Thursday, 24 January 2008

Review: .45 Adventure

.45 Adventure is a set of miniatures rules by Rattrap Productions for Crimefighting Action in the Pulp Era. These rules have spawned several supplements and versions for other periods including Fantastic Worlds (Pulp SF) and Gloire (Swashbuckling Adventure).

Each figure is assigned various stats familiar to anyone who has played RPGs; however, these have been allocated names suitable to the genre - shivs (melee), heaters (shooting) etc. These are allocated to one of four hit locations (head, torso, arms and legs). When hits are taken in these locations the stats are reduced and eventually the figure will be disabled or killed. Each location is also allocated a damage rating (DR) which is taken into account to determine whether a hit is effective or not.

In addition to the stats the figures may be allocated specific attributes or skills which may improve stats or provide special abilities.

The game only uses a 10 sided dice (d10) which makes is less confusing for new players than Savage Worlds, which we have typically used for this period in the past. The mechanics used are based on stat tests where a player will roll a d10 and add the relevant stat (adjusted by an appropriate modifiers) and if it equals or exceeds 10 then they are successful.

On a game turn initiative is rolled and then players activate figures alternately within each Dodge level. Each figure can then conduct a single action (unless they have a special ability which permits more) which include moving, aiming, shooting and the like. Moving and shooting is permitted if appropriate but with a significant modifier.

Figures also give the player Hero points which may be used to improve dice rolls or allow dice to be re-rolled. This contributes significantly to the Pulp feel as along with the better characters being more robust you can use the hero points to avoid results which would spoil the "feel" of the game.

All the usual combat situations are dealt with along with rules for appropriate period weapons and vehicles.

One of the key features of the system is the approach to the terrain. Rattrap have clearly recognised that most games end up being fought in a relatively small area of the table no matter its size. Consequently their scenarios are based around a 2' x 2' area. Obviously the rules will work with larger tables but the more compact approach certainly speeds up game set up and reduces the costs!

In addition to the terrain the scenarios are expected to include encounter markers which trigger events or allow figures to discover equipment, clues or whatever is required to move the story along.

The rules come with a decent number of character archetypes (which are further expanded in the various supplements) and rules for creating your own. Two sample scenarios are provided along with guidance for making up your own (the supplements go on to build in both of these areas).

Whilst .45 Adventure doesn't have the absolute range of Savage Worlds (particularly in the area of magic for example) it is much more straight forward and provides a really fun experience.

Given the minimal requirements to run a game these rules are recommended. They are available as both a hardcopy ($16) and a .pdf download ($8).

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