Sunday, June 9, 2013

Space Opera - Edward E. Simbalist and A. Mark Ratner and Phil McGregor

Take Traveller, bloat it up a lot, make sure you have tables for as much as you can think of, including double level fatigue and dropping the ball. This comment also nails it :- "the barely sketched out campaign milieu is a mish-mash of animal-men, vulcans, jedi, lightsabres, space nazis, space commies, martians-from-War-of-the-Worlds and implacable hiveminded insectoids." Some very dodgy writing and concepts, but it has a certain charm, and some of the stuff you could have enhanced Traveller with..more detailed character enlistments, some effects of the planet that your character has come from, etc. How to bias stat rolling to make players likely to have higher level stats than the ordinary by using d100 to roll d20, that sort of thing. Much weapons and gear, too. The middle game I guess you could call it of Traveller and Spacemaster from the time. Worth a browse for entertainment and occasional useful part. 3 out of 5

Star Ace - Mark Acres and Gali Sanchez

A game of leftover heroes who happened to not get wiped out in interstellar battle with the Imperial forces. The Star Teams. Humans, crystal clone, hybrids, polar bear and catpeople. Some amusing artwork, but a poor game with a really oddball tone. The Luck attribute is interesting in an evolution sense. Percentile system with a resolution table. Everyone gets a fighter and a proton rifle and a literal in a game sense handful of cash to odd right from there. 2 out of 5

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Icing On the Cake - Billy Rubin

Joint recipe. 2.5 out of 5

Valentine's Master - Victoria Blisse

Pretty tie. 3 out of 5

Butter Fingers - Lucy Felthouse

Icing man. 3 out of 5

Winner Takes All - Saskia Walker

In long boots. 3.5 out of 5

Not Funny - Giselle Renarde

Face not bad stripes. 3.5 out of 5

Smile For the Camera - Kathleen Tudor

Web James. 3.5 out of 5

Party Girl - Anna Sansom

Club variety. 3 out of 5

Traveller Book 3 Worlds and Adventures - Marc Miller

The third of the original traveller books deals with what you find when you travel between worlds (and subsectors), with rules for planetary creation, technology, law and government. Also vehicles and animals - including how dangerous various space bovines might be. Plus, psionics and the high prices of the Psionics Institute. Then at the end it includes the useful disclaimer about being a barebones sandbox for use in exploring an infinite universe. A concept people have certainly run with. 3.5 out of 5

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Traveller Book 2 Starships - Marc Miller

Solid starship and navigation rules with creation and crewing guidelines. With tables, that would be good for solo exploration type play a la Elite. Also financing. Also vector movement and combat...which has fiddliness that will be no fun some of the time. Lucky the gravity well got me and made that missile miss! Some 1970s amusement to be had...basic level 1 ship computer can run two programs at a time! Then you have to switch them out. Plus, it is one ton. Also, a ship must use 5 tons for mail. In the future, letter writers abound. Pre-PC tech, advancing not. And small craft usually have computers not at all. Going to go through lots of space pens and pencils there presumably. 3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Traveller Book 1 Characters and Combat - Marc Miller

How to get killed while creating a character and then how to get killed afterwards. The first part of the original wide-ranging game of science fiction adventure and shenanigans has a lot of military career options. Including the fact that they may draft you. And a dangerous universe, chance of not making it through one of these careers for any length of time is significant. Plus, polearms! Fragile lasers and not so impressive automatics. 4 out of 5

Shadow Sword and Spell: Basic - Richard Iorio and James Maliszewski

Humanist pulp fantasy is part of what they call this. Inspired by Howard and Leiber. Or, otherwise known as Sword and Sorcery. Elf and hobbit free, where all the wizards are people descending into demon and monster abusing madness. The good stuff! An entertaining list of diseases and poison as this game about getting into trouble and blowing your cash manages to capture the flavour of the subgenre quite nicely. It uses d12 and target numbers and 'Hooks' a la FATE Aspects as the resolution mechanics. With the differential from what you needed being the result in a FUDGEY type way. 12 degrees the system is called, so clearly d12 fans the designers. Likely have dodecahedron t-shirts I'd imagine. Also some good advice for running games of this particular flavour and what is here can easily be adapted to other systems. Quite well done and S&S fans should definitely take a look. Print and digital both come out well. This book focuses on new characters and those beginning to gain in skill, ability and fame. 4 out of 5

Diaspora - Brad Murray

Or, from : b. nurray c. w. marshall t. dyke b. kerr A FATE based SF game that includes tools and/or advice for a bunch of other types of games of a more wargaming flavour, or higher level conflict with nations and planets. (The one thing that the diaspora universe that these adventures are set in is a bit light on apparently is capitals in titles). However, the major focus is design a planetary system that has access to interstellar capability and then build characters, Diaspora FATE style to have adventures. From old school flame gun wielders to uploaded cyborgs, but generally more in the middle range. An excellent sandbox to play with and for 21st century games, actually not too long. 4.5 out of 5

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Eye With Which The Universe Beholds Itself - Ian Sales

The second Apollo quartet includes the First Man on Mars in a Stargatesque level of conspiracy as he is called out of inconspicuous and silenced retirement for a rather longer an extrasolar planet. While the tone (and his history) more than suggests what will happen to this sexagenarian there is a rather more interesting sting in the tail. Along with the very clever space program history notes inbetween, just like the first. So, can the Apollo Quartet go Douglas Adams...and longer? Space is really, really, big after all. Again, very high quality work. 4.5 out of 5