Since I mentioned last week that I thought the RPG blogging community should do more reviews, I thought it might be a good idea to follow-up on that and see what’s available this week. It turns out it’s a good week for reviews, with a slew having been posted for the new D&D 4th Edition Forgotten Realms campaign book. There are also reviews of the new 4E DM screen, a Legend of the Five Rings source book, and the Battlestar Galactica RPG.
I also came across the blog post “Where To Get You Some RPG Reviews”, which runs down the best places to find role-playing game reviews on the web.
D&D 4th Edition
Opinions on Forgotten Realms 4th Edition vary greatly, but given that it’s a 4E book, you knew that was going to happen, right? For the most part, opinions seem to break along the same lines as 4E itself; those who view the Realm’s exhaustive complexity hate the new edition’s random retconning and apocalyptic redesigning, while those looking from a break from said complexity welcome the celestial and terrestrial house cleaning.
The most objective (and largely positive) review that I read was Martin Rayla’s over at Gnome Stew: 4th Edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide Review: Big Changes, Good Book, Crappy Map. Martin presents a comprehensive chapter-by-chapter review, comparing the book to its 1st and 3rd edition iterations, outlining the major changes to Forgotten Realms (and they truly are major, involving the death of gods, merging of worlds, and much, much more) and raging against some truly awful cartography. Also, he kicks off what will be a recurrent theme: the book’s sad excuse for an index (which is not labeled as an index, but rather “a source of inspiration.”)
RPG Blog II has “A Thoroughly Incomplete Review of Forgotten Realms 4E” offers a hodgepodge review from a Greyhawk fan’s perspective. The general sentiment is thumbs down for those who loved the realms as is, thumbs up for those who don’t mind it being completely remade in 4E’s image.
Worlds in a Handful of Dice minces no words expressing their dislike for the new campaign guide in A Rant and a Review: Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. From shuffling the heavenly pantheons to turning Abeir-Toril into two separate worlds, to the Breaking of the Weave, there’s little that they like. If you’re a diehard Realms fan, then you need to check out this review.
The Art of the Near TPK has a short review of the Dungeon Master’s Screen. It scores major points for its thick, sturdy construction, which seems to be a trend these days with new screens. I haven’t seen any, but in theory I like the concept: after years of flimsy, easy-to-knock-over screens, it’d be nice to have one with a little more substance to it.
Critical Hits has a review of The Treasure of Talon Pass, Wizards of the Coast’s Free RPG Day offering (now available as a download from the WotC D&D site). It’s apparently a straightforward dungeoncrawl with some underwhelming combat encounters.
It’s not all Dungeons & Dragons. The Life and Times of a Phillipine Gamer has a review of the Emerald Empire supplement for the Legend of the Five Rings RPG while the Geek Gazzette blog has a quick review of one of my favorite games: the Battlestar Galactica RPG. RPG.net has James Gillen’s review of the Star Wars: Saga Edition. He doesn’t nearly as much as I did. Finally there’s my own review of the Freedom City Atlas: Pyramid Plaza PDF supplement for Green Ronin’s Mutants & Masterminds superhero game.