I was recently sent a link to Basic Action Games along with a pointer to their Superhero roleplaying game BASH! (Basic Action Super Heroes). The “Ultimate Edition” of BASH! became available on the 27th November and you can purchase it either as a hard copy or as a downloadable PDF from DriveThroughRPG, RPGNow or PIGames.
I reviewed the PDF which weighed in at a hefty 137 pages and is punctuated by some great comic book style artwork. The system is very simple, using just a couple of d6 and some very basic mathematics it can be picked up in minutes and character creation is also very simple, something which is often a problem with rpgs in this genre where superpowers can become horrendously complicated.
The book contains the ubiquitous and mandatory introduction; “What is roleplaying?” but it is well written and not patronising to old gamers or newbie’s. It then goes on to introduce BASH!, and quite helpfully for those who may have played the previous edition, outlines what has changed. This is really an indication of the general layout of the rest of the book, it is well structured and walks you nicely through; character creation, game play and mechanics before providing appropriate skills and powers references.
The second half of the book is the “Narrators Reference”. Basically a GMs guide with excellent guidance on running a campaign and the choice of a setting with great descriptions of the classic comic book “Ages” (Golden, Silver, Bronze, Iron) as well as Super Teens, Sci-Fi Fantasy, Pulp Heroes and so on.
Finally in the appendices there are some excellent character archetypes to help speed things along. These are presented by power scale, giving a range of Heroes and Villains ranging from typical “Mystery Men” through to true “Cosmic Heroes” (think Watchmen like Rorshach through to god like beings such as Galactus).
I have not yet had a chance to run or play BASH! but I will. I really like simple role play games that allow the players to concentrate on having fun rather than having to worry about complex rules. BASH! appeals to me on many levels and I intend to have some fun with it, watch out for postings of my first set of character pregens for BASH!
Basic Action Games was founded by Chris Rutkowsky in 2004, beginning with the launch of BASH! (Basic Action Super Heroes). The game was created while Rutkowsky was working for an after-school program and wanted to introduce rpgs to kids. Thinking that superheroes were the ideal genre, he looked for a Supers game that would be simple enough for kids– but was unable to find one. So he created his own, using very simple math, with a minimum of record keeping. While play testing, friends told Chris that this would make a fine mainstream supers game– and that was the birth of Basic Action Games.