BESM Fast Play Rules
BESM Fast Play Rules Capsule Review by Anthony Roberson on 12/04/01
Style: 4 (Classy and well done)
Substance: 3 (Average)
The BESM Fast Play Rules are pretty to look at, but just don't expect to actually play a game with them.
Product: BESM Fast Play Rules
Author: Mark C. MacKinnon and David L. Pulver
Company/Publisher: Guardians of Order
Line: Big Eyes, Small Mouth
Page count: 24
Year published: 2001
Capsule Review by Anthony Roberson on 12/04/01
Genre tags: Anime
GURPS Lite is one of my favorite products in the RPG industry. In 32 pages, you get attributes, advantages, disadvantages, skills, a selection of weapons and armor and even a short spell list, in short everything you need for a basic roleplaying campaign! And the best part is it is absolutely free. You can even download it from the Steve Jackson Games website and print it out in the comfort of your own home.
When I first read that Guardians of Order was going to release a Fast Play version of their Big Eyes, Small Mouth RPG, I was thrilled. BESM is my favorite ‘rules-lite’ game system and this sounded like it would be right up my alley. I finally got my hands on a copy and while it’s good, BESM Lite it is not.
BESM Fast Play is a 24-page full-color booklet in the same digest size as the second edition BESM rules. You get an outline of character creation, a selection of attributes and defects, a section on game mechanics and combat and even some sample game ideas. Unfortunately, you only get descriptions for two attributes and one defect, not exactly enough to create a character. On top of that, no skills or skill descriptions are included. Finally, while you do get an outline of how to conduct combat, there are no example weapons or armor.
I really don’t understand GOO’s line of thinking with the Fast Play Rules. You can’t even really make a character and play using them, at least not without making a lot up on your own. The book is certainly attractive to look at. It’s full color throughout and has nice illustrations taken from the full rules, but I guess I was just looking for something a little different.
If GOO had released BESM Fast Play in say 32 pages with an abbreviated list of attributes and defects (including descriptions) and a short list of weapons and armor, I would be in heaven. I would have even been happy if they had only included descriptions for the first two levels of the included attributes. I would even have been happy if the whole thing had been printed in black and white. And I would still have been willing to shell out my two bucks.
In my opinion, GOO really missed an opportunity. If BESM Fast Play had been designed more like GURPS Lite and less like an advertisement for the full BESM rules, I think that gaming fans would be clamoring to get their hands on a copy. As it is, while they have a pretty face, there is not a whole lot of substance behind the smile.