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Flying Circus - Horrors of the Heights
by Charles F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/06/2020 11:03:54

It's a solid little addition to an already excellent system; including not just some great new crunch and some fun planes, but several excellent story hooks and plot ideas. Also, rules for skiing, and as someone who loved skiing in my youth I'll always mark out a bit for that being added to a system.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Flying Circus - Horrors of the Heights
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Flying Circus - Horrors of the Heights
by Simon R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/04/2020 13:39:56

If you have the Core Book for Flying Circus, Horrors of the Heights puts a maganifying glass a rule set that more or less hand waved till it becomes Plot Releveant: The Effects of Alitude on People and Flying Machines. On top of a focus and expanstion on atltiude based play, this also includes new and exepanded threats and rewards that hint to terrible new dangers and glorious forgotten tresure hidden in the the dizzying of heights of over 30,000 Ft. In grand Flying Circus fashion, this book is part Pulpy action adventure, part detailed simulationists rule sets but all friggin awesome!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Flying Circus - Horrors of the Heights
by Iv R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/03/2020 00:18:20

This was a very good read. It doesn't has many new rules, tho the ones it has are very very significant. It mostly adds a ton of new ideas and lore to the world of Himmilgard. In this world where the sky and flying are so important it makes sense that the sky holds many unknowns and that are the source of myth and legend for the people that live here.

I'm particularly fond of Leaviathans and Flying Fortresses and their Fortress Guardians. I want to play a guardian!! Truly a great adition to the Flying Circus game



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Flying Circus - Horrors of the Heights
by Rick M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/02/2020 21:40:42

As an expansion, this doesn't have the sheer page count that the core book does, but it's really efficient. With three pages for altitude, temperature and extreme conditions, it builds a new environment to fly in that can be challenging to brave on its own, four pages for mountain terrain build a new type of land to fear and respect in equal measure and add a bit to regular ground combat, and so on. It punches above its weight, fitting tantalizing snippets of lore in new enemies and a whole variety of new challenges and adventures to take part in.

One thing I would appreciate is a few more planes that are well suited to the high altitudes, or worked out examples of existing planes modified. I'm fine living in the plane builder, but I know other players might prefer not to get into it or play with planes they know have gotten balancing attention.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Flying Circus - Core Rulebook
by Iv R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/01/2020 11:02:57

This game is big and crunchy and if you are into big and crunchy games it will be amazing and more than you expect. The author has constantly updated the text polishing specific details and rebalancing, which is amazing. And you get so much content. From the art to the many many pre made airplanes, or the online plane builder. It really is an amazing game



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Flying Circus - Core Rulebook
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Flying Circus - Core Rulebook
by Whit C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/27/2020 17:05:14

This game is simply amazing! It pushes so many specific buttons of mine in the right way. Story-forward, imaginative, inclusive, with super detailed flight simulation rules. Who doesn't want to be a magical fishperson flying a biplane against dragons and sky pirates!?



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tactical Waifu
by William A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/09/2020 02:48:28

I think the title already tells everything. Awesome.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tactical Waifu
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The Flesh is Weak
by Charlie R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/23/2020 12:45:49

“O Father, how might I reach salvation?”

“You cannot be saved until you have accepted the machine into thyself, and become one with it.”

“How can I do this?”

“It is not an easy path…”

“Tell me, that I might prepare myself.”

“Very well. It’s a 3-hour surgery with improvised painkillers.”

The Flesh Is Weak is a great little game with some really neat ideas and an enticingly flexible setting. It's perfect for fans of the Adeptus Mechanicus (from Warhammer 40,000) who are more interested in delving into the mysteries of the machine than dealing with all the cruft surrounding that setting. It's also a good pick for anyone who enjoys science fantasy adventure, offering the chance to explore (and create) a shattered world of mechanical mysticism dominated by a cruel empire built upon stolen technology.

The theming in this book is terrific, from the atmospheric in-setting fiction to the way mechanics are framed and executed; most games give each character a few strengths that they improve over time, like Dexterity or Marksmanship. The Flesh Is Weak does otherwise, for you are nothing but a crude engine of frail biomass, desperate to be improved by the strength and purity of the machine. Your traits in this game aren't strengths that you improve, they're weaknesses that you must excise, a fantastic tone-setting that tells you a lot about your church of toaster-fetishists right from the start.

I also loved the approach to generating Threats and creating conflicts out in the techno-wastes. It's organic, flexible, and easy to use, providing a huge number of potential hooks and angles of approach for any GM or player. The advancement system is simple but creates clear incentives and stories around your character, encouraging you to flesh out (so to speak) the augmentations they've dredged up from the ashes of the forgotten past. A strong recommendation from me.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Flesh is Weak
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Flying Circus - Core Rulebook
by Ferrell R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/21/2020 11:50:01

Loving the imagry and i'm excited to get this on the table online!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Flying Circus - Core Rulebook
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Flying Circus - Core Rulebook
by David C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/15/2020 23:15:31

"but wait, David," I hear you cry. "Why five stars for a PBTA game? Did you not swear an ETERNAL BLOOD OATH against PBTA when it killed your parents?"

It's true, PBTA did kill my parents and burned down my family farm, then chained me to the wheel of pain for 20 years. But Flying Circus has finally broken me free, not only of my physical chains, but the chains of hatred as well. And to explain how, lets disregard the setting (which is fantastic, but many PBTA games have fantastic settings) and instead look at what makes this game so much better than the average PBTA game and, in fact, better than MOST roleplaying games period.

Firstly, lets talk about resources. In this game, you are playing bisexual biplane b'pilots (who may or may not be thiny vieled She-Ra expies), doing merc work in a soft-apocalpyse (so, the cities are destroyed, but the rural countryside is mostly untouched - if overrun by brigands and pirates and monsters.) The primary focus of the game is those flying combat. Where a great deal of PBTA games would have a move like, say...

Roll 2d6+Fuckill. On a hit, you fucking kill a vaugely defined amorphous chunk of bad guys that may be one guy or an entire army depending on whether the GM's blowing north by northwest. On a partial hit, you do the same, but worse. On a miss, the GM sets your hair on fire. Not your character's hair. Yours. And the way most of the probability curves work out for PBTA style games, you've got, like, a pretty good shot per roll to let the GM set your hair on fire or explode the puppy orphanage. And that's if you're good at your stat. Heaven help you if you have a +0 or a -1!

Flying Circus ditches 2d6s in favor of 2d10s, and has stats as high as 10. It also has multiple systems by which you can get advantage (far more generously than I've seen in many PBTA games.) But what's more important, it TIES A LOT OF ROLLS TO RESOURCES. The go to move for killing a motherfucker in the sky is "Dogfight", which requires you to expend Speed. You get Speed by losing altitude or pushing your engine (which have their own interesting subsystems as engines take wear, and as the ground gets closer.) The more speed you spend, the more you can lean into a turn, the higher your bonuses, the more likely you'll drop yourself right on some Goth bastard's tail to shoot him to pieces.

The combination of a more generous probabiltiy curve (I don't actually know if it is from a mathy perspective, all I can say is that it felt more fair, which is what actually matters!) and the ability to wager resources to improve your chances already creates a delightful tension in the mechanics that is just...missing from most PBTA games I've played. In those games, the tension is only "will the dice fuck me, or will I manage to not die." Which isn't a good feeling. I like rolling dice, and game systems that discourage you from rolling dice aren't my cup of dice.

But wait, the mechanical excellence continues: Once you actually SHOOT at the bad guys, gunfire has a delightfully wide liminal space of effectiveness to ineffectiveness - it's very rarely a "complete miss" or a "complete hit" happens, and even those possibilities are modified yet more by more interesting, engaging choices. Did you focus purely on the enemy (thus opening yourself up to a hard move from the GM) and thus get a to choose where your crit location is? Did you load your machine guns with incindiary bullets, so your shots through the wing set the enemy plane on fire? Do you have FREAKING LASERS on your plane? Cause you can have LASERS too, those are helpful.

The end result of these mechanical choices - and a bunch of similarly well thought out systems - turns air combat into a high flying, high thrills, high stake adventure where you have meaningful choices every round, get stuck into dangerous situations with regularity, but you also never feel like you're being cheated. The game also sidesteps a thematic issue that can crop up in some PBTA games where a previously undescribed threat (bears) snaps into or out of the quantum substrate depending on your rolls. Whiff the perception check, bears. Succeed the perception check, no bears. Well, unlike, say, a game where you're a bunch of boring "adventurers" on this "ground" i've heard so much about, in Flying Cirucs, you're sexy BIPLANE pilots in the SKY. That's the exact kind of place you expect to have some fucker in a red triplane to come dropping out of the clouds when you least expect him before putting a spread of bullets into your radiator, forcing you to wingwalk while your observer desperately holds the stick steady and the fucker in the red triplane keeps buzzing you. He's not even shooting, he's just flying past, waggling his wings, not that I'm bitter or anything.

So, the flying combat is great! But it's also supported by a deeply fun mechanic for building up stress and then burning it off when you touch tarmack (this is inaccurate, most of these planes land on grassy fields.) Basically, the more traumatizing your mission (what causes trauma varies upon your character archetype), the more stress you get. The more stress you get, the more fun you need to have on the ground to burn the stress off (1 stress becomes 1 XP, so this is actually important for character advancement.)

FUN INCLUDES

  • Drugs
  • Sex
  • Rock and roll
  • Getting into a fist fight with that asshole from Rosetta Squadron who keeps making cracks about your plane
  • Deciding to wager your entire wardrobe on a straight flush in the hopes of seeing your rival pilot get naked
  • "Borrowing" an automobile for a drunken joyride through a sleepy rural village
  • Communing with the Old Ones who slumber eternally beneath the sea.

And more!

The stress mechanic is really the glue that holds the game together and creates a marvelous push and pull of character actions. Your pilots aren't responsible adults - most of them are barely twenty. They're hopped up adrenaline junky teenagers, usually on the run from shitty homes or shitty towns, who are finding themselves in a big, scary, wonderful world. Every other day, they almost die. They DO NOT MAKE GOOD DECISIONS. At first, at least. The game includes a mechanical and narrative system for learning to vent your stress more responsibility, and even has a really sweet mechanic for retiring a character at the end of their adventures. Everyone's gotta grow up some day, after all.

And this leads into the last part of the system: The upkeep. Fun is expensive. Planes are more expensive. Medical care for the time a Gremlin pulled out your alternator mid flight and you had to put down without an engine and you rolled, snapped your wing and shattered your arm in six places is also expensive. All this stuff comes out of the paycheck you got for your LAST mission - and it's pretty clear the creator of the game has worked pretty hard to give PCs a razor fine edge of profit and loss, requiring careful selection of jobs (there's a handy random job table for GMs who can't think of anything) and negotiations before taking to the air. Usually, you will constantly be scrambling for just one more measly thaler, and if you fall behind, your employees might start to unionize. I know, just because they haven't been paid in weeks, the expect some kind of "compensation" for their labor. What ingrates!

(Serious note: Anyone who employs strike breakers in this game is officially a bastard.)

The end result is a routine of flight, combat, daring heroics, partying hard, regretting your choices in the morning, getting paid, slapping down funds for repairs and bills, maybe saving up for that sexy as fuck new engine you've been eying, then you get a new job: 20 thalers for flying some cargo to a town? Sounds too good to be true! OH FUCK! DRAGONS! DRAGONS EVERYWHERE! Then you land with your tail still on fire and get drunk and sleep with your wingman, even though he's dating your mechanic, and you get caught trying to sneak out and it's a whole THING...

Throw into this a fantastically detailed setting of high fantasy and exciting diselpunk technology (anyone who refers to the advanced technology in this setting as "steampunk" will report for disciplinary action) and you have a crackling, lightning bottle of adventure and excitement.

Buy it now!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Flying Circus - Core Rulebook
by Chris K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/11/2020 17:41:48

This was an enjoyable book to read on its own merits, with amazing art and a brilliant idea behind it. The design very much conveys the themes the author set out, creating a setting that is recognizably similar to real world history but steeped in fantastic elements that make it stand on its own. The system is a heavily modified take on the Apocalypse World engine, which focuses the gameplay around the actions of the characters as they relate to the narrative rather than on the mechanics, while still being mechancially complex enough to provide a really compelling abstraction of early fighter combat.

The thing that stands out most to me is how much emphasis is put on making sure the downtime for the characters, when they aren't flying, matters as much if not more than their escapades in the air. This makes for great opportunites to make characters more than just a collection of combat stats, and really get the players invested in the highs and lows of the often insanely dangerous life of a early pilot.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Flying Circus - Core Rulebook
by Evan K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/19/2020 17:48:35

Flying Circus is a hell of a game. The core book is fun to read and loaded with incredible art. The fantasy setting is fascinating and the attention to detail both in air combat and inclusion is wonderful. The dashboards for player aircraft are a very fun way to engage with a system that is granular without being frustrating. I cannot wait to get a campaign going!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Flying Circus - Core Rulebook
by Michael S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/18/2020 12:16:00

This is extremely well-written. I poured over the rules pretty much all night. The only areas where I had any difficulty was in the theater-of-the-mind approach to air combat. Perhaps an extended example might be in order. Basically, my problem is that I'm used to pushing models around and it gives me a better feel for positioning and range. The rules do say that range bands are important, so perhaps a simple range band distance table and a set of top down counters would do. Erika has done an astonishing job of capturing the technical aspects of period air combat and the mystical aspects of a Ghibli world. I can't wait to see how this is developed further.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Flying Circus - Core Rulebook
by Sam G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/17/2020 12:57:40

I've practically purchased Erika's entire catalogue and Flying Circus is an obvious labour of love that I'm happy to see has come to fruition! The book is filled with hand drawn original art and a creativly constructed world with plenty of notes and explanations for why background details are the way they are. I'm eagerly awaiting the free supliment for in depth airplane construction for a possible future campaign, as well as the future "real-world historical" version of the game's rules. If you're looking for something new, I highly encourage you pick up Flying Circus.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Flying Circus - Core Rulebook
by Christopher P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/16/2020 16:37:20

The theme is clever -- quasi-post-apocalyptic biplane mercenary pilots in a Germanic fairy-tale inspired world.

The art is phenomenal -- color art all the way through, well-executed both of people AND machines.

The writing is crisp, clear, and still maintains a witty conversational tone without. It sets a strong tone on how to view the game, but explains the rules clearly every step of the way. It neither shies away from in-jokes nor makes the whole thing silly -- it confronts potential dark sides to its work clearly and honestly.

The worldbuilding is clever.

In short, there's nothing about this that I dislike, and a very great much that I do. I don't normally go for PbtA and I love this and want to play it, soon.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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