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The pricing of PDFs is a big issue right now, with our own experiment with Pay-What-You-Want and Adamant’s App Price across the board approach. Now fellow small publisher Postmortem Studios is testing ‘app-pricing’ on a new InvaderZ: Pocket Edition.
This is an updated edition of their 2008 InvaderZ product that has been reformatted to A5 and reduced in price to $1.99 (approximately £1.50). As we are both trying to experiment with PDF pricing, Postmortem and I exchanged review copies so look for a review of Mince Pies & Murder on their web site soon.
InvaderZ – What Is It?
InvaderZ is a self-described “beer and crisps” game (or beer and pretzels if you’re American). It is not a serious game nor a game for long, epic campaigns, It is a game to roll out when you fancy something fun or you are drunk and need a game that matches your current intellectual capacity.
Players take the role of the invaders from the alien planet Jerkia who are exploring our planet, mutilating our cows and probing in all the wrong places purely for the amusement of their Emperor. Each Jerkian is grown in a test tube, educated (in the loosest possible sense) by a computer and sent to fulfill missions that are either stupid, suicidal or both. The Jerkian invaders come complete with ray guns, flying sources and a variety of other cliches.
A key aspect of the game is that the Jerkian empire is completely rubbish and run as a plaything for the Emperor. Its technology generally doesn’t work and its people are seen as being entirely disposable. Imagine North Korea in space and you won’t be far wrong.
If I had to sum-up the game in a single, elevator pitch it would be “Paranoia crossed with Mars Attacks! with a splash of X-Com.”
At over 100 A5 pages, you end up with a good solid little book when printed out. It covers everything you need to run the game including background, an extremely simple character generation system, equipment and adventure ideas. The light-hearted writing style fits the game perfectly and the limited mechanics are explained well.
It is important to note that the three things I don’t like about the PDF are personal bugbears of mine. Other people probably won’t care or even notice them.
Each page of the PDF has a large header and footer graphic repeated on every page. These take up 6.5 centimeters of the 20cm page, or about 1/4th. The graphics are solid, dark colours and over the documents 100+ pages they add considerably to the cost of printing the PDF. To a cheapskate environmentally minded person like myself, this maters.
Each page also has a background image underneath the text. This is an extremely light-grey image and generally doesn’t detract from the text. However I have poor eye-sight and anything other than straight black-on-white text aggravates my eyes. The font-size used in the PDF was a little on the small size though perfectly readable but the addition of the background made reading the PDF hard work for my already tired eyes.
Finally there is no table of contents or index. Even in a game as silly and light-hearted as InvaderZ, players occasionally need to look things up.
Worth The Money?
At $1.99? Absolutely.
A fun 100 page read plus the amusement of playing the game for the same price as a Starbuck’s coffee or a pint of beer is a real no brainer.
This is perfect for keeping on your laptop or e-reader, ready to pull out whenever your planned session falls through or you’re in a convention bar. No real preparation is necessary by the GM and the players certainly don’t need to know the rules.
Final word – Buy it now before you end up with a Jerkian probe where the sun don’t shine.