Archive | Reviews

Megan

Gothic Grimoires: The Necrotic Verses Review

Posted on December 18, 2012 by

Packed into but four pages (the other four being filled with a fancy cover, the credits and an introduction explaining what it’s all about, and a page of adverts for other Legendary Games product) here is a wealth of material designed to support and enhance one of Paizo’s Adventure Paths. As explained in the introduction, they have chosen not to mention just which Adventure Path (so as to avoid even suspicion of using Paizo’s intellectual property) but as I am GMing the one in question at the moment, it’s not too hard to guess. (‘Carrion Crown’ if you really want to know!)

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Megan

The Zalozhniy Quartet RPG Review

Posted on December 10, 2012 by

The Zalozhniy Quartet provides resources necessary to running a complete campaign utilising the Night’s Black Agents concept and ruleset to the full. It’s not, however, something you can flip through and then run, like the game itself it requires thorough preparation and planning by the Director (GM) in advance, but will repay that effort by inspiring an epic and memorable experience for all involved.

Involving the core concept of the game – a vampire-led conspiracy across post-Cold War Europe – the book presents a detailed Conspyramid (the mechanic used to map the conspiracy player-character agents are combating) that spreads its tentacles from central Europe clear across to Baghdad. Resources provided include allies as well as enemies, locations in several cities, complete city details, maps and an almost bewildering array of events that you can throw at your characters… even some pre-generated ones, of particular use should someone fall by the wayside as the adventures proceed.

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The God-Machine Chronicle Anthology Review

Posted on December 7, 2012 by

The God-Machine Chronicle Anthology is The Onyx Path’s opening salvo of a new series of products for the World of Darkness under the auspice of the God-Machine Chronicle. Since the launch of the new World of Darkness White Wolf/CCP has released a plethora of products as part of their toolbox approach to game design while shying away from developing an overarching “meta-book.” While some books have strayed close to the line between the two for the most part each product was a package of tools each troupe could play around with to build the World of Darkness they want to explore. Now Rich Thomas and the many creative forces behind The Onyx Path are stepping over that line and producing a chronicle book, a setting in which we can explore a particular vision of the World of Darkness (which some tweaks to the core rules to match). This anthology begins the exploration of that vision, wetting our whistle for the upcoming chronicle book which we will not get to see until sometime in 2013.

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Dungeons and Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness Movie Review

Posted on November 28, 2012 by

Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness was originally released directly to DVD in the UK in Aug 2012 and premiered in the U.S. on the Syfy channel this weekend. Writer Brian Rudnick (Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God) was joined once again by director Gerry Lively (Darkness Falls, Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God) to bring the third Dungeons & Dragons movie to life.

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Weird War II (Savage Worlds) Review

Posted on November 20, 2012 by

Tabletop RPGs were born from historical minis gaming. Going in the reverse direction seems to be difficult in RPGs. Unless, of course, you add a supernatural element. Western gaming lay dead until Deadlands came along with a potent mix of zombies and steam guns. It’s no surprise that the company made famous by that game, Pinnacle, might try a similar formula with other times in history. They made a successful foray into the d20 OGL with Weird War II, smashing together the horrors of war with the horrors of legend. Weird Wars are poised to become a brand within Savage Worlds, with rumored entries including Rome and the Crusades. Launching the line felt like a good time to revisit Weird War II, which is available in Print and PDF for Savage Worlds.

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Flames

New Tales of the Yellow Sign Review

Posted on November 19, 2012 by

New Tales of the Yellow Sign by Robin D. Laws is a collection of eight short stories that invokes and draws inspiration from The King in Yellow, the 1895 psychological horror collection of Robert W. Chambers. In writing New Tales, Laws undertakes what is, in my opinion, one of the most difficult projects for an author—writing a short story collection built around a core concept or a small number of central themes. The challenge in doing this is that whether readers are trying to or not, they tend to judge each short story on its own, instead of how it fits into the collection’s overarching concept and themes. In composition, I see a collection like New Tales to be akin to concept albums. Each has “core tracks” that advance the concept. Each may include “voice breaks” where the audience is addressed directly as a way to make the message more explicit to the audience. Each often contains a “cover song” or a selection that pays homage to a past artist that the overall work is drawing inspiration from.

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Megan

Night`s Black Agents (Gumshoe) Review

Posted on November 16, 2012 by

The Introduction lays out the basic premise. This is not just any spy game. It has a very specific slant, taking the view that in the aftermath of the Cold War a lot of people who’d been earning their keep on the back of the efforts of East and West to monitor (and interfere with) each other now found themselves at a loose end, and had to put their somewhat dubious skills to profitable use in a freelance market – mercenary spies for hire, if you will. Frequent reference is made to movies and TV shows that present the appropriate feel, and if you enjoy them, it’s likely that this game will work for you, at least at the ‘spy’ level. As has been done with other GUMSHOE games, there are various ‘modes’ in which you can run your game and each is denoted by a small symbol – these are used to denote optional rules appropriate to your chosen mode, and other snippets of information useful to that style of game. This allows you to fine-tune the mood of your game so that it becomes precisely what you are after.

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Paranomal Activity 4 Movie Review

Posted on November 13, 2012 by

I would say “the plot thickens” but to be honest the fourth installment in the Paranormal Activity franchise doesn’t really add much to the mix. I will say that up front. At this point the writers (Christopher Landon, Chad Feehan) have pretty much phoned in the possibility of developing a growing plot and they’re playing with the dangling threads of the previous movies. We see this kind of treatment all too often in other franchises and it is usually a sign that the ride is coming to an end. If the box office is any kind of indicator the general audience is feeling the same as PA4 earned less than half of any of the previous PA films.

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The Book of Nod Review

Posted on November 9, 2012 by

I cannot tell you the naked fear I feel, putting down these words for once and for all. Perhaps I will regret them. Perhaps they will never see print. Yet, it is my nature to report this. It is, as they say, in the blood.

Thus wrote Aristotle de Laurent, Noddist scholar and vampire, in the preface of the Book of Nod. This book was special because it was published by White Wolf Publishing, Inc. in 1995 to be used as setting material for the Masquerade Mind’s Eye Theatre game as well as Vampire the Masquerade chronicles. Bound in black leather the book was the perfect prop for storytellers to hand over to their intrepid players. The stories began to write themselves.

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Flames

Arkham Horror: Ghouls of the Miskatonic Review

Posted on November 6, 2012 by

Ghouls of the Miskatonic by Graham McNeil was published a little over a year ago and marked the first foray into fiction publishing for powerhouse board game publisher Fantasy Flight Games. Ghouls takes place in Fantasy Flight’s Lovecraftian setting, Arkham Horror, and is the first book in The Dark Waters Trilogy (the second book in the trilogy Bones of the Yopasi has also been published). The plot of the novel follows a menagerie of characters trying to solve the mystery behind the disappearance and murder of a number of girls from Miskatonic University, as well as the character’s attempt to keep a grip on their sanity when faced with giant flying mantis creatures who think dress formal means wearing their brains on the outside.

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Night’s Black Agents RPG Review

Posted on November 5, 2012 by

Protagonists cut off from the real world. Men and women forced into violence to survive. Agents of powers that skulk in shadow. Are they spies or vampires? Both types of characters share a startling amount of similarities. The two genres seem tailor made for each other. Ken Hite brings them together in his newest RPG, Night’s Black Agents. But be aware, it’s not vampire spies. It’s spies vs. vampires.While playing vampires in RPGs has been extremely popular over the past 20 years or so, this one is about putting stakes in hearts and walking away while the bloodsucker burns in the sun.

The PDF is full color and laid out in a very modern style. The game includes several sidebar callouts explaining why certain rules work certain ways as well as giving examples of what happened during playtesting.

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Megan

Road of the Dead (Pathfinder) RPG Review

Posted on October 26, 2012 by

This adventure is located in Raging Swan’s Lonely Coast campaign setting but, as it deals with remnants of a far-distant past just about everybody has forgotten about, it can be placed in a suitable location in your own campaign world with minimal effort. Before getting into the adventure, however, there is a very clear explanation of how encounters are set out showing you exactly where to find each item of information you might need whilst running it. A lot of people lay encounters out clearly, but actually explaining your methods in advance is a nice touch. Traps and monster stat blocks are similarly laid out in detail, and this is followed by an overview of the Lonely Coast, to enable you to establish the adventure’s location easily, complete with a good map.

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Monica Valentinelli

Frankenweenie Movie Review

Posted on October 24, 2012 by

What’s black and white and has Tim Burton written all over it? While I’m sure no other movie reviewer has dropped that line, what I am positive about is that Frankenweenie is a new Halloween favorite created by spooky director/writer/producer/artist Tim Burton.

Frankenweenie is based on a short film Tim Burton produced in 1984. The film, which is readily available online and as an extra on some versions of The Nightmare Before Christmas, is part of the Disney catalog. You can watch the original Frankenweenie on Slate.com. A family film, Frankenweenie has a full cast of characters who live (and lurk) in the town of New Holland.

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Conspiracy X 2.0 RPG Review

Posted on October 19, 2012 by

The 90’s were a dark time in fiction. Conspiracies abounded everywhere. The end of the world was near. Genre television was abuzz with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files and dozens of shows of a similar nature. RPGs went through their own dark period as well thanks to the World of Darkness. Many games set their PCs as regular people who stumble into a world where the supernatural was real and tabloid headlines were prophets. But only one put the unmarked helicopters in their control. Conspiracy X offered a world where aliens have sinister plans for humanity. The most recent edition recently held a Kickstarter to continue the line.

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Monica Valentinelli

Citadels Of The Lost Review

Posted on October 12, 2012 by

Citadels of the Lost is Book Two in The Annals of Drakis series by Tracy Hickman. A veteran author, Hickman explores a new fantasy world where the opposites of magic provide power (and a lack thereof) to varying races; humans, elves, dragons, dwarves, goblins, chimerians, manticores, etc. The elves rule the dreaded Rhonas Empire with an iron fist — and slavery by use of their magical source dubbed the “Aether.”

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Hotel Transylvania Movie Review

Posted on October 11, 2012 by

Hotel Transylvania is a computer animated comedy produced by Sony Pictures Animation and Columbia Pictures. Dracula (Adam Sandler) built the hotel as a safe haven for monsters looking to get away from the dangers of the human world. He has invited all of his friends to the hotel to help him celebrate his daughter Mavis’ (Selena Gomez) 118th birthday which also happens to be the day he must fulfill a promise to her. On her 118th birthday she can finally leave the hotel to explore the world outside on her own. Of course, Drac has a plan to ensure she will come to fear humans and will stay in the safety of the hotel forever.

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Megan

Curse of the Sickled Hand (Pathfinder RPG) Review

Posted on October 10, 2012 by


Do not be deluded by terms like ‘basic’ and ‘introductory’… this adventure promises full-bore excitement, well-resourced and smooth to run, no matter whether players or GM are novices or experienced. It takes place in a wilderness area near to a rural village called Gafolweed, which can be placed anywhere suitable in your campaign world; those who have played the adventure Fangs from the Past may recognise some NPCs and locations, but it is not necessary to have done so to get full enjoyment from this scenario.

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Primeval RPG Review

Posted on October 9, 2012 by

Primeval is a new licensed setting from Cubicle 7 Entertainment that uses the same engine as their Doctor Who line of games. For those unclear about the television show, it centers around a group of people who investigate anomalies, which are rips that permit treacherous travel between points in time. The primary focus for the setting are anomalies that stretch back to prehistoric times, as they are the most common. The rips actually can go to anywhen though, opening up quite a bit of sandbox for a game, which is really what this review is about.

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We Are the Night Movie Review

Posted on October 8, 2012 by

We Are the Night is a German horror film about a young woman named Lena (Karoline Herfurth) living a lonely life of petty-crime on the streets of Berlin. Lena draws the attention of police detective Tom (Max Riemelt) while picking the pocket of a pimp that local law enforcement was keeping an eye on. Not surprisingly the pair finds themselves attracted to each other. When Lena sneaks into a rave she is spotted by Louise (Nina Hoss), the leader of a pack of female vampires, who immediately falls in love with Lena because she reminds the 250-year old vampire of her own creator (who died 150 years before).

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Monica Valentinelli

Dredd Movie Review

Posted on October 5, 2012 by

To properly review Dredd, I should share with you a couple of important niggly bits. First, we saw Dredd in the old-fashioned version, the two-dimensional format. Second, I haven’t read all the comic books so I’m not as well learned as others might be. Yes, yes I know. This is awful of me, to be sure, but he’s on my pile of “have to read soon.”

Going into the theater, I had heard the reviews. Flat characters. Boring storyline. Not much better than the original. Then, I skimmed comments and anecdotes from people I consider to be professionals. “Don’t listen to the critics,” they said. “Go see it. It’s what a comic book movie should be.”

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11 Tales of Ghostly Horror

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