As a kid, my friends and I used to play war games all the time. Us against them, King of the Mountain, Crush the Man with the Football, and so on. We never really thought too much about the building a universe around our games, but as we grew older, and new games popped up, rules and characters became important to keep everyone happy.
WHAT IT IS
Berona’s War: Field Guide I is exactly what it says; a guide to the world to Berona Island , and the creatures that inhabit it. On one side are the Ele-Alta, a hard working tribe that work, eat, and thrive as a single culture. On the other are the Cropone, a race of creatures that consist of farmers, living off the land. When a great parcel of land is discovered, the Cropone unintentionally start a war with the Ele-Alta and this book chronicles the escalation of the war and the individuals and weapons involved.
WHAT IT ISN’T
This isn’t a comic book. The art by both Labbe and Coffey is simply stunning in the simplicity and the way they are able to create some very cute, but ferocious characters that continually build up their cache of weapons to use against each other. Each page is laid out as a journal or scrap book of the events of what war, and it looks wonderful. From pencil sketches, to fully rendered art, to water color maps, and elements that look like they have been torn out of one book and taped into this one, the guide is well thought out and planned from the very beginning.
The author’s state that the had no intention of making this book a tale speaking out about war, but as the reader makes their way through the tome, one can’t help but get a preachy anti-war feeling from the book. And that isn’t a bad thing, especially if you are trying to teach your kids the horrors of war, and how silly little things escalate to something dire, then this is a great way to do it.
WHAT’S THE POINT?
As someone getting into gaming, Berona’s War: Field Guide I felt a lot like reading a gaming guide that we use in our table top game sessions. According to Labbe and Coffey, that is exactly what they intend for this book – a guide that children of all ages can use to build a world of gaming off of. It’s supposed to help with imagination building and create a world of wonder. I don’t know if this book totally succeeds in that venture, but it certainly does get the reader to think and begin to wonder how certain battles play out, and what individuals were involved in battle over land. Depending on the type of gaming you do, this guide could be used to modify RISK, used in a D&D campaign, or even a Warhammer 40k event.
BOTTOM LINE: CHECK IT OUT
As a story, the book doesn’t take off. The short passages lack a lot of depth in character development, and certainly do not explain specific events in detail, but the art is so beautiful, and the layout is so spectacular, that Berona’s War: Field Guild I is worth checking out. As a guide for those who like to home brew their games, this should give you a lot to chew on. It is certainly a labor of love and for that alone, I’m giving it 4 out of 5 Stars.