If you played the Borderlands Assault on Dragon Keep DLC or the recently released stand-alone Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep: A Wonderlands One-Shot and thought, that's a badass roleplaying game, I wish I could play that in real life, well compadres, do Nerdvana Games have a treat for you as Bunkers and Badasses is just that.
What's Included in the Bunkers & Badasses Deluxe Edition?
You can pick up the Bunkers & Badasses sourcebook separately, but to be truly badass, and get a load of handy and awesome extras, the Deluxe Edition is the way to go.
The Bunkers & Badasses Deluxe Edition includes:
- Bunkers & Badasses hardcover sourcebook
- B&B Bunker Master Screen
- 100 Gun Cards (69 guns and 31 blank cards)
- Dice Set including a Badass Die
- Battle Grid Game Board
- 10 Vault Hunter Miniatures
- 50+ Enemy Card Standees
- BM note sheets, blank character sheets, pre-gen character sheets, and printed character skill trees
Everything in the Deluxe Edition is great for immersion and works well on the tabletop. The included miniatures have one for each class and two Sirens (which represent the two different skill trees for that class). These make up the ten vault hunters from the first two Borderlands games. The oversized badass dice and BM's screen are also great inclusions, with 50% of the BM's side of the screen being taken up with gun creation tables and stats for quick work on the fly.
The printed gun cards and enemy standees are featured in the missions included in the sourcebook, which means no fiddly photocopying or handwritten gun stats. There is a mix of full-color card standees and hand-drawn, which are straight out of Tiny Tina's homebrew Butt Stallions Hunny Heist mission. The battle grid game board is solid and durable and the set comes complete with a dry wipe pen.
How Does Bunkers & Badasses Play?
Bunkers & Badasses is very on-brand and includes a slim and streamlined ruleset that focuses on the action and narrative and of course, blasting your enemies. There are just four base stats, Accuracy, Damage, Speed, and Mastery, and six skills, Interact, Talk, Insight, Sneak, Search and Traverse. Having only a few skills and core stats lets you work out dice rolls and results quickly, which is what you would expect from a roleplaying game straight out of an action RPG like Borderlands.
Where there is some complexity though, is weapons, and players have access to an infinite number of guns that they or the Bunker Master can dream up. Several pages of gun cards are provided in the rulebook, and in the Deluxe Edition, there are one-hundred gun cards, including blanks to make your own. Guns are as wild and varied as they are in Borderlands, with a core weapon stat starting off depending on rarity, and then extra flair from random elemental tables defined by the guild that produces the weapon. These can then be further randomized with prefixes and red text, like the Legendary Practical 'You're breathtaking!' Blackpowder Sniper Rifle we just made up with a few quick rolls.
All movement in B&B is set out in squares, with no conversion table, so if you're not looking to use miniatures and a game mat, you and your group will have to set out a homebrew conversion table for the action. If you're working out of the Deluxe Edition though, the game board is pre-set up for this.
What are the Character Options in Bunkers & Badasses?
B&B has a solid amount of player choice, starting with one of four archetypes, Deadeye, Elementalist, Enforcer, and Guardian, which to start with, max out one of the four base stats, and then offer a leveling up tree with stat modifiers, skill points to spend on your chosen class skill and a choice of feats specific to the archetype. Players then chose from one of nine classes, Assassin, Berserker, Commando, Gunzerker, Hunter, Mechromancer, Psycho, Siren, and Soldier. The chosen class dictates a choice of two favored guns, stat modifiers, melee die, a skill tree to pick skills from when leveling up, a special once per encounter action skill, and an initial background that adds and modifies stats to add more individuality to your character.
Once your favored gun is chosen, players add their accuracy and damage modifiers whenever using a weapon of that type. Players can use other weapons, they just don't gain the modifiers, and additional favored guns can be selected as players progress and level up.
Leveling up starts with your archetype tree, and allows you to spend skill points in your class skill trees, building up tiers by spending points on lower tiers. Health, max potions, grenades, additional favored guns, stat increases, and archetype feats are also gained as you level up along with an epic collection of guns.
How it is to Run a Bunkers & Badasses Gaming Session?
Bunkers & Badasses is very easy to run. Combat and checks are simple and straightforward, and players are encouraged to make epic, narratively descriptive actions, called Badass Moves for awesome effects and to build up badass tokens which can be spent to perform other badass moves or to boost rolls.
Player Deaths are also handled very well, with players respawning, and sometimes gaining trauma, temporary or permanent. The trauma table itself is a work of genius, and we present you with our favorite below, Fart Fartington.
Guns can take a little time to generate, and any good BM will have a small stock created in advance, players waiting while you roll on several weapon creation tables can really change the pace of the game.
The sourcebook includes three complete adventures which are well presented, full of detail, and make up an awesome first few sessions of a campaign to get you into the setting.
What are Our Final Thoughts on Bunkers & Badasses?
The Bunkers & Badasses sourcebook, aside from the content of the rules it contains, is an extremely humorous and well-written setting. It's very in-keeping with its theme, and the Tiny Tina amendments throughout are constantly amusing.
The simplicity of the system allows players and the BM to focus on the action, along with the depth and variety of the guns straight out of Borderlands. There's a lot of character variation and even non-fans of the original series will find a fast-paced and challenging system while exploring the world of Pan'Dorah.
Should I Buy Bunkers & Badasses?
If you're a fan of Borderlands, then absolutely. The sourcebook is very thematic and full of the humor you know and love. There are three solid adventures to play through, and a world beyond if you enjoy the system.
Non-Borderlands fans will find a simple, fast-paced system that focuses on the narrative, and blowing stuff up in awesome ways.
If you're picking the system up, the Deluxe Edition does have some incredibly handy accessories with some great miniatures and oversized badass dice. It's not essential and can be played straight out of the sourcebook, but the extras are well worth it, especially for Borderlands fans.
The copy of Bunkers and Badasses Deluxe Edition used in this review was provided by Nerdvana Games.