Friday, September 4, 2015

Changing What I Skim To Review Later

I realized borrowing a copy of Edge of the Empire to take a look at, I realized that I've apparently gotten old - I would have used to read through the book cover to cover to get an idea of how the game ran, what it included and what it didn't include.

Not this time. This time? I quickly flipped to the skills section to read over the few skills I actually care about the resolution system resolves, then quickly checked the basics of the rules overview to confirm what I assumed the symbols meant. Then to combat, particularly vehicle combat to see how a Star Wars game handled that particular quirk.

And really? That's about it. The rest, I don't really care about. I mean if I was prepping for a game, sure I'd read everything and do the prep work, but my assumption is that the system is fairly solid as I haven't heard too much grumbling about it (other than the joys of reading a different set of coded dice) so I'll presume the system works, by and large, for what it needs to do.

So what's left? What's left is what I actually care about. How does it handle social interaction? How does it handle investigation? How does it handle shooting and getting shot?

One of my favorite players to game with is an amazing table top thespian. She handles just about any system or role, so I look for "how does it support her play style?" not because I always want her at my table gaming (though I do), but I want a system that supports that sort of character and does so in a way that I think she'd enjoy, plus most of the problems that the players will face at my table are generally social or intellectual, so I want the game to have the tools to help mechanically solve that.

Investigation is much the same - my games tend to a lot of "find some facts, figure out what to do about it," and I just want to know what I'm in for.

Finally combat - I like my combats to be no more than about 20 minutes, and everyone gets a few turns, so how does it flow, what sort of paralysis of choice sets in. I like there be at least a few interesting choices.

How did the game do?

The game as regards social resolution is does its job, it depends on the dice to provide the non-binary solution sets; however, I feel like I'd want to have the book open continually (or create a cheat sheet) for what you can spend the different results of the dice. But that may just be the price of one pays for having the dice provide complicated answers. There are a variety of social skills, so I can have characters who are variably good at a variety of skills, rather than having one member just be the face and be able to run off one or two skills.

The game as it handles investigation is funny - it has no investigation skill, which leads to some interesting choices - rather than defaulting to "Investigation", there are skills like "computer", "streetwise" as well as "perception" and "vigilance" for your more immediate needs. I could see this getting to be a headache if I wanted someone to do actual forensics, where we start defaulting to something else. I'd want to make a decision about what that something else was early, so people knew ahead of time.

Finally combat - combat seemed to be smooth enough. Initiative is a big quirky, but easy enough to handle. Limited number of actions, and taking unusual actions seems to be handled in a practical way of, "Well it isn't this, and it isn't that, so we'll call it this catch all." And reading the vehicular rules had me thinking of ways I could be starfighter pilot, so I'll call that a win.

So all in all the system looks like it does what I like - mechanically diverse and defined character creation, the oddball dice give me all of the "yes/no/sort of" results I'm looking for in my games these days, and it isn't modern horror or high fantasy so it would be a nice change of pace.