Monday, February 29, 2016

Review and Commentary On Blood & Bronze: rules From Cyclopean Games

Over the last week or so, I've gotten a few complementary copies of various retroclone systems and rpg products. One of these happened to be Blood & Bronze rules by From Cyclopean Games. This is a stand alone game that uses its own unique fantasy system set in a fictional Mesopotamia of the ancient past. It clocks in at about sixty eight pages of compacted well thought out rules. This is about as stripped down a game as your going to get for a weekend of sword and sandal  play. This is a beer and pretzel's rpg game system with some very neat bells and whistles built into its system. Given that cover I was expecting more from this game. Here's why.
Available right over here

This is a class based system, similar to D&D in that it has ability/attribute scores that give modifiers, but differs in a way that  in that you use both the score itself for saves. Then gives the PC  and the modifier  for skill challenges.  Each PC  has its own starting equipment, special abilities/skills/spells. Classes are Mercenary (fighter), Rogue (thief), Desert Farer (desert ranger), Courtesan (bard), Mystic (magic user), and Seer (another wizard priest). If your interested in seeing what character generation is like then there is a free PC rules generation set up pdf  for free
The rule book does have some fantastic artwork though, it features beautiful interior illustrations by Rich Longmore, cartography by Sam Perkins-Harbin and cover by Adam Moore. Here's the problem if I was a consumer and spent nine dollars and ninety cents on this pdf  I'd be very angry. That's because of poor organization on the authors and designer's parts. Blood and Bronze rules is only the character generation and expansion for this system is on the website. The setting material is very, very, light as in non existent in the rule book. There's lots of pretty artwork though out and plenty of PC options but for extended campaign play I'm going to want more. Many people are not familiar with the time period & setting  that this game covers. I was expecting a starting adventure to get my players off on their journey of high adventure in the rule book. There's one you can download and print off from the game's website called the Slave pits of Sippar: an introductory adventure. But really folks are going to want a bit better packaging then this. There is also a basic adventure available called Thralls of the Sun which is sold separately from Lulu.
So what's that adventure about;"Thralls of the Sun is a fantasy role-playing adventure designed for the Blood & Bronze game system. The adventurers have been sent to labor until their deaths as slaves to the Sun God, digging underground canals to bring life to his arid city. The adventure pits the PCs against the slave-keepers that torment them, but also against even more deadly secrets hidden in the dark and in the hearts of their fellow slaves."   So the basic adventure that should have used as part of the product is being sold separately. and the setting material is separate on the website as well. Yeah, with gamers in today's economy the authors and designers need to reconsider their product model and combined these elements into one  product to give more utility for this system.

I'm sorry but after looking and reading Blood & Bronze: rules From Cyclopean Games there isn't anything new that's being brought to the table. Poor organization from the designers and authors keeps this from being a fantastic set of rules for one of the most interesting time periods in human history.
This is really too bad because there's plenty of support for this gaming system from a solidly designed website, plenty of G+ community support, and more. This system gets a three out of five and it could be a five out of five with a bit of work on its production and its organization. There are too many bits scattered throughout the support structure to merit a higher rating at this time.

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