Wednesday, September 11, 2013

First Look - City State of the Sea Kings (Judges Guild Wilderlands)

This book is more massive than I expected. City-State of the Sea Kings clocks in at 380 pages and a map. The map itself is two-sided. One side has the numbered hex map of the Isle, the other side has the map of the city. Both are very well done.

I didn't realize that this is one of the last projects that Bob Bledsaw senior had an active hand in (but I found out that and more reading the foreword - good thing I didn't skip that like usual).

It uses the "Judges Guild Universal System" for stats, which is easier to understand and convert (for me at least) then the system used in Lich Dungeon and the like. Still would have preferred OSR generic, but the system used has history behind it and is familiar to many.

Layout is easy on the eyes (I do wonder about all of the highlighting throughout the text, but maybe that will sort itself out with a solid read).

You probably could run a full campaign from beginning to end on this isle.

I want to move this to the top of my review pile - but that pile is getting friggin huge! Still, City-State of the Sea Kings is calling to me - loudly.


  1. If you figure out the reason for the highlighting, let us know. I didn't "get it"

  2. Looking at all the pictures you've been posting lately, I must ask . . .

    Does your "familiar" have a name? LOL

    1. The young lady's name is Ashley.

      If I leave her food bowl on the floor, the dog will eat it.

      Besides, she likes to lay on my desk when I surf the web, and needs to check out everything that finds it's way to the desk ;)

  3. It's an expensive book Erik...in your estimation do you think its worth it. I know they worked on it for a long time and put a lot of work into.

    1. by page count and production quality compared to other books at this price? yes - but - I need to read it to see if it's useful / useable.

      I suspect it is, or I wouldn't have dumped the cash on it, but we've all been burned before. I dont expect to be burned in this case, but ya never know.

  4. Keep this one on or near the top of the stack, please - looking forward to heaning more.

  5. Do you know if there are any plans for a PDF version? US$75 is a bit beyond what I want to pay.

    1. When I clicked the link it said $40?

    2. It's $75 bucks for people outside of the States...big-time shipping costs.

  6. Hello to all the fans, this is Chris Bernhardt, the Author of CSSK. I want to put a little info out there for all the folks posting here. First, the book is NOT Universal Rules. It is "system-less". This means that only the most basic game information is given for the Judge to use in any way/system they choose - most of the grey areas throughout the book are this Judge's game information. The book was priced at $39.95 to make it as competitively affordable as possible. Considering that most gaming books out there are being printed at near $50 retail, and have only half the content page wise - not to mention the full color double-sided removable map in our book - I think that it is very reasonably priced. (As far as a PDF, it is in the planning stages, as well as rules erratas for other game systems.)
    Shipping has been an issue since the outset. As we have tried to send the books out in the most affordable, efficient, and careful manner, and we have been losing money on almost every sale to do so, I do no think that what we have charged is unreasonable. We could have just taken the easy road, mailed things out via media mail, let it take however long it had to to arrive, and hope for the best quality wise, but that's not how we roll.
    Shipping out of the country is what it is; expensive. We do not set the rates, the Post Office does. We have been looking into a way to get a point of sale in other countries to get the book into the hands of the out-of-US-fans, but again, this has not born fruit yet. As the book is about 2.5 pounds itself, and usually about 3 pounds packed, it is not likely that we will get much more of a break on shipping anytime soon.
    There is a little rainbow in the sky, however; we can get 3 books into a medium flat rate box currently, so it is possible to 'piggy-back' shipments this way to those who are looking to get the book, and want to share the cost of shipping. Just a little tidbit of info to help the fans again.
    If there are any other questions, please feel free to contact me either here or at my homepage: bernhardtpublishing.websiteanimal.com and I will be happy to answer as best I can. Thanks to all the loyal Judges Guild fans out there and hope all your games are a success!

    1. Bledsaw the 2nd made mention of the Universal System being used in his preface - unless I misread him - I'll read the passage again when I get home.

      Thanks for explaining the reasoning for the highlighting.

    2. Thanks - if I could get this for $40/£25 all-in I'd be tempted, depending on what Erik says further about the contents. :) I've been ruminating on going back to Wilderlands for my next campaign and a non-CSIO city might be the perfect centrepiece.

    3. "I took the advice of the now-Late Dave Arneson, who suggested I make great use of the Judges Guild Universal System, so I required Chris to strip out the mechanics to facilitate this end".

      Bob Bledsaw II

      Prologue, pg 6 of CSotSK

  7. So Erik, how would you say this compares and contrasts to Razor Coast? Are their goals similar?

    1. RC is a campaign with an attached setting.

      CSotSK is a sandbox setting to build a campaign.

      Apples and Oranges.

      Still waiting on my RC hardcover to ship :(

  8. A follow-up to my last post; the book is now available through:

    Sphärenmeisters Spiele
    Wilsberger Str. 31
    52134 Herzogenrath

    Telefon: +49 (0)2407 902026


    For those in Europe who want to get it shipped from a more local venue.

  9. As of today, and through this December 24th, CSSK is going to be offered at a holiday price reduction. You can now get the latest City-State at the rate of $32.95 plus shipping! Considering the wealth of material and time devoted to this work, this is an amazing discount. Don't delay; get yours while the price is so low!

    Note: Due to overwhelming demand, we have added Media level shipping - though No Returns are accepted at this level.


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