Games for Robots

      4 Comments on Games for Robots

I’ve been doing a lot of gaming that is 5e specific the last few months. It’s been the focus of both the games I’m creating and the games I’m playing in. Now that my GenCon game is on the right track (update on playtesting at the end of this article), I thought I’d post about my next series of games. Specifically a science fiction based game.

A few different things led me to start thinking about this. First, is the release of Rogue One. So many things in this movie that can be used in a Science Fiction game, settings, characters, plot hooks – it is a feast for a GM. Second is the Kickstarter for a 5e Science Fiction game Esper Genesis. Haven’t decided what level to back yet. Hope they make it to GenCon. Lastly is just thinking about the blog and the site recently. It seems that I’ve forgotten about the Robots in the games for dragons and robots portion of the tag line.

What does games for robots mean? Although it would be cool, I’m not making games for robots to play (yet). It’s more games about robots, and droids, and spacemen, and space ships, and other planets, and science. For most of my gaming life that meant Star Wars. Starting with the Wizards editions of the game (I missed out on the West End version except to use their stuff as source material) I played the hell out of Star Wars. I especially enjoyed some of the Living Force campaign and looked forward to it at GenCon every year. While I like the Fantasy Flight version of the game, I will not be able to get my local group to shell out for the new books or learn the new system. That leaves me with a couple of options, use the old system (likely Saga Edition), or translate to Savage Worlds.

I am undecided.

Saga was cool, and I have a lot of stuff (a lot of stuff), but it is heavy on mechanics and prep. Savage is easy on prep, but doesn’t really have anything specific to Star Wars. So what if I migrated away from Star Wars and picked a different “world” to adventure in?

–OK, those of you familiar with me can pick yourselves up off the floor. Yes, I am a huge Star Wars nerd. But it doesn’t mean I am locked into gaming in that universe–

Let’s look at what Star Wars has done lately. Rogue One – a different Star Wars story. Smugglers and revolutionaries fight an oppressive regime. Rebels, the latest Star Wars cartoon. Smugglers and revolutionaries fight an oppressive regime. Yes there are Jedi, but is the struggle that dominates the show at least through the second season. My favorite parts of the Clone Wars didn’t have Jedi – only clones.

The original Star Wars appealed to me because it was different. It had dirt and grime. It had mysticism and prophecy. It was the small band that won with determination, grit, and luck (or the force for those of you that don’t believe in luck). Those are the features that I want in my next game. I want the feeling of Star Wars, the feeling I remember having when I was 12 walking out of the Kenworthy theater, the feeling I had walking out of the AMC in Minneapolis after watching Rogue One.

OK, these are the key words I’m starting with, smugglers, oppression, dirt, rebellion. Other things from science fiction games that I “normally” have, ships, blasters, weird technology (ftl, AI, virtual, nano). Last thing that I need is some inspiration. Often, this comes from a book or a movie – right now I don’t know what it would be.

Most important at this point is to get some ideas from players. It’s easiest to get buyin if more people have input. Players also provide inspiration, that last thing that I’m missing.

Playtest Report. I learned a couple of great lessons during the GenCon playtest a couple weeks ago. First, find a better way to get the players involved sooner. Second, setup the conflict a little better up front. Overall it went pretty well, and there was romance and singing – so counting that as good.

Weekly GMing. Started playing Forge of Fury from the new Yawning Portal book from Wizards with my two boys. They have two sixth level characters in an adventure for 5 third level characters. I am having to do some adjusting of the foes, but overall it is working out OK. My biggest problem is that they don’t like to kill (I know, right – weird). Eventually all those tied up and unconscious orcs are going to be a problem.


4 thoughts on “Games for Robots

  1. Lydian Coda

    You didn’t back Esper•Genesis? Although it’s often safer to wait for Kickstarter things to be published… :/

    I think we all have the Savage SciFi Companion too. I’ve been considering creating a short (one shot?) adventure set in the near future, possibly using the Cypher System. Hmmm…?

  2. Lydian Coda

    As for the Fantasy Flight system, I like the dice mechanic promoting roleplaying, and I’ve enjoyed the few times we’ve played in the system. But jiminy, there are a lot of books and stuff to buy =:o

  3. Lydian Coda

    I have a bunch of the SAGA edition books as well (I think there are quite a few among the group actually). So if you want to return to that system it would be well covered.

    OK, enough commenting for now.

    1. Draco Roboticus Post author

      Saga and Fantasy Flight are great, but each have a significant handicap. For Fantasy Flight it is the cost. Books and dice, plus cost in time for learning a new system (and potential high GM prep). For Saga it is just time cost. We all have the materials. However, the cost in time for prep is large. I think all or most have the Savage SciFi Companion, and the GM prep time is easier.

      Esper-Genesis looks cool and is my fall back.

      Also considered Cypher System. Again it is cost in materials and time for a new system. Not sure about GM prep – have only played.


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