Tabletop Review: Newshounds #1 (d6xd6 CORE)

Newshounds #1
Publisher: NUELOW Games
Cost: $1.99
Page Count: 45
Release Date: 08/01/2014
Get it Here: DriveThruRPG.com

Usually NUELOW Games puts out pieces for their ROLF brand, but Newshounds #1 is different. It’s actually for a system that’s not even out yet! I’m talking about d6xd6 CORE, which nearly 500 games crowdfunded earlier this month. Now you’re probably wondering how you can possibly play this when the core rules won’t be out for several months yet. Well, until the game is out you can pick up a draft copy of the rules at the game’s official website. Besides, it’s not unheard of for adventures to core out before the core rulebook. CHaosium has been doing it for Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition and Catalyst Games Labs has been doing it for the Valiant Universe RPG. Now, I was a backer for d6xf6 CORE but only at the PDF level. Backers who pitched in more than I received a free backer copy of Newshounds #1 in addition to Judy of the Jungle. So in fact there are two adventures for this newer than new system if you are interested. That said, the only one I received a review copy for was Newshounds so that’s why we’re looking at that.

Newshounds #1 is more than an adventure. It actually contains five old school pulp comics from 1945. All of these comics are now in the public domain and thus are technically free to anyone who wants to reprint them in a similar fashion to what NUELOW Games has done here. Each of the five comics are in black and white (save for the cover), which works just fine for me as they are pulp fiction, and I always feel they look better in greyscale than in four colour. Three of the comics are from the “Ace of the Newsreels” line (which only had eight comics, so you’re getting nearly half of the run here!), along with one entitled “Gail Porter, Girl Photographer” and another called “Copy Boy”. Quality of the comics varies from story to story and ultimately, it will depend on the reader to ascertain the quality for themselves. I can see why the “Ace of the Newsreels” series didn’t last very long in its heyday and parts of the stories have not aged well such as the dizzy danger-prone dame sidekick who always needs to be rescued by the male protagonist. It is what it is. While I’m okay with it because it is a product of its time, I know some people CAN’T so they might roll their eyes at this running plot hook or worse. The “Gail Porter, Girl Photographer” is bookended with anti-suicide cheese, but the core story is a fun one. “Copy Boy feels like a “Jimmy Olsen” rip-off complete with Judy as Lois Lane, Mr. Jackson as Perry White and Mr. Trent as Clark Kent (No Superman alter ego though!). Again, all the stories in here are worth flipping through. Five pulp comics for $1.99 isn’t a bad deal by any means, but there’s more content than just this, which only serves to sweeten the deal.

In addition to the comics and a one page crossword puzzle, Newshounds #1 gives us a three page adventure for the d6x6d CORE system. The adventure is called, “The Death of a Mystic” and it uses the protagonists from “Ace of the Newsreels” along with the Neulow mascot superheroine, The Black Cat. The story revolves around saving socialite Linda Turner from the machinations of a fraudulent swami. Of course, exposing the swami as a fake is just the start of the adventure as he vows revenge on the PCs for taking a way his meal ticket and will try to murder each of them in turn. The adventure itself is very much an “on-rails” piece with little room for flexibility or deviance, and you really have to know and care about the “Ace of the Newsreels” characters for this piece to work. What’s more, there is no real explanation of d6xd6 CORE at all in this piece. The adventure assumes you have extremely familiar with the rules system, so the mechanics side will read as little more than gobblygook to most of you. The good news is that because the adventure is so scripted out, it can easily be converted to a different system. The GM/Host will have to rework the character sheets if they want to covert “The Death of a Mystic” but every scene and much of the NPC dialogue is all there for you. In the end the adventure is an okay one. For people already familiar with d6xd6 CORE, it’s a fun way to see the mechanics in action and you’ll also get six pregenerated characters, a new Core Occupation and a new Core Skill. For everyone else, you might want to wait until you have the core rulebook in your possession unless you think five pulp comics for $1.99 is a fine deal. For myself, I’m glad I picked this up as I wanted to see how d6 x d6 CORE would look done by a third party publisher and for only $1.99, fans/Kickstarter backers of this upcoming system should certainly consider picking Newshounds #1 up.

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