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Solid, good-looking screenbugleyman —
This is a solid, good-looking screen with well-considered info inside. I especially appreciate starship combat panel. If you're a Stafinder GM who uses a screen, buy this.
Why not five stars? Simple...it's not landscape. Portrait screens are so 2009. ;-)
Good looking and functional, but...bugleyman —
...but as with the squares on the Starfinder Basic Terrain flip-map, the hexes here are too big...nearly 1.25 inches, in fact. This doesn't hurt quite as much as it would for a grid, as you're unlikely to try to line it up with anything else or lay templates, etc. down on it, but it is still unfortunate.
Also, I don't see why this had to be as large as it is...as a "basic" product, keeping the price down by using a regular 24"x30" map would have been the way to go. Plus my bigger basic -- which folds the same way this does -- has an odd flap that often gets hung up on things.
All that said, the art is good and it gets the job done. It's just a needlessly flawed product that should have been a no-brainer.
Great productbugleyman —
A Core Rulebook pawn set is a great idea, especially for Starfinder. Covering the PC/NPC bases without having to buy an entire box set is a niche Pathfinder still hasn't really covered, and this is doubly helpful for a new game in a less common genre.
The art itself is great and exactly what you would expect. If, like me, you have almost no sci-fi themed minis, then this set is a no-brainer for Starfinder GMing.
One small downside: The pawns are NOT numbered, though there there is a set icon, and multiples of the same pawn display that icon in different colors.
Gotta imagine something went wrong with the printing...bugleyman —
...because the squares on this aren't even close to an inch; they're much too large. In fact, the 10-inch side is less than nine squares long! Not a huge deal if you're using it by itself, but forget lining it up with another flip mat or overlaying with map tiles, AoE templates, etc. Coupled with the fact that this feels like a different material than any of my (many) Pathfinder/Gamemastery maps, and I'm guessing they used a new printer. Clearly there are some kinks to work out.
Printing issues aside, the map itself is a pretty bad design for a basic flip-mat -- it would have been much more useful to new Starfinder GMs to have a basic grid on one side, and the flip side be a hex-map star field. Yes, I know there is a separate product for that, but it could have easily been covered here.
Finally, the art that IS here is mediocre and lacking detail. This product simply isn't up to the standards of modern Paizo Flip-Mats. Unless you're an avowed completest, avoid this one.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook (OGL) Pocket EditionPaizo Inc.
Our Price: $24.99Add to Cart
It's the little things in life...bugleyman —
I just scooped this up at the FLGS (Game Depot in Tempe, AZ). One of the owners mentioned that she had to specifically order it -- her distributor didn't send any copies as they do other new Pathfinder stuff. You may have to hunt for it.
Anyway, this is about what you'd expect…a smaller CRB, but with half the price of entry. The page stock seems identical to the full-size CRB, so it's a dense little book. The print is small, but manageable, though I'd avoid it if you use/need bifocals.
There are no obvious changes from the full-size book, and of course it is Pathfinder, so it may be cruncher than some might like. But at this point, you should know what you're getting.
My main concern is how the binding will hold up. The book does have "pre-scored" crease lines designed to limit strain on the binding, which is a good sign.
Squares are not one inch!bugleyman —
This is a great map -- I used to own the original -- but when I tried to use a printed ship tile (from the excellent Map Pack: Boats and Ships) in conjunction with the water side, I made an unpleasant discovery: The squares aren't an inch. They're ~4-5% too small. Not an issue if you're going to use the map by itself, but if you want use it with another flip-mat, or say, overlay some dungeon tiles, the squares don't line up.
As much as I love the idea of bringing back classic flip-mats, the square sizing issue is simply too big a blow to usability for me. Hopefully Paizo gets this sorted out for future flip-mat classics releases.
Trouble in the foldbugleyman —
Long has the world needed a larger flip-mat. Too many maps flaunted their 31" dimensions in defiance. Finally, Paizo heard the cries of the people and created Bigger Basic. And it was good. The people rejoiced.
Why, then, is this not a five-star product? The folds. Not sticking to whole-number multiples of 8" or 10" length and width means there are fold lines quite close (3") from the edge of the unfolded map. These folds are more difficult than normal to keep flat when the map is in use. Further, when the map is folded, there is a "flap" along one side which is surprisingly effective at catching on other flip-mats/objects.
I would have much preferred a size of, say, 32" x 30". Yes, that would have meant the maximum dimension of the map increased by only two inches; however, from a PFS point-of-view, at least half the time when a flip-mat is too small, it is two small by two or fewer squares. 32" x 30" would have, for instance, accommodated the original Blakros Museum while still folding into uniform 8" x 10" panels.
This product was sorely needed, and I really appreciate Paizo recognizing and meeting the need. Buy it. Just be aware that it is stopped (frustratingly) short of a home run by a questionable design choice.
Just okaybugleyman —
I picked this up based on the strength of Village Backdrop: Fulhurst Moors, which was my first real exposure to Raging Swan. While that product was fantastic, I found this one to be merely okay.
$2.45 well spent!bugleyman —
This product was my first real exposure to Raging Swan (I think I got a PDF of theirs long ago as part of a package and just filed it away), but it won't be my last. Just a well-done, immediately useful product at a fair price.
Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Miniatures—Icons of the Realms, Set 1WizKids/NECA
The line has promise, but this release is all over the place.bugleyman —
Full disclosure: I do not have (nor am I planning to purchase) the entire Icons of the Realms set. This review is based on my purchase of a single booster, supplemented by a few singles. I own:
#001 Rock Gnome Female Wizard
* These minis are very durable, maintaining the flexibility of previous D&D releases. It's hard to imagine these not standing up to years of use.
This line has my attention, but they need to bring the sculpt and paint job quality of the commons up quite a bit. For now, Pathfinder Battles is a better bet, despite the comparatively brittle plastic employed in that line.
Worthy release in the Battles linebugleyman —
Full disclosure: I do not have (nor am I planning to purchase) the entire Lost Coast set. This review is based on my purchase of two boosters at the FLGS, in which I received the following minis:
06 Small Water Elemental
* The sculpts are very detailed.
* The paint job on my shifty noble was poor; the figure completely lacks any detail on the face. It's just a fleshy blob. Easily fixed, but kinda defeats the purpose of buying pre-paints.
All in all one of the better entries in the series, both in terms of figure utility and sculpt/paint quality.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #6–06: Hall of the Flesh Eaters (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
Our Price: $3.99Add to Cart
Good scenario; great for Halloween.bugleyman —
Just ran this on October 30th; great fit for Halloween.
We ran with four players, high sub-tier. Things were pretty easy until the final battle, which was a stiff (but not overwhelming) challenge.
Promising, but could use a revisionbugleyman —
Wow, are these a great idea. The implementation, however, could use a bit of work. That said, it's nice to see this product realized, even in a somewhat-less-than-ideal form.
Dungeons & Dragons RPG—Tyranny of Dragons: Hoard of the Dragon QueenWizards of the Coast
Our Price: $26.96Add to Cart
Bored of the Dragon Queenbugleyman —
WotC bravely brings its tradition of mediocre adventures in the era of 5th edition with this wholly unremarkable product. Unfortunately, it does so on ground which has already been tread by the (superior) Red Hand of Doom.
A second strong showing for Fifth Editionbugleyman —
Dungeons and Dragons comes surging back looking much more like the game I've always wanted.
Functional and well-built, but utilitarianbugleyman —
Dungeons & Dragons RPG: Player's Handbook HardcoverWizards of the Coast
Our Price: $44.96Add to Cart
D&D is back. Yeah, baby!bugleyman —
Dungeons and Dragons comes surging back looking much more like the game I've always wanted.
*Concentration reins in both complexity and caster power.
*Raises the bar on art (most of it, anyway; see Cons) and graphic design.
*Lightly armored, dex-focused melee is finally a viable option from the start.
*Plenty of race and class variety right out of the gate. All the important bases are covered. *cough* gnomes *cough*
*Zero PDF/eBook availability (at least at the time of this writing) is a MAJOR disappointment.
*Price. $50 is a bit steep. The PHB should be subsidized a bit to lower barriers to entry. In my opinion, $40 would have been ideal. At the very least, $50 should have included a nice, saddle-stitched binding.
The place to startbugleyman —
If you're only buying one flip-mat, buy this. Lots of blank real estate, accepts pretty much any pen, folds down to 8" x 10". What's not to love?
While it's true some of the older products in the line had a blank side, that practice has come to an end, meaning this is your best option if you just want a portable, erasable play space. I'd suggest getting two, as together they will allow you to map pretty much anything.
By the way, there is a run of these maps made of lighter-than-intended card stock. I have two that fit this description, and while they've held up OK, they're definitely not going to last as long as my other flip-mats. You can identify the "too thin" ones because the map is folded in a C, rather than a Z.
Edit: Both of these guys have now given up the ghost, with ink soaking through at the corners. The good news is I've since bought two more of these, and they're on a much heavier stock. It seems like the light-than-intended maps are out of the distribution channel.
Great game, mediocre Starter Setbugleyman —
I have read the contents of the set and DM'ed a group through the first section of the adventure. I really like the way the new rules function, but I'm focusing this review on the contents of the Starter Set. There are four components:
Overall, I'd advise anyone who has any experience with RPGs at all to skip this, and just download the free Basic PDF instead.
P.S.: Come on, guys...books need covers.
Great Idea...bugleyman —
I love the design of this product, and I believe they went with a good mix of terrain types. Unfortunately, only the dungeon floor pattern is light/sparse enough to really show wet erase markers. Alas, if only the other textures were lighter and/or less busy, this would easily be a five-star product. As it is, you're better off sticking with Flip-Mat: Basic.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #5–15: Destiny of the Sands—Part 2: Race to Seeker's Folly (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
Our Price: $3.99Add to Cart
...and the board ate my review.bugleyman —
One of these days, I'll learn not to edit reviews directly in my web browser. :P
Short version: The story really gets rolling in this installment. Nice mix of challenges and varied solutions, all against a flavorful backdrop. Plenty of back story...which, for a change, the players may actually have a chance to learn.
Great scenario, looking forward to part 3.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #5–12: Destiny of the Sands—Part 1: A Bitter Bargain (PFRPG) PDFPaizo Inc.
Our Price: $3.99Add to Cart
Balanced scenariobugleyman —
This scenario is a basic "Go run this list of errands" outing, but at least the errands are interesting and varied. The encounters are well fleshed out, most offer multiple solutions, and all include enough information for the GM to handle player improvisation. There is plenty of opportunity for good role-playing.
The combats seem to be a bit on the easy side, but then again I did run for a group of six experienced players with well-built characters.
Better-than-average editing (at least for a Pathfinder Society scenario).
Yes, the information broker is Grandmaster Torch.
Keep the setting; nuke the rest from orbitbugleyman —
This review is based on reading the entire book, playing one level of the dungeon (The Accursed Halls), and running two others (The Forgotten Library and the Engima Vaults)
The layout, art, and cartography in this product are excellent. The material on town of Thornkeep and environs is useful and well-done. Points of interest in the surrounding countryside, NPCs, town locations, etc. -- it's all here. There is even a full-page rumors table. Overall, things are very reminiscent of the better classic D&D products.
Once we head into the dungeons below town, however, things begin to unravel quickly. The whole dungeon feels like a series of disjointed encounters strung together with little pretense of a coherent story. Admittedly, this is to be expected to a certain degree in a project of this nature, but much of the material simply defies logic.
The last chapter is a behind-the-scenes of the upcoming Pathfinder MMO. I personally couldn't care less, and largely ignored this section, but if you're following the development of that the game, this chapter will likely be of great interest to you.
Overall, Thornkeep provides an excellent base of operations, then squanders it on a disjointed, sub-par dungeon crawl. Only the sheer excellence of the first half of the book saves the product from a lower rating.
Impressive entry in the Builder Seriesbugleyman —
This review is based on the following three minis I picked up on a whim at the FLGS:
This second installment in the Builder Series represents an ideal selection of well-sculpted commonly-used figures. Just as in We Be Goblins, there is a lot to like here:
* The plastic is flexible where it needs to be (weapons, etc), but remains hard in the bases.
One minor complaint remains:
* There are black plastic "blobs" where some of the minis attach to the bases.
...but that's not enough to knock off a star.
It's hard to imagine a more ideal theme for a Builder Series set. Recommended without hesitation.
Reflections of...the way life used to bebugleyman —
Gm'ed this for a PFS group over three sessions.
GMs, I would emphasize the Boroi family tragedy to bring out the horror aspect of this tale.