This “book” was actually a magazine preview for a new publication, which threw me off at first. Once I realized what was going on, I started judging each article on its own merits and then the magazine as a whole.
The “Dead Things” mini-game was actually quite impressive in its layout and how quickly someone could pick up on the rules. The game is very similar to the popular Zombies! tile-based game that I’ve played a few times. The general premise is the same: Make your way from the start to the finish while traversing a field of zombies. The rules appeared to be smooth and well thought out, but that’s hard to say without playing it first. Since I already have a decent amount of cash sunk into Zombies! and know those rules, I’ll probably stick with the people that have already cornered the market.
The next article detailed six spells for creating monsters. The spells were intended for use in Labyrinth Lord or Mutant Future, but could easily be ported to D&D 3.0/3.5 or maybe even Pathfinder. The spells themselves were pretty good and seemed to me to be fairly balanced.
After the spells came a two page article about quarries. I would have picked a more exciting topic to give away in order to entice a greater number of purchases of their book that contains similar articles. The quarry piece was well written, well researched and clearly stated. I may get online and see if I can find more previews for their City Builder: A Guide to Designing Communities to see if it’s worth purchasing.
Next came a monster entry featuring the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. The cat was fairly balanced, well written and quite usable in a D&D 3.0/3.5 or other OGL system even though the intended audience is Pathfinder.
Following this was a two page article that I just could not bring myself to read because of the strange font that was used. Due to the font, everything on the page was fuzzy and unclear. I did look closer. This was not caused by misprinting or a bad run at the printer. It’s definitely the font causing my issues. I’d recommend to the publisher to pick a standard font that is clear and legible and stick with it throughout their publications.
It seemed to me that the folks at Skirmisher Press are trying to attract a large crowd from a wide variety of games. I’m afraid they’re going to miss the mark on all of them. Most people are fairly fanatic about their systems and only want supplements dedicated to their cause. By targeting multiple game systems, the people that they’re going to attract are going to be limited in nature, I think. I wish them all the luck in the world and great success, but I don’t see it happening because of the “jack of all trades” approach.