James Bond 007
This is the rpg based on all those wonderful Bond books and movies. Players in James Bond 007 have the option of being 007 himself. For those who would like to blaze their own trail, the game offers the character ranks of rookie, agent, and 00. I always choose 00 status; why be a rookie when you can have a license to kill?
This game has several great qualities and I'll cover the first now. The character generation system is point based and gives players a chance to customize their characters. The system also allows room for growth. Even though a player may start out being a 00, the character who starts as a 00 will be a far cry from being as good as James Bond.
Another great point in favor of this game is that of hero points. All players and major NPCs (good and bad) have points to spend to help them to improve die rolls and basically save their necks from extreme trouble. These points are used to explain away the fatal encounters that Bond and his foes have and live to tell the tale. Players are only given a certain number of points for each adventure and if they ever use them all their luck runs out.
In playtesting this game, I found that this game has some unique properties that add to the roleplaying experience. For example, in James Bond 007, if a GM is short of players to play the game it's no problem because 00 characters often work alone. In most roleplaying games, a group of people is necessary or favorable but in this game simply having a GM and one player works just fine.
Another bonus of playing the game is a trip to Q Branch to get some gadgets that would hopefully be of some use to the players. My playtest player, known simply as the BASman, loved when he went to Q Branch. I roleplayed Q for his visit and gave him props to use as Q Branch gadgets. My player loved that he had the opportunity to use "real world" props in the game. I think that this aspect adds a lot to playing the game.
Finding inspiration for building a scenario is as simple as watching a few movies. Many espionage movies could provide many ideas for great roleplaying sessions.
Finally, the game is supported by the Q Manual. The Q Manual is an almost essential addition to the basic game. When I gave this game the style and substance ratings, I took in consideration that one would also possess a copy of the Q Manual. You will not find a better guide to Q Branch vehicles, weapons and equipment than is found in this book.
On the down side, the rules system is quite rigid. The procedure for combat is a bit tedious. As a result, combat and other actions can be slow if one follows all the rules. Unfortunately, this game does not streamline combat like Feng Shui or I would have given it a 5 for style.
Also while most Bond character names are the same in the game as in the movies, some have been changed. This isn't a big problem but it could cause confusion. In general, the background material is excellent.
The bottom line on this game is buy it if you are a Bond fan. Even if you like espionage but not necessarily Bond it's worth a try.
Style: 4 (Classy and well done)