Saturday, December 7, 2013

Game 126: Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday (1990)

 

There are some regrettable gaps in my knowledge of popular culture. Ten years ago, if you had asked me about "Buck Rogers," I would have said something like, "Oh, yeah. That's the show where the guy from The Fall Guy battles the evil Cylon armies of Ming the Merciless." Then I would have strolled away, happily recalling that one episode where Buck Rogers flies through the galaxy in his TARDIS, oblivious to you falling onto the pavement behind me, your aneurysm producing some final muscle spasms in your extremities.

A year later, I would have realized that the Cylons were from Battlestar Galactica, but I otherwise wasn't much better off. Today, thanks to the almighty Internet, I have it all straight: Created by science fiction author Philip Francis Nowlan (1888-1940), Buck Rogers dates all the way back to 1928, when he appeared in the pulp magazine Amazing Stories as "Anthony Rogers." He was the subject of several short stories (1928-1929), a comic strip (1929-1967; 1979-1983), a radio program (1932-1947), several comic books (1933-present), a film serial (1939), a book series (1981-1993), and two television series (1950-1951; 1979-1981), the latter of which is the one I (barely) remember. His origin story has been retold several times, always updated for the era, but it always consists of a present-day military officer who, through some plot development, gets put in suspended animation for 500 years and wakes up in a universe in which humanity has rebuilt after a disaster and is engaged in factional warfare using whatever futuristic technologies could be imagined at the time. My understanding is that the original stories and comics featured an Earth-based Buck Rogers, but the later TV series and books have been set in space.

Various depictions of Buck Rogers over the years.

The merger of the Buck Rogers universe with TSR is an interesting story. Nowlan originally syndicated his strip through the John F. Dille Company (later the National Newspaper Syndicate), which came to own the rights to the character. (Dille himself also contributed some creative elements to the franchise.) The rights passed through the Dille family trust and ultimately to the hands of Lorraine Dille Williams, who in 1984 was hired by Gary Gygax to manage the struggling TSR. Shortly thereafter, the TSR board ousted Brian and Kevin Blume, who had mismanaged the company, and the Blumes sold their shares to Williams. Gygax tried to have the sale voided but when he failed, he said screw it and sold his own shares to Williams. She was the majority owner, and head of the company, until she sold it to Wizards of the Coast in 1997.

With Williams owning both TSR and the Buck Rogers licenses, it seemed inevitable that TSR would publish a Buck Rogers RPG, and indeed Buck Rogers XXVC came out in 1988. Since SSI got the license from TSR to produce the first real D&D CRPGs, a Buck Rogers CRPG was a natural addition to the arrangement.


The game uses the same version of the Buck Rogers universe as the tabletop RPG, created by Williams's brother, Flint Dille. Rogers is an ace military pilot who, in 1990, flies a spaceship into orbit to destroy a Soviet "space weapons platform" called Masterlink. He succeeds, but his ship is heavily damaged, forcing him to eject in space. Back on Earth, the enraged Soviets blanket the U.S. with ballistic missiles, launching the "Last Gasp War," a conflict whose destruction leaves the world so horrified that everyone hastily disarms and forms international alliances to ensure world peace. These include the Russo-American Mercantile (RAM), the Euro-Bloc, and the Indo-Asian Consortium. These three eventually join together into the System States Alliance, which pioneers nuclear fusion in spacecraft and starts to explore, mine, terraform, and colonize planets. RAM takes over Mars, the Euro-Bloc gets the moon, and the Indo-Asians take Venus.

In 2275, RAM rebels against the rest of the Earth government and starts a devastating war that leaves the fascist RAM in control of a planet reverted to barbarism. Refugees flee to Mercury (it is left unexplained how they manage to colonize a planet with no atmosphere, about 1/3 Earth gravity, and a temperature that ranges from -280 to 800 degrees farenheit). A rebel alliance called the New Earth Organization (NEO) forms.

In 2456, Buck Rogers is found floating in space and is awakened from cryo-sleep. In the intervening centuries, his reputation "has been elevated to nearly mythological status by media hype--he has become a symbol as the last martyr of old Earth's foolish political struggle." Rogers soon joins with the NEO and, in a bold plan, steals a squadron of RAM spacefighters and uses them to destroy the base of RAM's power, an orbiting weapons platform called the Gauntlet. RAM abandons Earth to NEO but still launches occasional attacks and is rumored to be mustering its strength for a counteroffensive.

An inspiring speech from my commander.

I rather imagined that the player takes the role of Buck Rogers in the game, but instead you control a group of fresh NEO recruits, eager to join the struggle against the remnants of RAM. As the game begins, the recruits are in the "Chicagorg spaceport," receiving an orientation from their commanding officer, Carlton Turabian, who explains that the recruits will be given "patrol and salvage" missions at the beginning and will have to work their way up to combat. But the briefing is interrupted by a squadron of RAM ships who bomb the base and then engage with ground troops. Within a few minutes, the party is in combat on the first map.


The game uses the same Gold Box engine as Pool of Radiance, Curse of the Azure Bonds, and Champions of Krynn, with only a few changes. The graphics and fonts are more futuristic, of course (though the combat sounds are identical to Champions). Characters have blasters instead of bows. What was "bandage" in the D&D titles is "aid" here. The six core attributes are the same, though there's an additional one called "Tech," or technical knowledge. Experience and leveling proceed as per D&D, and both armor class and THAC0 are present.

The races are all different, of course. You choose from the humanoid Terrans, Martians, Venusians, and Mercurians, or from the bio-engineered Tinkers (small and monkey-like, good with tools) and Desert Runners (canine/felines known for their athleticism). The humanoid races have small adjustments to their stats, explained by differences in gravity and atmosphere, but are otherwise mostly the same. Instead of "classes," we get "careers": rocketjocks (pilots), warriors, engineers, rogues, and medics. Each has minimum attribute requirements.

The biggest difference (so far) between Buck Rogers and the D&D Gold Box games is this game's selection of skills. There are more than 50 of them, including such wide-ranging abilities as climbing, piloting rockets, picking pockets, demolitions, treating diseases, programming, and singing. (Some of them, as the manual notes, aren't even used in this game but are offered in anticipation of the sequel.) You start with a certain number of points to funnel into both "career" skills (those special to the profession) and "general" skills.

This is the kind of thing that ties me in knots at the outset of a game. I have no idea what skills will actually be valuable and which will turn out to be worthless. I have no idea how many points I have to allot to the skills before it's enough. When you read walkthroughs for games like this, you inevitably encounter notes that say something like, "Make sure you put at least 50 points into 'pilot rocket!' If you don't, you won't be able to leave the starting base, and you'll have to start over!" Or, "Don't bother with 'climb.' There isn't a single place in the game where you can use it."

Assigning skill points during character creation.

Lacking the ability to read walkthroughs, I looked over the descriptions, prioritized the skills I thought were useful, and did the best I could. We'll see how well it works out.

The manual notes that you want to have at least a rocketjock, a medic, and an engineer. So many of the skills I thought were important were tech skills that I ended up going with two engineers. My party consists of:

  • Austin, a male Terran warrior. Skills in leadership, battle tactics, jetpack use, acting, fast-talking, distracting, and etiquette. (I rolled until I had high charisma and decided to go with him as both my warrior and "party leader.")
  • Starbuck, a male Desert Runner rocketjock. Skills in piloting, maneuvering in 0G, mathematics, planetology, and astronomy.
  • Dale, a female Venusian engineer. Skills in repairing electrical and mechanical and nuclear engines, jury rigging, demolitions, and weapon repair.
  • Bonnie, a female Tinker engineer. Skills in repairing life support and rocket hulls, commo operations, sensor operations
  • Elias, a male Martian rogue. Skills in notice, bypass security, open lock, hide in shadows, move silently, pick pockets, climb, fast talk, first aid, tracking, and shadowing.
  • Theta Sigma, a male Mercurian medic. Skills in treating wounds, diagnose, treating poisoning, treating stun and paralysis, and library searching.

The character sheet.

After you set your race, career, and name, your roll for attributes (re-rolling as many times as you want), and then pick your skills. After the character is created, just as in D&D games, the game gives you the ability to "modify" any statistics that you'd like, which I'm sure many players use to jack everything up to the maximum. I resisted, but just as in the D&D games, it didn't take too many rolls to get high scores anyway.

Instead of setting weapons, clothing, hair, other parts, and their associated colors, as in the D&D games, Buck Rogers has you pick from a selection of 36 icons of characters in various poses.

The economy uses "credits" instead of gold, but in any event, characters start armed and armored with "bolt guns" and space suits.

Combat. I think those objects are just for visual effect.

Within moments of beginning, I was engaged in my first combat with several "Terrines," or warriors bio-engineered by RAM. It was odd fighting with the Gold Box engine in a way that was mostly ranged rather than melee. There are a few variations from the D&D games:

  • Characters with high "leadership" can draw NPCs to the party's side. Sometimes they're even controllable.
  • When targeting, the game cycles only through enemies, not PCs.
  • The game remembers which enemy you targeted in the previous round.
  • There are some new commands, including intimidating enemies, flying to another place on the battlefield with a jetpack (which I don't have yet, of course), and sprinting--which allows you to cover more ground, but at the expense of not being able to attack when you're done.
  • You can throw grenades, which I suppose is analogous to using magic items in the fantasy games.
  • "Guard" in the D&D games meant that the character would stand ready and as soon as an enemy came into melee range, he'd attack. It works similarly here, but in this case the character stands ready with a rifle or pistol and fires as soon as an enemy comes into missile range.
  • At the end of combat, the medic automatically treats injured characters; the option doesn't seem to be otherwise available in the regular movement menus.

There are little icons like fuel pumps on the battlefield, and I was hoping I could do neat things like shoot them to get them to blow up and injure enemies, but I think they're just for show.

The combat victory screen. We have "divvy" instead of "share," but otherwise it's identical to the D&D series.

I'll have much more on combat later, of course, but for now suffice to say that after a few, my characters had upgraded from bolt guns to laser pistols, and from regular spacesuits to "smart suits." I also got a supply of "dazzle grenades," but I found that they generally underperformed regular attacks.

The opening map.

The opening area featured the traditional Gold Box 16 x 16 layout, with coordinates numbered 0-15 starting in the upper-left. I couldn't visit all the areas in the map--I kept getting messages that heat from the explosions was driving me back. There were numerous "atmospheric" messages noting destruction, bodies, and wounded soldiers.

Note the futuristic cityscape in the background.

At the beginning, a dying officer mumbled something about getting to missile control and turning on the disabled defenses. This was clarified by another wounded officer, who told me that it was on the east side of the compound.

The base offered repeated battles with Terrine soldiers--so many that I'm not sure there was a limit on the random encounters the way there is in most Gold Box maps. When I finally found the missile control room, I defeated a group of Terrine guards and found a technician furiously trying to program the system to fire missiles at our base.


The game gave me some cool role-playing options here, starting with whether I should fire at the technician (and risk damaging the equipment) or charge the technician (and give him more time to finish). I chose to charge. I took him out, but he threw a grenade on the ground to destroy the equipment. Here, I had another choice: take cover or throw myself on the grenade. Austin chose the latter, and fortunately, it didn't kill him; it just took his hit points down to about 50%. 

Later, I reloaded and found that if you take cover, everyone dies. So I guess maybe it isn't a great "role-playing" choice.

With the equipment saved, I was able to turn on the missile defenses and save the base. I got a nice reward of experience and gold and was whisked away to the spaceport Salvation III, where Commander Carlton Turabian greeted me using a speech from the attached logbook. Impressed with my performance, he assigned me immediately to a space tug.


The spaceport works like a "menu town," where you can visit the bar, buy and sell goods, level up, get healed, and embark on the next journey. All my characters rose to Level 3 (and got attendant skill upgrades), and I dumped the excess equipment I'd been collecting.

Is it possible that we have yet another Gold Box title with a useless economy?

So far, I like the game about as much as any Gold Box title. The combat got a little boring towards the end of the first map, since with such limited equipment, I didn't have very many tactical options. I expect that to change now that I can buy new stuff. I look forward to seeing what else awaits me in the 25th century, including space combat, which promises a much different Gold Box experience.


64 comments:

  1. Combat. I think those objects are just for visual effect.

    Like in the D&D Gold Box games, they probably also have subtle effects -- needing to be walked around, and perhaps providing cover from melee and ranged attacks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, you can walk right on top of them and shoot through them. I'm pretty sure that's true of the D&D ones as well.

      Delete
    2. Depends--most of the Gold Box games had trees that would serve as cover and sometimes bushes that cost movement points in the wilderness, and some games like Curse of the Azure Bonds and Pools of Darkness had rivers that would block movement or cost a lot of movement points to pass over. Pools of Darkness actually had various rivers for the different dimensions you traveled through...differences were cosmetic, but it was a nice touch.

      Delete
    3. That's true. I was forgetting about the outdoor obstacles.

      Delete
  2. "I got a nice reward of experience and gold..."

    How long till you get out of that habit? ; )

    ReplyDelete
  3. Since I'm under no compulsion, I went and looked at a walkthrough to find the skills used in the game but not absolutely needed:
    Zbir Fvyragyl (bayl n ebthr arrqf guvf fxvyy, naq vg vf sbe Onpxfgnoovat),
    Cvpx Cbpxrg, Hfr Wrg Cnpx, Pbzzb Bcrengvba, Qvfthvfr, Orsevraq Navzny, Rgvdhrggr, Snfg Gnyx, naq Vagvzvqngr.
    Not a game-ruiner in my book as I view these as errors, plain and simple. If they didn't code anything to use a skill, then why wasn't it taken out of the game? It's like the age statistic in AD&D games.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They kept the extra skills for future sequels. They made a sequel, but I'm not sure if any of the extra skills end up being used.

      Delete
    2. The MegaTraveller 2 game did the same thing, but they were kind enough to color-code the skills that were useful in the game and those that were there so that you could mimic your paper-and-pen MT character...with useless skills. Pity, for a lot of the un-used skills sounded pretty awesome.

      Delete
    3. IIRC Game manual marked which skills weren't used in Countdown to Doomsday, so referrring to those wouldn't be cheating. But then again, there were some skills that were used just once or so.

      Delete
    4. Keep this as warm-up for Twilight:2000

      Delete
    5. That was the biggest problem with RoA series - some skills were life-savers, others had only minor uses, some were checked constantly, others - only once or twice troughout the whole trilogy.

      Delete
    6. age was valid in the gold box games, too much hast would age you and you could die of old age. you really onnly saw this if you were human tho

      Delete
    7. I think that's a myth. I tested it in a couple of the titles, casting "Haste" after "Haste," and never died or saw any degradation in abilities despite getting my human characters up to more than 200 years old. I suppose there could be platform differences.

      Delete
  4. Things will get more tactical once grenades (not just for damage, but to counter various enemy attacks) and heavy weapons (BR's version of Wands of Ice Storm and Fireball) come into play.

    Having two Medics or two Warriors is probably better than having two Engineers.

    I thought Countdown to Doomsday was an excellent CRPG, although not one of the very best Gold Box games.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was going to play this a couple months ago but after loading it up realised I had no clue at all to what class did what so decided to put it off til I had more time. Maybe this will get me to try again :)

      Delete
    2. I remember there was quite a bit of strategy involved with the grenades. Some stun opponents, but others make laser fire or rocket guns useless. There's something quite satisfying about disabling your enemies' weapons but it sucks when they do it to you.

      Delete
    3. It's pretty hard to prevent a Martian Mono Sword to the face!

      Delete
    4. The Mono Swords where better than every gun in the game.

      Delete
  5. This was one of my absolute favorite RPGs as a kid. Make sure to keep your party, I'm pretty sure you can import them into the sequel when you get to it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is like when your favourite song gets played on the radio :)
    I played through the genesis/megadrive version so it will be interesting to see any differences.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hmm.. I remember the iconic opening credits of that show.. but only because South Park made a parody of it. The juxtaposition between the futuristic pictures and the old-fashioned isometric combat view is funny.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What episode was that parody in?

      Delete
    2. Go, God, Go! Part I and IX

      Cartman is waiting for the Nintendo Wii release and freezes himself because he can't stand the wait. Only he freezes himself for 500 years.

      Delete
  8. Break the game. Go with four warriors, a rocket jock for travel, and a medic to heal. Combat is way too frequent in this game for the non-warrior characters to have much use. Non-combat skills aren't used enough in the game to make them worthwhile, and you won't even know which ones to select that may be useful in a couple of instances either. Most non-combat skills will not be used at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Way to spoil the game...good job.

      Delete
    2. That isn't really a spoiler, but it is disappointing to hear the game is so unbalanced.

      Delete
    3. I had no idea this RPG existed on the Genesis - plus it's pretty cheap on Amazon. When I play it, I plan to use these and other tips to thoroughly break it, so thanks in advance!

      Delete
  9. Never played the game, but the Buck Rogers TV show was a significant part of my childhood. Not just because my family watched the show (though we did)... the establishing shots of the city where much of the series was set prominently featured the Bonaventure Hotel, a somewhat futuristic-looking building in downtown L.A. My father worked at an LADWP office downtown not far from the Bonaventure, and every Christmas Eve morning there was a "take your kids to work" day that would involve our visiting the Bonaventure Hotel, or as my siblings and I called it the "Buck Rogers building"...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a neat piece of trivia. You started commenting right aroiund the time that my interview appeared on Spiegel Online, and I've just been assuming that you were German this whole time.

      Delete
  10. The Genesis Version apperently features better space travel and space combat (among other changes). Might be worth checking out for a quick comparison, depending on how long it takes to get to your first space combat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It unfortunately cuts the character options back though, and I believe several quests are missing.

      -BelatedGamer

      Delete
    2. Obvious cuts I noticed were the planetary races, engineer class, down to 10 general skills and 1 class specific, and equipment is only armor, weapons, and grenades (and poison antidote that never gets used).

      Delete
  11. I geeked out during character creation and placed the skills on a 3 x 3 grid, with one axis for how powerful I expected them to be, and one for how often I expected them to be used. It was fun.

    Then I got stuck for days in character naming, and still ended up with Flash Gordon, Buff Hardblast, Urist Koganusan and Reactor Coolant.

    Maybe players should be allowed to redistribute their points once or twice? Buck Rogers at least mitigates the pain by making it so that you can pick up slim chances for a pittance - a single skill point is enough to bring in a bonus the size of your ability score.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That actually sounds like an effective way to figure out the most important skills. Though it wouldn't have worked for me. I imagined "Zero-G maneuvering" would involve fixing the ship outside or something and I only gave a few points to one character. It turns out it's vital to combat in the second area.

      Delete
    2. Yeesh.

      The documentation I have mentions that the skill is used for combat, though that's a couple of lines in a dense block of information. Important details of the combat system could've deserved their own text box. Preferably one with big red letters that said "DANGER, WILL ROBINSON! Unlike most scifi, ours doesn't have artificial gravity everywhere!"

      ----

      In case it makes a difference, the first axis on that grid was for usefulness, not power - so Treat Light Wounds was alongside Treat Critical Wounds in the upper left corner, despite being weaker.

      Delete
    3. I'm not always good about reading the manuals all the way through.

      Delete
    4. Urist Koganusan --You win 1 million internets for a Dwarf Fortress and Boatmurdered reference!

      Delete
  12. In the distant future..our addicted hero finally finished the last computer role playing game...CHET BOLINBROKE IN THE 25TH CENTURY!!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. "My understanding is that the original stories and comics featured an Earth-based Buck Rogers, but the later TV series and books have been set in space."

    The original book, Armageddon 2419, is basically foundational military science fiction in which Rogers, a WWI vet, is thawed out to discover that his seemingly outdated soldiering skills are surprisingly applicable to his new circumstances. The early comic strips adapted the book and its sequel, but then they gradually started getting into outer space more.

    I always had a soft spot for these Buck Rogers games because I love pulp sci-fi and these games probably are about as close to adapting that flavor of the genre as any that have ever been made, even if the particular setting of the games is quite a ways off from the original novel and comics (which were pretty crude and featured heavy Yellow Peril elements that wouldn't fly in modern pop culture).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Howard Chaykin is doing a Buck Rogers comic that features the return of the Yellow Peril elements for the first time in awhile. Being Chaykin though, I'm sure there's an interesting possibly deconstructionist twist on that.

      Delete
    2. Wow... that's... "progressive"... Would there be a Fu Manchu cross-over since he's at it?

      Delete
    3. I found the jump packs in the short story a lot more interesting then the straight up jetpacks of later comics; the original comic carried these through as well, and the story was straight up the same until they head up north into Canada.

      My Dad has a big coffeetable book of Buck Rogers that has the short story and a sample from each of the comics that was in print at the time, as well as a bunch of interviews and things.

      I also liked the comics (rare) that took themselves 100% seriously, rather then some of the later ones that were more camp.

      Delete
  14. you wanted "oblivious to your" in the first paragraph, not "oblivious your"

    ReplyDelete
  15. Finished this twice and it's sequel matrix cubed, There are some useless skills. The only "Pilot" skill you'll need is rockets, I never found a use for the others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would take an awfully dedicated gamer to allocate points to skills in anticipation of a sequel anyway.

      Delete
    2. Or a gamer who had dedicated himself to play every RPGs available; and would hit the sequel of one of the games he is currently playing at a later date anyway.

      Delete
  16. In a fantasy (sci-fi) 4-way fight between A) Flash Gordon, B) Buck Rogers, C) Han Solo and D) Captain Kirk, who would win and why?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Han Solo. He uses dirty tricks like shooting first.

      Delete
    2. He did? I remember... aw man... I watched the sucky edition, didn't I?

      Delete
    3. Flash Gordon of course. Because, although he's just a man with a man's courage, he can never fail.

      Delete
    4. Captain Kirk - He doesn't believe in the no-win scenario.

      Delete
    5. Kirk wins, he's better trained than the others, but Han escapes with the Enterprise.

      Delete
    6. The 2003 Starbuck wins via a drunken orgy and being the last (angel) woman standing.

      Delete
    7. Hey, we're in the misogynistic 80's era here! Girls (and their cooties) not allowed! >:(

      Delete
    8. Han Solo wins easily. He can take short-cuts in the Kessel Run ;-}

      Delete
  17. It would have been much funnier had the commander been named Kate, or somehow had something to do with Chicago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The reference goes over my head.

      In the party names, I was playing with my confusion in different sci-fi franchises, and I chose names from The Six Million Dollar Man, Battlestar Galactica, Flash Gordon, Knight Rider, V, and Doctor Who.

      Delete
    2. I meant Carlton Turabian the base commander, not your characters. Kate Turabian's style guide is the one used most often by historians, also Chicago style. I'm not really sure what the differences are. Seeing Turabian instantly made me think of this and I thought most people knew what/who it was.

      Delete
    3. Very interesting. I do a lot of writing and editing, but I had never heard of her even though I'm a big fan of the related Chicago style.

      Delete
    4. I have a couple of times, but only due to listings on school and uni websites that give abbreviated style guides, one one or two of them there was an entry that read something like Chicago (Turabian),

      Delete
  18. I'm not gone, just let this tab get buried behind pages and pages of other stuff for a month.

    I'm not surprised Buck isn't there; it is hard to adapt him in a useful way to a party-oriented game. There was an article in Dragon magazine at one point that was talking about adapting various settings to D&D or another RPG. At one point is used either Tomb Raider or Indiana Jones as an example (I forget which) and had the advice "If you are adapting Tomb Raider/Indiana Jones, Lara Croft/Indiana Jones is your enemy, kill them": Otherwise you've got one person playing the star, and a bunch of bored people playing the other guys. Not as sever in CRPGs but you risk either having one character do all the work, or your custom characters outshining Buck.

    In RPGs this also leads to the Angel Summoner and BMX bandit problem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFuMpYTyRjw

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As with Buck Rogers, I'm not really sure I understand why either Lara Croft or Indiana Jones would make a good choice for an RPG. Neither character exists in such a unique universe that you couldn't come up with something more generic ("Archaedventure!") without paying the associated licensing fees.

      Delete
    2. But then you couldn't be lazy and piggyback on existing marketing and fan base.

      Delete
    3. This was for home games of tabletop RPGs, and making games in that genre, that is, a modern setting fighting villains and racing them to steal treasures from the tombs of the dead, etc.

      The only licensed game I think I've played is the Serenity RPG, and that game sadly did not last very long. OH! And at one very boring con that sucked, I had the choice between the Usagi Yojimbo RPG and the WWE RPG. Needless to say, I played a badger and it was actually pretty fun except for one very strange man at the table. (He'd been seen earlier wandering the convention with a sign reading "Yuri fanboys are people too". [If you don't know what that word means, do not google it at work.] and proved to be just as strange in game, and told stranger stories. ANYWAYyyyyy).

      Anyway, such RPGs work best when you set some of the feet of the setting. A firefly RPG should support gunfights were people go down in one shot, unless they are just too damn pretty to die. An Indiana Jones RPG should support punching people out of zepplins and whatnot.

      This game doesn't do so hot on that scale so far as it is just D&D wearing a mask.

      Delete

I welcome all comments about the material in this blog, and I generally do not censor them. However, please follow these rules:

1. Do not link to any commercial entities, including Kickstarter campaigns, unless they're directly relevant to the material in the associated blog posting. (For instance, that GOG is selling the particular game I'm playing is relevant; that Steam is having a sale this week on other games is not.) THIS ALSO INCLUDES USER NAMES THAT LINK TO ADVERTISING.

2. Please avoid profanity and vulgar language. I don't want my blog flagged by too many filters.

3. Please don't comment anonymously. It makes it impossible to tell who's who in a thread. Choose the "Name/URL" option, pick a name for yourself, and just leave the URL blank.

Also, Blogger has a way of "eating" comments, so I highly recommend that you copy your words to the clipboard before submitting, just in case.

NOTE: Spam has gotten so bad lately that I've had to turn on comment moderation for posts older than 10 days. I apologize if it takes a little while for your comment to appear.