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Thinking Out Loud

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Battlestations >> Damn I love this game

Last night Michael Silbey (armadi), Trey Dembski (yayforme), Justin Honold (astroglide) and Justin's girlfriend Julia came over to play an introductory game of Battlestations. I used the pregenerated characters I designed for the Battlestations Yahoo! group and BGG, and ran through a modified version of the Boot Camp scenario from the core set.

It was the first time any of them had played, and the first time I had referee'd a session in several months, so it took a while to get a feel for things. For people who haven't played an RPG/boardgame hybrid before, it can be a bit intimidating, as there are so many options available, and it's hard to tell what you can do, what you should be doing, and who should be doing what... Whew!

But after the first hour or so, as folks got more comfortable with the rules and actions, and I slipped back into referee mode, the pace picked up and the action mounted as missiles started to chase down the player's ship, the marine and engineer boarded a missile bound for the enemy ship, just as a boarding missile rammed into the player ship -- the crew effectively split in half, fighting two boarding actions on separate vessels.

Unfortunately, the crew failed to achieve a single victory condition from the mission briefing -- get the ship up to speed factor 9, download 10 units of data from the relay station, destroy 3 targeting satellites and return with no damaged modules. Completing 3 of the 4 would have been a success, and all 4 an overwhelming success... But they did manage to capture the enemy vessel, despite having their own ship blow up (literally moments after the pilot and scientist loaded themselves into a boarding missile and zapped their way to join up with the others on the commandeered vessel).

I absolutely love the game. With greater familiarity with the rules, the players started to notice things they could have done differently, more efficient uses of their time, better questions to ask with the science bay, and started to see some long term "cool factor" with regard to gaining experience, upgrading modules, customizing your bots/equipment, requisitioning new ship modules and expanding the ship...

And the campaign rules introduced in the Galactic Civil War expansion simply rock. I can see a group of players remaining interested and enthusiastic over the course of an entire campaign with all the great missions, the neat campaign progression and personal investment in the characters and the ship...

Hopefully, these folks would like to play again, as I really enjoy refereeing Battlestations. And hopefully Jeff and Jason Siadek will keep producing great content for the game!!

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