Archive | September, 2007

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Scar Night Review

Posted on September 29, 2007 by

Scar Night is the debut novel from Alan Campbell who, previously, has worked as a designer and coder on the Grand Theft Auto games. It forms, apparently, the first novel in a series to come called The Deepgate Codex. A good, even great first effort Scar Night would seem to (hopefully) establish Campbell as another of the active British fantasists and SF authors that seem to be keeping the innovative side of those genres bubbling along a bit

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In the Darkness Review

Posted on September 27, 2007 by

Basically, what the game world is, is part of a lower, demonic plane of existence, beneath the other spiritual and other worlds, a place of demons and death and devilry and Tim Burtonesque twisted landscapes where the various demonic races and beasts vie with each other for power and control. A theme which has been explored more than just a little in many other products for many other game lines.

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Undead: Flesh Feast Review

Posted on September 27, 2007 by

Flesh Feast as an anthology of zombie-oriented horror fiction, currently available from Permuted Press, the third in a series apparently. The volume is presented much in keeping with the current, and ongoing, resurgent zombie fad but isn’t truly and entirely a zombie-oriented collection. While the stories do all follow the undead theme, zombie purists (those who foam at the mouth about 28 Days Later) are going to be a little disappointed and, to be honest, they have a point. The stories that stray the most from the more classic zombie fare are the weakest.

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Flames

Ravenloft Gazetteer V Review

Posted on September 27, 2007 by

I should probably note before I commence that I am not much of a fan of the original Ravenloft, or of the world as a whole. Of the alternative game settings offered in the last gasps of TSR Ravenloft is much weaker – in my opinion – than Dark Sun or Planescape. To me it just all seemed a little too cheesy, a little too Bela Lugosi and we all know how unscary the old 40s and 50s horror films seem these days. Some of that ‘cheese’ always seemed to taint my encounters with Ravenloft from fortune telling gypsies to vampire lords and, so, I’ve never been that enamoured of it. I know people love it though, so I’ll try to rate this d20 remake gazetteer based on its individual content rather than the world it describes.

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Flames

Eddy Webb, White Wolf Freelancer Interview

Posted on September 22, 2007 by

In this interview we talk to Eddy about Mind’s Eye Theatre: the Awakening, membership in the Camarilla and other LARP topics.

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Flames

Aletheia RPG Review

Posted on September 20, 2007 by

Aletheia is an extremely difficult book to write a review for because, while it is an RPG, it is one with an extremely defined, extremely tight, extremely focussed setting which amounts to a campaign idea with its own rules, rather than as an RPG as such. Given that so much of the book is devoted to the reality behind the secrets of the setting it is nigh impossible to give a full review and assessment of the game since that would give away too much and spoil it for those that do buy it.

Review by James Desborough

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Flames

Orbit RPG Review

Posted on September 20, 2007 by

Orbit is an older game, 2003, but we picked up a copy on the bring-and-buy table at Gencon UK so I thought I might as well review it. Some shops seem to still have copies for sale and you can, apparently, still get copies from the creator.

What the game is, or at least what it tries to be, is a sort of ‘Heavy Metal’ (the film) in game form, intermingled with some psychobilly retro-fifties styling. The book is soft back, reasonably well printed and weighs in at 258 pages all told. I had high expectations for this game as I sensed a kindred spirit to ’45: Psychobilly Retropocalypse but these expectations weren’t particularly fulfilled.

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Flames

Colonial Gothic Rulebook Review

Posted on September 17, 2007 by

Colonial Gothic is a game of occult mystery and darkness set during the American Revolution, I shall try to contain myself from dispelling too many myths about that time or the nature of the revolt, or what the British actually did/were doing and why but even without that making my forehead vein throb this seems, to me, to be a peculiar time period to place such a game in, when there are more pressing matters for both the British forces and the rebels.

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Matt-M-McElroy

Departure Review

Posted on September 15, 2007 by

Departure is the second book in the Redemption Trilogy set in the world of the Chronicles of Ramlar Role Playing Game, which is also known as Eranon. This book picks up where Into the Reach left off, continuing the adventures of Kennerly, Lydia, Nara and Taru as they build new lives for themselves away from their homes and events in their individual pasts that brought them to the Reach.

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Flames

Cadwallon RPG Review

Posted on September 15, 2007 by

Cadwallon sells itself as a ‘tactical role playing game’ and it sits, uncomfortably and mystifyingly, somewhere between D&D and one of Games Workshop’s skirmish games like Mordheim or Necromunda. It never quite explains what tactical roleplaying is exactly and it comes across in the reading as either a dumbed down D&D where the board becomes necessary or a brightened up skirmish game where you actually roleplay. It is stuck between dimensions, neither one thing nor the other but given the D&D miniatures and the popularity of Clix this new middle ground seems to have become a fighting area for many of the companies so there must be something in it.

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Flames

Qin: the Warring States Review

Posted on September 15, 2007 by

Qin is to China’s mythological history what Legend of the Five Rings is to Japan’s. While there are superficial and stylistic similarities between the two games and they share the same broad appeal the similarities in no way mean they’re the same any more than the broad similarities between Japan and China themselves mean they’re in any way the same country.

Qin takes a more historical approach – though don’t worry, there are monsters and magic – and has a much more egalitarian and open society structure (considering the source material) than Legend of the Five Rings. Being a peasant or bandit is a much more viable option in Qin and while the social order is divinely mandated and enforced – particularly for women – the period of the setting is chaotic enough and in enough upheaval that this is no longer an issue.

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Flames

Exalted 2nd Edition Review

Posted on September 14, 2007 by

From first edition Vampire through to about a year or so before the end of the Old World of Darkness line I was a bit of a White Wolf fanboy. Not a drooling fanboy, they still did things that annoyed me, but by and large I agreed with their design philosophy and found that their games appealed to my style of play and the sort of games I wanted to run. With their cackhanded interference in their LARP society (not that it could have made things much worse than they already were) and their wrap up of the oWOD I fell out of love with them for the most part and aside from the occasional bit of curiosity I haven’t really followed their games.

Except for Exalted.

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Flames

Colonial Gothic Primer Review

Posted on September 14, 2007 by

Colonial Gothic Primer is a free PDF download that acts as an introduction to Rogue Games’ Colonial Gothic role playing game (RPG). It combines eighteenth century North America with a dark, secret history full of ghosts and ghouls and vile cultists. Players take on the role of colonial era individuals who are introduced to the secret history via becoming confronted with the supernatural. I imagine that the most common approach would be that of a Call of Cthulhu game with one difference, which is that the rules describe a cinematic style of play, with characters leaping from table top to table top exchanging wild blows, swinging from the chandeliers and probably employing fancy Mongolian style horse riding techniques. There is, in other words, a danger that game sessions may degenerate into knockabout comedy and the supernatural elements will turn into Scooby Doo type monsters. Players and GM will need to establish what kind of style they wish to use and how strictly they will stick to that.

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Flames

Victoriana 2nd Edition Review

Posted on September 14, 2007 by

I write for Victoriana, though I didn’t work on the corebook, just so you know. Though I think I’ve established myself as a fair reviewer of products by now. In fact I’m writing this review when I really should be trying to get back on with some writing for Victoriana. Bad monkey, no biscuit. Anyway… Victoriana is a steampunkish, fantasyish, politically aware RPG of an alternative Victorian setting, the height of the British Empire, seemingly limitless technology, mediums, necromancers, strict class boundaries and – most importantly of all – top hats.

Review by James “Grim” Desborough

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Flames

Monster Island Review

Posted on September 13, 2007 by

Monster Island opens sometime after the rise of zombies across the world. Most of the civilized nations have already been overrun and there are only a few survivors left. Not surprisingly, larger population centers are early victims of the zombie menace and, as a result, the more developed countries fall more quickly. For example, the sheer population size of a city like New York makes the epidemic difficult to contain. Too many people, coupled with poor “epidemic” containment, prove to be the city’s downfall in Monster Island.

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Flames

Bled Dry Review

Posted on September 10, 2007 by

Erin McCarthy’s Bled Dry, falls into the vampire chick-litesque category of paranormal romance. It chronicles the relationship between Brittany Baldizzi, a dentist, and Corbin Jean Michel Atelier, a french vampire DNA scientist who was turned in the 19th century, and has spent the last century or so looking for a cure to his vampirism. The novel is set in Las Vegas, a good choice for those with a nocturnal lifestyle, but McCarthy could have taken more advantage of her setting.

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Matt-M-McElroy

Cthulhu Live 3rd Edition Review

Posted on September 8, 2007 by

Having been a fan of the Cthulhu Mythos and Live Action games for years, I was thrilled when I came across a book that merged the two. I first discovered Cthulhu Live years ago in its 2nd Edition format and had a blast running the game, creating characters and designing plot hooks for players. I had a lot of fun with the game and was really excited when I heard there was a 3rd Edition in the works.

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Flames

Savage World of Solomon Kane Review

Posted on September 6, 2007 by

I was one of the lucky few, thanks to the sharp attention of the wife and her amazing persuasive abilities, to pick up an early release volume of The Savage World of Solomon Kane by Pinnacle Entertainment. Like a great many other game designers I am afflicted with a great love of the pulps and related ‘trash’ forms of fiction such as B-movies, exploitation cinema and so forth. Alas for us game designers the appeal that these genres have for us don’t often translate into good sales or successful games, with the notable exceptions of Mongoose’s Conan and, perhaps, Spirit of the Century (which has plenty of industry kudos but I’m not so certain on their sales).

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Flames

Halloween Movie Review

Posted on September 5, 2007 by

Hands down, the worst trend in the relatively recent horror movie resurgence is the incessant green lighting of unnecessary and bad remakes. It’s indicative of a larger financial problem plaguing the entire industry and while remakes may guarantee a built-in audience for the short term, they will erode the genre over time. So needless to say, I was none too pleased when Dimension Films first announced that the next classic in line for a rebuild would be John Carpenter’s seminal slasher flick, Halloween (1978). But a funny thing happened upon my learning about Rob Zombie’s involvement – not only did my steadfast opposition to the remake disappear, but I became down right excited to see the movie being made by a film maker who takes his horror very seriously.

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