by Demian Katz
Well, Deep7 has done it again. Every time I
think they've run out of genres to apply their 1PG game system to, they find
another one. With Full Clip, they've chosen Hong Kong action movies as their theme,
and it was an excellent decision.
In case you haven't encountered a
1PG before, they're inexpensive, fast-playing, movie-like role-playing games sold
inexpensively in a downloadable format. Each game features fast (and mostly
random) character creation, simple D6-based mechanics, and five adventures that
each take roughly two hours to complete. The 1PG name comes from the fact that
all you need to play is a single page of rules and a single-page-long adventure.
Deep7 has been very good about supporting their products, so there are additional
free adventures and supplements available for most releases.
Mechanically speaking, there's not much new to say about Full Clip. The 1PG
rules work well for what they are: an unrealistic but fast and fun system. Apart
from the exact names of the attributes and skills, nothing has changed here.
Actually, my copy of the game makes it a little too obvious that the rules were
simply pasted in from another game: on the character sheet, some references to
"Wits" haven't been updated to "Cool" like they were supposed to be, resulting in
some confusion during play. This problem won't affect subsequent gamers though. One of the nice things about digital products is that they can be easily fixed,
and I have been assured that these typos have now been corrected.
Since the rules are largely the same from one 1PG to another, the real question on a
prospective buyer's mind is "are the adventures any good?" With Full Clip, the
answer is definitely "yes," though it really depends on what you're looking for.
1PGs aren't known for having wildly innovative storylines in their adventures;
instead, they tend to stick closely to genre conventions and clichés. For a
cinematic role-playing game, this is entirely appropriate, and when the cinematic
genre in question is Hong Kong action, all the better. Hong Kong action movies
aren't about plot, they're about over-the-top action set pieces, and most of the
adventures here give the players and GM plenty of opportunities to make fun and
extensive use of their destructive imaginations. As long as you can think on
your feet (and most GMs are quite good at this), you're guaranteed to at least
get a few good laughs out of the game.
Though most of the stories here feature the expected gang wars, assassinations
and incidents of police corruption that fit so well with the 1PG philosophy of
disposable characters, the game surprised me by also providing something
dramatically different: an adventure designed for a GM and a single player. The
adventure in question follows the action/romance pattern seen in numerous Hong
Kong films, and it's considerably more detailed and character-based than usual.
I'm not convinced that most people would actually want to run it -- there's just
something weird about a one-on-one romantic role-playing session -- but it's an
interesting experiment nonetheless.
As with any 1PG, the value of this game depends on the style of the GM running
it. A real do-it-yourselfer may feel ripped off, since there isn't much here
that couldn't be made up rather quickly after watching a few inspirational films.
On the other hand, anyone who occasionally needs to get a workable game
together in an hour or two would be wise to keep something like this on hand.
Assuming that violent action is your group's cup of tea, Full Clip makes a good
introduction to the 1PG world.