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Bulletproof Blues Pay What You Want
Publisher: Kalos Comics
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/19/2014 01:52:50

WHAT WORKS: Some very nice art is present, and some of the stock characters really stand out. I like how a lot of the Advantages are handled, namely Headquarters, which tends to be an overly costly, underused element of other systems. One of my pet peeves is supers games that think they are being clever with "pages" and "panels", but Bulletproof Blues avoids that.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Several of the tables are oriented badly for use on a screen (though a physical book or most tablets will handle them fine). Some of the in-jokes and references were groan-worthy (Liefeld Radiation). I don't mind a game set in their own universe, but pretending like actual comics were published when talking about characters and backgrounds is almost as big of a pet peeve to me as the "pages" and "panels" thing. A second edition a year after the first was release is...disconcerting.

CONCLUSION: I kinda get the sense that Bulletproof Blues is cobbled together from pieces of other games, feeling like a strange intersection between Mutants & Masterminds, BASH and ICONS. It's definitely not as lite as ICONS or as crunchy as M&M, but it can't settle on the freewheeling narrative approach that the initiative system preaches vs the point buy and standard RPG advancement of more traditional RPGs. On one hand, I do find the Kickstarter for a second edition already hitting a year after the first hit RPGNow to be disconcerting, but the rules are all released via Creative Commons, so that may alleviate some concerns. The How to Play and How to GM essays are unnecessary and feel like filler, though the sidebars within both sections are very informative. I am of the mind that small press RPGs should probably keep the How to Play short and sweet and genre focused, assuming that they are reaching few brand new players, and GM sections should be geared towards running the specific game, setting and genre. I may sound overly critical here, but I don't think Bulletproof Blues is a bad game...I just think it is geared specifically towards people who have sampled about every other supers RPG and found them lacking. If that's you, you might give it a shot. If you're happy where you're at, I don't think anything here is going to sway you.

For my full review, please visit

[3 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks for the the review! You went into detail on what you liked and what you didn't, and we always love those kinds of reviews, because different people like different things -- what you didn't like might be exactly what someone else is looking for, and you may have helped them find it. Or vice versa. Either way, you've helped gamers find what they want to play, and that's a win for everyone. Thanks!

You might be interested to know that our plans for the second edition are aimed toward improving a couple of the things you didn't care for. For example, we will be revising the layout so that the tables are more easily read in both the print and the PDF versions of the game. We are also replacing the How to Play and How to GM chapters with new and (hopefully) more directly useful content.

P.S. If you groaned at Liefeld radiation, you'll probably shudder at Stanlium and Siegelite (two of the strongest substances known -- harder than diamond) and Kirbium, which is practically indestructible! :)

P.P.S. Thanks for mentioning the Kickstarter! At this moment in time, we have passed our first two stretch goals, and are gaining ground on an adventure written by Steve Long!
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Bulletproof Blues
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