shiny loot, and the ever-approaching threat of calamity. If you’ve ever wanted to play as a lovable band of misfit monsters, Goblinville has something special for you. Strap on an eyepatch, grab your rusty knife, and get ready to build the best goblin town that anyone has ever seen—which, to be fair, is a pretty low bar.

Continue reading The Independents: Goblinville Gazette

Bringing Games and Gamers Together!