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A Fistful of Kung Fu» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Reader review (not actual play) from a SoBH gamer rss

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E r i c k N. B o u c h a r d
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Stoneham
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A variant of SobH with a strong asian martial arts flavour. The Protagonist is a very exceptional, very strong character around whom play centers, the rest being figurative. This is a marked departure from other SoBH titles: a Protagonist is Q2 C4, has the equivalent of about four or five times "Toughness" and several Personality traits. Mooks are Q4 C2, at best C3, and cannot improve significantly. "Chi" is an expendable resource (1 point for every 100 pts) that allows things as strong as attacking all enemy models within range with C4 attacks once.

To use a D&D scale comparison, Mooks are level 1 and Protagonists, level 5 or 6, maybe more. They don't stand a chance. Therefore the game revolves around the Protagonists; the equivalent of flying tanks versus infantry. This is one major factor why I enjoy tjhis title less than other titles in the SoBh line.

The mechanics reflect the theme well, but compared to other SoBH games the damage mechanics is fiddly and involves players making choices among lenghty tables each time damage occurs, instead of Rolling randomly or a preset table. There is no option to avoid this or use random tables. This is susceptible to slow down the game considerably and generate "analysis paralysis". The idea is nice, but the application makes this game fall more into the RPG complexity level than a casual wargame complexity level. The damage choice element is the second aspect I did not like much about this game for that reason.

Otherwise, this game is very similar to SoBH, which is a very solid game, but makes a good adaptation to kung-fu style games. If quasi-RPG mechanics is what you're looking for, and with very powerful "heroes" surrounded by minions, this might be a good choice.

It's hard to give a numerical appreciation to this book, since the book and writing are good quality, and the basic SoBH engine is very solid (worth a 8 perhaps) since setting is minimal and there are limited options for narrative scenarios and development provided, though they are not impossible to devise on one's own). Instead, it is the fact that this game introdces an additional and mandatory level of complexity with the Wound system that is my greatest gripe. Since this is the main distinctive characterstic of this game, compared to other SobH titles, I happened to like it less than the others, though it is certainly not bad in itself.
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