Category Archives: News & Reviews

Star Fighter – Fourth Wish Games

Star Fighter by Lucas Jones, Forth Wish Games, is a fast and loose Sci Fi role playing game released in February this year. I am a fan of games that define characters through skills rather than off the shelf professions or character classes. Star Fighter treats everything as a skill so there is mo rolling stats or characteristics. If you want a physically strong character then you take the Might skill, want to be athletic the choose the Athletic skill.

Every character starts with the same number of skills and at the same levels, you simple have to choose what you excel at and what you are weaker in. This makes character generation extremely fast and easy.

There are two aspects of Star Fighter that make it really stand out. The first is skill resolution.

Skill Resolution

Star Fighter uses a dice pool built of d8s and d6s. You roll your pool and if you get at least one 8 then you succeed, no problem. Anything less that an 8 and you start to build up consequences. So, a 7 still succeeds but with a minor consequence and so it goes down from sucesses with consequences and then failures and increasingly serious consequences. Each scene in the characters story has a break point value and as soon as the number of consequences that the characters have accumulated equals or exceeds the break point value then the story takes a turn for the worse. This is rather like the ‘plot twists’ in a GM Emulator or solo engine, only here there is a GM to decide what sort of nastiness to throw at the characters.

The second stand out feature is dice control. In Star Fighter the GM never rolls a dice. Everything is on the hands of the players. If the players want to shoot someone then they roll their attack. if someone wants to shoot them then the player rolls their dodge. If they fail the dodge then they were hit. As GM all you need to keep the story going.

The rulebook in Star Fighter comes across as a labour of love. Lucas Jones obviously loves this game, style of play and genre. It has a lot going for it and I confess that I have taken some bits and intend to roll them into my future gaming.

I am pretty sure my player would not enjoy this but then that says more about them than Star Fighter. If you are a control freak or power gamer then this game is not for you. If you like free wheeling gaming where you can be fairly sure your best laid plans are going to go awry then you can do a lot worse than Star Fighter. The game is a Pay What You Want download on RPGnow and deserves some support in my opinion.

Review: Mutant Year Zero: Gen Lab Alpha

I was never very fond of anthropomorphic animals. That’s one of the reasons why I never actually played Gamma World. I just found it too childish. When my Mutant: Year Zero GM approached us with the wish to play some Gen Lab Alpha, I was skeptical at first, but – oh, boy – I am having the time of life with my grumpy, old healer cat character called Tiberius and his motley crew of Mutant Animal resistance fighters …

Mutant: Genlab Alpha is an expansion of Mutant: Year Zero but also a standalone game. In MY:0 you play mutant humans with extraordinary abilities trying to survive in the dangerous and irradiated Zone, while in M:GA you take on the roles of mutated animals. You are the result of genetic experiments which gave animals some human traits like being able to speak, use tools and walk upright.

M:GA is a 244-paged hardcover book with a beautiful matte finish and high production values. As with Mutant: Year Zero and the other books by Free League Publishing, it’s a joy just to leaf through the book and admire the artwork and excellent layout. There’s also a PDF version of the rules which is fully bookmarked. This review is based on both the hardcover and PDF versions of the book which have graciously been provided by Free League’s Boel Bermann. Thanks again!

Continue reading Review: Mutant Year Zero: Gen Lab Alpha

Bundle of Holding: Traveller New Era

If you are into science fiction and space opera roleplaying games the latest Bundle of Holding may be of interest to you. For about $15 you get everything you need to run a campaign in the collapsed Third Imperium.

The Starter Collection includes the core rulebook, Survival Margin, the World Tamer’s Handbook, Vampire Fleets and the TNE Player’s Forms. If you pay more than the threshold of $26 you also get the Bonus Collection which contains Keepers of the Flame and the Regency Combat Vehicle Guide, Path of Tears, Smash & Grab, the Reformation Coalition Equipment Guide, the Star Vikings character collection, Aliens of the Rim, and last but not least the TNE Referee’s screen.

10% of your payment will be donated to Human Rights Watch. So you’re not only getting a great game, but you’re also donating to a good cause.

TNE is not uncontroversial though. In this edition of the game they ditched the original rules system and replaced it with a version of GDW’s inhouse system. A lot of fans also weren’t that happy with the post-apocalyptic nature of the setting.

But in my opinion TNE is one of the best editions of Traveller. The rules system works pretty well, and the setting solves one of Traveller’s biggest problems: the overwhelming scope and history of the Third Imperium setting. With the New Era GDW basically scraped the slate clean. The focus is on smaller polities trying to survive the aftermath of the rebellion and the threat of the Virus. But if you wished you could always run a more traditional game set into another era after all.

You can learn more about this bundle on the official Bundle of Holding blog.