Cartoon Action Hour – Sean’s Pick, 122017

We rocket through Teach Your Kids to Game Week with this callback to when Saturday morning and after-school hours were all about exciting toy commercials disguised as cartoons! Cynical snark aside, we really did love our action cartoons – and still do! Genre-specialists Spectrum Games did their best work with this homage to shouted (if sometimes stilted) dialogue, colorful explosions, and important lessons learned. A great vehicle to get your more action-oriented kids excited about rolling dice and telling stories – Cartoon Action Hour!

Remember those bygone Saturday mornings and weekday afternoons spent in front of our television sets back in the ’80s? Remember how we watched the eternal struggle between the forces of good and evil unfold right before our young eyes as our heroes stopped at nothing to out the kibosh on the seemingly endless machinations of the villains? Remember how these wondrously cheesy shows drw us in and spoke to us on a personal level, all the while trying to sell us action figures?

We remember it too! 

Cartoon Action Hour: Season 3 is the third edition of the game that was nominated for  “Best RPG” at the 2004 Origins Awards. The game faithfully and meticulously emulates the action-adventure cartoons of the 1980s, using “cartoon logic” as the basis for every aspect of the system. This is not just a universal game that just happens to be adorned with genre-appropriate art. Every single design decision was made with the purpose of bringing to life the retro-toons of yesteryear, right at your gaming table.

Everything you need to play Cartoon Action Hour is included in this full-color rulebook. Some of the features include:

Sleek and Exciting Game System: You roll a d12 and add one or two ratings to it. That’s the core of the system, making it extremely easy to jump right into the animated fray. Every nuance of the system (transformation, vehicles, playsets, etc.) utilize the same game mechanics as a whole. 

Action Scenes: In Cartoon Action Hour, there is no “combat system”. In its place is the “action scene” system, which covers far more than just a slugfest or a laser-filled shootout. Violence is de-emphasized and players are rewarded for making indirect attacks of a less overt nature (“I shoot the tree branch, so that it falls on top of the enemy!”). Characters can be given Setback Tokens, representing anything from physical damage to confusion and everything in between.

Series Creation: The GM and the players work together to construct the series via the series creation system, which includes character creation. Speaking of which, creating characters has never been this easy in previous versions of the game, as the bookkeeping is now very minimal indeed.

Sample Series: The book includes eight series seeds and one more detailed sample series.

26-Page Action Scene Example: This ultra-detailed example of an action scene answers any question you care to ask.

Preface by Flint Dille: The legendary cartoon writer offers up an insightful preface that discusses the way cartoons were created in the 1980s.

Sean Patrick Fannon
Writer & Game Designer: Shaintar, Star Wars, Savage Rifts, much more
Please check out my Patreon and get involved directly with my next projects!

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