REVIEWS

Hear from fans and supporters from all around the world, in English, German and Spanish!

ENGLISH

From DriveThruRPG.com: The more I read and re-read this, the more I like it. As a long time fan of Warhammer 1st ed, the tone of this release is perfect, but what keeps drawing me in is the systems. Much as I loved WH, and the depth of its world and professions, as well as its continual levelling (as opposed to the old AD&D approach of no character development for ages, and then a dump of stat boosts) many of its core systems such as skill tests, were overly simple. Several other RPGs were stronger in this area, such as Shadowrun and the World of Darkness, but Zweihander has improved on all my old favourites at every turn. Critical success and fail systems that scale with skill, really nice opposed skill tests, assisted skill tests. I am also loving the traits and perilous stunts, which remind me of some video game RPGs (or even Talisman) in terms of their immediacy – the build of your character really makes a difference now within a group, giving each player the opportunity to create their own heroic moments. I could go on listing the positives, but the short review is, this is one very impressive and clearly thought out RPG system. Nothing left sitting idle or resting on established convention, every aspect considered and refined. One of the best I’ve ever read, no exaggeration. This is a really great imagining of a favorite RPG. The mechanics are concise and well-explained, with good variance/ depth in the right spots and elegant simplicity where necessary. The book is well-laid out, and strongly reminds me of WFRP v1. They even nailed the mood and look of the art style. Great illustrations, by the way… as well executed as the book production and system design. Can’t wait to give it a solid play! It’s “world-agnostic”, you make the setting, but it works with a generic renaissance dark fantasy setting “out of the box”. It’s your game, not GW’s! 2nd edition rules and mechanics and 1st edition feel, but with it’s own strong personality. It’s darker, grittier and black humorous. The illustrations. Glorious old school black and white, but, you know, darker, grittier and black humorous…(read more)

From Cannibal Halfling Gaming: After years of iteration, the game now known as Zweihander was brought to Kickstarter where it successfully funded. Last week, the fully illustrated version of the book was released to backers, including myself. After reading, I can say that Zweihander has successfully transcended the “heartbreaker” title and is a fully realized “retro-clone” of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. As good as it is, it’s still built on a rules scaffold that’s over 30 years old, which comes through clearly in its old-school sensibilities…(read more)

From Cardboard Warriors: Well, I have had a chance to peruse (skim?) the rules for Zweihander, and it is definitely not rules light! It does seem to be a well thought out and executed adaptation and progression of the WFRP 1st and 2nd edition rules into a more generic ( although still heavily Renaissance Europe flavored) gaming system. It is definitely still gritty low fantasy, but by eliminating a lot of the information on a world specific system, they instead substitute a lot of guidelines on how to focus on the everyman and his place in a complex and chaotic world. they emphasize the shades of grey approach rather than absolutes of Good and Evil, law and Chaos. You can still see some traces of the inspiration material in a few cases, but they have done an excellent job of making those adaptable as well…(read more)

From Grit & Filth: What can I say? This turned out even better than I anticipated and I will be back with a review after having read the 694-page beast! Can’t wait to throw my players into my home brew dark fantasy world of “Terra Innominata”, Zweihänder style, which I feel fits my vision of the world much better than any of the D&D/OSR-derivates that I have used previously…(read more)

From Paul Baldowski, writer of PARANOIA and Maelstrom: While I lingered a while on the idea of backing ZWEIHÄNDER on Kickstarter, I didn’t. If I had done, I would have got carried away – for my love of 1st Edition Warhammer is too great. I like grimdark – Symbaroum caters for that at the moment, but it could be so much darker and a barge load grimmer. Yes, the book is HUGE. More than 600-pages huge. And yes, some of the reviews (oddly 5-star considering they contain criticism) suggest that the sheer quantity of material can make for an intimidating read. I get that. I can see my copy of 1st Edition from where I type this, with green-ish hardcover and slightly yellowing pages – and it packed quite a page count from the outset. For me, that’s a good reason to nab ZWEIHÄNDER in PDF as the RPGNow / DriveThruRPG Deal of the Day at 50% off – because this thing will be best handled with a Search facility. Having downloaded it, I feel the original setting seeping out of the screen – and I love that they have angled for the same art style with a scattering of images oh so clearly based on real world people. I loved that irreverent humour in the images with folks like Rick Priestley, John Blanche and others appearing in the illustrations of the original. I played in a campaign of 1st Edition for a few years at school – first with a gnome, later with a human. I’m extremely pleased that the gnome transcended the original White Dwarf article and made it into ZWEIHÄNDER as an option. Golchak Grimface enjoyed a short but memorable career that carried him through three or so parts of The Enemy Within campaign. I don’t know when I’m going to bring this to the table. What I do know is that I will, if only to quench the flames of my nostalgia. Oh, and because a small but vicious dog told me to…(read more

From RPGPub.com: Perceived annoyances with WFRP 1e (and other Warhammer RPGs, like Dark Heresy): low starting stats, low odds of success (getting a 50% in an ability seemed like a big deal at the time…), piles and piles of skills of varying utility and relevance, classes of varying practical worth (in WFRP 1e, everyone gravitated towards the same few classes, in Dark Heresy, the Scum is arguably under powered). I was also very bitter than in the time it took me to advance from an Initiate to Cleric Level 4, another player went through about 3 or 4 other careers, scoring all kinds of different practical skills, before reaching Cleric level 2. So something was “off” in terms of class progression and balance. In Zweihander, characters have higher starting attributes, acquiring skills (from a more narrow, broadly applicable list) gives bonuses to the related attribute, certain talents allow “flip-flopping” (you can reverse the tens and ones digit to your benefit), aiding others grants them a bonus “tens” die and you can pick which to use) and classes all grant the same number of “advances”, although which ones vary greatly (a Camp Follower vs. a Veteran offer wildly different packages). All of these things make me and my players more likely to want to play a percentile-based game. It’s a matter of stylistic preference, not a judgement call (I’ve gotten sneering admonishments for disliking 3d6, in order, play it like it is for D&D as well, so there you go)…(read more)

From Vorpal Mace (Part 1)ZWEIHÄNDER began its life on the Strike-to-Stun forums as Corehammer, a collection of WFRP rules by Daniel Fox, but over time it grew and mutated into a game of its own. I was familiar with the early previews and playtest docs, but after getting tired of the OSR and all the D&D clones I didn’t have much faith in the game and forgot about it until the Kickstarter campaign was announced. I was impressed by how far they got, and since the game seemed to be what I was looking for I coughed up some money to support them.

That was almost a year ago. As expected, there were hiccups, some plans didn’t work out as intended, and the print version was delayed several times. I’m not mad at them though, for two reasons. First, Daniel did an exemplary job in keeping us informed about the status quo – which is something even “professionals” often fail to achieve. Second, they have already delivered the complete digital edition. Thus I decided not to wait for the printers, and start writing my review, where you will learn whether Zweihänder is a good successor for WFRP or not, and why you should care about it in the looming shadow of Cubicle 7’s forthcoming Warhammer RPGs…(read more)

From Vorpal Mace (Part 2)There is a massive amount of content within the book, which combined with the wordiness of the author resulted in an almost 700 pages long monstrosity (with art, of course). I won’t complain about the size, that would be hypocrisy from someone who runs a D&D campaign using a bunch of Wilderlands of High Fantasy supplements, and plans to dust off HackMaster in the near future. Nevertheless, I do believe there is a lot of redundant, even repeated text in the book that should have been thrown out. Another round with a fiercer editor would have helped a lot in making the book even more readable and easier to lay out.

Despite the above I enjoyed reading the book, mostly because the author didn’t aim for a dry and neutral voice like most RPGs nowadays. Daniel has an amusingly pretentious style, and he isn’t afraid to spice things up with humor and pop culture references. While he isn’t as outrageous as Gygax, Kenzer, or Raggi, he is still an opinionated fellow, which you will either like or hate.

Fun fact: the phrase “grim & perilous” appears 102 times in the rulebook…(read more)

GERMAN

From RPG-Foren.com: Vor ein paar Tagen sind die fertigen PDFs angekommen und es Zeit ein tolles Spiel vorzustellen. Zweihänder ist eine Hommage an die zweite Edition vom Warhammer Fantasy-Rollenspiel und verfeinert die Regeln. Gerade im Hinblick darauf, dass Fantasy Flight Games die alten WFRP-Sachen nicht mehr vertreibt ist Zweihänder ein Blick wert.

Zweihänder kann man am besten als Warhammer Fantasy mit abgefeilter Seriennummer bezeichnen. Ein direktes Setting wird nicht beschrieben, es gibt also keinen Abschnitt zur Welt. Bei den Beschreibungen der Professionen, der Magie, den Göttern und so bekommt man aber ein sehr gutes Bild. Die Welt ist düster und das Leben ist hart. Wer die alte Welt kennt, der weiß direkt wie es abläuft und kann loslegen. Es gibt die üblichen Verdächtigen aus Warhammer, nur unter anderem Namen (aus Copyrightgründen).

Zweihänder benutzt ein sehr ähnliches System wie die zweite Edition vom WFRP. Charaktere haben Attribute und Fertigkeiten und müssen mit einem W100 unter oder gleich dem Zielwert würfeln. Bestimmte Talente erlauben es einem das Ergebnis zum Erfolg zu drehen, also Zehner- und Einer-Würfel auszutauschen, wenn dies zum Erfolg führt. Bestimmte Ereignisse, oder wenn man spezielle Fertigkeiten nicht besitzt, zwingen einen aber auch das Ergebnis zum Misserfolg zu drehen. Auch das Unterstützen von Verbündeten ist sehr gut gelöst, der Helfende muss auch die Fertigkeit gelernt haben und würfelt einen W10. Derjenige, der die Probe ablegt, darf dann den W10 des Helfers anstatt seines Zehnerwürfels nutzen… read more

SPANISH

From Youtube (via The Birreon de Las Cosas de Crom): Vamos a echarle un vistazo al MONSTRUOSO pdf del Zweihänder, el retroclon de Warhammer RPG. Un juego oscuro, con mucho carisma y que ya en sus versiones beta destilaba amor.

From The Corner of Maestro Terrax: Ahora que el cadáver de Warhammer Batallas está ya frío y reposado creo que es el momento de sacar a colación el juego de rol de Zweihänder (pero que se pronuncia… ¡¡SAIGENDA!!) Para los que sepáis algo del juego de rol de Warhammer sabréis que éste ha tenido tres encarnaciones. La primera en un único tomo que aquí lo tradujo la Factoría, con mejor o peor fortuna (pero lo trajo), la segunda que exigía al menos tener el tomo principal y el bestiario y la tercera edición que requería tres libros, tres cajas y una nómina mensual (esas dos ediciones las tradujo Edge) Las dos primeras utilizaban un sistema que yo consideraría que es un D100 simplificado. La primera edición tenía una serie de fallos que se subsanaron, en mi opinión, bastante bien en la segunda edición: los personajes subían bastante rápido de nivel, la característica de Resistencia era demasiado buena y la armadura tenía sólo un máximo de 2 puntos (incluso para los dragones), etc. Evidentemente, esta edición no fue definitiva y se sacó una tercera pero el sistema era muy diferente y nada compatible con las anteriores. No entraré en detalles porque no la he jugado, pero a mí no me gustó el que me tuviera que comer todos los libros adquiridos hasta la fecha con patatas. Y entonces, por mayo de este año, llegó Zweihänder (¡SAIGENDA!) de la mano de IGARol, un juego que podríamos considerarlo la versión 2.5 de Warhammer, nuestro Pathfinder, nuestro retroclón. Y la verdad es que me ha gustado mucho. Curiosamente Zweihänder nacía como una suerte de CoreHammer que recopilara todas las experiencias de jugadores de las dos primeras ediciones del juego pero al final se ha terminado convirtiendo en un juego genérico para aventuras siniestras y peligrosas, esto es Warhammer, Juego de Tronos, H.P. Lovecraft, El Último Anillo, etc. Considero que este juego captura bastante mejor que sus predecesores el mundo de Warhammer ya que se hace un énfasis mucho más marcado en lo oscuro y siniestro de su ambientación, algo que muchas veces veíamos en sus novelas pero que no terminaba de trasladarse al juego o a sus aventuras (todo sea dicho, las de la 1ª edición para mí son las mejores). Nos topamos con nuevas mecánicas muy interesantes como es la de invertir los resultados de los dados a mejor o a peor, dependiendo de la situación. Hay talentos, situaciones ventajosas, etc, que te permiten invertir los dados para que un fallo se convierta en éxito y viceversa (un 81 pase a ser 18, por ejemplo). Los críticos y pifias no se ven afectados, pues al fin y al cabo estos sólo se consiguen con resultados dobles, de modo que no es posible que con una inversión de dados el fallo sea estrepitoso o un éxito formidable… (read more)