Free Carnevale Rulebook and Review by Jake Thornton

November 5, 2011 by beerogre

The Carnevale Rulebook is now available for free download from the Vesper-On Games website. Take a look at the review written by our pal Jake Thornton…

Who are Vesper-On? They are a new company that seems to have been set up specifically to produce this game and the associated miniatures. However, that makes them sound a bit new to all this. Well, in some ways they are, but they have also drawn on the sculpting talents of a group of veteran and highly respected artists to produce a striking and unusual range of models.

The Setting

The game is set in an alternate reality version of Venice in 1795. Due to the murderous (lack of) manners of the Vatican agents, most of the Italian population has died and a vast rent has been torn in the sky, through which raw magic now pours. Venice lies on the edge of this cataclysm. This influx of energy is coupled with the rise of Cthulhu’s minions in the waters of the Venetian lagoon, and between them they have made the soggy streets of that city increasingly dangerous.

The gangs (called squads here) that roam the streets are from factions of dissolute nobles, mad doctors, Cthulhu devotees and the guild of thieves. Magic is real and increasingly widely used by all factions. There aren’t really any “good guys”.

This is a D10 system of alternate activation of individual models. Each model has a number of actions they can do in a turn, and must do all those actions when it is their go.

Most stats are dice pools which tell you how many D10 to roll. One dice in every roll is called a destiny dice and determines criticals and fumbles. The rest are rolled against 7 or an opposing stat (whichever is higher) with the aim to equal or beat it. Each success is an Ace. The number of Aces is then modified further to work out whether you have damaged your target, jumped the canal, etc. So, if I roll 3 dice and get 8, 9, 3 then I’ve got 2 successes, or Aces. If your protection (armour) is 2 then this is reduced to zero so I do no damage.

The rules for movement, swimming, and special combat moves are all simple enough to follow and shouldn’t cause any issues for someone who has played a skirmish game before. There are also a stack of skills that allow models to bend the rules in various ways. Again, nothing to surprise an experienced gamer.

One thing that is a little unusual is the freedom to add equipment to your models. This is simply bought from a shopping list and includes narcotics and venom as well as magic items. Oddly, in a basic game you can’t buy extra weapons or armour, but you can have magic items. This is one area of the rules where the “cheese detector” flickered rather alarmingly.

On The Table

The rules suffer from being translated as is often the case. Some parts were a little less clear than they might have been, but overall the fact that the rules themselves were so familiar made it easy enough to follow. If you’ve played a skirmish game or two before then you’ll probably be pretty close if you just guess what the rules should do.

I had a couple of goes messing about with small numbers of models to get a vague idea of the rules, and then we played a game with the Cthulhu fans against the Doctors. As we were mainly getting to grips with the rules, scenery was limited to a canal down one side, which proved to be a bit of a pain for me (as the Doctors). I don’t think that more scenery would have made any difference as we we just playing the basic fight.

You can read the rest of Jake’s review at his blog… Quirkworthy. As well as invite him as a friend on Beasts of War by clicking @quirkyworthy.