Sure, I do reviews here at Game Knight Reviews. But I know that there are other great sites out there that also do reviews. And sometimes, in the sea of gaming sites, it’s tough to find those reviews. Yes, Google is your friend, but sometimes you don’t know what you’re looking for until you find it.
That said, I think its time to take a look at some of the reviews I’ve collected over the last couple of months. And if you ever find any you think should get some extra love, be sure to let me know on the Contact page or drop me an e-mail at news(at)gameknightreviews(dot)com and I’ll add it to the list for next time!
So let’s get to it, shall we?
(1) The More You Know (About GMing), The Easier It Can Be…
Sometimes as GMs it’s difficult not to get lost in the minutiae of worlds – places, people, things – plus the complications of handling players at the table. But never fear, these are not insurmountable barriers to preparation. Mike Shea @ Sly Flourish has put together a whole book on how to stress less and spend fewer hours getting ready for your next session. The book? The Lazy Dungeon Master. And the Id DM offers some great reasons why you should pay attention in his review. Iddy even had a chance to ask Mike what’s next and learn a bit about artist Jimi Bonogofsky about her work with the book.
A bit less practical and more historical is Playing at the World by Jon Peterson, which covers the origins of wargaming and the role-playing movement with D&D. Sean Stevenson @ Armchair General has a great review and covers the high points of the book, from fun historical facts (did you know that Robert Louis Stevenson – author of Treasure Island and other novels – played a miniatures game?) to the beginnings of TSR and beyond. This is a tome I may have to pick up at some point just to get a better perspective on our hobby!
(2) Supplements to Make It Easier or Add Crunch
Raging Swan Press has been producing some great, crunch-filled supplements to give new life to tried-and-true bits of campaign worlds. For instance, Thilo Graf @ G*M*S Magazine recently reviewed Dungeon Dressing: Doors by Jeff Erwin and Urban Dressing: Market Stalls by Brian Liberge. Though Thilo couldn’t have been happier with Market Stalls (as he says, “My only gripe with this pdf is that I want more stalls and I hope we’ll see a direct sequel in due time.”), he thought Doors may have missed the mark a bit with fewer or better traps to make room for more details elsewhere.
Thilo also took a look at The Genius Guide to the Riven Mage from Super Genius Games by authors Carl Gilchrist and Owen K.C. Stephens. Riven Mages appear to be more fluid spellcasters than traditional mages, directing an energy known as the Flux in different ways to achieve different effects. Thilo liked the concept but a few editing glitches kept it from getting his highest marks.
Meanwhile, Thorynn @ Skyland Games posted a great review of the amazing Dungeon Alphabet (expanded 3rd printing) from Goodman Games. This book has more tables than you can shake a stick at and the new edition adds even more table goodies to explore!
And lastly we have a great review from the Middle-Aged DM of The Midgard Bestiary for 4e D&D from Open Design and authors Brian Liberge and Richard Green. Well-designed monsters not suffering from “monster impotence” along with ecologies and fluff based on the Midgard setting make this a “refreshing” change from the older (and weaker) Monster Manual 1 and 2 from Wizards of the Coast.
So if you’re looking for some new ideas to throw at your players, there are a few for you.
(3) New Games to Check Out
Kuro from Cubicle 7 blurs the lines between cyberpunk and horror. Because of that it’s getting a ton of great buzz in the community. Back in December, Shorty Monster posted an early review of the game at G*M*S Magazine and it’s clear that he really enjoyed his foray into that world. Heck, now I’m excited to check out this game…
Another game gaining accolades in the community is Shadows of Esteren from Agate Editions & Studio 2 Publishing. This is a series near and dear to my heart because I participated in the first Kickstarter and received a hardbound copy of Shadows of Esteren: Book One – Universe as part of that project. It is, in a word, stunning. The art is gorgeous,
the world immersive, and the system pretty straightforward. Is it for everyone? Probably not. But I’m pleased to see I’m not the only one tooting its horn. Jeff McAleer @ The Gaming Gang has a great, detailed, review back in December that goes through all the high points of the game and gives it 8.7 out of 10. I can see why he knocked a few things, but it’s definitely one to check out if you like dark fantasy worlds…
Next up, Andrew @ Geek Native got a preview of Cubicle 7’s upcoming Primeval Roleplaying Game. This game, written by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, is based on the BBC show Primeval where time-traveling creatures have managed to pop through into our world and cause trouble. Like all Cubicle 7 books, this one looks fantastic and I’m sure would be fun to play – like Ghostbusters or Supernatural but with time-traveling dinosaurs.
Last we have Mummy: the Curse – a reboot of a RPG from White Wolf and Onyx Path Publishing that completed a successful Kickstarter. Jay “pointyman2000″ Anyong @ Life and Times of a Philippine Gamer has started going through the preview book backers recently received. And the ideas presented are quite intriguing, with the loss of memory between lives being a key element to their existence. Constantly trying to rediscover their identities…
(4) Old Favorites
Of course, we can’t forget some of the games that are still going strong, like the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game from Paizo Publishing and Mutants & Masterminds from Green Ronin Publishing.
Andrew @ Geek Native had a chance to talk to Steve Kenson, the designer of Mutants & Masterminds to talk about its recent 3rd edition update. Who doesn’t want to play like their favorite comic book hero?
And we have two reviews of the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook - one from Julio @ Pathfinder Reviews and another from Kevin Rigdon @ Nerd Machine. The juggernaut that is Pathfinder isn’t slowing down any time soon.
(5) Gaming in a Galaxy Far, Far Away
On the other end of the galaxy we have news of Fantasy Flight Games’ Star Wars: Edge of the Empire game. Newbie DM posted pictures and some comments as he unboxed the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beginner Game. Looks like it’s up to FFG’s traditional standards of great art and layout.
And Gabe @ Penny Arcade had a great time playing the Beginner Game as well. Sounds like the mix of success and failure with roleplaying is perfect for a night of gaming!
(6) Set Up The Board and Get Out The Cards…
Or in this case, get out your iOS device… Have you seen Fluxx on your iPhone or iPad? It’s a ton of fun, just like the card game. And for $2.99, how can you go wrong? Daniel Tack @ Forbes has a great review with screen shots. I’ve played it (more than a few times) on my iPad and I would definitely encourage you to try it out.
Meanwhile, over at Play Board Games there’s a great review of Santiago de Cuba from Gryphon Games. I’m a fan of simple mechanics that can be learned quickly and this sounds like it’s right up my alley.
Lastly, Geek Ken chimes in with a review of Descent (2nd edition) from Fantasy Flight Games. Though it sounds like it’s not without the occasional complication, the idea of a dungeon-crawl board game does have a certain appeal.
(7) Get the Kids Involved…
I love playing games with my kids. And I’m always happy to see other folks in the media showing that they do too. Ryan Carlson @ GEEKDAD played a game of A Hero Kids with his daughters, ages 4 and 6. Sounds like this game not only hits the mark with simple rules and very little prep, but they have plenty of room to grow with your gamers as well. Carlson also includes a great list of tips for gaming with kids near the end of the article. My favorite tip? “Use props when possible.”
(8) Go On An Adventure
Endzeitgeist is another personality on the gaming web who I swear never sleeps. But he reviewed a couple of adventures at Nerd Trek: The Sinister Secrets of Silvermote from Total Party Kill Games and Teeth of the Storm by Run Amok Games, both for Pathfinder. Silvermote sounds like it will be a challenge. And Storm sounds perfect for anyone looking for a gothic horror feel in a 1st level adventure. If you’re looking for some PFRPG goodies, definitely add these to your list.
(9) Other Collections of Reviews
If you’re looking for some round-ups of great products to check out, you might want to look at the “Best and Worst RPGs of 2012″ from Wandering Monster Studios (part 1 and part 2). These lists include not only RPG products, but computer games, novels, movies and more. Who knows what might inspire you?
And Callinostros @ EN World posted a long list of new PDFs to check out earlier this week. Not just D&D, but stuff for ACKS, d6, and more.
There is always something else to check out, let me tell you.
(10) Comic Relief…
Lastly, there was a review by Waerloga69 @ Geeks of Doom of the Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms, Vol. 1 graphic novel from IDW Publishing. This statement seems to sum it up for me: “All in all, it’s a fun read, but definitely not memorable.”
If you read it, what did you think? I’m betting there are mixed opinions.
As always, if you feel I missed something (and it would be impossible NOT to), drop me a quick note via the contact page or drop me an e-mail at news(at)gameknightreviews(dot)com and I’ll add it to the list for next week!
If you’re a publisher and have an announcement to make or new products being released, let me know and I’ll include them in my next publisher round-up!