Monday, August 8, 2011

Review: Blue Max Studios: Ships of the Black Desert

Detail and precision are the foundations of almost every design choice made by Blue Max Studios. While the only current product line is the "Ships of the Black Desert" series, every ship released is a fascinating window into the politics, engineering, and personal lives of the humans inhabiting his upcoming hard sci-fi setting. In addition to the background material, each ship has detailed floor plans, technical discussions, and an explanation of the role the ship plays in the universe. The results are a consistently fantastic product and a disappointing wait until the official campaign book is released.

While many of the ship stats use an OpenD6 variant designed for his setting, most of them are multi-statted. D20 Future, OpenD6, and Classic D6 are all systems that receive attention. The only real problem is the sporadic nature of the multi-statting. The systems featured vary between ship releases and change at random. This is the only inconsistent aspect of the series. Down the line, after he has released enough material, I hope to see the ships arrive in a collected volume that consistently multi-stats them for OpenD6 and The Black Desert.

Even if a collected volume is never released, the wealth of information provided can be used in any system. The detailed floor plans and maps allow for each ship to be used as an adventure location. The political system can be mined for factions to be lifted for a home campaign. The scientific and engineering details can be used to create more vivid space scenarios, with the characters using realistic technology.

Each ship retails on RPGnow for $4 -$5 apiece, however the first 10 can be bought as a bundle for only $10. At that price, the ships are a bargain because of the versatility and depth found within each file. Please keep making more ships Blue Max, just don't keep me waiting for the setting forever.

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