Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Savage Worlds: Explorer's Edition Review

            This is the core system rules for the entire Savage Worlds line. Produced by Pinnacle Entertainment Group, in print and PDF format.

First Glance:
With a small format, and low price tag, this is a basic set of rules, full color with glossy pages and lots of artwork from lots of different sources.

Main Review: The mechanics for Savage Worlds are design to be loose, “fast, fun, and furious” is the tagline for the game. The mechanics use “exploding” dice (so anytime you max a die roll you get to re-roll the die and add it again, as many times as you max it out.) In addition, the system uses a form of hero points called bennies, PEG was an early innovator with hero points in the original Deadlands setting. Bennies may be used to re-roll a result you don’t like, or to help soak an injury. On of the great benefits is that the rules are set-up to allow multi-genre play, whether you want to include rayguns in your fantasy is up to you, but the rules are balanced for such play. Guns are definitely more deadly in Savage Worlds, especially modern firearms with their high Rate of Fire.

Artwork: Good. The artwork is good, they recycle artwork from various Savage Settings to evoke the various genres you can play with this game.

Replay Value: Excellent, as an RPG, replay is typically good. The setting provides enough information to provide for hundreds of games in all sorts of settings, and if you get bored at Legendary, you can even play demi-gods with the Shaintar setting.

Comprehension Level: Excellent. The rules are well written and easy to understand. Gameplay is easily understood by younger children, sometimes the Referee with have to make decisions on the fly, but the rules are easy enough to be forgiving with a snap decision.  

Humor: Not so much, it’s a rule book more than a campaign setting so it is pretty cut and dry.

Game Mastering: You need to design your own setting, or use a pre-published setting, of which there are many for Savage Worlds. Officially licensed settings for Savage worlds almost always have a twist to them. Example settings are Sundered Skies, Day After Ragnarok, Deadlands Reloaded, Necessary Evil and many more. In addition there are companion guides such as the Fantasy Companion and the Supers Companion. These companions give you lots of tools for creating your own campaign world, and introducing additional rules to modify the basic rules. (I understand that the Deluxe edition is to include more campaign info.)

Family Rating: All ages, as a generic rules guide, Savage Worlds may be used for anything from Dark Cyberpunk such as Interface Zero to light-hearted home made rules for stuffed animal wars. Almost anything can and has been done in Savage Worlds.

Price Tag:  This will set you back $9.99 MSRP for Print or PDF. (Note the Deluxe edition will be released in August in print, and now available in PDF format)

Value: Well worth the money. It’s cheap and contains basic examples of everything you need. There’s a reason Savage Worlds is in my Top 5.

Overall Rating: EPIC! The versatility of Savage Worlds is what makes it so great.