Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Merry Christmas to me!

Hmm, been a while since I posted. Well, I can take care of that!

One thing I always try to do around this time of year is find something special for one of my favorite gamers: Me. (I figure if I get myself something, I probably won't be disappointed.)

I've long been searching for a good 'space' science fiction game. Traveller has long been a favorite, but it carries way too much baggage (not to mention being completely unbalanced and annoyingly gearhead-y. But that's a whole other rant). I never played Star Frontiers. I bought StarSiege: Event Horizon, but something about it just rubs me the wrong way.

And then, a while back, I was (as usual) reading Jeff's Gameblog. And he mentioned X-plorers.

X-plorers is a rules-light science fiction game from Grey Area Games. I took a look at it on Lulu, and it looked right up my alley.

So, when Fight On! number 7 came out, and I went to order it, I got X-plorers as well.

The next day, Grognardia did a full review of it. I hadn't known about the free version. To be fair, though, I would have bought it in print anyway. I'm not going to try to recap James M's review; click the link and read it yourself. But I will give my own comments.

What's not to love? It's rules light, which is always a plus. It's OGL (to an extent), so it's based one familiar stuff. Advancement is minimal (compared to the tweaked-out piles of numbers I saw in D&D 3.5...) There are no aliens as yet (shades of Asimov, right there). And the robots can't harm humans (good heavens, more Asimov, right off the bat!)

In short, this seems to be the game I've wanted my whole life.

With the resurgence of the old school movement and their whole do-it-yourself ethos, stuff I might otherwise have complained was missing is now simply an opportunity for me to imagine the hell out of it. There's a lot less crunch than, say, Traveller. But that's okay; having been through the crunch of Traveller I'm better able to look at the stuff that's there (like starships) and tweak and mod the rules myself.

And it's okay that I do that. In fact, it's encouraged! This is a real old-school attitude, and one that I really like. Plus they seem really friendly over at the forum and the Yahoo! group.

So, now I just have to round up some players and give it a shot. I think I'll really like it.