|Full Disclosure: I received both of these PDFs in trade for a fair review.|
Fuller Disclosure: I had already bought Girls Gone Rogue and had it in my review queue anyway.
Full Frontal Disclaimer: These products sit behind an Adult verification wall on OneBookShelf. By clicking, you are giving tacit, if not implicit, consent to see such things. Don't whine if you see something you don't like. These are not for the easily offended.
Ok. So Alpha Blue is Venger's infamous "brothel in Space" source book that also includes a brief system for play. I reviewed Alpha Blue a while back and I really enjoyed it. I opted at the time to use this book along with some other Old-School inspired Sci-Fi books including White Star. Keep in mind that Alpha Blue nor these books are overtly compatible with any of those other games, but Venger's system is simple enough and these books are written in such a way that they are easily adapted for use.
Girls Gone Rogue
Girls Gone Rogue (GGR hereafter) is an 80-page supplement for Alpha Blue. The book expands on the options and tables found in Alpha Blue. There are additional character options and lots of tables but really sets this book apart, and makes it a must have for AB fans, are the adventures.
If you are a fan of Venger's style of mixing and matching various pop cultural references then these adventures are a real treat. In particular, the mixing of Galaxina and Ilsa She Devil of the S.S. is quite fun really. Venger obviously grew up on a steady late night Cinemax. Actually, that explains a lot of GGR to be honest.
This one is a bit harder to judge in terms of a game book. I will say that if you enjoy Alpha Blue, then this is a good buy and will be very useful. If you don't like Alpha Blue then GGR will be more of the same really. Though there are a some that would enjoy the adventure seeds for use with other games.
Universal Exploits is a 110 page book for Alpha Blue. UE tackles the universe beyond the space station Alpha Blue. Like Girls Gone Rogue it is an expansion, but it also setting material. The universe is a big and dangerous place. Well, dangerous in the same universe that has a space brothel/space station orgy happening. Or maybe that is just a result of some the horrors going on around them. There are also some short adventures/scenarios you can use. Again, these are presented system-neutral/system-lite so they can be used for just about anything.
In truth this reads a bit like a collection of Traveller articles, that is if Traveller went really gonzo. Or, chances are, like many used to run Traveller anyway.
The real treat comes in the form of the special Alpha Blue Character sheets. Honestly every game should have great looking Character sheets and these are among my favorites.
So. Who should buy these books?
Well it's pretty simple. If you have Alpha Blue or like playing it then these are "must buys".
If you play some other Sci-Fi game and want to add a little "Sleaze" to your "Scum and Villainy" then these are must buys only behind Alpha Blue itself.
If you like lots of pop-culture references, especially ones that are more R or even NC rated, then this is also for you. But if that is the case you already know this.
Who should avoid this?
Well normally when reviewing a product I stay away from these sorts of discussions. But in this case, I will say those who are easily offended should not bother.
More to the point with me though is don't go into these books expecting to find a lot of material you can use for other, non-sci-fi, games. Can I use it with say a Modern game? Sure, but there are a lot of conversions I'd have to do. Not game mechanics, but style.
Both books are a lot of fun and I am certain I can still find a lot to use here even in my PG and PG-13 rated games.
I do want to mention the cover art. Both are fantastic and really, really shows what you can do when you put your heart and soul into your games.
Now. If you are like me reading through all of this and referencing back to Alpha Blue and some of Venger's other products you might be wondering "when is Venger going to focus his eldritch eye on 'Heavy Metal'?".
Well while reviewing this Venger sent me a link to his newest Kickstarter.
Trinity of Awesome!
Looks like a lot of fun. If it goes the way that Universal Exploits did it will grow into 5-6 adventures.