Category Archives: News & Reviews

First Look: Apocalypse Prevention Inc. 2nd Edition

imageBack in 2011 Eloy Lasanta of Third Eye Games graciously provided me with a review copy of his roleplaying game Apocalypse Prevention Inc. Recently he released a 2nd edition of his game, so he asked me to have a second look.  You can check out my review of the first edition here.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the 2nd edition of API is a much better looking book (or PDF in the case of the digital edition). The cover artwork gives you a great impression of what the game is all about. In API you play the hard-working employees of the Apocalypse Prevention Inc., the only organization standing between us and impending doom in a world where the supernatural is a thing. Think of Men in Black but with the supernatural instead of aliens. The other thing the game has in common with MiB is the humor. API doesn’t take itself too seriously. Yes, there can be horror, but it is always contrasted by some tongue-in-cheek humor.

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The layout of the 231-paged PDF is a small improvement over the 1st edition. The “faux clipboard” look works pretty well in my opinion. The artwork is pretty nice too and was obviously created by the same artists as in the previous edition. At first I thought a couple of images were reused, but on a second look I noticed that it’s actually all new artwork especially created for this edition.

I have to admit I haven’t had the time to give everything a closer look, but I noticed a couple of changes from the 1st edition. The most obvious addition are the new races. Players get to choose from a couple of new races including (but not limited to) the dragon-like Draconi, Hunchbacks, the devilish Inciters, the slimy Mucks, and the metallic Synchrons.

Skills have been overhauled as well. Fighting skills have been included in the general skill list and some skills have been combined into new ones. While I was leafing through the book I got the impression that the 2nd edition is a bit lighter and more streamlined than the 1st edition.

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But don’t get me wrong, API’s mechanics are still pretty crunchy and especially combat offers a huge amount of options. Overall the game seems to be all about providing players with a lot of interesting options. The number of playable races is quite huge, there are countless gifts and drawbacks that allow you to further customize your characters and in addition to that the game has pretty large sections on Fighting Styles, Cyberware, and Magic.

Having that many options also means that you can easily use API 2nd edition to run games in different setting. You don’t like some of the races? Just throw them out! You prefer a cyberpunk game with no magic? No problem! Even though the game mixes horror and comedy, you can probably focus on the one or the other.

So is API 2nd Edition worth you money? If you already own the 1st edition and liked it, I’m pretty sure you’ll love the new edition. The rules have been overhauled and there are a lot of new options. It’s also easier on the eyes as well. If you haven’t checked out API at all, I recommend giving API 2nd edition a closer look.

The PDF version of Apocalypse Prevention Inc. 2nd Edition is available through DriveThruRPG and sets you back $14.99.

Preview: Cypher System Rulebook

Recently a couple of fellow bloggers had the opportunity to look at Monte Cook Games upcoming Cypher System Rulebook. Since I wasn’t among the lucky ones, I got in touch with Shanna Germain and she was nice enough to tell me who to contact. And lo and behold, a couple of hours later, I had the PDF in my Monte Cook Games store account. Excitement ensued!

So what’s the Cypher System? The Cypher System is the rules system powering both Numenera and The Strange. The Cypher System Rulebook is a variant of those rules designed to fit various genres. With this book you can play games in the Modern age (with or without supernatural elements) or in the Science Fiction, Superhero, Fantasy, and Horror genres.

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Overall the book is gorgeous. As with the other Monte Cook Games products’ it has a clear and easy-to-read layout and awesome artwork. I can’t wait to get the printed version as soon as it hits the shelves! The PDF contains 416 pages, so the hardcover book will be a veritable  tome. Since it contains no setting information it’s all rules. But don’t fret, the actual rules are only a couple of pages. The rest of the book focuses on how to run the game and contains countless foci, descriptors, and cyphers.

Continue reading Preview: Cypher System Rulebook

Three Upcoming Games I’m Excited about

Although I already own quite a few roleplaying games (I stopped counting a while ago), I am usually excited about at least one or two upcoming games. At the moment there are three games which should be released this summer which keep me excited.

Cover-Mockup-2015-04-08-Opt2cThe first on the list is a game I’ve been writing about several times. It’s Monte Cook’s Cypher System Rulebook. The Cypher System was created for Numenera and was also put to great use in the more recent The Strange. What I like about the system is that it’s extremely easy to run, it breaks with a couple of roleplaying traditions and while being pretty easy it has enough depth to even convince players who prefer some crunch at the gaming table.

The upcoming Cypher System will hopefully provide us with enough material to use the system in almost every genre. From what I’ve read so far, the book will have almost 500 pages with no fluff. Since the rules themselves are pretty short, I expect countless descriptors and foci, a a whole lot of cyphers for our games. I already have a couple of ideas what I want to run with it, including a Cyberpunk game. Hopefully there will be support for cyberwear in the core book.

By the way, if you  preorder the hardcover book at Monte Cook Games, you get the PDF for free. The PDF version can also be preordered from DriveThruRPG.

Next in line is Fantasy AGE by Green Ronin. Fantasy AGE is basically the Dragon Age RPG without the setting and a new magic system. It’s the RPG for everyone who loves the rules behind the Dragon Age RPG but want to use it for other settings. While I have owned the rules for ages I just recently had the chance to play it. The AGE system is easy to learn, fast, and the stunt system is the cherry on top.

What excites me even more is the setting Green Ronin will release for Fantasy AGE later this year: Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana. Titansgrave is a Science Fantasy setting created by Wil Wheaton and Green Ronin. It’s also the game Wil is running for his new RPG show. If you haven’t watched it yet, I highly recommend you do so.

Savage_Rifts-234x300Last but not least is the Savage Worlds version of RIFTS. I still don’t think that Savage Worlds is the best fit for RIFTS, but I am cautiously optimistic. I like the RIFTS setting a lot. It’s my favorite kitchen-sink setting but alas it’s combined with a mess of a rules system. The Palladium System is playable but only barely so. From what I’ve heard not even Kevin Siembieda uses the rules-as-written, which says a lot. Savage Worlds is definitely not perfect but it fits the over-the-top style of RIFTS even though I doubt it can handle the scales. I still can’t imagine how a Rogue Scientist and a Glitter Boy pilot can coexist in the same party using SW rules. Let’s hope the guys working on it have figured a way out to make it possible.

These are the three games I am currently pretty excited about. What games are you looking forward to? Please share your thoughts below!