Thursday, November 20, 2014

Top Ten and Bottom Ten Amber Zones

A very familiar Amber Zone World
     I'm almost done reviewing all of the Amber Zones from the original JTAS issues #1-24, but I decided to take a look back and summarize what I've gone through already. Some were good and some were bad, and that's all just my opinion. Please argue with me in the comments if you disagree. 

 The Best of the Bunch

# 1 Aces & Eights A mystery, a murder, a fortune, and a chance to be Big Damn Heroes, this adventure has it all.
# 2 Thoughtwaves - In my review I described Thoughtwaves as one of the best AZ's written. I put it at #2 because of the two, I would rather play A's & 8's. Other than that, these would tie for first.
# 3 Coup d'Etat Another one that just sounds like such fun to play. Hey, you get to rescue a princess, how cool is that?
#4 Dagger at Efate You're aboard an out-of-control starship on a collision course with a planet. What else could go wrong?
#5 Homesteader's Stand Defeat the baddies, save the town, get the girl. Wait, is this a Western in space?  Awesome!
#6 Loggerheads The setup for this one is straightforward - stop the runaway Plot Device. But what if the Plot Device is more than you've been told? 
#7 The Werewolf Disease A manhunt on an island. Did we mention he's paranoid, super-strong and armed?  Oh, could you bring him back alive, please?
#8 Tarkine Down, Thunder on Zyra, Soft Bunk, Ticket to Swords - These are all Mercenary or Striker scenarios which could be expanded into longer campaigns.
#9 Pride of the Lion The Most Dangerous Game, with Aslan as the targets. They may not actually want your help.
#10 Chill The Weak Point I mentioned in my review is what puts this to the bottom. A transportation scenario in sub-zero weather and an enemy more dangerous than the weather.

The Bottom Ten

From least worst (10) to worst worst (1).

#10 Chariots of Fire This is the 'least worst'. I would put it on the other list, but its central premise is committing a crime, and I have stated repeatedly that I don't like crime scenarios.
#9 Lockbox - I panned this one in my review, but I'd like to hear why BeRKA liked it so much.
#8 Small Cargoes - Either a smuggling job, or a non-exciting adventure in acquiring permission to import goods to a restricted system.
#7 Geria Transfer - Over scripted and linear, but has some interesting bits to it.
#6 Last Flight of the Themis - A crash investigation where the PCs have nothing invested in the answers but a paycheck.
#5 Foodrunner - There's just nothing heroic about fighting off a horde of hungry peasants who just want some food.
#4 Planetoid P-4638 - An industrial espionage job that could fail utterly before it even begins.
#3 Rescue on Ruie - You want us to break a rich-kid admitted criminal out of a max-security brig because his rich dad wants us to? Uh, no thanks.
#2 Rule of Man Commemorative - As written the least exciting of all the Amber Zones.You will almost certainly not even notice the bigger plot going on around you. Yawn.

And the worst Amber Zone of them All is:

#1 Scam You commit one crime, for which you get paid by information which, if you commit another crime, might just maybe net you some dough, while getting a lot of Imperial attention, and the guy who set you up has legged it with the real payoff. NO! THANK! YOU!

For comparison, here are BeRKA's Top Ten from The Amber Zone. We agree about many but not all of them.

  1. Aces & Eights, by John M. Ford from JTAS #14
  2. Roadshow, by John M. Ford from JTAS #23 I haven't reviewed this yet.
  3. Foxhound, by J.D. Webster from JTAS #14
  4. Chariots of Fire, by Anders Blixt from JTAS #18
  5. Thoughtwaves, by John Ford from JTAS #13
  6. Small Package, by J. Andrew Keith from JTAS #19
  7. Royal Hunt, by J. Andrew Keith from JTAS #12
  8. Lockbox, by J. Andrew Keith from JTAS #13
  9. Embassy in Arms, by John Marshal from JTAS #24 Or this one.
  10. Homesteaders’ Stand, by William H. Keith, Jr from JTAS #21 

Image from Map 1100 by Tom Bont, from his program Astrogator.

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