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GRIM

Twilight 2013 RPG Review

Posted on December 16, 2008 by GRIM


Available at RPGNow.com

Introduction
Twilight 2000 was always one of those games that I read more than I played. I spent a lot of time coming up with scenarios and survivor communities but very rarely got to play it. I played a short campaign – as a player – where I blew myself up with a grenade that bounced back down the stairs to me after a bad roll – but that was about it. The whole ‘military unit’ campaign flavour, accompanied by the embarrassingly Americanocentric viewpoint of the material made it a poor fit for the freewheeling, British RPG groups I’ve always been a part of, but I loved the setting and while not a greatly played game it holds a seat of affection for me.

The original game, Twilight 2000, has been through a few incarnations. The original was written during the resurgence of the Cold War in the 1980s – ‘Wolverines!’ – when a Warsaw Pact/NATO conflict seemed quite likely. Later additions took in Glasnost and the collapse of the Soviet Union and still managed to spin a reasonably plausible scenario during the 90s, a more ‘low key’ apocalypse. Now a new edition, by 93 Games Studio, is out, this time marching the timeline forward to 2013 (interestingly the time-point for the original Cyberpunk game) and feeding off the current state of affairs and paranoia about the future.

This should be a rich bed of material from which to project a future apocalypse, a superpower in its thrashing death-throes, increased Russian aggression, an ascendant China and India, Muslim fundamentalism, bird flu, environmental disaster, economic collapse, peak oil, all that stuff should lend itself to creating a detailed and plausible end of the world.

Overview
This is a monster tome, weighing in at around 350 pages of pretty close type with a low amount of illustrations and without full-on paragraph breaks. The version I got to review was on PDF and was very slow to load with a considerable delay in switching between pages. This problem, combined with the sheer weight of rules material, and the dark page background, make it impractical and frustrating to reference via laptop and expensive to print. If you’re going to get a copy, get a hardcopy.

The book is divided into sections detailing the lead up to the conflict that became the end of the world, the conflict itself, the immediate aftermath and the ongoing state of the world. Then we get into character generation, rules, combat, vehicles and a huge, huge amount of rules information on pretty much every conceivable scenario. It’s an awful lot to take in all at once.

My feeling and instinct is that this book is just much bigger than it needs to be. I feel that a slimmed down version, amalgamating or excising some of the rules and material for later supplementation would have been a better approach, as it stands the book is, perhaps, 50-100 pages too long and given the text density that is a hell of a lot to digest.

Artwork
The artwork is a very, very mixed bag. There’s a fair amount of clipart in there, which isn’t a bad thing, but it hasn’t been utilised particularly well or treated that well on the page. The commissioned artwork has, similarly, been apparently mistreated, suffering distortion and bad clipping which has resulted in one repeated piece of artwork, which should have been a stand-out piece, ending up resembling a group of midgets in army uniforms. There’s a few better pieces of artwork but they lose their quality thanks to the way they’ve been used. All in all, extremely disappointing and many of the illustrations don’t match up too well to the text, creating a feeling that is more akin to Fallout than Twilight 2000/13.

Writing
There’s a lot of common word substitution errors, like rein/reign and others like it, leading me to suspect that this book didn’t have a proper going through by an editor. This is forgivable on small indie projects, but Twilight is a brand with a lot of weight and nostalgia behind it and it deserved going that extra mile. Other than these aggravating little errors the writing is fairly clear but the content of the writing is a little worrying.

The scenario given for this end of the world starts out strongly but then starts to lose its way, casting aside plausibility in order to try and engineer an even worse world situation than that given in the earlier versions of the game. This one has the world population reduced to 10% of its current size, a disaster of such enormous proportions that, in play, Twilight 2013 would be worse than the fairly nasty scenarios presented in the Cold War versions – perhaps because appreciation of the effects of total nuclear war were more apparent back then.

The text also disagrees with itself, one of the killer blows in the new setting being a new flu epidemic. After WWI the world was struck by a terrible influenza epidemic that infected about a third of the world population and killed about 2.5% of those who caught it. In the Twilight 2013 scenario the death rate is stated as 2.8%, the infection rate unknown, but in the detailed text it reports the disease wiping out 75% of populations in particular towns or cities, a ridiculous number and one that would lead to a plague burning itself out rather than being as effective as it could be.

While the Americanocentrism of the earlier editions is somewhat mollified there are some laugh-out-loud moments of lack of understanding of international politics or the political systems and cultures of other nations, such as the background having a royalist takeover of the UK and presuming political powers for the royal household that it hasn’t had since Magna Carta or the time one of my ancestors helped lop off a King’s head for overreaching his political power. Similarly it’s hard to see China being militarily expansionistic in the unilateral way it’s presented in the book or to see France as a nuclear aggressor power, however insensitive they are about atomic testing.

If you’re not a politics or history buff then this won’t bother you, nor will it bother you if you decide to play in an historical Cold War setting, but it would be a hell of a lot of work to come up with your own, more plausible Twilight setting and it’s a shame the one presented in the book is so damn ropey.

Rules
The rules for Twilight 2013 are called the Reflex System and I suspect the intention was/is to take this system on and apply it to other genres and games. The system itself is bit of a syncretic one, there’s identifiable pieces of many other RPG systems in there, most of them ones that have been hailed for their combat systems or tactical play. One can find pieces of Interlok, Silhouette and the original GDW systems in there, as well as other parts I’m sure are familiar but which I cannot quite place at this time. While these elements are familiar the system works backwards compared to a lot of others, aiming low, using multiple dice – but not a dice pool – and using your statistics to set difficulties, which are then modified, rather than having things the other way around – which is more conventional. While this works it seems a little needless to complicate matters compared to what most people are used to.

Despite the Frankenstein approach on rules creation the system does appear to work, especially with most of the options added in, and is deadlier and more ‘realistic’ feeling than the original GDW system. I just can’t help but feel it’s a little unwieldy, especially given the sheer number of variations, specific rules and so on thrown in there, which reaches Rolemaster like proportions.

Conclusion
A bloated, ugly monster that remains – somehow – playable but whose background simply doesn’t do it for me and doesn’t seem plausible. The sheer scale of the carnage in the default setting is too high for meaningful play in a Twilight manner and, rather, pushes the game more into Darwin’s World territory, minus the dark humour. What saves the game from a lower than average score is that it is truly complete, containing everything you need to play and covering such broad ground, while this is also a strike against it – it’s too big – it’s sufficient to lift the game from the mire.

Upsides
* Comprehensive system.
* Fully detailed background.
* Less Americanocentric than previous editions.

Downsides
* Self-contradicting design goals.
* Not plausible.
* Much bigger than it needed to be.

Score
Style 2
Substance 4
Overall 3

Review by James ‘Grim’ Desborough

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27 Responses to “Twilight 2013 RPG Review”

  1. Ken says:

    It’s obvious you didn’t playtest any of the rules and just read through the book. If you were to actually play with the Reflex system you’ll see how well it plays, regardless on what you think it’s copied after.

    Reply

  2. Don says:

    I have read some of the .pdf from another player. (I have to wait to buy my own copy.) I have played a ‘get-to-know-the-combat-system’ pre-session with the local GM and I must state that Twilight: 2013 has done more to correct the unwieldiness and out-right WTFs! that were prevalent in the older system of T:2K. Especially with ammo and weapon realism as well as improving the deadliness of modern combat.

    If the core rules seem to be too big, this is NOT a bad thing. It just means that as a player or GM I do not have to buy ‘N’ number of base books just to get it going. I applaud 93 Game Studios for making a complete base system.

    Doing up a character is smooth and clear and vastly more easy and less time consuming than most of the other game systems out there, while still giving you a clear picture of your character’s ‘persona’ which is glaringly missing in most RPGs IMHO.

    The Reflex combat system is neat and not cumbersome while still being detailed. (That hip shot really hurt my guy!) Was realistic and very neat in keeping the groups ‘administration bookkeeping’ easy to remember and not messy. I personally was pleased and even had an ‘I-could-of-had-a-V8’ moment with the initiative and except for some personal medical difficulties, only needed one or two moments of assistance from the other players in the course of the session. (Totally different from other systems I will not mention here.)

    All in all I would rate this a MUST BUY, and I plan to get two copies of the actual books when my situation will allow it.

    Game Play: 9 out of 10
    Rules- clarity: 7 out of 10
    Rules- completeness: 9 out of 10
    Character creation: 9 out of 10
    Background Story: 7 out of 10

    -Thank you for reading this. DP

    Reply

  3. Rob says:

    I have to agree with the first comment, if you had play-tested the game instead of just looking through the book you would have come away with a much better understanding of the game. The “Reflex System” is one of the best rules set that I have come accross in my 28 years of gaming.
    Next time try it BEFORE you fry it. You might learn somthing.

    Reply

  4. Mark says:

    Can we get a review by someone who has played the rules?

    I’m intrested in the new version of these rules.

    I think after touting that since it’s Twilight you should go the extra mile in effort, you have failed to do so yourself.

    Then you’re basically reviewing this game on the timeline, art, grammar, and how you _think_ the rules would play…

    Reply

  5. MIKE says:

    Yes this game is C**P and is a sorry excuse for a modern version of T2K. They did the game injustice. I will play the old. You guys suck.

    Reply

  6. Ken says:

    Thanks for the comment Mike. But I must say….

    NO, YOU SUCK! :p

    Reply

  7. MIKE says:

    No you and your game suck….you have killed a small part of everyone childhood with your c**P

    Reply

  8. Seji says:

    Mike,

    If you dont like it, don’t play it.

    Reply

  9. MIKE says:

    i wont!!! Like I said its is not Twilight anything its just cr*P!!!! It just sucks that these guys get to use twilights some one got robbed!

    Reply

  10. Matt-M-McElroy Matt-M-McElroy says:

    Ok folks.

    How about a little more maturity here?

    Discuss the review, discuss the game. I’ve had enough of the insults already.

    Reply

  11. Matt and James, thanks for posting this review (and Matt, thanks for stepping in before the thread went completely off-track).

    I’ll let Keith speak to the issues that fall within his domain, but I do have a question for James. In your opinion, which specific parts of the book could we have dropped to bring it down 50-100 pages without losing viability as a stand-alone rules set? As I noted in our forums, I’m a bit croggled at this observation. Every other size complaint we’ve received stems from the lack of content in certain areas important to the complainants – be it vehicles, firearms, or detailed orders of battle for the Twilight War combatants. I will admit that we had no small problem with feature creep during the writing process, but I think a lot of it was necessary to retain the same level of function present in the second edition.

    Reply

  12. Kevin O'Neill says:

    To start with, I collect post-apocalyptic/survival games so Twilight is naturally amongst that collection. I bought the PDF of 2013 because it is PA and I’m quite happy to give my full name so you can see my review on DrivethruRPG if you so desire.

    Since that review though, I have found that I am now quite neutral towards 2013, I don’t love it and I don’t hate it. I’m not likely to use the game background as it stands and I don’t know if I’m ever likely to use the rules but they certainly aren’t bad and certainly nowhere near approaching c**p – that description belongs to that pile of stinking offal that Ha$bro/WOTC have foisted onto the RPing public recently (yes I am passionately opposed to the notion of removing most of the RP elements from the game that started most of us on the RPing path. I’ve played enough RPGs and enough MMOs to find out that I HATE an RPG trying to use MMO mentality for its game mechanics.).

    I am still somewhat amazed at the extreme views being shown by both sides towards 2013.
    No matter what people think, the developers should be congratulated for getting a rules system onto the marketplace that is fully workable and provides a more realworld level of gameplay that many former (like me) and currently serving military (and police) personnel like to see in RPGs.

    It is an oh so welcome alternative to the level up system of the D20 OGL that I personally like for fantasy but have no desire to use for ANY modern/near future/sci-fi game setting. The Reflex rules are actually pretty good, I don’t particularly like certain aspects of them, such as the use of extra D20s for higher skilled PCs to check for success but that certainly does not mean the system is bad, my view is simply personal preference.
    However I would like to know since when has it ever been a necessity for a reviewer of any game product to playtest the rules before being allowed to comment on them? The general RPG community hasn’t demanded that sort of thing from reviewers in the past to any great extent when it came to accepting a game review so why is it ‘required’ now?

    I cannot agree though, with the comments about 2013 being too big, Twilight: 2000 Version 2.2 is 280 pages and if you add on the extras for the alternate universe book of Merc: 2000 it runs to 399 pages. Personally, I don’t see any problem with that. What I do have a problem with is that the PDF was originally listed by certain distributors for US$40, I’d happily pay US$40-60 for a print copy of a game but I’m not prepared to pay that much for a PDF that I will have to spend some serious money on if I want to get it printed and bound. To be fair, that isn’t specifically the fault of 93 Games Studios but it sure as hell stopped me getting the game until the price was dropped.

    I do agree that the world being reduced to 10% of it’s population is overkill. It doesn’t really need to be cut down so far. On a purely mechanical level, where the hell are you going to get enough civvies/goodguys/badguys for the PCs to deal with if there’s only 10% of the population left? That’s starting to get a little too desolate and harsh for most of the players I game with.

    I disagree with Mr Desborough’s assessment of the game being less Americano-centric. 4 or so pages of background for the USA compared to half a page or just a few paragraphs for any other country shows a bit of Americano-centric bias.
    I also disagree with the notion expressed by one of the designers on the 93 Games forum, that the old guard of Twilight players weren’t supporting 2013 because they were old time wargamers who preferred combat rules over role playing rules. Most of the ‘old guard’ appear to be very much, long time role players.

    However, my biggest problem with this product is very much a personal idiosyncracy, the rules are quite fine, the gameworld history is good enough even with it’s less than desirable quality of research, I love post-apocalyptic games and own quite a few (so I have indeed seen some of the rules/rules concepts that Mr Desborough alludes to but for those younger players who have never heard of Aftermath, let alone played it, the recycling of rules ideas is still a good idea) and I do see this as being a good addition to the genre. Thank you 93 Games for making a PA game that does NOT have mutants in it! (Yes I am thoroughly sick to death of the garbage idea that if it’s post-apoc, it must have mutants)

    However, I can’t bring myself to think of it as Twilight because for me Twilight was always about the Cold War going Hot, to steal a term from another game, Twilight’s mythos was about two large societies with very differing philosophies finally coming to blows and the players eking out their survival/rebuilding society in the aftermath of the Cold War going nuclear. This game could have been called anything else and it would have still done well, but to call it Twilight saddles it with a whole lot of expectations from those of us who carry that Cold War baggage.

    Reply

  13. Steve says:

    I find this review to be somewhat curious. It spends five paragraphs discussing the more insignificant aspects of the book like typos and background and only two on the core of the game, which is the rules.

    Honestly, as someone with a degree in English and a professional writer myself, I didn’t notice an overly glaring amount of typos. They were there, and the book probably needed a pass or two through a good editor, but nowhere on a level that I would have even mentioned them in a review.

    However, the nitpicking on the background story seems a bit pointless. The GM is the master of the world, and a few words on the page are but the set-up. A city, town or encampment will always be as big or as small as the GM requires for any given scenario. So even if the book says the world is down to 10% of its former population, your town still has just as many people as the GM needs it to. The time line has its odd points, but then again, how many people laughed at the absurd notion that the Mexicans could invade Southern California in the original Twilight 2000 time line?

    The bottom line is, a GM will use what he needs, and ignore what he does not. The 93 Games team has given the players and GM enough of a skeleton to create a reasonably plausible world. Really, any story for a modern apocalypse is going to be somewhat unbelievable, because we have to accept that the world will go completely insane and destroy itself within a short time. As it stands, there is a wealth of material for players to start pretty much anywhere in the world, with characters of any nationality. Of course it will be a little Americanocentric. It’s a game by an American team. But, it has to be remembered, the United States is a big place, and has a big role in the world community. The United States is about the same size as Europe, so if it takes four pages to describe all of its different regions, that is to be expected. Europe takes up almost five pages, roughly nine if you count Russia and its states in Eastern Europe.

    As far as the disease factor goes, it seems that the reviews understanding of health science is somewhat limited. Certainly far too limited to be making scientific judgments on its accuracy. The flu may not be a killer on its own, however, in the absence of antibiotics and proper rest and nutrition, a severe influenza virus can weaken the immune system making those who aren’t killed by the virus itself much more susceptible to death by other means. And the book takes this into account.

    However, it’s also irrelevant. Like I said before, the game world is exactly how the GM needs it to be. The world of Twilight 2013 has been intentionally left vague. There are no exhaustive lists of what units survived and how many tanks they have and where they are. The designers left these details to the GM. Your Twilight 2013 experience is exactly what you want it to be.

    Reply

  14. Kevin O'Neill says:

    “The United States is about the same size as Europe, so if it takes four pages to describe all of its different regions, that is to be expected. Europe takes up almost five pages, roughly nine if you count Russia and its states in Eastern Europe.”

    I don’t agree.
    China is larger than the United States with more regions yet rates about half a page in total, Australia is about the same size as the United States and rates about half a page.

    Reply

  15. Kevin O'Neill says:

    Hmm, my mistake, China is about the same size

    Reply

  16. Barry says:

    I have to admit I was not a great lover of the new background history but it is useable.

    But as too the rules etc I was over-joyed. They are alot easier to use than old TW2000 2.2 rules.

    Everything needed is in 1 book which is always helpful as well.

    Overall out of 10 I would happily give it a 8.5 (would have been 9 save the new background).

    Reply

  17. Brad says:

    I would get a better feeling for the reviewer had he played the game. I have in the past read through a game and decided it was not for me, and then play it only to find I had enjoyed it.

    Reply

  18. Robert says:

    I for one am also a fan of Twilight 2013, this is with me playing Twilight 2000 as recently as three months ago.

    I also know that the back cover of the book says the world population was reduced to 10% of original, however the internal text led me to believe that it was far higher than that, especially since the were surviving populations pretty much everywhere except Taiwan. The Southern Hemisphere seemed to be largely untouched with the exception of their conventional war.

    For their to be only 10% left China and India would pretty much had to be completely wiped out, but weren’t, and no other country was wiped out, only a few key cities.

    China sounds like it should have been wiped out, since the USS Kentucky completely unloaded on it, however it still reads like it has a population surviving.

    So the cover may say 10%, maybe it says 10% somewhere inside the book, however when I read it I felt that far more than 10% survived. I was thinking 60% of the world population was still alive and kicking. Probably more.

    As for the rules, I read them, but haven’t played them. All I can say is they sound good, and I too am a veteran of many different RPG’s over 24+ years. I hope to get a game together soon, after I get the print book.

    I do know I feel excited about this game, more excited than I can say about a number of other RPG’s I ended up liking and disliking.

    I do think people should actually play with the rules before criticizing them. I recently thought the Aces and Eights RPG would be slow and clunky when I read them, but it isn’t. Its been fast and exciting. It helps that you don’t know what the final outcome is until the damage is referenced on the right section of the charts. So your adrenaline and excitement keeps going until then.

    This isn’t the first time I found such a thing out, which is why I don’t give much weight to any reviewer who hasn’t actually spent a few hours putting the mechanics themselves through their paces.

    Plus I have found the editing far from problematic, and in my opinion is greatly over stated in your review.

    Plus it should also be noted that an updated/corrected PDF was sent out to us buyers a few days ago. It isn’t the one I have been reading, though.

    So I for one like the idea of playing this game, with a setting based on “what ifs” based on our current world events rather than ancient cold war scenarios that cannot happen anymore anyways. I have also taken a liking to the “return to the old frontier” way of life possible in so many areas of the current setting. I look forward to running a game where my players do their best to restore their “home” to whatever condition they can manage.

    Reply

  19. GRIM Grim says:

    Most of these replies really smack of a forum-fanboy smackdown, so I’ll leave you to it on that score.
    When I don’t have time for a full play through of a game I do sit down and create – or try to create – characters and I usually run through a little combat scenario since that’s usually where rules are going to break in a conventional RPG, if they’re going to.
    I still stand by my original comments and many of the questions raised in the comments are answered in the review.
    As a reviewer I strive to give an honest and personal opinion on the products I review, unswayed by other factors. A review is an opinion, opinions differ, that’s a fact of life. Three is an average score and I did compliment the game on many points.

    Reply

  20. pariah138 says:

    I just got my copy today. I have to admit, I was not really putting a lot of faith in the new system at first. I’m much more excited now that I have read these reviews. I’m looking forward to giving the new version a chance. I am really bummed about the artwork. I’ll miss the old Bradstreet art for sure. When I think of Twilight, the art is the first thing that comes to mind. I was a kid when Twilight came out and the art was very inspiring and what captured my imagination and made me want to play the game in the first place. Prior to Twilight, most of the other RPG had totally corny artwork.

    Reply

  21. panic says:

    It’s not really the setting that matters, but having a solid, playable system, which at first glance, this is. The included world setting in the book is okay, even if the storyline seems a bit stretched at points, but really all that matters to the player group is to know that the SHTF and now they have to deal with it. Sitting at a table, does it really matter if 10 or 15% of China is left? Unless you’re dealing with that area specifically, vague rumors are quite enough to establish atmosphere, and the book provides. Personally, when I get my group going, the setting will be mostly home brew so I can take it in the directions I wish, much like D&D. It would be nice, though if future supplements might have Orders of Battle for real or fictional battalions for certain areas, just to make the fluff easier to come up with.

    Reply

  22. Dreamornaut says:

    When I first got the book and read through it. I’ll admit that I wasn’t in love with the background story. I do appreciate it as an attempt to bring the ‘end of civilization’ scenario upto date for the modern audience, but it’s a bit over loaded. Though still it’s workable and shouldn’t as a whole be such a major factor in play.

    At first I thought the rules to be a bit unnecessarily complex, but after playing it I agree with a few here and say that the system works. Actually it works pretty well actually and I have to say I’m impressed with how smoothly things play out and the level of ‘realism’ the rules portray. It adds to the play instead of just bogging things down. Which is an issue I’ve had with similar attempts.

    Over all I would say it’s worth getting whether you’ve played the GDW versions or not and I look forward to more from Studio 93 in the future.

    Reply

  23. David C says:

    I’m glad that I’m not the only one who thought that the “future history” of T2013 is laughably implausible.

    Reply

  24. Tony Bates says:

    I like how the reviewer responds by saying that any reply supporting the product is “forum-fanboy smackdown” simply because they don’t square with his own opinion…

    The design of the backround story is simply that it must touch on all the bases but without overloading on details. I hate to break it all to you, but the product is written by an essentially American team (with some international help) for an American audience – so naturally its going to be americancentric. And comments about the writers not having an appreciation for geopolitics are unhelpful to say the least – keep in mind this is a ROLE PLAYING GAME – ITS MAKE BELIEVE – the setting doesn’t have to be absolutely plausible, it doesn’t even have to be a little bit plausible – if there are parts you don’t like, change it! Discard it! I’m working on the draft of a campaign at the moment where the situation in Britain is a little more murky – taking some inspiration from Shadowrun’s UK sourcebook and Oliver Cromwell himself: the campaign will be centured around a low-key three-way civil war between the absolute monarchists (King Alexander or whoever I decide on); the Parliamentarians and the loyalist monarchists (who happened to have an amnesic Prince Harry freshly rescued from Lithuania in their possession). Wow, I changed stuff to suit my desired game…that was hard wasn’t it?

    As for typo errors? Please, give me a break. In an age when this: wat u doin hv a gud dy lol, passes for English (and not just when sending a text message via mobile phone), the odd confusion over rein/reign isn’t worth the time it takes to type/write a criticism about it.

    But I haven’t yet played the game using the default setting – the game I’m currently GMing is using the mechanics but is set in the Aliens ‘verse (a la Ellen Ripley). The game mechanics provide a simple, yet comprehensive combat system that when used correctly are very brutal.

    I disagree with the reveiwers comments that somehow the game mechanics are counter-intuitive. You have a number of dice, you have a target number, you have modifiers to that target number, you roll your dice aiming to get a number equal to or less than said target number. Criticism of this seems to stem from people who have become brainwashed (thanks a million WOTC/Hasbro) with the concept that bigger is better…”I swing my Flaming Sword of Godly Damage +7 with a +32 morale bonus and +16 circumstance bonus and a +8 munchkin bonus…and I..miss, aw man…what? He’s got an AC of 98…oh well, a few more buff spells/potions/epic magic items and I’ll be sure to hit him and knock him back two squares…”

    At the expense of straying into “forum-fanboy smackdown” territory, the system works for me, I (like most people I should imagine) have things that I like and things that I don’t. I think the vehicle rules need more work – but I ain’t gonna bag the system just because of that.

    However, in closing I do agree with the various comments about the artwork. I loved Tim Bradshaw’s work in the 2nd Edition of T2K and was very disappointed with what was provided in the newest edition. A picture is worth a thousand words afterall and the art doesn’t do it for me. But since I don’t spend my days looking longingly through my core rulebook, pawing the artwork and wailing “woe is me” it’s not that much of a big deal.

    Reply

  25. GRIM GRIM says:

    Yes, it’s make believe, but that’s no excuse when you’re trying to create a plausible world background and to encourage suspension of disbelief. Yes, games like this need to be plausible to carry the weight of what they’re trying to say.

    A reviewer can’t review a game save as how it’s presented. As what it is. If I took, say, D&D and played it under my own house rules, ignoring things and making other stuff up, then reviewed what I played, rather than what the actual game IS, that would be useless as a review.

    In criticising the intuitiveness of the system I’m not saying it should be more like d20 or whatever, just that it wasn’t intuitive. It felt clumsy and without justification to be so.

    Given that a ‘counterstrike’ was, essentially, solicited on the company boards, yes, a lot of the initial review critique was fanwank.

    Reply

  26. Sim says:

    After reading mostly negative reviews on the net I planned to not bother getting this but picked it up as a impulse buy. I have to say its much better than I’d hoped – the systems improved *AND* the setting is updated to satisfactory standards.

    The large size of the book was a plus, as I wasn’t looking forward to requiring several supplements to make a complete game. Online support is progressive, my only complaint is none of the art was spectacular. To be fair, it sets a darker mood which fits with modern times, and T2K art work never was gonna fit in with a new game.

    Reply

  27. Mark Swenson says:

    I purchased the PDF and the hardcopy in 2008. Is it still supported?

    The complexity of the rules HAS been an issue for me. With current availability of tablets, it would be interesting to see if the game were still being supported if an app could be built that would manage some of the dice rolling. Yes, the combat system is (relatively) simple and intuitive, but much of the other activity (like T2K before it) is complex and takes a while to calculate.

    Like most Role Playing Games, though, I say ditch the rules when they don’t fit the game play…and that has worked for this system as well.

    To those who don’t like the background, you can always create your own that is more plausible and generate an environment that fits your intent. For me, despite its implausibility, immediately after a global catastrophe (large scale volcanic eruption or meteor impact with corresponding change in global climate) an anarchist group has released a weaponized virus that is extremely lethal while simultaneously launching a computer virus that destroys infrastructure and digital systems–the total breakdown takes far more than 1 year. Implausible? Yes, but I prefer it over the game background.

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11 Tales of Ghostly Horror

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