• Reviews

    When I went to Gen Con this past summer, there weren't a lot of things that we on my "to get" list. So many new releases at the convention were little more than rewarmed Kickstarter releases, or other preorders that were at the show so that people could avoid shipping prices. Something that I was looking forward to were getting a physical copy of Paul Baldowski's The Cthulhu Hack and an All Rolled Up dicebag/gaming accessory. Being based in the UK made getting an All Rolled Up bag difficult, because of the exorbitant shipping costs inherent in international shipping, but picking one up at Gen Con took all of that out of the process.

    Xanathar's Guide to Everything packs a lot of useful content for both players and DMs in its 192 pages. Here I'm going to expand on the first part of my review to cover the section that will probably be used the most by its readers – character options.

    Here at EN World, I’m looking at all-ages tabletop role-playing games, board games, and card games. Do they engage the players at the kids' gaming table? Would they cut it at the adults' table? Are they genuinely fun for every age? Instead of reviewing an all-ages game this time I’m looking at Medusa’s Guide for Gamer Girls - Gaming with Kids, a collection of essays about gaming with kids, what players gain from role-playing, and what GMs can bring to the gaming table.

    Launched just prior to this year's Gen Con, Storytellers Vault is a crowd-sourced content creation arrangement that allows fans of World of Darkness to create and sell supplements for their favorite games from that line. The Storytellers Vault is similar to the successful Dungeon Masters Guild program for Dungeons & Dragons, and indeed it uses the very same content guidelines.

    Nearly two years have passed since the partnership between Wizards of the Coast and OneBookShelf entered into the "partnership" that lead to the creation of the Dungeon Masters Guild (DMG) website. With release of the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition System Reference Document (SRD) and the DMG platform, Wizards of the Coast has been at the head of a pretty steady stream of new D&D content. Finders Keepers is my first opportunity to review something specifically created for the DMG, so let's have at it.

    As the first actual rules expansion of 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, Xanathar's Guide to Everything (XGtE) is facing an immense amount of scrutiny, guaranteeing that it won't please everyone. That said, there's a lot there for fans to like.

    Enter into a world of adventure that you have encountered before in books and movies with The One Ring from Cubicle 7 Entertainment. Based on the words and worlds of J.R.R Tolkien, the game has you adventure between the stories of The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings. Play heroes who explore the world of Middle-earth after the great dragon Smaug has fallen, and before the Fellowship of the Ring must rise up.

    I have followed the OpenQuest game from D101 Games, and its various spin offs, throughout the years. Based off of the open content from the Mongoose Runequest system reference document and their Legend role-playing game, OpenQuest harkens back to a simpler era of fantasy role-playing, and draws upon the inspirations of the early days of the Chaosium-published Basic Roleplaying System. I backed the IndieGoGo campaign for the second edition of the game a couple of years ago, and recently publisher and designer Newt Newport released a new, revised edition of the game's rules.

    If you ever wanted to game master a RPG which would allow the player characters to travel through time and navigate the multiverse; where do you imagine such a game, might take your player group? DayTrippers asks this in a big (Scott Bakula, "Oh, boy!?") gonzo inspired way, blending dream dimensions and alternate realities, both as a device which slightly obscures as well is somewhat dismissive of paradox. Temporal distortions in player agency got you down? Bah! Unlike my favorite city in the desert, things that occur in any DayTrippers timeline, won't necessarily stay where they occurred.

    Here at EN World, I’m looking at all-ages tabletop role-playing games, board games, and card games. Do they engage the players at the kids' gaming table? Would they cut it at the adults' table? Are they genuinely fun for every age? The Basic Hack by Nathan J. Hill is a streamlined OSR RPG designed to introduce new players to role-playing. The 58-page book includes a game book/choose your own adventure system rules introduction, character creation, rules for combat and other actions, spells, creatures, an adventure, and character sheet.

    Set in the industrial city of Doskvol, Blades in the Dark starts the players as ground level criminals in a world where magic and technology rub shoulders in an uneasy fashion. Significant narrative work has gone into to bringing Doskvol, and its criminal gangs to life and the setting feels like a wild blend of Dishonoured, Peaky Blinders and Stalingrad.

    Probably one of the best horror settings to come out for a role-playing game in recent years would be the new Cthulhu City supplement for Trail of Cthulhu from Pelgrane Press. Written by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, one of the architects of the Trail of Cthulhu​ game line, the book might appeal to fans of movies like Dark City and The Matrix and who are looking for a less straight forward, more surreal take on the Cthulhu Mythos and using them in gaming. The idea of Cthulhu City is to celebrate the roots of Mythos horror, while at the same time updating them for modern audiences and trying to move away from the more problematic elements of the source material.

    In 1984, comic creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird put the final touches on their 3,000-copy limited run of a satirical comic dubbed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The first issue promptly sells out and becomes an overnight sensation. Prompted by the success of the comic, Eastman and Laird form Mirage Studios to produce more issues. Their success opens the door to the Turtles crossing over into other media. In 1985, Palladium Books obtains the license to produce an RPG based on the terrapin ninjas and from this agreement, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness role-playing game was born.

    Give me a dystopian future peppered with 80s analogies and Easter eggs, like Earnest Cline’s Ready Player One, or give me the dark and beautiful gloom of George Orwell’s, 1984. What can I say? Give me hope, or give me misery. With the Synthicide RPG from Will To Power Games, you get a role-playing game that offers a dystopian future on a cosmic scale that bridges the gap between these two types of desires.

    Here at EN World, I’m looking at all-ages tabletop role-playing games, board games, and card games. Do they engage the players at the kids' gaming table? Would they cut it at the adults' table? Are they genuinely fun for every age? The Pip System Corebook is a multi-genre RPG designed for adults, yet streamlined enough for children. From ENnie Award-winning creator, Eloy Lasanta, this rulebook features 143 pages of genre creation, character creation, skills, enemies, and guidelines for how to present this game to both adults and kids.

    Weighing in at 680 pages, Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition (M20 from here on out), like any forbidden tome of arcane knowledge worth the name, is a massive brick of a book.

    Starship Commandos is a rules lite, storytelling RPG by Sword's Edge Publishing. It's likely a lot to do with the title, but after clicking past the table of contents on the PDF, I'm immediately asking: "Would this RPG scratch that alien(s), survive the evil xenomorph, itch?" Let's get into it.

    The new GURPS Dungeon Fantasy game is getting out into the wilds, and into the hands of gamers. This Powered By GURPS boxed set funded on Kickstarter just over a year ago. The standalone game is inspired by the Dungeons & Dragons school of fantasy role-playing (as the name implies) and spins out of a successful line of PDF and print products for Steve Jackson Games' fourth edition of their GURPS role-playing game. There is a lot of good, and a few not as good things to be found in this big, fancy box, so let's open it up and talk about what is inside.

    Written by Rich Lescouflair and published by Alligator Alley Entertainment, Esper Genesis is an RPG subtitled Heroic Sci-Fi Roleplaying. The cover bears a "5E Compatible" stamp, and indeed this game presents what is essentially the current edition of D&D reskinned for over-the-top space opera gaming.

    The Fate Adversary Toolkit, the latest in the Toolkit line of supplements for Fate Core from Evil Hat Productions, opens up some interesting new avenues for your Fate games. Written by Ed Turner and Brian Engard, one of the architects of the Fate Core rules, this supplement widens the scope of the adversaries that characters can face in Fate Core games. Building off of the idea of the Fate Fractal and expanding the idea of adversaries beyond being a character or a creature that you can get into a conflict with during a game session, the Fate Adversary Toolkit brings some smart new ideas to the gaming table.

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