The opening pages (backed by an atmospheric double-page illustration) paint a world that's post-post-truth. Everyone knows not to leave secrets on computers where hackers can break in... so if you want those secrets you have to break in physically to steal them. Espionage is part and parcel of doing business, with corporations even more likely to indulge in it than nation-states.
Slightly oddly, the first section is addressed to Engineers, and talks about upgrading spaceships by tinkering with the systems - in flagrant breach of the warrantry if not the law. Pilots are advised not to fiddle, a case of 'no user-servicable parts inside' which to those of us who like playing starship engineers is anathema! It is considered best to go to a professional if you want to supe up your spaceship, and the first trick is to make contact with a reputable and competent one. In terms of game mechanics, use your Repair skill in the Between Adventures phase if you want to do it yourself. It's probably best to visit your tame professional engineer then as well, who wants to spend role-playing time waiting for your spaceship to come out of the shop? Either way it's going to be expensive. There are tables to roll on for various components, giving a chance of improvement... or of causing a fault (and sometimes both!).
Next comes a selection of New Spaceships. It's noted that agents tend to like ships that are speedy and agile, but which don't stand out in a crowded starport, then presents several new ships (each with variations) that may be chosen during character creation, or indeed picked up later on in the game.
The next section is Perks of the Job. This contains useful equipment that the best-dressed espionage agent wouldn't leave home without. Some are quite innovative - poisonous lipsticks or bodyspray for example (just remember to take the antidote before applying or you'll poison yourself!). There are weapons, cybernetics and othe gizmos as well.
Then we have The Perfect Agent where new backgrounds appropriate to someone wishing to enter the shadowy worlds of espionage are provided. These range from a former downtrodden worker-drone who knows in great detail how a corporation operates to security guards, and an 'insurgent' who may be a prankster, an activist or an outright terrorist. New enhancements and Karma Capabilities appropriate to these roles are also there.
After a rather creepy piece of fiction which I hope won't give any players ideas we move on to The Bad Guys, which provides a whole bunch of ready-made opponents. These come in both Spaceship and Individual scales and range from soldier/mercenary and security personnel to criminals, and of course assassins.
The final part of the book focusses on the Random Generation System (RGS) and concentrates on running solo adventures when you are without a GM. Of course busy GMs can also use it during planning or even mid-game if they need ideas in a hurry. There are infiltration challenges - complete with outcomes based on success or failure - and step-by-step paths through various types of espionage mission. Then there is a system for generating Corporate Bases through a series of die rolls.
There's plenty of useful stuff if you want to run espionage games, but the whole thing has an air of being thrown together, random nuggets added because they might be useful, rather than a coherent exposition of the espionage aspects of the game. It even manages to make espionage sound dull and mechanical... the very thing most people take up this line of work to escape! Pick out all the bits you want to use and throw them into the mix, remembering that the real excitement of an espionage-style mission comes with role-playing it, not just rolling dice!
Z-Man Games is working on recreating Clans under the new name of Fae. The mechanics still work much the same, while all the artwork is getting a makeover. But what are those rules, anyway? In this preview, you get a look at how the druids walk around their enchanted forest, looking to complete their rituals […]
We are trying to explain with this article how terminal and puzzle systems, which are the Core Mechanic that we used within the TARTARUS game, work.
We've been investigation the landscape of accessibility in Tabletop gaming for two years now. Here's how it's been going.
Three questions new indies must be able to answer, if they have any hope of making a profit off their game. Includes link to helpful tool, and thoughts on alternate rewards.
The evolution of game analytics from development telemetry to big data.
How the creation and growth of an economy as a tool for achieving your goals forms the backbone of multiplayer gameplay in Eco.
Two new sets are making their way to the Shadespire game from Games Workshop. Do you want to be on the side of the Stormcast Eternals or the forces of Chaos? Either way, a new box set is up for order. There’s new figures, new cards, and new opportunities. Immortal warriors sent from the heavens […]
For the last few years at my local convention, I’ve been running multiple sessions of games that are derived from the original format established by Apocalypse World. If you aren’t familiar with the game, it is a highly narrative game where you map the described actions of a player character to a move. Once that […]
This week's highlights include the current fate of Michel Ancel's WiLD, a 'state of eSports' profile, Super Mario RPG archival interview goodness, & much more. ...
As I type up this post ahead of its actual publication time, when you read this, I’ll be hip-deep in my new D&D game. At least, that’s the hope. Session 0 starts at noon, so I gotta finish this up and then head out. But I know how much you all desperately desire these reviews, […]
This week's highlights include the current fate of Michel Ancel's WiLD, a 'state of eSports' profile, Super Mario RPG archival interview goodness, & much more.
I’m a big proponent of “play the figs you want to play.” I mean, I normally pick my options for games starting with how they look, then moving onto how they play. And it can be tough when part of one faction in a game looks good, but part of another one also looks good. […]
In combat, knowing the location and strength of the enemy is vital. Scouts have been used for thousands of years to find out just that sort of information. While that spot had been held by horse-riding cavalrymen for the longest time, in the motor age, it’s being taken over by vehicles specifically designed for the […]
Alright, so you’ve had a great meal. Appetizer, soup, main course, all were absolutely astounding. But now your sweet tooth is getting to aching. Where’s dessert? Well, in the case of Kitchen Rush, it’s coming to Kickstarter on April 16, when the campaign for Kitchen Rush: Piece of Cake will launch. About the expansion: Dinner […]
The people have spoken: They want more Torg Eternity. The initial Kickstarter took off like a rocket and the game subsequently went on to be nominated for and win numerous awards. It’d be cruel to not give them more. So, Ulisses Spiele has launched a Kickstarter for Torg Eternity – The Living Land, supplements that […]
Hey everybody! It’s Friday! Woooooo! Gateway to the weekend, you all know how much I love Fridays. Or, more importantly, Friday evenings (not that work’s terrible, but c’mon! It’s not the weekend!). This evening, I’ll be making some white chocolate & macadamia nut cookies for D&D tomorrow. Probably will grab some snacks to take along […]
Sometimes, you just want something a bit nicer. You could just get the regular, old thing, but it’s not really what you’re in the mood for. You want more. You want extra. You want a higher quality. That’s why you go in for the deluxe edition. For those that are fans of Cthulhu: The Great […]
Ever see a Kickstarter launch and think, “man, this project would be better if they just ____”? Well, Karzak Studio is looking to avoid that by showing off the preview of their Saber & Blood Kickstarter campaign before it launches. Check it out, find out about the game, and if you’ve got anything you’d like […]