So. Rogue Stars.
On paper this seems like a game right up my street. Sci-fi skirmish game. Small number of figures. Gorgeous illustrations. Copplestone figures. Decent price. Comic book styling. Sounds great.
I can't even remember when it was first mentioned but I've known of the impending arrival of these rules for at least a year. The author, Andrea Sfiligoi, has done 'Fistful of Kung-fu' and 'Of gods and Mortals' for Osprey as well as running Ganesha Games and writing 'Song of Blade and heroes', so he has pedigree.
Northstar have ran a Nickstarter campaign for this game and got a whole load of figures produced for it, some of them are classics. It's nice to see a new range of Sci-fi figures being produced with no fixed back ground.
The rules are detailed. They are based around D20 and there are target numbers you have to roll in order to achieve various things. This roll is then modified by various factors. There are critical failures and critical successes an addition to normal passes and fails.
Initiative is based on a dice roll with modifiers. You activate each figure individually by passing activations rolls (up to 3) and then carrying out that number of actions..........oh for fucks sake! I'm boring myself even typing this......
I don't like it.
I don't like Rogue Stars.
I'm really disappointed.
These rules are just not my cup of tea. As someone else mentioned, they are like 'Homework:The Game'.
Counters!! The game uses counters to keep track of three different items. By the end of a round of shooting there are markers all over the place along with figures lying on their backs. It's a mess! Why am I having to track 4 different status' when the characters don't have any stats??
Character creation is basically just buying skills. Everyone of which comes with modifier. Some of the characters can have 10 skills each with their own modifier not even mentioning the weapons and armour and each of the status' that i don't want to have to track having modifiers as well. Add on to that the need to keep rolling on charts for injury to add more counters!!!!
The game just don't flow.
I'm sure there are people who will love the granularity, that will want to play a game that feels like the slow motion scenes from the matrix. They will want to see each of the shots flying through the air and each skills use as they attempt to jink and dive and fight their way through the game but slow-motion gets boring after a while.
Sometimes you want the bang and the crash and the rush as characters sprint through an explosion with laser blast flying left and right and desperation in their eyes.
You want to feel that in the game.
You don't want to look up another chart or add up six different modifiers on your fingers.
I really wanted to like this game. I wanted another Dragon Rampant or Frostgrave, a easy to grasp, quick and intuitive game. Something fun, fast and easy to play. Rogue Stars isn't that. It's a complex game. The author has admitted as much. That is no excuse though because at the end of the day this is a game. I want to have fun and be challenged by opponents and the game system should allow us to do that. Instead i'm challenged by the game system and bored by all the stuff i have to do in order to NOT KILL A FUCKING FIGURE! I mean come on! If I am standing in front of you and open up with an automatic rifle I'd expect you to be dead.
Oh, and did you see the little sneaky 's' I put in there? The plural of opponent? Well you can forget about that. Rogue Stars is a two player game and doesn't contain and mechanism for expanding that. No multiplayer for you chummer.
Don't get me wrong. Rogue Stars does work. It's a very refined and nuanced game that has a lot of depth and will allow players to be very selective and creative with their characters. It is full of detail and the Mission and Environment creation rules are pretty in depth and intriguing. I'm sure a certain type of gamer will love it.
I'm not a certain type of gamer though.
I think this is a missed opportunity.
A slick, fun, enjoyable game could have become incredibly popular. Something that was easy to pic up and fly through with beer and crisps while slagging off your mates dice skills and chatting about the rest of the crap that life throws at you. Something that was easy to remember and intuitive. As is Rogue Stars will probably be similar to a lot of Osprey's other releases. A short period of excitement followed by a hardcore of players sticking with it. Everybody else will move on. It's a shame.