Author: Paco G. Jaen

Dark Sun Campaign Setting

The world of Athas is a twisted, barren landscape composed of little more than blood, sand, and an iron determination to survive. This classic setting did a wonderful job of providing what essentially amounts to harsh post-apocalypse play for AD&D, and the newest incarnation expertly updates the world for 4E. This setting does a good job of turning many classic fantasy tropes around, and is a particularly fine option for those who are tired of standard swords and sorcery and desire a setting that showcases a strong internal logic while providing plenty of reason for all sorts of adventures. The Good:  The presentation is excellent and strongly communicates the setting. The writers do a great job of updating the core with elements of the 4E mythology. The Bad: Some gamers may find the addition of another level of mechanics, Themes, to be too much for a system already filled with character options. Defiling is far too weak of a mechanic given the setting significance of the destructive power of arcane magic. The Physical Thing At $39.95 this 224 page full color hardcover showcases the very highest in RPG production values. The table of contents and index result in easy navigation, while the editing and formatting result in an easy to read product. The artwork is exceptional and does a fantastic job of illustrating both the setting and the available...

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Railways of the World: The Card Game

This review was first published by EndersGame at http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/554568 and is reproduced here with the author’s permission. This is what Ticket To Ride The Card Game should have been! Although this game has `Railways of the World’ in its title, it’s something that will arguably appeal especially to fans of the `Ticket to Ride’ series. Certainly fans of the `Railways of the World’ series will be pleased to hear news about a card game version of the popular train game. But it’s lighter and much quicker than the Railways of the World board game, so while satisfying existing enthusiasts with a simpler game, it also has the potential to bring the board game to a new audience. That audience is the Ticket to Ride loving crowd. Now if you were one of the folks who was disappointed with Ticket to Ride: The Card Game, you’re not alone: for me the memory component made it too brain-burning, and the take-that factor made it too confrontational. The good news is that the new Railways of the World: The Card Games is what  Ticket to Ride The Card Game could have been and should have been. It takes the set-collection mechanic familiar from Ticket to Ride, and gives it a new twist by adding pickup-and-deliver elements from the Railways of the World series. There’s even a simplified variant for families which eliminates...

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The Stars Are Right

One of the main themes in H.P. Lovecraft’s horrific tales was man’s tenuous grasp on his fragile sanity. It’s pretty safe to say that this theme is carried out splendidly in The Stars Are Right. You will lose sanity points. Resistance is futile. This brain-twisting diversion is a bit of a conundrum. It’s billed as a card game, but the cards are the simplest component. The real heart of the game lies in the 5×5 grid of tiles adorned with eclipsed moons, stars, meteors and such that constantly shift and switch places during the course of a game. It’s this oft-maddening entropy that lends a nervous edge to every play, and makes this little game stand out. The game goes a little something like this: You start out with the aforementioned 5X5 grid of tiles that represent the night sky. Each tile is double-sided so that they may be flipped during the game to bring up different configurations. You hold in your hand five cards with various creatures from Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, ranging from the lowly Gugs and Deep Ones to the Great Old Ones of Hastur and Cthulhu. Each round you can discard a card in your hand to invoke that creature’s power. This power is represented by a symbol(s) in the upper left of the card and allows you to rearrange tiles in the night sky. You...

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Savage Suzerain, by Steven Lindsey

Savage Suzerain is a cross-genre RPG done by Savage Mojo and Cubicle 7. The basic idea behind it is to allow players to use Savage Worlds to play characters that can go above the power levels of most games, and do so while in any numerous settings. The PCs at a certain power level are expected to gain the ability to travel between settings and time. Savage Mojo plans to release several settings that could all be backdrops for a Suzerain campaign. A bonus is that since this version uses Savage Worlds, virtually any SW setting from any company could be used with Suzerain. This allows a ridiculous number of possibilities. The Book Itself Savage Suzerain is a 192 paged full color hardcover. The cover depicts a surreal portal like background with a power armored (or perhaps a Cyborg) warrior carrying a rifle and an angelic Greek lady wielding a sword and shield in the foreground. The color art in the interior of the book ranges from average pieces to some truly remarkable works. Chapter Breakdown For Players (Pages 4-53) Savage Suzerain (from now on just Suzerain) uses the Savage Worlds rules and requires the Savage Worlds Explorer’s edition for its base. Some of the terminology is different such as Bennies becomes Karma, Power Points become Pulse, and Settings become Realms. Suzerain also adds a whole new rank to...

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Twilight Struggle

This Review coincides with http://www.boardgamegeek.com/video/2326 ; my video review.The video covers a very brief overview of game play and touches on my experience withTwilight Struggle so far. This review continues on with my thoughts on this wonderful game. Twilight struggle was a game that I was unsure about for a long time. Why? Well for many reasons: * The theme: I knew very little about the Cold War and the time period represented in the game. I was born in 1984, live in Australia, and was never educated about the Cold War. Aside from knowing that the Cold War took place, I didn’t know the how, where, why or when. * The Rules: TS seemed overwhelming, I wasn’t sure that I was experienced enough in gaming to (A) learn the game, and (B) teach the game to an opponent. * The playtime of up to 3 hours: If a game exceeds 2hrs, I often lose interest. No other game I own has a playtime of up to 3 hrs, for this reason I am always hesitant to play such games, let alone purchase them. So I was not sure if Twilight Struggle was a game for me! So what lead me to actually purchase TS? I have found that good 2 player games are value for money because they get played repeatedly. I attend a monthly gaming club where I play...

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Children of Orion: The Venu Sourcebook

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