Excellent for the lonely gunslinger, this is a solo adventure with no GM required, complete with both basic and advanced pre-generated characters: just pick up and play when the mood takes you. For those who are unfamiliar with Aces & Eights (or who just wish a simple game), the basic version is explained clearly, even a greenhorn role-player should be able to work out what they need to do to play. Potential players who already know, or wish to learn, the full game can either use a character generated using the full rules or play the pre-generated 'advanced' character provided. There's a note warning those using a character of their own that they should discuss this book with their GM if they want his exploits in these pages to be a part of his ongoing story!
There's a brief overview of the Shattered Frontier as a whole and a more extensive introduction to the township of Buena Roca, a company mining town founded but a year ago. This comes complete with additional notes for GMs who fancy including the settlement in their games: it's got considerable potential as somewhere characters might visit or even settle.
Next comes an atmospheric start to the adventure itself, placing the character as the local lawman in Buena Roca and dropping him straight into a violent encounter with some trouble-makers... and then it's over to you, with the standard format of solo adventuring: read a paragraph, select one of the options then proceed to the appropriate numbered paragraph, rolling dice as and when indicated. There's a good plan of the town to help you get oriented, and plenty to do as you work your way through the adventure.
Mechanically, it's sound - if sometimes a bit confusing, and sometimes you cannot find what you might think is the most likely option given the situation... or find assumptions have been made about your actions when their might have been scope for offering a choice. However, it's a shame that the scope for hyperlinking inherent in a PDF document has been neglected, so that you have to page laboriously down or up to find the next paragraph that you want.
Overall, though, it provides good Old West entertainment for those times you cannot round up your posse and run a proper game.
Return to Bad Day at Buena Roca page.
Reviewed: 15 October 2012