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     " First a great show then a killer roleplaying game…how the hell did a craptastic movie starring Pee-Wee Herman ever turn into this? "

      Title: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Core Rulebook by Eden Studios

      Format: TV Based RPG

      Reviewing Monkey: Our Ape Masters

      The Hype: Based on the immensely successful fan favorite, Buffy the Roleplaying Game brings all the joy of the Sunnydale crew home in hardcover form. Take the role of the slayer, the Scooby gang, Initiative Members, or random creepy crawlies to wage war against the Hellmouth.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Story and Drama: Sadly, the Buffy RPG does very little to elaborate on the world and background of the Buffy universe and confines itself primarily to re-hashing the first five seasons worth of stories and plot. I'm sure they figured with that much tv under their belt they had little need to...and while I can understand that in theory, in practice it makes it very difficult to bring those unfamiliar with the world into the fold and inevitably leads to "see if you can catch some of the re-runs" for new player orientation. That being said, what it does do a fantastic job of is bring the series to you and is, from start to finish, a seamless integration with the Buffy phenomenon. From quipish, Buffy-like writing to incessant tie-ins and dialogue quotes, the Buffy RPG pulls out all the stops to help bring the Buffy mood home. It is, hands down, the most effective media to rpg transition I've ever seen and will help anyone who loves the series get into the grove incredibly quickly. 4 out of 5

      Layout and Presentation: Buffy's layout is smooth and logical and places everything in a very easy to navigate order, that means flipping back and forth between the acceptable table of contents and the superb index should be fairly unnecessary…which is, of course, good news. As for illustrations, most are screen-shots taken straight from the show which is, of course, also good news. What's unfortunate is that 90% of the original art in the book sucks and, thus, subtracts from the drama a bit…but overall you'll be happy with what you see. 4 out of 5

      Playability: Based on Eden's Unisystem, Buffy's game mechanics are fairly straightforward and utilize a simple stat plus skill plus D10 resolution. Rather than using arbitrary target numbers, however, Buffy opts instead for a static success chart with more difficult actions requiring more success to succeed. In play it's smooth and easy to use, thus making it ideal for players new to roleplaying, but has a high inherent success rate which can leave the Director (GM) scrambling to create greater success requiring activities to keep players engaged. Weapons and skill options are also severely limited which can detract from more detail oriented players. Still, that easy flow mentality goes along nicely with a game based on social more than physical interaction and again blends well into the Buffy mythos. 4 out of 5

      Desired Content: Though I would have liked to have seen more reference info on the Buffyverse and world around the Hellmouth, I remain pleasantly enthralled with the content this core book provides. Not only does it give a significant amount of rules, character, and show information, but it also has numerous aides to help make your game feel more like a Buffy tv episode. From game terminology designed around a media mentality (Director for game master, Cast for players, Episodes for adventures, and so on) to a guide on "Buffyspeak", this core provides everything you need to get your crew swinging their own "Mr. Pointies".
         Finally, as a Buffy fan, one of the biggest things I was waiting to see is how they would address the whole "one Slayer" issue and in the characterizations they would present. Happily, their answer to these issues is a simple "don't worry about the show, do whatever you want" and, thus, they draw upon the whole myriad of Buffy possibilities to present a game that has more character options and possibilities than most other games you'll find on the market. 4.5 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       All in all, Buffy shocked the lot of us by showing up not only as a good roleplaying game, but also as the most successful media to rpg tie in we'd ever seen. Fun, appropriately tempered, and full of trademarked Buffyisms, the Buffy Roleplaying Game is not only a must for Buffy fans but also a great choice for groups looking to expand into a lighthearted social/action rpg.

      The Good: Great Buffy feel rounds out a good game overall.

      The Bad: Almost no world information, but set in one of the most successful fan shows of all time…so you can probably wing it.

      The Overall Ugly: First a great show then a killer roleplaying game…how the hell did a craptastic movie starring Pee-Wee Herman ever turn into this?

      What it's Worth: Market, no question about it.

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