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Author Topic: World on Fire: A Review  (Read 22463 times)
spinningdice
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« on: October 09, 2007, 12:07:34 PM »

I've no experience of writing reviews and similar, so if you have any comments before I post this anywhere let me know.

World on Fire
Publisher: Crafty Games (via Mongoose Publishingís ĎFlaming Cobraí imprint)
Page Count: 160 (B&W Hardback)
Price: $34.95 MSRP

World on Fire is the first setting book, and indeed the first print book produced by Crafty Games, through some weirdness from Mongoose I actually got this before release, as the book is being intentionally held back to be release along with the 2nd printing Spycraft 2.0.

Chapter 1: Little World Lost: (29 pages) This chapter covers the history of the factions inherent in World on Fire, if youíre familiar with the CCG, you may know some of this already, but as Iím not, I canít say how much. It does well to establish the world and give enough background to run with, while not overcrowding and drowning out a GCís own ideas, in one or two places it does actually call out areas that are intentionally not detailed to give the GC some freedom for their own plots.

Chapter 2: Traces of Terror: (21 pages) Essentially a state of affairs for the modern era of the setting. Again, Iím not sure how much of this is already explained in the CCG if any, but it seems to flow well, and to my eye seems somewhat compartmentalised,  so itís easy enough to drop parts from the setting or drop organisations into your own setting without screwing the back-story too much. Despite this it does seem coherent, and despite not liking some of the names (while Alliance of Evil Geniuses is amusing, and Iím aware of its origins, it seems a little Ďcampí for my tastes) it is a good read, and inspires many hooks (which is after all the main point of RPG fiction/backstory).

Chapter 3: Tradecraft:
(42 pages) Since Iím not sure Iíll be using the default World of Fire setting, this is probably the main background chapter for me, whereas the previous two chapters deal with the fictional, this deals with the real-world. Expanding quite substantially on the tradecraft chapter on the 1st edition of Spycraft we have notes on everything from the lifestyle of spies, tools of the trade (cover IDís, cryptography etc), jargon, notable operations, and more. As a newcomer to the genre, only picking stuff up from around the last year or two of 1st ed Spycraft I can see myself finding this chapter invaluable. The one flaw is that the ĎRecommended Sourcesí section isnít sorted better, while it is divided into Books, Movies & Television, it wouldíve been nice to differentiate between fictional and factual sources, as itís not always obvious from reading the title.

Chapter 4: New Rules: (54 pages) I admit to being a rules-person, I get disappointed if I donít get my dose of crunch in a book. Objectively this book doesnít disappoint, offering new crunch across all the major categories. Iíve been anticipating this book a long time, and was expecting a more comprehensive rules chapter, but on the other hand, canít see anything obviously missing Ė so Iíll put that down to over-anticipation.
The only completely new rules, are those for Allegiance, which add another layer between Faction and personal goals Ė though these are simple rules which donít add any more mechanical complexity to the game.
There are many additional character options which Iím not going to go into them here, they all seem to balance well against each other and the options in the SC2.0 core book. Initially daunting is the number of ďinstant deathĒ feats, but on comparison I donít think they are actually overpowered Ė serving a purpose similar to the ďinstant winĒ dramatic conflict options Ė getting rid of those opponents that donít pose much of a threat anyway. As a note, I feel that many of the feats donít really belong in this book, as we have 6 pages dedicated to Melee combat feats (26 in total) which I donít feel add that much to a traditional espionage game, these could easily have been dropped into a .pdf supplement Ė either one focussing on melee styles or one of the faction .pdfs.
Itís initially disconcerting that only the villainous factions have options presented, but this is due to a series of .pdf supplements detailing the heroic factions more fully than would be possible in the printed book.
The additional Contact options in the book are more clarifications than actual changes, though I admit that it gives a nice set of guidelines for using Contacts, which is a game element I have tended to avoid using too much so far.

Quality/Appearance: The book is a fairly solid hardback book, and has survived a week or so being carted around in my backpack without suffering any marking or loose pages. I realise I may be alone in this, but I prefer the book in B&W to the colour offerings, which in my opinion are a little bit over-coloured for a gaming-book. The art is the same recycled art from the card game as is in the core book, and indeed many pieces of art are straight out the Spycraft 2.0 book - an art style that Iím not a fan off, it jumps out as being very Ďcomic-bookí. On the up-side I find the art less of a problem in B&W as I did in colour Ė a couple of pieces in my 1st printing SC2.0 I found really too bright and colourful.

Summary: A solid second book for Spycraft 2.0, and one I think deserves to be brought along to Spycraft sessions regardless of setting, though espionage settings are sure to benefit most.  It wonít add anything to radically change how you view the game - if you have Spycraft itís not going to convert you, but perhaps until the more esoteric settings come out I think little will.

Style 4
Substance 5

« Last Edit: October 12, 2007, 05:19:30 AM by spinningdice » Logged
Crafty_Alex
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« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2007, 12:29:31 PM »

Nice review, SD! We hope you'll put that out there on other sites when teh book becomes widely available Smiley
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famine
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« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2007, 12:30:57 PM »

Nice!  Makes me want it even more!  The only thing I noticed was this:

as the books is being

in your first paragraph.  Take the s off the end of books and you're good to go!
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Bill Whitmore
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« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2007, 02:08:53 PM »

Was the "Alliance of Evil Geniuses" used because the acronym is then AEG?
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Crafty_Alex
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« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2007, 03:05:58 PM »

Yep. At their request Smiley
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Bill Whitmore
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« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2007, 03:16:29 PM »

Yep. At their request Smiley

Sweet!   Cool
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AJCarrington
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« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2007, 10:02:29 PM »

Thanks for the review - sounds like the book will be well worth the wait.

AJC
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Lee
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« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2007, 04:28:42 PM »

Thanks for the review. One question: should it be considered a GC only book or can it be read cover to cover by players?
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Crafty_Alex
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« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2007, 05:30:20 PM »

As with all our books, we try to keep this a player-oriented book. They'll certainly want Chapter 4 (new rules), Chapters 1 and 3 are hugely useful (setting history and Tradecraft) for play. If you wanted to keep some deep dark secrets about the Bad Guys, I'd suggest asking them not to read all of Chapter 2...but even then, I think you'd be safe if they did (consider it an intelligence briefing Smiley).
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« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2007, 07:43:36 PM »

There is a film that always goes through my mind when I see the title for this setting.... Is this the climax the setting is building towards? Tongue

I don't want to set the World on Fire...
I just want to start, a flame in your heart...
In my heart there burns but one desire...
And that one is you,
No other will do....

I've lost all ambition for worldly acclaim,
I just want to be the one you love,
And with your admission that you feel the same,
I'll have reached the goal I'm dreaming of,
Believe me....

The Auld Grump
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Mister Andersen
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« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2007, 12:58:03 AM »

How long until the PDF is out?
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spinningdice
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« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2007, 03:38:24 AM »

Isn't that on the Fallout 3 trailer AuldGrump?
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Antilles
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« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2007, 05:15:06 AM »

Yup. They also used a different Ink Spots song, "Maybe", in the original Fallout.
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spinningdice
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« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2007, 05:21:02 AM »

I'll start posting it up this weekend unless there's any adjustment/expansion/reduction anyone suggests - like I said I haven't actually written a review before.
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Crafty_Alex
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« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2007, 12:05:07 PM »

How long until the PDF is out?

As we've said, it won't be out until about a week after the print release.
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