REVIEW: CSM1 Fog of War
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:19 am 

REVIEW: CSM1 Fog of War

Designer: Bill Barsh
Illustrator: Marcello Genovese
Publisher: Pacesetter Games & Simulations/ Center Stage Miniatures

WARNING! If you plan on playing in this adventure you should keep your stinking mitts off this review!

This was a fun little adventure. I haven't had the chance to run it for a group of players yet so this is a review from a DM's perspective rather than a commentary about a game session.

There were several innovative ideas in the module. The origin of the giants for instance. I'm reminded of a Kane story by Karl Wagner about the old giant kingdom of yore, but I liked the concept in the module for the reason giants have become a broken race of elemental types. I felt that there was a good balance between small encounters that would blood the players as well as make them aware of greater challenges to come.

The encounters during the search of the various islands was nicely set up. I know that my players will enjoy beginning the adventure with a few battles that aren't overwhelming and of various types. Each small encounter has its own flavor.

The final battle and the search of the temple will prove the greatest challenge, perhaps even a deadly challenge for the players. That is certainly how I will run it, without pulling punches, since a find a challenge fairly given results in the most interesting and rewarding games.

Overall I would definitely recommend this adventure for any 1st edition and OSRIC DMs. I'm sure it is equally playable for other editions, but I just don't have the experience with them to say for certain.

Now the downside. There are a few minor typos that are slightly distracting. For the most part it is simply a few missing words like 'a' or 'of', and one or two misspellings like squat instead of squad.

The player introduction feels like it is missing an opening paragraph. The players are standing at a momentous event and there is no explanation of how they got there or even why they are there at all. Suddenly the game begins with dialogue. It took me a second read through to realize the king mentioned wasn't a giant himself (and I was wondering where they would have gotten a horse big enough for him to sit on).  I don't think it is a big deal for a DM to supply the how and why, but I did find it a bit of a confusing start to the adventure.

The cover art and interior art as well as the island map are very basic. The back cover art is excellent. I am terrible with maps and hopeless with drawing so I am always on the look out for both, so I was little disappointed with these.

Finally, there is a chart at the last encounter for the time it takes for the giant's minions to come to the leader's location when summoned. The times seem far too short. There is no scale given for the islands but from the descriptions they seem like they would have to be at least several hundred feet if not considerably more. I'm an old wargamer so I like seeing reinforcements joining a battle, but I just think the time is off for how quickly they arrived. Again, something easily fixed by the DM.

The problems mentioned are minor and easily altered to suit a DM's style of play and there are enough interesting concepts introduced to get an imaginative DM thinking about expanding on the campaign themself.

The adventure should be a good, solid night's gaming and I look forward to reading further modules in the series.

NOTE: This review is based on a 'Review Proof' rather than the final printed hardcopy.

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Post Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:59 am 

Thank you for this review.
Now I am looking foward even more than I was before to seeing this arrive in the mail.

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