Friday, January 13, 2017

Gamer A.D.D - Rogue Stars

I am a fan of the Song of Blades and Heroes game system. I've done a few posts on it before. It's a great little fantasy skirmish game that can be easily taught, picked up, and provides a dynamic gaming experience. When I head the creator, Andrea Sfiligoi, built a scifi ruleset that was published by Osprey Wargames (who also published Frostgrave), I knew I wanted to check it out. Also I learned the art within was illustrated by Johan Egerkrans who also runs one of my favorite blogs that I follow. So with some of my Christmas money I ordered a copy and read through it.

The game is advanced. It has a lot of rules and a lot of conditions. Your characters can have 3 different types of condition tokens on them at any one time, including pin tokens, stress tokens, and wound tokens. These tokens represent penalties for different types of rolls and bonuses for your opponent depending on the rolls. The amount of special rules available to making characters isn't as much of an issue as I am used to it with SoBaH, but the sheer amount of tables needed for referencing is pretty high. Attacking and damage alone has you go through about 5 different tables in a sequence. It's a little daunting, but you can quickly remember common roll modifiers and table look-ups to speed-up play. But a cheat sheet would sure help as I was flipping through the book quite a bit on our initial playthrough.
We were excited to play this game using my Zone Mortalis tiles, and it worked quite well on them.
However there were some aspects about it I really enjoyed. It borrowed a few key things from SoBaH which I thought were best about that system. It's still a bring-whatever-minis-and-stat-them-up type games. So I could use whatever scifi figures I wanted, and make their profiles to match the miniature. This is especially friendly to conversions as a lot of options in the book will cover most creative ideas I can think of for miniatures. The other aspect it took is the activations and initiative. Where you rolled on each figure to activate your minis, and your opponent got to react to them based on bad rolls and even attempt to steal initiative away from you, switching to your opponent's turn. The game experience can be active for both players, and that is very cool.

Some people are calling this a scifi Frostgrave, which I don't think it is at all. The model count per side is only about 4-6 models, and really can't go much higher with how activations and initiative is handled. It doesn't even feel like Necromunda. To me it feels closer to each player is bringing a team of  RPG Player Characters that face off against each other. Perhaps another good comparison is to GW's old Inquisitor game.

We didn't get through a single game as my brother, Jarom, and I played. We were both learning to play and things went really slow. We could tell though that it did start to speed up near the end as we learned about the common target number rolls and table conditions. But this game does take a lot of practice, so it's not as friendly to new players as SoBaH is, especially those new to wargaming. We do want to give it another chance. There may be a lot of rules to go through for actions, but it provides a lot of detail to them, like damage locations and weapon ranges.

My brother and I have had our own scifi setting homebrewing in our heads for quite some time. We had already adapted it to a simple RPG that I outlined on my other blog (which I don't do much with anymore). We were looking for a miniatures game that could do it justice, and this might be it. Our initial thoughts were for Deadzone, but that game is not as adaptable as this.
After a couple read-throughs, I made some useful reference cards for recording your characters. These are meant to be 3"x5" so they can fit into large card sleeves.
And here are a few examples of the cards in use. This is my 200xp team. The Oathbound. In our setting is a massive heavy world rich with minerals, and generations of Fairin (the common human-like race of the galaxy) have been working on the world of Urachbach. They formed the Urachbach Mining Guild. A people of hard work ethics and very dwarven policies when it comes to grudges and righting wrongs. One of the things they have are the Oathbound. When a group has wronged or shorted the Urachbach mining guild, the Oathbound are set out to track them down and get reparations, under threat of death. They can only seek this justice in neutral space, so a lot of it has to do with timing and investigation.
Obviously this is my little Deadzone Forge Fathers collection, which I am looking forward to painting soon. I like this game because it encourages you to give each model its own style and personality, while keeping with a theme for your force as a whole. There is no 'generic footsoldier', they are all named characters. Undoubtedly you will be seeing more about this game sometime in the future.

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