Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Bitten

Product-Bitten

Producer– Cat Dragon Games

Price– $14.00 here https://www.amazon.com/Redshift-Games-Bitten-Board-Game/dp/B071Y7MVCY/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1532962819&sr=8-3&keywords=Bitten+Card+Game

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 30 minutes to 1 hour (3-6 players)

Type- American

Depth-Light

TL; DR-Three way monster mash! 92%

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Basics- There can only be one!  In Bitten, players take the roles of Zombies, Vampires, and Werewolves as they attempt to take over a city by working together and against each other.  Each player is handed a lair card. This is a secret role that indicates if you are a vampire, zombie, or werewolf. From here, players are given five cards, and then in turn order, each player will either choose to play a card from their lair or from their hand.  If they choose a card from their lair, the randomly discard a card from the hand of cards they were given. Then, a player chooses to play that card either to a location or to another player’s lair. This leads to the two ways players can win. Each card has one to three symbols indicating zombie, vampire, werewolf.  Locations have a card number on them as well as a possible power. When the number of cards on a location equals the number written on the location, then you count the number of symbols on each card, and the most symbols wins the location (ties are possible). If at the end of any turn, a player has control of three of the five locations, they win!  For lairs, a player may never look at the cards in their lair unless they spend their turn getting a card from their lair. But, after a player plays a card and they have at least three cards in their lair and they have the most symbols of their type in the lair, they alone win! If no one won the round, then players pass their hand to the left, and players continue to draft cards until they pass one card.  If a player only has one card to draft from, then they draw four more, and play continues until one creature has control of the city and the night!

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Mechanics-Overall, the mechanics of this game are really smooth!  It’s a mix of a hidden roll and drafting game that almost always give you something to do.  Have cards of your symbol? Play to locations! Don’t have cards of your symbol? Screw with players’ lairs, but be careful!  There are also other action cards that remove cards and destroy locations, so that is a good mix for the game as the start locations are not what the game boils down to.  That said, this game slightly suffers from a player balance issue as play is really great at 3 and 6, but 4 and 5 can get a bit lopsided for the person without a partner. Actions cards are maybe a bit overpowered as several turns can be blown away by one action card.  It’s not horrible as this is a lighter game, but something to keep in mind. That said, this is a great game to get to the table, teaches quickly (honestly the quick run down above is 90% of the rules), and is a blast to play. 4.75/5

Theme- I feel like I’m gathering territory in this game!  Do I sent my werewolf agents to take over the dance club or the park?  Should the Vampires fight in the sewers? I do feel like an underworld fight for dominance is emerging.  Zombies are a bit of a tougher sell as I’m wondering how hordes of zombies are not noticed in a city? But, that is me being pedantic.  I do like the three sided nature of this fight. Locations where the undead would be get things that help undead like free symbols, and each race gets a place where two would do well alongside other locations where the race does well by sites.  The lairs all have fun names for the different people using the monster from voodoo master to mad scientist for zombie and others for the other two sides of this midnight beatdown. There is not combat between the monsters, so that takes away a bit as the zombies basically wave at werewolves who move in next door.  But that doesn’t break the game. The art also fills the theme as this feels like Sin City with a black and white noir style that feels like midnight. It’s a grim and dirty monster mash. 4.5/5

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Instructions-The instructions to this game are short and easy to read.  However, the instructions need a few more examples. In my first game, we ended up with a three way tie for our first location.  You can tie, but can you triple tie? The rules did not cover that. We said yes and rolled with it. That said, the rules work. If you have an especially punctilious player, then you may end up going to board game geek to fight over rules clarifications, but honestly for about 90% of the players and games, the rules are fine.  They could use a few more pages to describe things, but as written, you can play this game in about 5 minutes. 4.25/5

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Execution-First things first, I HATE SMALL ¼ CARDS!  This game has them, so that always makes me mad.  But, once I learn to deal with my own, internal, mental issues, the rest of the game is really well put together.  Nice sturdy box that fits the cards. The little cards are there to help players see who controls each area, and I’ll admit, even grudgingly, they work well.  The art on the cards is really well done even for just being two tones. I can tell who is what from far away. The card stock feels great. It’s also a small game that you can play on a bar table with friends, and I think this is the place for it as this might not be a weekend killer.  But, Bitten is a great game that is a fun fill between your four hours games or at the end of the night when you don’t want the fun to end. Finally, this game is less than 15 bucks! You can’t go wrong at this price. 4.9/5

Summary-I usually don’t like hidden role games.  I’ve never gotten into bang, and Battlestar Galactica is still on my shelf in the shrink.  But, this game is fun. You can manipulate the others or you can just get work done. I don’t feel bored by this game.  I always have something to do, the cards feel great, and the art makes me happy. It’s just dark enough even though it’s mostly just black and white.  The mechanics flow well, and the theme fits, even if you dig too deep into this one. I also like the portable nature of this game. This isn’t a perfect game as randomness can absolutely screw you and the hidden roles might not be fair, but if you need a game that goes up to six, plays quick, and is fun, then Bitten is a great game to get to the table.  92%

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Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron

Product– Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron

System-DnD 5e

Producer– Wizards of the Coast

Price– $20 here http://www.dmsguild.com/product/247882/Wayfinders-Guide-to-Eberron-5e?affiliate_id=658618

TL; DR– A much needed update on nearly everyone’s favorite modern crazy setting.  88%

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Basics-Whose ready for some Dragonpunk?  Wayfinder’s guide to Eberron is a 5e update to Eberron from Keith Baker.  Eberron debuted in 3.5 DnD, received a 4e update, and this is the updated 5e version.  What Eberron is is hard to describe. It’s a post-magic war, Noir, fantasy, semi-modern sci-fi non-standard epic with sprinkles of Cthulhu mythos added in, with massive changes to the standard DnD world as magic is extremely common and every race doesn’t follow any of the normal conventions set before.  The book itself has one chapter setting the tone and feel of the world. After that is a chapter on the geography of the main continent followed by a chapter on the different races of Eberron. From there the book shifts to magic, focusing one chapter on Dragonmark houses (think magic family guilds with tattoos that appear under stress providing magic powers), and then new magic creation rules as well as items for the world.  The book wraps up by focusing on a major city of the world called Sharn, and finally providing additional resources like extra reading, a glossary, and pictures you can use for your game.

Theme or Fluff-I like the stuff in this book.  It is travel guide to the world of Eberron providing a much needed update for the most recent system of DnD.  Players get to learn about the world, and GMs get enough story seeds that they can set a story anywhere. The races feel fresh since that is a major point of Eberron, and the world is deep.  My major complaint is this book feels short. Under 3.5, whole books were written about each of the different countries, and here each place gets about a page. For a book published by Wizards of the Coast itself, I expect a bit more for a $20 PDF.  Nothing here is bad, but I expect a bit more from the main publisher. 4.5/5

Mechanics or Crunch-Wizards of the Coast put out a book, so they know their own system.  I love the new races and am glad to see the races specific to Eberron get a 5e DnD coat of paint.  I also can’t give enough praise and love to how Dragonmarks and magic item creation is handled. Dragonmarks are one of the core elements of the Eberron setting as these magic family businesses run large chunks of the world, at least by proxy.  Previous editions handled this by feats, but this one sets them up as races. You are born a Dragonmark, which feels thematically true, but I also like the crunch of how each Dragonmark is handled. Magic items are extremely common with an almost cellphone like network existing in Eberron, so magic item rules needed an update.  This book provides new item creation rules and providing costs for items. This is an update the system needed long ago as some DnD Adventurers’ League players are swimming in gold but have no real use for it. In Eberron, that gold has a place to go! 5/5

Execution– HOOOOLLLLYYYY COW!  Wizards of the Cost put out a PDF and its hyperlinked!? Overall, I like the flow in this book.  I don’t hate reading the book as it doesn’t hurt my eyes to scan or dive deeply into each topic.  The text is laid out well, font is good, and I like the art. Now, the art is very recycled, but the DMs Guild lets authors use art from previous editions, so I don’t hate it.  I would like a bit more from the mothership, but its is not bad. The book does feel short, and that short nature hurts it a bit. I could easily see expanding each country to two pages and adding in more art assets from other books.  This also kinds of makes me angry as your charging roughly full price compared to Chaosium and Paizo for a book that the fluff is already written for and your art is already written for. The art is already made, and you have the graphics sitting on a hard drive, so why not use them?  The maps are ok, but they are the most general ones from the setting, so you don’t even see the capital cities on them. This would also break up the text a bit more as multiple pages are two columns in a row. There is enough white space to not make reading boring, but I’d like more. 3.75/5

Summary-Eberron is an amazing setting that everyone should experience.  From how it flips the script of traditional RPG elements to its Noir setting of morally gray characters, it should be on every RPG player’s bucket list.  This book provides a great new update to the world, providing both DMs and players with a wealth of information. My main complaint is that I would like more.  For a $20 PDF, I would like a bit more, and some of the more I want are things that Wizards of the Coast already has like maps and art assets. Some are included in the back of the book, but putting them where they are mentioned in the book might help a bit more.  That said, you can’t really go wrong with this book. If you are tired of the same Tolkien inspired fantasy, then check out Eberron. This book will give you the 5e shot in the arm you’ve been looking for to start your own game. 88%

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes

Product– Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes

System-DnD 5e

Producer– Wizards of the Coast

Price– $33 here https://www.amazon.com/MORDENKAINENS-FOES-Accessory-Wizards-Team/dp/0786966246/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1531451731&sr=8-1&keywords=mordenkainen%27s+tome+of+foes

TL; DR-It’s not plagiarism if it’s from you!  83%%

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Basics-It’s not Monster Manual II, IT’S MONSTER MANUAL II!  Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes builds out the world of Dungeons and Dragons, focusing less on any one particular world and more on the higher and lower planes.  It provides players with some new options, race options, and even story to build out the characters they want to be. DMs get new monsters, focusing on higher power, extra planar monsters as well as building the universe around the normal material plane players are used to.

Theme or Fluff-This book is by the same people who made the planes in the first place, so its top notch.  The story is amazing, not just for a monster manual, but for any book honestly. You get a ton of options to really make well rounded characters from backstory to new hooks to get the characters really involved in the world.  There are multiple versions of tieflings depending on your devil parents. Those little touches really draw you in. DMs get monsters that have story as well as world-building that will really make higher level play much more interesting.  This is a great resource for any DnD 5e player that wants some planar spice in their game or character. .5/5

Mechanics or Crunch-Again, this book was written by the people who made the system, so they know their math.  The monsters feel right. There are new monsters as well as old favorites. Get ready for heavy hitters though.  This book has low level monsters, but it brings a ton of big boys to the fray. If you need high level monsters, then this is the book for you.  5/5

Execution– Is there a PDF since this book came out in 2018?  Nope, well we’re down to at most ⅘. Then, this is where I get personally angry.  This book copy/pastes the high level monsters from Out of the Abyss. I’m not just talking monsters, but art and even whole written backgrounds for monsters.  We’re talking about ⅕ of the monsters from the book, and almost all the high level monsters. And that is where I draw the line. Need big monsters to make the fight happen?  Great! Use some but not all. The highest level monsters are all the demon princes/princesses of the abyss. NO DEVIL LORDS ARE IN THIS BOOK. That means the DnD team decided to phone in ⅕ of this book by just copying another book they put out a few years ago.  So even though the book’s layout is good, art is good, and event tables of contents and appendices are great, you get a crap rating because you want me to pay full price for phoning in effort. 2.5/5

Summary– I want to like this book.  It’s got a ton of great qualities.  Players and DMs both get excellent resources to use to build up their stories with new characters options and monsters.  And honestly, the book is put together well. I like what they did here with all the different end tables and even the layout of the monsters.  However, this book breaks two important rules for me. First, I can’t get a digital version without have to buy it separately through an app. I already have a number of apps, and when that company folds, I will lose my purchase.  So the lack of PDFs really hurts this book. Second, large parts of this book are just copies of an earlier book. So, why should I reward any company for just selling the same thing to me twice? This is a great book, IF you can get past the fact that if you already own Out of the Abyss, you are buying the monsters again.  If that doesn’t bother you, or you don’t own that book, then this is going to be a great book for your DnD collection, both as a player and as a DM. 83%

 

Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Cthulhu: The Horror in Dunwich

Product-Cthulhu: The Horror in Dunwich

Producer– Wyvern Gaming

Price– Kickstarter October 3rd

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 45 minutes to 1.5 hours (1-6 players)

Type- American

Depth-Light

TL; DR– Not perfect, but really fun!  85%

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Basics-  Do you got the Moxie to take on Cthulhu?  Cthulhu: the Horror in Dunwich is a stand alone expansion to the Cthulhu: the Deck Building Game.  Players take the roles of different investigators fighting the old gods as they return. Each character has a different amount of health and sanity as well as a backstory, powers, and post death abilities. Characters choose what elder gods to fight, depending on the player count, choosing to fight one to two different gods.  In the Horror in Dunwich expansion, new elder gods are available as well as new Mythic Location cards. These random locations drastically alter the game by changing how much moxie you get, spawning new creatures, or putting other effects into the game. Players then receive seven cards giving them one resource called moxie and three cards that when played deal damage to the player.  With the god(s), mythic locations, and investigators chosen and the characters drawing five cards, you are ready to play.

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Each turn is broken down into roughly two phases: preparation and fighting.   During preparation, each player places cards on the table up to all the cards in their hand for Moxie.  Moxie is the generic resource in this game functioning for both attack and currency for cards. Players might also have some initial damage dealing cards in their hands.  You may choose to play those or just discard them at the end of turn, but some cards provide extra effects depending on the number of cards played. So, taking the extra damage might be beneficial to your characters depending on what you get!  After choosing to play as many cards as they wish, they spend their moxie to get new cards directly into their hands from the cards available in the library or central purchasing area. Once this is completed, all played cards are removed, and new cards are placed in the library to buy next turn signaling the end of the preparation phase.

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Fighting is straightforward.  First the elder god goes, doing whatever it says on the card.  Then a card is drawn from the mythos deck. The mythos cards are interesting effects that usually harm the players.  After the mythos card is drawn and its effects done, a monster(s) is drawn and then each monster attacks the players, doing whatever it says to players, from  attacking only one character to doing damage to all characters. Finally, the players can respond by playing cards to use more moxie to hurt the monsters, so moxie functions both as your money and as your attack power.  Players then discard all played cards, can discard library cards to draw more and cycle the deck, and lastly draw five new cards to start the next round. Play continues like this until the elder gods are dispatched or the players have all gone insane or been killed.

Mechanics– I like the mechanics on this one.  It’s simple enough to be quick, but not too simple to be dumbed down.  It’s an interesting mix of using the same currency for both attack and defense.  That might drive some players away as you can cast spells to buy stuff which feels strange, but the division of card types means you can focus your character in one way or another.  The library of cards feels like Ascension and Dominion had a baby. It does have it fault as it can get a little simple at times, but it doesn’t overstay its welcome. If you want a challenge at all, you NEED to play this on the hard difficulty.  The easy difficulty might be a bit too easy for some gamers who crave a little more pain in their games. 4.25/5

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Theme- Theme in deck building games is a tough one.  It’s hard to keep monsters in the right place and all kind of other issues that are just random in nature.  This game has the problem, but deals with it admirably. Mythos cards work regardless of the elder god involved, but each elder god has its own chosen set of monsters.  If you draw mythos cards related to the elder god in play, more bad things happen. If you draw creatures with no relation to the elder gods in play, then only slightly bad things happen.  It’s a simple way to focus on the gods in play. It’s still completely random, but it does add bits of story in to the game. I also appreciate the detail for each investigator as their story, power, and background will really bring you in at the start.  It’s an uphill batter to put story in a deck builder, but this game does it well. 4.25/5

Instructions– Overall, the instruction work well for this game, but they do have a few issues.  You will have to reread the instructions a few times. Overall, the rules are extremely simple, which is appreciated, but I feel they need a bit more polish in the final product.  The pieces are all there, but some things like how the mythic locations are placed are not as explained as well as they should be. Once you know the rules from the base game, then you know how to play the expansion easily.  But, the new elements need more explanation. Everything here works, but its something that will require a few passes for you to really work through to see how all the pieces work. That said, the rules are about three pages, so reading through the rules again won’t be a several hour endeavor.  4.25/5

Execution–  Oh execution … this game will drive you to one of two camps.  I was immediately drawn to the art, the card stock, text fonts, and even the box itself.  All those things feel like Hellboy or Darkest Dungeon. I loved everything I saw with this one and really enjoyed the life counters as little slide on the card indicators.  Really cool! I even love the box itself. It’s awesome thick cardboard that harkens back to the old Fantasy Flight coffin boxes. HOWEVER, my wife….she is an English an English as a Second Language teacher…she was IMMEDIATELY drawn to the errors in English grammar and spelling.  And THERE ARE A LOT OF THOSE SMALL ERRORS. So, if you just love to see awesome art on nice cards this game will be an amazing addition to your collection. If you can’t stand a card that has a few grammar and/or spelling errors on it, then this will drive you up a wall. I live and die by spellcheck, so this didn’t bother me, but your mileage will vary! You can check out our unboxing video of both the base and expansion here:https://youtu.be/3PvRMR7MwPo 4.25/5

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Summary–  This game reminds me of a B movie that you love, even though it has a few faults.  My family watches Flash Gordon each year. I watch Flash when it comes on TV when I’m looking to see what’s on.  I play the fight scenes in the background when I write random stuff for my blog. The music is on my youtube work mix cue, so I’ve graded quite a few student papers to Hawkmen fighting on Warship Ajax in the background.  Flash Gordon is not an Oscar worthy movie, but it’s fun, it’s campy, and it feels right. It has flaws, but that doesn’t make it bad. This game is the equivalent of that. Are there other Cthulhu games that might have more polish?  Yes. Will those get to my table as often? Probably not! This stand alone expansion plays shorter than the box time says. I have to sort fewer cards than other deckbuilders. My favorite mythos god is Yog-Sothoth. All the stars align for this one.  My wife and my favorite game to play together is Eldritch Horror. But, even the lightest set up for that game is 20 minutes if you are lucky, and play time can easily be three hours. This game gets an Eldritch Horror experience into about 20 minutes. Is it a perfect match?  NO! Is it enough that on a weeknight when we have half an hour and just want to fight some horrors from beyond time this is going to come out? Absolutely! 85%

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Ring Side Report- Savage Worlds Deluxe Core Rules

Product– Savage Worlds Deluxe Core Rules

System-Savage Worlds

Producer– Pinnacle Entertainment

Price– $9.99 here  http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/92743/Savage-Worlds-Deluxe?term=savage+worlds+delu&test_epoch=0?affiliate_id=658618

TL; DR-Super Swingy, but super fun! 97%

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Basics-Wanna do…. Anything?  Savage Worlds is a generic RPG that isn’t tethered to any one world or system.  It’s so untethered to any setting that the first few pages of the book are all the different worlds the Pinnacle Entertainment and others offer.  Let’s dive into this game and see what’s there.

Base Mechanics- Here is where the fun begins.  Savage Worlds uses a dice chain.  When you want to do a thing that needs a roll, you roll your skill die and aim for a 4 after modifier.  That’s pretty much it. Hit 4 and the thing happens. Every 4 above 4 is a raise and does something awesome.  Sometimes damage, sometimes extra effects, but it’s always something good.  If you hit the max number on a die, then got an ace, and you roll the dice again adding to the total.  Ace again? Keep going! Like I said above, this system is super swingy, but fun.

Stats-Your skills and attribute dice are decided at character generation.  Your attribute are Agility, Smarts, Strength, Spirit, Vigor. These are dice ranging from a d4 to a d12.  Most humans have a d6 in every attribute. When you build a character you get dice for a skill, but the skill advancement is tied to each attribute and advancing past an attribute dice cost a lot more than normal.  If you ever don’t have the skill that you want to use, you roll a d4-2 still trying to hit the 4, so hope for the ace!

Wild cards and Extras-Extras are random background people from the mook attacking the bar to the faceless ninjas that you mow down in wave after wave.  Wild cards are special character ranging from your player character to the big bad evil guy. Wild cards get an extra die to all rolls called the wild die that is a d6.  You roll this for attacks and skills, even if you are untrained!

Edges and Hindrances-Something I miss from light systems are feats.  Savage Worlds has edges and hindrances. At character generation you get hindrances that flesh out your character as well as bonuses called edges that give you extra little abilities from being able to hit harder bare handed or bonuses on some skill rolls.

Combat and Initiative-Savage Worlds has roots in some crazy RPGs and none comes out more that initiative.  Players don’t roll, but get cards from a deck of playing cards with the Jokers left in.  High card and suit (Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, and finally Clubs). Jokers do crazy things to the person who draws them and then after the round the initiative deck is reshuffled.  Each round you get to move a bit and do one action. Actions range from shooting people to doing a skill. Melee attacks means you have to hit the opponents parry value. Ranged attacks have to hit a 4.  In either case rases add an additional 1d6 of damage to the target. If you hit you then roll damage equal to your weapon value. If the damage value equals an enemies toughness (2 + half the opponents vigor die), then the opponent is shaken.  Shaken means your do nothing next turn except try to shake off the hit via a Spirit roll (4 to shake it off, 8 to act normally). If you get a raise on the toughness, than the enemy takes a wound. Wild Cards have three wounds before a fourth kills them, but extras only have one before they are down!

Bennies-Oh story candy!  I love you! Bennies are chips you get to reroll dice, immediately shake of being shaken, and whatever you convince your GM that you can do.  The GM gets a pile as well! Act like your character would? Story Candy. Do something cool? Story Candy. Buy the GM a coke? STORY CANDY!

Character Generation-  A big theme in savage worlds is rules light, and Savage Worlds is really light when it comes to character generation.  Characters are made by doing a number of small steps. When you build a character you start by choosing a race, which may give you additional starting abilities with humans getting one extra edge, then you get point to buy new attribute dice, going up one level on the dice chain for each point, points to get and advance skills , one for one as before, move to selecting edges, then you can select to get extra hiderence to get more points for skills and edges, and finally you get gear based on the campaign you’re playing.  DONE. The hardest part is selecting what gear and edges you will chose.

Leveling up or Advancement-Every good game needs XP, and this one give xp at the end of each session. For every five xp, a character can get a new edge, advance attribute dice, raise one skill above an attribute, raise two skills with values under a linked attribute, or get a d4 in a new skill.  For every 20 XP a character enters a new rank that give access to new edges.

Magic, machines, and maham- Savage Words is system agnostic, so magic and powers a built in but not essential.  Characters can get powers via different routes from the gods, reading books, or simply building a crazy lightning boxes from technology.  All power work the same as they start with getting an edge. The powers have a rank you can get them at, a cost in power point (think magic points from Final Fantasy), and some skills you have to roll to make them happen, if needed for things like attacks.  It feels like old schoo video game!

Ok, enough background, what are my thoughts.

Theme or Fluff-No fluff for this one.  Each world needs its own fruff.  There is awesome stuff here from the Rippers universe where people fight monsters in a Victorian setting with magic, monstrous power of their own, and machines to Solomon Kain fighting monsters across the world.  It’s all fun, but Savage Worlds is anything you want it to be. You give the biggest thing in the world to d12+2 for his or her thing, and then you set the smallest or weakest thing at d4-2 for their thing, and scale accordingly.  You can do Savage Hacks for literally anything from Shadowrun to DnD. If you like the math above, see if your favorite system or setting has a Savage Hack out there, or go make one! -/5

Mechanics or Crunch– Holy cow is this thing swingy!  That’s not a bad thing, but it is a thing.  If you need careful balance where expected results always happen, WALK AWAY NOW!  But if you love you some pulp craziness, then get into this game. Its light and fast.  I play with no miniatures, but many people love miniatures. I just love the math here. It goes fast and plays quick.  The one thing I don’t like is how little the attributes matter. They are important for some things like Spirit rolls and determining toughness, but overall they feel slightly left aside.  As this is mostly a skills game, its ok, but I always hate when games have attributes, but don’t really use them as much as say Dungeons and Dragons. It’s not bad, but it’s something that sticks in my craw.  If you can ignore that one complaint I have, then Savage Worlds is a swingy, amazing system! 4.9/5

Execution– Is this available in PDF since its past 2015?  Check. Hyperlinked to make my life easy? Check.  Overall, I love how the book looks. I’d like a bit more walkthrough on a few things, but once you work through the rules it’s easy enough.  Also, I’d like a bit more tables to break up some of the text for things like spells. It’s a well done book that you can skim through in an afternoon without an advanced degree or major eye strain.  4.8/5

Summary-I am a convert!  I love lots of different systems, but Savage Worlds is one that always seemed off in the corner where the weird kids hang out.  It’s a smaller system, but its got a big cult following, almost like The Evil Dead. And I think that that’s a good way to look at this system.  If you want your standard fantasy where predictable thing happen at predictable time scales, then this isn’t for you. It’s not bad, but it’s not for you.  If you want a faster pace with some crazy stuff happening like a player who is the town poopscooper getting five aces in a row and triple critting the big bad evil guy on the first turn, then this is the game for you.  The system is slick, fast, and low crunch. The book is well put together and reads quickly and enjoyably. That’s everything I want in an RPG, and a system I can’t wait to get back into. 97%

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Close Encounters: Hyperspace Fiends

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Product– Close Encounters: Hyperspace Fiends

System-Starfinder

Producer– Fat Goblin Games

Price– $6.95 here  http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/222888/Close-Encounters-Hyperspace-Fiends?affiliate_id=658618

TL; DR-Horrors from the low planes in the upper skies! 98%

Basics-Where we’re going, you don’t need eyes to see!  Close Encounters: Hypersapce Fiends is a new book in a series bringing old fiendish monsters and things from Pathfinder into space with Starfinder.  This book bring demons and devils into space, TOGETHER! Turns out hell and the abyss collapsed into one horrible thing and now they’ve joined a tag team battle against the universe, if they can stop knifing themselves in the back!

Theme or Fluff– The base Starfinder game is devil and demon poor, but this book brings all your classics back, and their stats feel like they should.  There are even some crazy fiendish effects on magic, some ships that are stated out, and some environments traps that can affect your players should they enter the lower plane.  There is also story to backup why these two age old enemies are working together to kill everyone. Overall, I like what I’m seeing here as it’s a great way to bring back some fun Pathfinder elements to your Starfinder game.  5/5

Mechanics or Crunch– All the crunch is right.  The CR are good and the monsters hit the places they did in Pathfinder with basic updates of the mechanics to fit the slight changes between the systems. I love what’s here, and it’s going to fit mechanically well into any game where the GM would like to put a Technomancer in Hell.  5/5

Execution– Is this available in PDF since its past 2015?  Check. Is it hyperlinked even though its less than 40 pages?  Check. Ok we’ve hit all the basics to make me happy. Now the extras!  This book has lots a art with the creatures looking like the demons you’re used to but with a Starfinder art twist.  There are demon/devil ships, but I would like a few more and some close up art of them. The art for the ships isn’t bad but its only one picture of the two new ships. The book even includes the rough seeds on an adventure from levels 1 to 20.  Also, my favorite devils the low level lemure isn’t in the book, so that makes me a little sad. Finally the price is a tad high as its about $7 for a 30 page PDF. These are by no means going to keep me away, but it’s something to note. 4.75/5

Summary-Fat Goblin was one of the first on the scene making Starfinder Compatible products and they have really demonstrated what you can do as a third party publisher.  Its some fantastic material. I love putting demons and devils in my game and now I can easily do so. This is only GM book. It’s fun, but honestly players need not apply as there are no player specific material here.  GMs get fun new toys and things to inflict on their players. It’s not perfect with a few minor things like price and some minor monsters being left out, but in total, this is a great resources if you want to put some horrible demons and devils into your game. 98%