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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Heroes and Other Worlds - A review, of sorts

I've been following the blog Heroes & Other Worlds for some time now, reading about Mr. Brandon's game idea, that was called Roguish at the time.

He's published his rules, Heroes & Other Worlds through Lulu now, available in both PDF and Softcover format for what I consider to be reasonable prices.

Last week, I decided that I wanted to read a bit more of this, so I ordered the softcover and I received it yesterday.

I'd like to share a few thoughts about this product after reading through it last night.

The Purchasing Process
This was the first print product I've purchased through Lulu.  
POD printing and Shipping was accomplished in a reasonable amount of time, in something of an exceptional amount of time if you take into account that we are rushing headlong towards Christmas and it's usually when shipping slows to a snails pace.
I received an email with a tracking number when my book shipped, so I was able to keep pace with it's progress, coming from New York State to North Georgia.
Once shipped, it got to me within 3 business days.  I did pay a few dollars extra for expedited shipping, normally I'd have no problem with Media Mail or standard shipping options, but Not at this time of the year, and we're only talking about $4 extra, so it was worth the price.

I was able to find a coupon for 20% off online for Lulu, so it pretty much covered my shipping.

The Physical Product
A nice, 6x9 perfect bound softcover, around 120 or so pages (I'm at work, the book is at home).  The interior is black on white paper, a nice matte finish paper, so it's easy to read, I had no problems with glare.  The interior art varies in quality, from decent to really good.  I recognized a few pieces as being from sets you can purchase through Drive Thru RPG, which is not a complaint, just an observation.  I've purchased a few of the same sets to make use of when (if) I ever put together anything of my own for commercial release.

The Rules
My first read through gave me a decent understanding of the rules.  I would have no hesitation to taking the book, some blank 6x9 cards (for character sheets, my eyes aren't too great for 3x5 cards :P), a handful of dice and putting together a quick run for some folks.  

Attributes are point buy off a base, I created three adventurers while I was watching TV with the wife after my read through, and even with the distraction, they took less than 5 minutes each, but still managed to have some personality and individuality.

There are two classes, I think they are called Adventurer and Wizard, although either can learn anything they wish, the costs are just a bit different based upon their focus.

I'm not going to put a bunch of spoilers here, but suffice to say, I did like what I found within the covers of the book.

There is a good section on running the game, with rules for many different situations.  This is a rules light game that manages to have a decent amount of crunch if needed.  A good sized bestiary is included, as is a starting adventure.

Overall, A nice, complete product you can take with you and be ready to run a game with a minimal amount of preparation time.

Things I Really Liked:
The simplicity and lack of complication.   I work 60+ hours a week and have 5 grandchildren, ranging in age from 3 to 17 years, so I don't have massive amounts of free time.  A system like this that will allow me to run a game with minimal prep is a plus.

The writing style is straightforward and unpretentious.


Things I Disliked:
Nothing that I've found so far


Things I Would Have Liked to Have:
An option to purchase both a Softcover AND a PDF would have been nice.   As it is, I'll be going back in a week or so and ordering the PDF version as well.  I prefer a dead tree book at the game table and for reading over the rules, but I like to have a PDF that I can copy/paste stuff from for game prep and handouts.   This is a very minor point.

Had there been a Hardcover option in addition to the Softcover, I would have purchased it.  I like hardcovers :D

Overall Rating (out of 5)
5

I highly recommend this to anyone who wants a nice, useable system that doesn't require hours of prep time.