Thursday, July 23, 2020

Thoughts on Void Pirates

Now that I've had a chance to play a few games with this ruleset, I can give you a much better idea of what they are and how they play.

This isn't a murder mystery, so lemme cut right to the chase.

I really like them.

Figures pretty have just five stats and half the equipment effects just bump those stats, making it easy to jump in, calculate your dude, and get started playing.  All of the abilities work seamlessly within the GoalSystem framework, and what I thought would be a mess when reading Goalsystem Delves has really opened up a world of possibilities. 

Perhaps its that Void Pirates is a lot more streamlined, with considerably fewer options straight out of the gate that helped me understand how these rules are meant to be used.  Whatever the reason, I can say now that they are really smooth.  The opposed rolls and counting successes uses more dice than I normally prefer, but everything clicks along at a good pace regardless.  With alternating actions and opposed rolls, there's never a dull moment, so the game just clips right along.

Ten to twelve figures is manageable by one player, but only just.  These would really shine at the 4-7 level, with two players keeping each other honest and reminding each other of the more obscure rules.  As primarily a solo wargamer, I find myself missing a few rules here and there and forgetting some abilities when they come up.  I don't think I've ever used a Boost (a one time/game +1D bump) properly, for example.  That's more function of one guy trying to do too much, and trying to keep a running patois going to entertain the masses, though.  It's not a reflection on the rules.

While the options at character creation are fairly limited, they are broad enough to allow for considerable invention on the part of clever players.  For example, there is a "Two Gun" ability that affects ranged combat and survival.  I called it "Iron Fists" and applied it to melee attacks and survival.  It made sense for a robot to have that ability, and it works fairly well in practice.  The game is robust enough for such tinkering without wrecking balance issues.

And the point cost system, though basic, is dead on.  So far every game I've played has been won by the team with the most points on the board.  Some of that is due to die rolls, but with three games under my belt, it's impressive how strongly points correlate with victory.  If there are game-breakers in the system, I've yet to find them.

Do give them a look if you're interested in some light sci-fi skirmish.  They don't take themselves too seriously, they play fast, and would be a great addition to any collection.

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