Having enjoyed this reviewer's very kind words regarding Multiverser:  The Game, we were pleased to provide him with a copy of The Second Book of Worlds as soon as it became available.  He enjoyed it as well, and so we are pleased to bring you his review, originally on RPGnet.
Willard Bowzer's Review of
Multiverser:  The Second Book of Worlds
The reviewer's words... Thoughts of the author...
Hello Everyone-
I haven't had the time to write a review in ages but was contacted by Valdron Inc. because I reviewed the Rulebook many moons ago.  In the end of the review I stated I was looking forward to this book and as the old saying goes, "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it."  But in this sense it was good, in fact, outstanding.  I must say in the time since the last Book of Worlds, Valdron Inc. must've been hard at work on this second volume.  Although they sent me this review copy of the book, I will have to say bluntly that I won't show any bias (and no I do not mean their game mechanic for those who own any of the books).  I will however give them a token plug by saying the book is available from their website: www.multiverser.com and they have paypal as a form of payment which is always a plus:) Of course, you're already at the web site--but you can order the book from our purchase information page or from a growing number of online and traditional retailers.
Anyway, review time.  Starting with the colorful and brilliant cover.  It definitely stands out against the normal drab rpgs I see on store shelves.  And not a knock on the fantasy painting because I do appreciate the labor and talent that goes into them, it is just they all sort of run together after a bit.  This book looks like a modern, computer colored comic book.  The cover depicts 4 of the enclosed settings and the back cover has a great watermark that has a blurb from a continuing story from each book of worlds (?) which I am not sure 100% because my First Book of Worlds was a first printing that had no back cover. A continuing story is a clever idea; unfortunately, we didn't think of that.  It is a fragment of game story, presenting a few minutes from two of the included worlds.
The art inside ranges from simple black & white ink drawings to ones with greytones reminiscent of some of the styling that is used in some of today's comic titles with odd-proportioned cartoony humans that bring to mind Sam & Twitch of Spawn comics.  With that being said, the art (1 drawing per chapter which is sparse but each give the flavor of the setting) definitely succeeds in summing each chapter. I have enjoyed the artwork myself; I can't take credit for that.
Now, I will describe each chapter, one at a time.  The first chapter is the most original setting I've seen in many years.  It is called Bah Ke' gehn.  This is the biggest world in the book, referred to as a gather world because it is vast in description and a good place for multiple PCs.  The setting is so alien that it takes several readings.  The language and names alone are unique and not similar at all to English dialect, more resembling Middle-eastern/Arabic.  We are helped by a glossary contained with the world description though.  Anyway, without any spoilers, it is like hell only in appearance but completely alien in content.  Everything ranging from the life cycle of the inhabitants to the philosophy of them is completely unique.  If for no other reason, you should get the book just to appreciate the authors' creativity.  I would say more but saying anything beyond this would require much explanation as if I were going to explain a color we never saw or a completely new philosophy...yes, it's that deep. It's good to remind players from time to time that they aren't in Kansas anymore, and there's no better way to do that than to change the reality completely.
Next is Prisoner of Zenda.  Just as with the last book of worlds where The Most Dangerous Game was covered, the authors do a take on a classical story.  This is the oft-sampled story about someone (you, the player) who shows up that looks exactly like the king.  If you aren't aware of the original you've probably seen anything ranging from the Parent Trap to the episode of Little Rascals where Alfalfa's rich twin brother from another mother shows up.  Well-written once again and follows along the plot of the original tale and seems to give answers to what may happen at every turn, hard to predict what a player does but they don't seem to leave one stone unturned. I remember a Dr. Who version years ago.  But it's always an exciting world to play.
Next is the Farmland.  While this one is short in content it is a well-designed world because it gives basic outlines that require very little effort to make interesting.  Actually gives details for two unique plots but telling them is really spoiler-heavy so I will just say the setting of a low-tech farms where something(s) may go wrong that are completely unpredictable is a good concept.  I am almost reminded of the soldier/scientist characters in Stargate, the movie, when they show up.  It has the similar feel that it does and gives the referee many options to explore. Stargate is a good comparison, actually--but there are a lot of other movies that this would bring to mind.
The next chapter we come to is The New Ice Age.  Multiverser devotees got a taste of this as a free download (unfortunately I wasn't one of them).  But the key to this setting is survival (not the pseudo-survival we get from "reality" TV either).  A modern Ice Age is just that, described over many pages includes such creatures as the wooly mammoth.  Probably the weakest of all the scenarios in the book, but that isn't a bad thing, it is still a really strong setting and very playable. I note that Grover Penn reviewed this when it was the free download, and said he hoped to see it here; we've expanded it a bit from that version.  Oh, yes--and we have a new world for download, Orc Rising, on the site.
Post-Sympathetic Man is the next scenario.  "Survival of the Fittest", the theory Darwin had comes to the modern man.  It leaves a complete opening for the player as they are in this world and allowed to go any direction they choose.  The world is a very scary one to say the least, the details describe it as being very inhumane and cold, the very reason I put down the genre tag of "horror" in the description.  It will be a true test of the character's persona and a good one at that. I didn't realize I could run horror until I hit on this world.
The Industrial Complex, the next chapter, is another direction taken by humanity like the previous chapter.  This time it came during our industrial boom, only things moved so fast machines took the place of humans that caused them to be almost mindless, below-the-surface dwelling creatures.  With things going on such as tribal wars and machines/robots designed to attack the scenario is open for all sorts of possibility.  The world itself is designed as one giant machine, how this comes into play depends on the direction of the player but leaves many doors open. It's sort of post-apocalyptic without the disaster.
The last setting is Perpetual Barbecue.  This is almost like the movie, Groundhog Day.  The events over one day are setting up for a major tragedy that is caused by a time loop.  With the player caught in the thick of this they can keep going and try to repair the day as it goes along catching clues from each day that passes.  The events actually revolve around a simple barbecue and are based on the authors' short story of the same name.  This setting is great and another unique concept in my view.  I'd recommend it for any referee and player just in the sense of sheer challenge.  The short story is also included in the text and is a good story nonetheless. We had included time travel material in the rules, and thought it was time to do something with it.
Overall the product shines.  The authors really did the game system justice by making the product line better and let us hope the trend continues from here.  One thing I will add that won me over was each setting seems to end with alternate paths to take the players if they choose.  The one that best sums up what I am talking about is found in the Prisoner of Zenda setting and I will quote from the text:  "If the character has survived to this point...The referee should permit the character to move into some other (more peaceful) late nineteenth century scenario, and look for another adventure.  Stories of sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and H.G. wells are mostly in this period.  The American West is opening, and the industrial revolution is in full swing."  (Imagine the character kicking off the industrial revolution at a faster pace causing the Industrial Complex setting.)  So to described the book in one word:  Brilliant.  And just as a follow-up, keep me in mind for the Third Book of Worlds. ;) Or your characters could get involved with Sherlock Holmes or Tarzan--and yes, we are working on The Third Book of Worlds.
Style: 5 (Excellent!) On a five-point scale, that's top marks.
Substance: 5 (Excellent!) And it looks like we rang the bell twice.
Every author, artist, musician--everyone who creates--always has a certain trepidation that their latest work won't be up to the expectations of their audience.  If this first review of The Second Book of Worlds is any indication, we have succeeded.

The original review was posted on RPG.net, copied by permission of the author.  He previously reviewed The Referee's Rules, and more recently gave his thumbs up to our free download world, Orc Rising.

What Gamers are Saying....

The Multiverser Information Center

Frequently Asked Questions.

Purchase Information

I've Got a Question....