RPG Review: Feng Shui 2 from Atlas Games

fengshui2_cover_finalFeng Shui 2 was is a recent sequel to the excellent Hong Kong Gun Fu action movie RPG of Yesteryear, Feng Shui. The inevitable comparisons to the recently Hollywood trend of rebooting films unnecessarily is low hanging fruit, so we’ll avoid that.

I’m going to give the sections ratings in bullets! No I’m not. That’s not a valid rating system. Sorry.


 

1.) Size and Production Quality 

A 352 page hardback in full color with gorgeous fullpage and half page illustrations, fantastic layout, AND it’s a genre game? That’s all awesome for a 50$ price tag. For serious, compare to the last book I reviewed: Keltia Review. 50$ for that book, black and white, and 100 and change less pages. Feng Shui 2 is a steal.

10/10


 

2.) Art

For the most part the art is top notch, and really drives the feel and quality of the game home. There’s art on almost every other page, and the graphics, and iconography of the game is intuitive and easy to use.

9/10


 

3.) Content and Rules

With such a massive book, there’s a lot packed in here. There’s atreatise on the Chi War (the game’s default setting), and then it gets right into the basic rules and characters. The game has 36 character archetypes you can play as. They’re all in the vein of Apocolypse World, where you pick the archetype, fill in a few details, and call it good. But every single idea you could want is covered here. Pretty great.

The base mechanics are the same as the original game, (rolling piles of d6), and here’s where the game bogs down a bit. There’s a lot of addition, subtraction, learning when to roll, finalizing rolls and results, and more. It’s not unmanageable or even bad, but it’s less “furiouser and faster (as the back cover says) than I’d like for a game based on action cinema. It’s just simply unwieldy.

However, there are many improvements on the first edition, and regarding that, the game isn’t bad at all. I have no complaint with the system, but I feel it could have been either streamlined or simplified in order to provide faster game play.

7/10


4.) Game Master Section

As I’ve noted, I normally loathe GM sections, however, Feng Shui 2 delivers one of the best I’ve read. Clear examples of how to use genre tropes and archetypes to deliver a compelling story. It gives the GM some setting information to surprise players with and then wraps up neatly with some excellent advice about the Chi War.

As a bonus, the book has a fantastic filmography of action cinema films, and any movie aficionado should enjoy the list of movies here.

8/10


 

5.) Pre-made Adventure

The premade adventure focuses on the story and idea of the Chi War, and introduces Cyber Apes. Soooo, yeah. It’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re playing Feng Shui 2 for the Chi War and not straight Hong Kong action, you’ll love it.

7/10


Total Score: 41/50

That’s the second highest rating I’ve ever given, and 1 lower than the leader (Keltia due to theme). I’d recommend this game, and in fact I have.

Your group might need to house rule a few things, but it’s a well made, well produced, and thematically fantastic piece of art.

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