Tabletop Review: All Flesh Must Be Eaten Character Journal

All Flesh Must Be Eaten Character Journal
Publisher: Eden Studios
Cost: $2.50 (PDF/$5 Physical)
Page Count: 18
Release Date: 10/04/2013
Get it Here: DriveThruRPG.com

The All Flesh Must Be Eaten Character Journal is an odd duck. It basically amounts to an eighteen page character sheet, which just might be the longest one ever created for a game. Now, I’m a big fan of All Flesh Must Be Eaten, and I try to review everything that comes out for it, like last month’s Band of Zombies, but this is the first ever release for the system where I honestly can’t think of any time I would ever use it.

Now, granted, we all need character sheets for our various games, be they printed off official versions or just written hastily on notebook paper. The problem is, I can’t think of a time you would want to have an eighteen page character sheet. Sure, the Character Journal gives you a lot of room to take notes on the events of your character’s life, but so much of the Character Journal is just unneeded space due to a character sheet for AFMBE being spread out from one page to eighteen. Do we really need two pages just for skills? A full page for Qualities? A full page for drawbacks? An entire page for weapons? How about that page where you just list the amount of ammo you have? No, you will NEVER need that much space. Oddly enough, you only get a tiny sticky note size space to write up your character’s personality. Obviously this Character Journal was not well thought out as, if anything, that’s where people need the extra room. I was glad to see a full page for character history, but that’s about the only thing about the Character Journal I think was done right.

I’m not sure why anyone would want to keep track of every zombie they have ever killed. That seems a little OCD/anal retentive, but you have a full page for that. Same with the space for tracking every head shot your character has ever made. That seems unnecessary and a little bit psychotic to boot. Basically, the Character Journal takes eighteen pages to do what you normally can do in just one or two pages, and that feels like a waste of paper, ink, and time to me. I would never even think of using this, nor can I think of any tabletop game where I would have the desire to need or want a sixteen page character sheet and two pages to act as covers for it. Now, if you CAN get use out of this, more power to you, but it seems fundamentally worthless to me. The more pages a character sheet is, the harder it is to find the information you are looking for, the more resources it wastes, and the easier it is to lose a page. The PDF version of the Character Journal isn’t an interactive version, allowing you to type information in or click a button to check things off (like the ammo), so you can’t use it digitally at all. You still have to print it off and handwrite everything on it, making it outdated and not very useful if you’re trying to stay electronic.

Obviously, this is not a release for me. It’s a product I neither understand nor can fathom how anyone would want such a thing. That said, the cover art is nice, the product is well laid out for something that spreads a one page character sheet over sixteen pages, and it is a neat idea for those that are pretty much only playing All Flesh Must Be Eaten and have characters in campaigns that will be going for years. Again, if you can find a use for this thing, good for you, because I can’t. My advice is just to print off a character sheet for the game, as it’s a saner alternative. The production values are high and I’m sure someone somewhere will get a kick out of this; it’s just not for me in any way, shape or form.

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