Monday, October 15, 2012

Barrowmaze II: Barrow Harder

Now that was fast!  Two days after receiving the email from Greg Gillespie letting me know that my order had shipped, it arrived today, safe and sound. I didn't spring for all the goodies that came with the Indiegogo campaign, but I did get a good amount of swag that accompanied it. 

The package contained:

  • Barrowmaze II Hardcover
  • Illustration Booklets for Barrowmaze I and II
  • Barrowmaze Map in classic blue
  • Three Exclusive Barrowmaze Dice
  • A Certificate identifying me as the proud owner of number 59 of 200 in the first print run for Barrowmaze II

The Good:

I loved Barrowmaze the First,  with all of it's undead weirdness, and Barrowmaze II: Electric Boogaloo lives up to the reputation of it's predecessor, and surpasses it in some ways.  The inclusion of the poster map was key, for me at least.  As much as I love some of the megadungeons that are hitting the shelves these days, putting the maps page by page in the book itself makes it difficult to get a real sense of the place.  To me, it's closer to reading an excel spreadsheet than looking at an epic dungeon.  So yeah, big map = big plus.  I love Greg's personalized inscription on the book - a nice touch, very classy.  The Random Crypt Generator looks like a ton of fun, and something that could be used in or out of the campaign, and more new spells and magic items are always a good thing.  The integration of the new areas has been well handled, for instance room 122 in Barrowmaze I indicated that there had been a collapse, in Barrowmaze II: The Barrowmazening, that collapse has apparently been cleared, and there is now a doorway leading into the new areas.  Oh, and the art is lovely.  With the text as just as spare as its predecessors, the art fills in the gaps, giving the dungeon the breath of life.  The two illustration booklets in particular were worth the price of admission by themselves.

The Bad:

As I mentioned above, the in-book maps are a bit... well, not good.  In the first Barrowmaze, the maps were at a 90 degree angle compared to the rest of the  book, in small print, and had a bit of overlap from page to page, with some squares getting cut off by the page halfway through.  Barrowmaze II: Attack of the Clones has all of that except it's not as small print.  I mean, I guess you could photocopy all the pages, cut out the actual maps, line them up and then tape them to make your own map, but when I buy a pregen dungeon, I have an expectation that it be a bit more ready to play than that.  As I said above, the inclusion of the big map will be key to my enjoyment of the dungeon, so I'm glad that I don't have to rely on the in-book maps.  Barrowmaze II: Barrow of Doom suffers from additional problems, with what looks to be a formatting error that results in some of each page of the map spilling into the next page, with 3/4 of the page left blank.  BI was only 3 pages, BII is 11.  I wouldn't relish building that map.  The Random tables were nice again, although I was disappointed that there wasn't more original material, in the Dungeon Dressing table in particular.

The Ugly:

Getting into the nitpicking here, but the cover isn't terribly secure, on my copy at least.  The corners are a bit crumpled, with the cover art already separating from the cover itself.  Judging by how securely it was shipped, I can only assume this was a manufacturer's defect.  Oh, and my name was misspelled in the credits.  Ah well, I'll have to live in anonymity for another day.


Any negatives are far outweighed by the vast amount of new material poured into Barrowmaze II: Barrow of Secrets, and I'll gladly sit it next to its predecessor on my shelf, ready to pounce upon unwary gamers at a moments notice!

Oh!  And hey!  That's my 3rd kickstarter type project that has fully fulfilled its obligations!  Great job good day!

Barrowmaze II: Wrath of the Barrow 
Barrowmaze II: The Two Barrows
Barrowmaze II: Dead Man's Barrow
Barrowmaze II: Barrowmaze Returns
Barrowmaze II: New Barrow
Barrowmaze II: BM2
The Lost World: Barrowmaze II
Barrowmaze II: Meet the Mazes
Barrowmaze II: Barrows Reloaded
Barrowmaze II: Lost in the Maze
Barrowmaze II: The Maze who Shagged Me
Barrowmaze II: The Maze Takes Manhattan
etc etc etc      

1 comment:

  1. Apologies for the typo. Given the wide variety of the dungeon dressing, and that it really only comes up on a 1 in d12, I just didn't see it a good use of time and resources there. Instead, I focused on the Random Sarcophagus Contents and the Crpt Generator. Mulling it over, I still think I would do it the same way from a practical standpoint.

    I very much appreciate the review :) Cheers, Greg


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