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 After Party: Episodes 199-201
Posted: Sat, 25 Jun 06:29:58
A new episode has been added to the database: After Party: Episodes 199-201
 The Ol' Hangout
Posted: Sat, 25 Jun 06:24:01
A new episode has been added to the database: The Ol' Hangout
 Happy Birthday Shadow Hexagram!
Posted: Sat, 25 Jun 05:00:02

by RPGG Newscaster Lou Crazy

On June 25th we all say Bon Anniversaire to [user=Shadow Hexagram][/user]

Happy Birthday Yohann!
 Product For Sale: Target: Wastelands
Posted: Sat, 25 Jun 01:38:12

by SeaofStars

$20.00 for RPG Item: Target: Wastelands
Condition: Like New
Location: United States
 Review: Raumhafen Adamant:: A SciFi Action Roleplaying Game?
Posted: Fri, 24 Jun 21:47:10

by Dorst

Spaceport Adamant (Raumhafen Adamant in German) has been published by the German publisher Ulisses Spiele under the label Fan-Ware. With the project Fan-Ware, Ulisses wanted to give smaller "indie" productions a chance. The whole thing is somewhat comparable to the quite successful Pocket RPG series by Prometheus Games. Originally a release of Spaceport Adamant was planned in this series, but ultimately this failed due to a longer absence of the publishing director of Prometheus due to illness.

So let's take a look at what Ulisses has bought into:

The softcover booklet includes 128 full-color glossy pages and a full-color glossy cover. The quality of the perfect binding is good, but no care was taken in the layout of the pages to ensure that the text does not start too close to the binding. Due to that fact parts of the text just disappeared in the center between two pages. This makes reading the booklet very tedious, as you always have to push the pages far apart to have a clear view on the entire text at all times. Unfortunately pushing the pages apart is not pretty good for the binding and loose pages can be expected soon.

The layout of the pages is nice. All pages are bordered by some kind of mechanical-technical stuff, which adds a bit to the mood. Unfortunately, what doesn't add to the mood at all is the rest of the illustrations. It's just too retro sci-fi with just a little too much Bio-Ware for my taste. Everything is very colorful and somehow reminds me of the 70s, when everything had to look totally colorful and wacky to be interesting. Unfortunately, you won't find any new ideas here.

At the end of the booklet you will find a very spartan looking character sheet, which simply lists all the essential values, which are then parked in different colored boxes. Thus, the sheet unfortunately does not fit the design concept of the rest of the booklet at all.

On the last page there is a very clear and functional index, which I really enjoyed using while writing this review. A big plus for that.

The game is divided into many small sections, but lacks a clear chapter structuring. It starts with a short introductory story, which unfortunately doesn't take place in the spaceport, but on the planet Adamant. The main background of the game can therefore not be outlined by the story. The scene could have occurred in this form in any other sci-fi scenario.

In the following introduction it is explained that Adamant is an action role-playing game, which doesn't put special emphasis on logic, but much more on coolness.
Furthermore, it is already explicitly pointed out here that the game is probably more suitable for one-shots than for longer campaigns, since, according to the author, it is really difficult to keep up the pace of the so-called action by jumping quickly from scene to scene.

The following sections are dedicated to the background of Adamant. You learn a little about the location of Adamant in relation to the other planets in the known system, something about its history, the most important influencing factors on the planet and in the spaceport, as well as about the so-called “frontier time drive” (“Grenzzeitantrieb” in German), which makes travel over very long distances in a very short time possible.
After that, various Adamant locations are presented in more detail and for each location a tiny adventure hook is served in a color-contrasting box.

The section that deals with the species that come together on Adamant is very extensive compared to the other sections and comprises a little over 30 pages.
A total of 11 different species are introduced so you can get an idea of who you might be sitting across from in a bar at the spaceport.

The character creation for RAD is quite simple, but nevertheless extends over 2 sections, whereby it is not really understandable why the combat rules, amongst others rules for space combat, are dealt with in the character creation section.
All characters have different attribute and skill values, as in a lot of other classic role-playing games. The author has refrained from innovations at this point.

Also, in the area of PSI (a kind of magical talent) or in the area of gifts (special advantages) no innovations were introduced. Most of these abilities are already known from radio, television or other sci-fi RPGs.

Only the idea of nanites in the species Fleutar is pretty interesting (even if the idea is not completely new). This species carries nanites (microrobots) in their circulatory system to counteract the constant decay of their body that they are subject to when they are away from their home planet.

The rules system is based on simple dice rolls of one or more D6.
Dice are rolled when the outcome of an action is uncertain (though you are encouraged to roll as little as possible and play as much as possible out).

Skill checks are performed as follows:
You add the values from the appropriate attribute associated with the action you want to take and a matching skill.
The resulting value determines the total number of dice you may roll. Successes are achieved by rolling a pair of doubles, triplets, quads, etc. How many successes a double, triple, quintuplet etc. is worth can be seen in a clear table. A double one (snake eyes), triplet, quadruplet, etc. brings a corresponding number of minus successes, which must be deducted from the successes achieved. If your successes are below zero, you have made a catastrophic mistake, which can have nasty consequences.
Dice rolls may be subject to mali or bonuses due to bad or good circumstances. Such a decision is made by the game master and has the consequence that dice may either be subtracted or added.

From super-attributes (attributes that you have increased beyond 5) you get automatic successes, as long as the corresponding attribute is involved. If you have at least one success, the test is successful.

Combat works in a similarly simple way in RAD. If you have 4 successes, you also do 4 points of damage, which must be subtracted from your body value (the 3 physical attributes are added up and then doubled). If the opponent dodges or wears armor, the damage is reduced (for each success in the dodge check or for each armor point of the armor).

A few quick words about healing: What a lot of nonsense! Every character, no matter how shot, regenerates one body point per hour. Consequently, all RAD characters must be superheroes á la Wolverine. Supporting fast gameplay is all well and good, but this is going too far...

The Action Rules section deals mainly with the so-called “Action Point”. Here the author has come up with something that I finally welcome, because it rewards entertaining the other players. Every time a player does something funny or cool, he can claim that his coolness value increases by one point, which has the consequence that he increases his chance to get the Action Point. At the beginning of the game, a die is rolled to determine who gets the Action Point. If this Point is spent by the corresponding player during the course of the game, the successes of the check just taken are doubled. The Action Point then goes to the player who has the highest coolness value at that time. When you receive the Action Point, your own coolness value is reset to zero.

The rules regarding the Action Point are followed by a short, disastrous section titled "Experience Points". Unfortunately, this section has nothing to do with experience points in the true sense of the word. Namely, players are allowed to take a kind of test after each adventure. Depending on the result of this test, skills or an attribute can increase or you´re allowed to choose a new gift. A goal-oriented improvement of the character is not possible.

In the short section that follows it is mentioned ONCE again that RAD is an action oriented roleplaying game and the speed and flow of the game should be in the foreground. In order to make this possible, the game master should also let his guard down. He is given a general power of attorney to do whatever he wants, and since the rules of RAD fit on a coaster, he probably won't have much trouble doing that.

In the following sections, enemies, creatures living on Adamant, equipment, weapons and different types of spaceships are briefly described. The descriptions are short and concise in each case, but unfortunately do not let die-hard science fiction fans discover anything new.

The book is concluded by a sample adventure and some short adventure seeds.
The best description for the adventure would probably be "Plain Railroading". The players must inevitably follow the given plot line, otherwise the adventure just doesn't work. No matter what they do, the game master will (have to) keep nudging them along the right path. In fact, there is a storyline going on and the players just happen to be a part of it. But at the end, of course, they are celebrated as the great heroes. Not particularly exciting.

Spaceport Adamant is clearly below average in my opinion. For a fun role-playing game it is not funny enough and for a serious game it has not enough substance and no real replay value. The ideas the game is based on are anything but refreshing and even the illustrations can't change that, as said retro style seems strangely cheesy and clearly too colorful.
The rules are simply a joke and not worthy of any further mention (see above). All in all, the booklet, which at 19.95 Euros is clearly too expensive for its size (128 pages in an oversized typeset), only seems like a teaser for the Adamant novel series. It even refers to an upcoming novel at one point if you want to learn more about a certain part of the background.
For my part, however, I am reluctant to be referred. After all, I paid for a complete book and in that case I want to have all necessary information directly available in one place.
Personally, it seems to me as if the basic idea framework of the novels was quickly poured into a bad RPG framework – just idea recycling.

I really cannot recommend this RPG.

 Review: 1W6 Freunde:: The youth detective adventure game
Posted: Fri, 24 Jun 21:47:05

by Dorst

Who doesn't remember TKKG, the ??? or the 5 friends? Who didn't wish to slip into the roles of Tarzan or Justus back then? Prometheus Games has made this little dream come true.
With 1D6 Friends (“1W6 Freunde” in German), the publisher addresses the fans of the beloved 80s audio games and has thus published a game that has the potential to win over non-roleplayers and ultimately turn them into new roleplayers. The rules are kept quite simple, which makes it much easier to get started than with other role-playing games. Both the simple rules and the fact that some topics such as serious violent crimes are not dealt with in this role-playing game (youth detectives just don't deal with serial killers or brutal drug cartels), make the game also interesting for parents who want to introduce their children to role-playing in general.

1D6 Friends is published in Prometheus Games´ "Pocket RPG" series and impresses, like for example Opus Anima Investigation or BARBAREN! by a very high quality presentation. The book comes in a glossy cover, which shows a youth detective gang, which looks suspiciously like TKKG. Illustrations by the same artist are also found throughout the book. This creates a consistently coherent impression on the reader. The page layout, reminiscent of a scribbled exercise book, supports the classic charm of old youth books, and overall one can speak of a very successful art concept that makes you want to leaf through the book again and again.

But now, let's turn to the actual content of the book:
The book is divided into 11 chapters, of which the first 3 can be called an introduction. Here, as usual, it is explained what a role-playing or adventure game actually is. This is illustrated by a game example, which gives a good foretaste on the game atmosphere of 1D6. What exactly the authors mean by “youth detective story” and what´s so special about it, is explained in the introduction chapters (e.g. that youth detectives solve their adventures and cases by brains rather than by stunts or wild battles), too.
After the first 3 chapters you should have a good impression of what the game is all about and now you can turn to the chapters 4 to 6, which deal with the rules and character creation.
As mentioned above, the rules system of 1D6 Friends is very simple and should support the game rather than dominate it. That is, dice are only rolled when something can really go significantly wrong. The game clearly goes into the direction of a narrative game. If you are a friend of rolling dice alle the time, you are at the wrong place here.

Each youth detective has 4 attributes (Strength, Cleverness, Courage and Dealing) to which he can freely allocate 9 points during character creation. (By the way: The character sheet looks like a school report, which amused me a lot. This is definitely another plus point). Furthermore, each player can choose a so-called diligence card for his character from a rather extensive list. A diligence card gives the character a special trait or a bonus of some other kind. Maybe the character is liked by all the animals he encounters or his father is a policeman. Or maybe he knows a little karate or is particularly good at logical thinking...
The list of diligence cards is quite extensive and the individual descriptions are really really fun. I had to smile several times.

If necessary checks are completed depending on attribute value. A check is performed by rolling a six-sided die (1D6) and then adding the attribute value. If the sum of the die roll and the attribute value is greater than or equal to 6, the check is considered a success. However, the game master has the possibility to modify the player's result (bonuses or mali). Thus, depending on whether the action is particularly easy or particularly difficult, either a deduction can be made from the result obtained by the player, or a bonus can be added to the value.
In really dicey cases, the players can decide to use so-called gang points (each gang has 5 of them per adventure) to modify the value of a roll by 1 per point spent. This is to represent that the gang functions as a team and thus can support each other in delicate matters.

The sixth chapter consists entirely of sample characters, which -again- look very suspiciously like Tarzan, Karl, Klößchen, and Gabi (main characters from TKKG). Even more, the first letters of the names /nicknames of the sample characters would also result in "TKKG", if they were placed one after the other. Nonetheless, the characters are reasonably well-developed and give both, experienced role-player and newcomers a good impression of what makes up a 1D6 character.

Chapters 7 and 8 are meant to help the game master (narrator). Here, even for newcomers, it is explained how to create a 1D6 Friends adventure so that all participants can have fun. It also deals with the specifics of the genre, what to watch out for and what to avoid: For example, you should always keep in mind that 1D6 Friends is not a "hit and run" game.

I personally think, that especially the 8th chapter is just perfect. Here, the dedicated storyteller finds the perfect tools to knit together his own adventures.
On the basis of random tables you can prepare a plot, which then only has to be elaborated. A brilliant idea forge, if you are sitting with a writer's block in front of an empty college notebook and have no idea how to fill the pages. Here, for example, you can choose what kind of crime it is, who the perpetrators and victims are, where the crime scene is located, or whether there is a supernatural background.

Regarding the last topic, it should be said that the authors are explicitly against the transformation of youth detectives into a kind of "Ghostbusters". If the supernatural is integrated into the story, the narrator should make sure that the story later turns out to be quite mundane. As an example, I would spontaneously think of Scooby Doo and Shaggy, who were also on the hunt for ghosts in every episode, but were ultimately able to clarify that the nasty blood-sucking vampire was actually the evil butler in a really convincing costume, who flew through the air hanging on invisible tightropes.
However, this is only to be taken as a hint. Ultimately, the game is yours and you can do whatever you want with it.
Basically, the adventures of the 1W6 friends take place in an undefined city of millions, for which you can find a lot of suggestions and adventure seeds in chapters 9 and 10. The fact that no specific city was chosen as the game background has some advantages, because you can always add exactly what you need for the storyline of a specific adventure. For example, the city can be located near the mountains, but also not far from a beach or a harbor.
The city is described as a "jack of all trades device". In my opinion, however, one should be careful not to overdo it, especially when mountains and beaches are geographically close. If you still want to plan such escapades, you should at least have an approximately plausible explanation for such natural phenomena at hand in order not to look like a completely arbitrary game master in front of your players.

Chapter 9 contains an exemplary list and short descriptions of possible locations. The short descriptions usually already contain various adventure ideas, which can be taken up for later adventures or should simply amuse the reader. For me, at least, the amusement worked well. While I just smiled at the diligence cards, I burst out laughing when leafing through the descriptions of the locations. Especially the Gaylord-Fokker-Airport did it to me.

The 11th and last chapter contains the adventure "The Secret of the Wolpertinger". The 25-page adventure guarantees a deep dive into the world of 1D6-Friends and a lot of fun.
Just so you know, it's about secret government lettuce research, foreign spies, giant rabbits, and antlers. Well, doesn't that make you want more

As much as I enjoyed reading the book, I have to conclude by pointing out one negative point, and that is the editing:
The book contains a huge amount of spelling errors, some incomplete sentences and parts of sentences that are simply in the wrong place. Unfortunately, this clearly spoiled the reading pleasure in some places. I suppose the publisher had to choose between two options:
Extensive editing or publication in time for Spiel Game Fair.
From the looks of it, they decided on the punctual publication at this point.

If we disregard the fact that it was not proofread, I can only recommend the game without reservation and hereby award it 4.3 out of 5 points.
It is so much fun just to read it and for a relaxed 12 Euros you get a complete game, which has the potential to please not only fans of the good old 80s audio games, but also to attract people to the pen & paper hobby, who had no contact with such games so far. Furthermore, it is perfectly suited to introduce children to role-playing games and to make them the role-players of the future. Yes, folks, we urgently need new blood!

So, buy it, have fun and tell others.

 Review: All Flesh Must Be Eaten:: The Zombie Survival RPG
Posted: Fri, 24 Jun 21:47:00

by Dorst

With "All Flesh Must Be Eaten" Eden Studios probably finally made its breakthrough in 1999.
Anyone who has ever seen George Romero's "Dawn of the Dead", "Redneck Zombies" or "Zombie Strippers" and didn't throw up in horror will be thrilled by this game! Basically, it's all about one thing: the dead have awoken and lust after the flesh and brains of the living. Very extravagant is the description of the thematic background, because there is not only one world in which the game can take place, but at the end of the hardcover book the authors have added a series of "Worlds in Hell", which guarantee a lot of angst-filled evenings! Since the setting can change from game round to game round, it may not always be possible to play the same character. However, this doesn't detract from the fun of the game as long as you don't insist on polishing a complex character over an endlessly long campaign.
All Flesh Must Be Eaten is played according to the rules of the Unisystem, which has become the standard game system of Eden Studios. This is a relatively easy-to-learn system that mainly uses 10-sided dice; other dice are only needed to determine damage. Despite the simplicity of the system, all operations are easily accomplished without any problems or questions. Attribute and skill values are added up, a W10 is rolled, bonuses and mali are taken into account, and with a quick look at the "Outcome Table" you can see whether you have shot the head off the shoulders of that horrifying zombie which was a second ago only 2 steps away, or whether in another second you will experience for yourself what it means to be only second in the food chain. Good luck to you all!
Of course, friends of magic don't have to do without their powers in this role-playing game. There is a character class which is called "enlightened" and that can work “good deeds” on behalf of a superhuman force, be it God, a deity or some other spiritual phenomenon. The rest of the characters will most likely be "survivors" who have already clashed with the Deadboys at the beginning of the Awakening, but they didn't get the short end of the stick, they got their shotgun. Well done, guys: "Send the dead crap back to hell". Not really worth mentioning is the character class of the "Normals", who are just plain standard! The gripping theme of this game, namely the hopelessness of fighting opponents who are already dead, is only further enhanced by the terrifying short stories scattered throughout the book. This is not just a set of rules for a role-playing game, but a self-contained, desperate, infiltrated world that you can no longer save, but in which you can just about survive. Humans have just ceded their rank in the food chain to the undead! Only those who don't panic when their front door shatters under the pressure of zombie limbs have a chance of arriving in one piece in one of the safe zones that humans created when the dead began to rise from their graves.
All Flesh Must Be Eaten is thoroughly successful and shines not only with a good idea, but also with a perfect implementation of the same, both graphically and linguistically. It's really fun to read in the smartly illustrated hardcover, as there's really a lot of background provided to the whole idea. The morbid short stories, which serve as an introduction to each chapter, intensify the mood of the game even more. Goosebumps are guaranteed.
As another gimmick, Eden Studios has come up with something very special: There is a scenario in which you can bite into human limbs yourself. A lot of fun is guaranteed when the game group gets together and everyone carves their own sick zombie. (Rules for creating and playing undead are provided, of course).
Some additional Facts: The pages of the book are in black and white, but for that the quality and thickness of the paper is downright great.
The number of consistently atmospheric illustrations within the book is relatively high, and in my opinion includes some of the coolest yet most gruesome zombie illustrations I've seen in the RPG sector to date. In particular, the image of an undead with a dark hood that seems to rip its mouth wide open and screams, regularly sends cold shivers down my spine.
The book comes in an unusual format: it is slightly smaller than the usual US RPG books and thus fits very well in the hand. If the inclined AFMBE reader turns to the end of the book, he will find that the successful overall concept is rounded off by a detailed index and a character sheet copy template.
Oh, and never forget: THE BLOOD MUST SPURT!!!
The revised edition (2004) corresponds almost completely to the first edition. Only a few minor corrections have been made, errata incorporated, and the cover changed.

All Flesh must be eaten gets 4,5 of 5 possible points from me. A must-have.

 Review: Western City:: A Western Movie Roleplaying Game
Posted: Fri, 24 Jun 21:46:56

by Dorst

The indie RPG scene is still growing and thriving, Indie Press Revolution is bookmarked, is in full swing and the German RPG scene is producing awesome indie RPGs for more than a decade already.

What follows is a review to a game, which is rather from the beginning of that indie "revolution".

Originally Western City was created as part of the GroFaFo (now 72 hour contest, but for the print version it was reworked and a really nice layout was added, so now I can hold a 92 page issue with glossy cover in my hands.
As already mentioned, the game has a stylish glossy cover that invites you to touch it. Whoever sees it in the store will inevitably feel the urge to pick it up and at least briefly leaf through it. The Western atmosphere that the cover exudes is consistently continued inside, at least I felt transported to the game world by the successful foreword, which was apparently written by a resident of Western City.
The entire issue is in full color and the artwork of the pages is absolutely amazing and coherent (the pages are trimmed to old and one gets the impression that they are yellowed) and deepens the Western atmosphere built up so far. As the booklet progresses, there are plenty of drawings and poker chips and playing cards are used as stylistic devices. It feels like as if you've been transported to a Western world.
The only downer is that the typesetters have not paid attention in some places, e.g. the format of a table is busted and a heading that should be at the top is at the bottom of the previous line. In addition, the proofreading team could indeed have removed more spelling errors. That certainly wouldn't have hurt.
The character sheet for the players (cool artwork with playing card symbols) and especially the character sheet for the Extras are definitely more positive. The guys from Prometheus Games have produced character sheets for the Extras as a promo give-away, which look a bit like playing cards. Be sure to get some if you want to play Western City. They are very cool.

The booklet is clearly structured and divided into 5 sections:
1. Creation of game figures (Characters and Extras (more on that later))
2. Game preparations and mechanics (This is where the rules are explained, Gringo!)
3. Gameplay (How do you actually tell the story?)
4. After the game (Experience, afterthoughts, etc.)
5. Appendix (Character sheets, overviews etc.)

What is Western City all about?
Basically, the first thing is that everyone has fun playing the game.
And how do I do that?
By inventing a big common story together.

Western City is a GM-less roleplaying game that works as follows:
No great elaborate background is included in this rulebook, but plenty of ideas are provided, which is part of a successful Western City evening.

First of all, each player must create a character, and to do this, each player must first choose a profession. In Western City, you don't choose from predefined classes or professions. Every player has to think about what exactly he wants to represent.
Then the attributes of the character are determined. There are exactly three attributes: body, mind and charisma. Points are assigned to these, either (3/4/4) or (2/3/5). (The maximum attribute value is 5.) No other redistribution is allowed. So you don't have a pool of points to distribute freely. Whether this restriction was really necessary remains to be seen. Before the character is allowed to choose his 5 skills from a prefabricated selection (the skills are also assigned a prefabricated level grid), which correspond to the attributes, each character gets 8 heart points (symbolizing life energy, courage, fighting strength), each character chooses a special item, which he has invented himself, a bad trait, which can be activated by the other players in unfavorable situations, as well as a home (in familiar surroundings you get extra dice).
Now quickly think up the rest of the background and you're ready to go.
As you can see, character creation is very open in general except for the distribution of attributes and skill levels. This is definitely a matter of taste and will certainly not suit everyone. However, if you've been into indies for a while, you're familiar with this character creation approach and certainly fine with it.

At the very end of the character creation process, players have to think of Extras to include in their stories. These can be friends or enemies, but also some obscure characters that they have thought up to simply make the story more interesting. Within the course of the game, the Extras are auctioned off. But more about that later.

Right before the game, each player receives a certain number of poker chips, as well as a silver dollar (a different colored poker chip is not as stylish, but it does the trick), which are important for the basic game mechanism in Western City: an auction regarding the right to tell the story. (Dice are rarely used and problems should rather be solved by "storytelling").

At the beginning of the game, the players each set their personal goals for the day. These are simply special tasks that they have set for themselves and which, if fulfilled, are worth additional experience points in the final reckoning at the end. After that, they jointly determine events of the day (specific events are named in turn). If a player does not want to have the event of another player on the list, he can use his veto right If the players cannot agree, the event is bid for with the poker chips. The highest bidder wins and can decide whether the event will be part of the adventure or not. (The other players always have the possibility to take sides during an auction and participate in the bidding process). After each scene, the poker chips used to date are distributed equally among the players. If this is not possible, they remain in the "pot" for the time being. At this point it should be noted that a more detailed description of the bidding process would have made sense, e.g. it is not explained what happens if several players use the same number of poker chips during an auction.
By the way, when using the veto right you should always say "Not today in this city". I think this idea is quite valuable and adds to the western atmosphere.

In order to get the game going, each player chooses an unknown Extra before the start of the game and notes him as an acquaintance. If more than one player wants to choose the same Extra, again bids must be made.

As soon as a red thread for the course of the adventure has been determined on the basis of the events of the day, the game can begin (not too many events should be chosen, so as not to make the adventure too long). After all, each event represents a scene that needs to be told.

Whoever has the best idea for the first scene starts or, optionally, whoever wins the first bidding round.
I've noticed that the game can get bogged down quickly if players often disagree. You can end up shooting each other's scenes pretty quickly, partly because you can buy your way into other people's scenes via poker chips and change them drastically. Guys, do me a favor and only play Western City with guys and gals you like well, otherwise the evening could lead to murder and manslaughter

Now we come to the use of the silver dollar:
Using it is pretty powerful and can quickly lead to displeasure of other players, because if you use the silver dollar, you can determine a scene more or less freely and ignore vetoes of the others. The Silver Dollar will likely be used to achieve the personal goal of the day, but on the other hand it is of course also possible to thoroughly spoil the fun of the other players. Again, the principle above applies: only play with people you like. Otherwise, it could be that the nice evening is over very quickly.

Ladies and gentlemen, we present....the dice.
Dice tests are only necessary when two people want to perform opposed actions or fight each other, otherwise everything should be solved by "storytelling". It should be noted here that characters are naturally skilled only in things for which they also have a skill value. I see the danger that this is quickly forgotten during the course of the game.

It is imperative that the result of dice tests have to be woven into the actions of the characters and Extras involved.

The number of dice (Western City uses only W6) is determined by the attribute value. What is considered a success (when rolling dice) is determined by the level of the respective skill (This can be looked up in a clear, small table).

Western City has a rudimentary, but very deadly combat system. Or at least something like this: In a fight with several participants, you can easily lose your entire heart value within 2 rounds. However, one is then not dead, but only knocked down. At the end of each scene, the heart value is replenished by 2 points.

Western City's dice-based combat system is totally half-baked, to say the least.
I'd rather roll attack, parry, attack, parry, attack,... for hours like in the old DSA editions, because especially when the mob rule invented by the authors comes into play (bringing multiple crooks into play to make things more interesting), you're knocked out faster than you can say "Please don't hit me". This is not mitigated by the obscure rule regarding “ranged combat cover”, which is so unclearly formulated that it becomes virtually inapplicable. Unless you figure out how it is supposed to work or houserule it.

Regarding the combat rules, Western City gets a clear: HELL, NO!

Of course, what mustn´t be missing in any role-playing game is.....right, magic. That's probably what the author thought and inserted a little magic passage. The 4 pages are a thought-provoking, funny idea and can certainly enrich the game, if they are sensibly used. I find it reasonable that you need to use heart points in order to work magic. This way magic does not become the center of the game, because it cannot be used inflationary, but simply makes the game more colorful.

At the end of a game, players receive experience points for, among other things, achieving their goal of the day. These points can be spent to improve the character.

A special feature worth mentioning is the choice of the Extra of the day:
Here, the players choose the Extra they liked the most. This Extra then also receives experience points, which makes him more interesting for the next game, since those experience points can be used to buy him his own home or a special item, for example.

In the appendix of Western City the possibility of a campaign game is fleshed out and the possibility of increasing skills implies this, but I doubt whether this really works.
In my opinion Western City is quite suitable for a pretty fun one-shot evening, but it lacks any long-term motivation.

For friends of GM-less and (almost) dice-less indie role-playing games Western City is highly recommended.
For the price of only 14.95 Euros all others should at least take a look and maybe get convinced to play it.
I was certainly convinced by the game´s atmosphere, to which Aspirax the travelling elixir dealer contributed a lot. On the basis of a constantly continued rule example with him in the main role, the character creation process and the mechanisms of the play are explained. He will always have a place in my heart. 😉

 ....fantasy friday...
Posted: Fri, 24 Jun 21:45:01

by Alexandre Correia

Day 1994. June 17, 2022. Tavira...

There was no aimlessly wandering through Tavira during our daily morning stroll with the toddler. No siree. I pushed that baby trolley straight as an arrow towards all three charity shops spread out all over town. I had my sights and wishes on some battered second-hand copies of Fighting Fantasy books.

Alas, I found no remnants of my old collection in any of the shops. I guess I'm down to the healthy trickle of one in every blue moon to play with my daughter from either the libraries or the online second-hand shops.


Later in the afternoon, my brother and I gathered around the table for his debut with Cartographers. His memory was spot on, when he remarked on the familiar illustrations on the cards, but couldn't quite place them in a game. It was Roll Player, of course, but the two games couldn't be any more different. And while I did enjoy Roll Player for a long time, it has since moved on for greener pastures, while Cartographers will probably stick around for a lot longer.

The fetid maps of the lost brothers.

We doodled for a while. He, more focused on gold coins than the polyominoes but still doing a good job at fulfilling the four edicts. He only lacked the game experience of arranging the tiles for the long game to be competitive. And the need to stay on top of those pesky monsters!


We followed the drawing of a fantasy land with the drafting of one in an old acquaintance of ours, Fantasy Realms. Only that this time, he would be playing with The Cursed Hoard for the first time.

When the Genie showed up in my starting two cards, I thought I had the game set for a good start. When the Chapel and a Castle showed up a few turns later, I knew what I would ask for a wish at the end of the game. Another building! And I definitely was taking a big risk when I arranged a Demon next to the Genie. A few turns later, I found my entire hand overrun with Undead of all sorts and all other building cards save for the Chapel, scattered in the discard area. The Demon wasn't happy with this, so he turned the holy place to waste, and I had to beg the Genie for a Lich just so I could beat my brother by four unworthy points.

Wishing a chapel for the undying.

By now, Alice was hovering around us, asking her own gaming wishes of Harvest Dice with her uncle or Carcassonne with her grandmother. But since none of them were available for games, the two of us slouched on the sofa with a book, a notepad, and a few dice on a tray, to continue our adventure in Battleblade Warrior.

Following the lead from Laskar, our adventurer delved into the underground of the ruined city of Kharnek. It was the first time for Alice in a dark place with nothing but a pale lantern casting scary shadows around dark corners.

Leaving the skies for the lizards

But I had been in the dark before. Most Fighting Fantasy books take place in the Underdark, and most of my favorites are of the dungeon kind. So this time, it was me holding her hand and leading the way. We fought statues guarding a door, blinding our sword in the process, after striking metal against rock. And faced giant slugs with a skin so thick that they took forever to beat.

But we did find a key inside a crack in a rock and a few sections later, the chest in which it belonged. Inside there was the biggest diamond stone Alice had ever seen. Her grin widened, and I thought that was a perfect place to stop for today.

A good gaming day in fantasy land at last.


One year ago: ...back on the trail...One year later: N/A

Photos & Images: ZombieBoard