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[Feng Shui 2] Opinions? Anyone playing?

Coyote's Own

Former ACME QA Tester.
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Aw, I was kinda hoping it would have awesome vehicular stuff given some of the artwork on my initial skim through.
It has some awesome vehicular stuff, seeing how there special character abilities (shticks) dedicated to vehicles and there character dedicated to vehicles (you have Road Warrior Highway Ronin and Drive, who in the secodn edition is style after the main character of Drive).
It just that that awesome vechicle stuff are built on the sameframeworkk as rest of combat.
 

Schleiermacher

Registered User
Validated User
I feel like the final word on Feng Shui 2E, and the reason it didn't make much of a splash on release despite a successful kickstarter and an engaged community, is that it was too little, too late.

Feng Shui 1E was a seminal game in its time, and I would still say that 2E is a good game, very fun to play and emulates its desired genre well. But despite a few significant changes (Defense being separated from main AV is the big one) 2E was simply not enough of an improvement after 20 years of advancements in game design. The archetypes are less customizeable than they used to be and not appreciably more balanced, it aspires to narrative-focused, fast-paced play but still hangs on to archaisms like lengthy shopping lists of guns and martial arts moves with individually distinct stats. The chase rules basically just being a reskin of the combat engine highlights that the support for anything other than set-piece fights remains all but nonexistent. The RNG is very small and the ostensibly minor differences in the combat stats of different archetypes can therefore have an enormous effect on the pacing of a fight.

That said, the game makes no pretentions to be anything other than an action movie simulator, and if the tuning is just right, it's still a blast. Combat can be fast-paced, dynamic and deadly. Stunts work well since there's a clear distinction of what actually makes something a stunt (attempting to get an additional mechanical or tactical benefit over and above a regular action) and AV penalties applying for stunts prevents the game from descending into "Every action is a stunt" spotfests ala Wushu.
 

Galadrin

Registered User
Validated User
Is it weird that I was actually really disappointed that the Old Master archetype lost his "Info/Noodle Making" skill? I feel like a lot of the changes were made to make the game more "kewl" and less silly, which was a real bummer for me :(
 

Tumbleweed

Supporting Cast!
Validated User
I rather like it (as again, I kickstarted it). This said, I'm not sure if Feng Shui 2 is the best for an ongoing campaign ... but for a one shot or a short couple of sessions, it's great.

Some of the archetypes are a little TOO on the nose, I dare say-- the Two-Fisted Archeologist is straight-up Indiana Jones, for example. This said, don't be afraid to muck around with it, especially where character stuff is involved. If you want your Old Master to have a noodle making skill? Give him the damn noodle making skill already.

Most recently, I used Feng Shui 2 to run a GI Joe based game for a convention one-shot, and had an absolute blast with it. Some of the archetypes were spot on (Snake Eyes as the Ninja, for example), while others needed more tweaking-- I think I'm most proud of adapting the Driver archetype for Cover Girl, and giving her a unique schtick called "Tanks for the Memories." :)
 

Malckuss

Game Design Hobbyist
Validated User
Backed it to get the printed archetypes, initiative tracker, the works. It has its pros and cons.

Pros - (1) Lots of archetypes. It feels like it has way more than 1E, even if you threw in all of the books. I don't know if it does, but it feels like it. (2) The way the archetypes are set up, you can grab one and start playing immediately. (3) Gameplay, while still a bit clunky, is faster than it was, and still rewards creativity instead of punishing it. (4) You have most of the tools you need to make more stuff, like archetypes. Schticks would be a lot more work, but there is a nice framework to build most things you might want. Tinkering with the system is not hard. (5) Running the game is a snap, though I will admit the extra stuff I bought helped with that a great deal. Super awesome for pick up games. (6) Pop-up junctures are brilliant, especially if you feel your game is getting stagnant.

Cons - (1) Combat could be cleaner, as has been pointed out. It is slower than I would like. (2) Archetypes are too stuck. Rules as written, you can only buy the schticks associated with your archetype even if you have a concept that an extra schtick or two from another tree would make sing; this is easily remedied unless you have a stickler gm. (3) The designers decided to 'fix' some things that were not broken and, in fact, introduced some things that have zero place in a Hong Kong action cinema game. Some of those are easily forgiven as they still work and can still dovetail well with other tropes - The Driver Archetype, the Full-Metal Nutball. What I can't stomach is the addition of Planet of the Apes junk, and wrecking of the future juncture for a Mad Max juncture. I would have been fine with some post-apocalyptic shenanigans, but the future juncture was a really cool place. If they had added the other junctures instead of taking others away, I would have been much happier. Overall, it leaves you feeling they did more work on the setting and not the rules when the rules needed more attention then they got and they needed to leave the setting well enough alone. (4) Other than the book Blowing Up the Movies and the GM screen, there really aren't any other products for the game. FS1E had a great deal of support. There are some products I would love to see for FS2E: bringing backed the scrapped junctures with mechanical support, a book of pop up junctures, etc. Fs2 being essentially a stand-alone product probably has more to do with the game falling off of people's radar more than any other factor.

I love the game, but it has its rough spots. My friends and I play it fairly regularly. I'm pondering using it to run a Shadowrun scenario.
 

Alter_Boy

Post Anything
Validated User
Agree with Tumbleweed. It makes for a really great one-shot/short campaign, but not something I'd try to do for a whole year.

I feel like the final word on Feng Shui 2E, and the reason it didn't make much of a splash on release despite a successful kickstarter and an engaged community, is that it was too little, too late.

Feng Shui 1E was a seminal game in its time, and I would still say that 2E is a good game, very fun to play and emulates its desired genre well. But despite a few significant changes (Defense being separated from main AV is the big one) 2E was simply not enough of an improvement after 20 years of advancements in game design. The archetypes are less customizeable than they used to be and not appreciably more balanced, it aspires to narrative-focused, fast-paced play but still hangs on to archaisms like lengthy shopping lists of guns and martial arts moves with individually distinct stats. The chase rules basically just being a reskin of the combat engine highlights that the support for anything other than set-piece fights remains all but nonexistent. The RNG is very small and the ostensibly minor differences in the combat stats of different archetypes can therefore have an enormous effect on the pacing of a fight.
There were two ways Feng Shui 2 could have returned:

1) Updating the fluff and feel of the game with modern techniques pioneered by Feng Shui and re-iterated upon since then.

2) Bring Feng Shui back into print after years of being OOP, with some touch and polish on the rules and flavour.

I feel that keeping Feng Shui as close to its original form as possible was the right call. I agree with people who feel that FS2 doesn't take full advantage of lessons learned in the past 2 decades, but will also point out that not all of Feng Shui's lessons have been learned. The stuff that's generally be left behind isn't bad, and I think it's good that the original fans (as well as a new generation - me!) can learn about the game experience it provided. Fortunately, FATE and PbtA is flexible enough that taking Feng Shui's tropes and converting them are trivially easy to do.
 

Unka Josh

Social Justice Chimera
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I had ludicrous fun running a short campaign in it. I did the assorted math myself, in my head-- I don't find it particularly hard.

But that's me, and I'm good at that kind of math, and I acknowledge that not everyone is.
 

Coyote's Own

Former ACME QA Tester.
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Some of the archetypes are a little TOO on the nose, I dare say-- the Two-Fisted Archeologist is straight-up Indiana Jones, for example.
My least fovriteexmaple is Karate Cop.
In the FS1 the archetype was a Martial Arts action movie cop, like Dolph Lungren, Brandon Lee, Cythia Roth rock.
In FS2 it specifically Jackie Chan (using the feedback look of getting hurt on missed attacks and getting a bonus for damage taken, to simulated Chan's physical comedy).
Making the archetype much less universal.
 
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