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BESM vs OVA

Tarrant12

Registered User
Validated User
Hey everyone,

So I have OVA and haven’t read it. However I just had my roommate ask about Anime-esque rpgs and I immediately thought about OVA and handed it over.

My question is this: I saw the BESM 4th edition Kickstarter and am wondering how the previous editions of BESM compare to OVA? I’m considering kickstarting it as a gift to my roommate.
 

the cat

Drone
Validated User
OVA is generally rules lite (attack creation can get pretty intensive and can certian builds depending on how far you want to customize them)

BESM 2nd edition plus is rules medium.

OVA is out now and generally easier to get than BESM (Physically especially)

IMO neither replaces the other. Sometimes I like heavier customization over OVA for example.
 
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the cat

Drone
Validated User
The popular opinion is that any game can be used to emulate the genre tropes of anime. The big difference between them and these games are that the these assumption are up front in ova and besm

IMO - yes I think it works decently for many genres.
 

ripburger

Registered User
Validated User
BESM's a little more crunchy and fiddly than OVA. Abilities are a little more distinct and you have more mechanics to play with. The damage in OVA is pretty swingy with a lucky roll being able to one-shot PCs/bosses, as opposed to BESM where damage is mostly static so you know roughly how many hits it takes to defeat an enemy. BESM is kinda like a streamlined and anime flavored GURPS.

As for the BESM Kickstarter, you might want to familiarize yourself with the GoO/Dyskami/MacKinnon situation. Short story, MacKinnon the founder of GoO and designer of BESM, mismanaged his company, causing GoO to fail and a lot of freelancers to go unpaid while he walked away. GoO failed mostly due to bad Canadian exchange rates, but MacKinnon covered up the trouble for as long as possible, which made things much worse. MacKinnon founded a new company Dyskami to publish the new edition of BESM. The new company seems to be doing fine, but GoO's debts will likely never be paid. Besides the risk of giving kickstarter money to someone who has a recorded history of company mismanagement, there is also an ethical question about supporting someone who caused financial hardship among a lot of freelancers in the community. I don't think it's particularly likely that the Kickstarter will fail to deliver, due to other people with proven track records collaborating on the project. But it might be best to wait until the new edition is actually released before handing over any money.
 

Cirlot

Registered User
Validated User
As someone who has played and run both - the BESM as GURPS comparison is spot on. It's a point-by toolkit that allows you create pretty much anything provided you put in enough effort but it also requires a higher minimum effort to get even reasonable baseline play out of. Up through 3rd edition, it is also could be broken mechanically in half by any semi-serious optimizer - badly in some cases. Like older editions of GURPS not all spent points build points were necessarily worth the same and with five different ways to build the same effect there was often a cheapest/best option. Combine that with some rules vague-ness (2nd edition was particularly bad at this. Autofire attacks in particular ~shudder~) and you can end up with PC's built at the same power level with wildly, wildly different capabilities. What I've seen of the BESM 4th edition sample and their Benchmark notion doesn't really reassure me on this front.

OVA is much easier to run requiring less prep and less crunch; it might be too simple and swingy for some but in my own experience the swingy-ness of the dice pool mechanic actually worked out to a better long term campaign? Characters got better but there were never sure things even after a dozen sessions of play and advancement, and conversely even early on characters could punch above their weight class given a little (sometimes resource enhanced) luck.* I was rarely if ever concerned about throwing something at the party they couldn't handle whereas in BESM the line between cakewalk/challenge/TPK felt far, FAR more fine.

I was a BESM fan for a long, long time but I converted a BESM campaign to OVA about three years ago and haven't looked back since?

*also, per default characters and named NPCs in OVA don't die - they get knocked out of combat and defeated. But the presumption is you're in an anime serial of some stripe so if you have a name, be it PC or NPC, death is never really on the table unless you want it to be - worse case you just get thwarted and show up the next episode . .
 
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