Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. – Read Through Review

This is the first of what I’m calling ‘Read Through Reviews’.  These are reviews of games that, for some reason, I haven’t played yet.   At some point I may get around to them but I want to get some first impressions on them down.  First up
Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. from Third Eye Games.   The designer is Eloy Lasanta.
API is a role playing game in the vein of Inspectres and Ghostbusters.  It’s really more like ‘Men In Black’ the rpg.  You play an agent of a secret organization tasked with saving the world from ‘demons’ or other dimensional monsters.  Ok, that sounds pretty cool.  The game shoots for a horror/humor combination and from my reading it will deliver this.
Here are my impressions.
Cons
  • I didn’t like the placement of the reference guide pages.  I would have liked them at the end.
  • Combat math is too much.
  • The layout of the book or maybe the organization is a bit wonky to me for some reason I can’t put my finger on.
  • It doesn’t really tell you how to play.  It assumes you know.  Some examples of play would have been super.
Pros
  • I like the cover art.  The art throughout the book is pretty good.  The illustrations of the ‘races’ and characters gave me a good idea about those characters.
  • I like the ‘In Brief” section.   The back story is good and imaginative.  Anchoring it in history is a neat idea.  It gives the story some weight and makes for some story hooks like playing past incarnations of API.
  • I like that the book jumps right into the process of creating a character.  This is what most people want to get to first and it should be at or very near the front of an rpg.
  • I like the positive and negative ‘aspects’ of Passions.  Like Aspects in FATE but just different enough to be interesting.
  • The Reference Guide is good.  It is relatively clear, understandable, and gives an idea about how the game works.
  • I like how levels and references are based on 10.  The ‘she’s a 10’ comparison to explain this was spot on and cleared it up immediately.
  • The list of Gifts and Drawbacks is extensive.  There is a lot of variety and interesting takes on clichéd ‘powers’.  And there are some unique ones as well.  I like the ‘taint’ spell.   I have not seen that one before.  That is very cool.
  • The GM section is pretty good and fairly clear.  Again, examples would have been good.
  • FATE influence is heavy which is good.  XP instead of Fate Points is a neat change and interesting.  I like that you get XP for acting within your Passion.
  • The sample characters are good and show well what a character should be like.
  • I like the target numbers ladder for conflict.  Again FATE influence with a twist.
  • I really like the Initiative Track.  That is the coolest and most unique thing that jumped out to me.  It’s a board game mechanic in a rpg.  It’s a visual reference for initiative.  Neat.
All in all the book is pretty good.  I like the MIB vibe with some Ghostbusters mixed in.  The system seems solid from the read through.  Idemoed it at MACE this year with the designer (who is a very cool guy).  The demo was a little rough but I can see some light there.  I think adding examples of play would be a huge plus.  The demo showed the system off but if I hadn’t had that I would have been lost or at least confused about how conflict was suppose to actually work.
Eloy announced that API will be getting Savaged!.  He is currently working on the conversion and I look forward to this.  My group has just begun using the Savage Worlds system and it is fantastic!  I highly recommend it.
That’s about it.
That’s about it.
Go Forth and Game,
tomg