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Subject: Duke Springer - Star Struggler – A Detailed Review rss

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Simon Hunt
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Star Smuggler
This is a classic solo adventure in the microgame format (a small box about 10 x 17 cm) originally published in 1982 by Dwarf Star. It is currently available as a free print and play download from http://dwarfstar.brainiac.com/.

Why review it 27 years after publication?
Well, it only has one short review on BGG/RPGG, which is reason enough, and I’ve spent enough time “inside” this game to have an opinion that is perhaps worth having. Part of the fruits of these labours are an Errata which you can find at the end of this review in Appendix I.

The Short Verdict
Despite essentially falling in love with it, I ended up rating it as a 3, its lowest rating on the Geek. The low rating is given with a heavy heart - I really _wanted_ to like this game, it obviously took a huge amount of work to write, it has some interesting mechanics, a nice background, but in the end I just wasn't having any fun playing it. If anyone is upset by this, please take it as a measure of my esteem for the game that I spent many hours taking it to bits and I then bothered writing a 5000+ word review for it! However, the explanation text for a “3” rating is “Likely I won’t play this again, but could be convinced. Bad.” which is pretty close to how I feel. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had an enormous amount of fun out of this game, but very little of that was actually playing it!

What’s in the box?
I only have the Print and Play version, but this is from the copy on the back of the box:
STAR SMUGGLER contains -- Twelve 4"x3½" full-color mapboard tiles, four full-color counters, a rules booklet, events booklet and gaming dice.

The original ¾” counters were in fact (part of?) the box flaps. I dread to think what this did to the integrity of the box. And obviously I can’t comment on the component quality, but from the pictures, the map tiles look like they came as pairs which you had to cut apart and were ordinary thin cardboard.

What’s in the .pdfs?

The Print and Play version comes as three .pdf files: Rules, Events and Components. The Rules and Events booklets are available in 8x11” and brochure formats, neither of which is identical to the original. The Components.pdf contains the set of 12 planetary tiles, each one showing a half-planet except one which is asteroids. There are also counters for Duke Springer, his Antelope Class Starship, the ship’s Boat and a skimmer. The .pdf provides the original counters and remastered versions of the Ship and Boat in two sizes – the original ¾” and 1cm for those who think the originals are too big for the maps.

What else might I need?

The original game lists the following: A pencil and some paper is needed for this game — to keep track of your possessions, current situation, special events, etc. You may even wish to record enough detail to provide a "personal history" of what happens to you in the game.

Obviously with a Print and Play game you’ll need to provide dice: nearly all rolls in the game are d6 or 2d6, so two six sided dice is plenty unless you want to start randomising star systems and planets, in which case you’ll need another one.

The download page also provides character sheet of sorts (Star Smuggler Crew Roster) and a Star Smuggler Time Record. I used the roster, although being picky, Hand to Hand Fighting is given the code letter (F), when the game uses H, and in the game the character attributes (Endurance, Marksmanship and Hand to Hand Fighting) are always given in the order EMH, which is not the order used here. However, it does the job. The Time Record wasn’t quite what I wanted so I made my own “Diary” to record my progress in the game (available in the files section once it’s been through the Geek Admins) although a piece of ordinary paper, lined or not, may be, frankly, just as good.

As you need to keep track of where your kit is stored in the ship, I printed out an A4 (~8x11”) version of the back page of the Rules Booklet to scribble on. If you’re intending multiple games, you could laminate it and use whiteboard markers. I also made an A4 version of the Standard Pattern (No.1) from r234 Sector Connections (also available in Files) and used poker chips to track my money.

Finally I made another single A4 sheet crib-sheet (in files again) of a few key paragraphs/tables (r203, r233 and r238) to reduce the amount of book flipping (but not by much).

How does it play?
Set Up
The set up is very quick; you roll up your money (250 to 750 Secs – the currency used in the game) and your “Cunning” rating (1-6) and construct the planet Regari I from tiles J and K. Place the counters for Duke Springer, and his ship on the Regari I spaceport and you’re ready to go.

Paragraph e001
If you’re new to the rules the starting paragraph e001 could take some time if you read all the referenced rules! There are also a few things that need tracking straight away beyond your personal stats and wealth – Starship Equipment (initially a statis unit and guns), Hyper Charges, Boat Fuel, and your personal equipment.

Paragraph r203 and onwards
The central mechanics proceed like this:
If you’re on a planet
• Decide which area you are moving to (if you’re moving) and your mode of transport.
• Pay cost or note fuel usage, if any.
• Check whether your entry into the new area was noticed (detected). On table r238 cross reference your mode of transport with the Tech level of the system you are in. Adjust the number by adding one of the area-type modifiers (below the table) if appropriate and roll a d6. If your die roll is less than or equal to the modified number you are detected (see next step). You want to roll high here, you don’t want to be detected (maybe - see below).

Incidental Errata - do not add the modifier to the die roll as r225 suggests. It also burbles about the die roll being within a certain range, which is nonsense too.

• If you’ve been detected roll a d6-1 and cross reference the result with the area-type you’ve just entered on table r233, this will send you either to an event (e###), perhaps via a secondary “Syst” roll or to a rule (r###) - probably allowing you to make a single purchase (r331 to r333) or the purchase of “supplies and services” appropriate to the area you are in (r205a-p), but maybe allowing you to sell items (r334 to r339). Each event or purchase/sale consumes a certain amount of time as defined in the paragraph (typically quantised into hours).
• Once in an area you essentially make further d6 rolls on table r233 without the -1 entry modifier (termed “Contact Tries”). If you stay in an area for more than a day you add the number of consecutive days you have already stayed in that area to the die roll.
• Once you have reached one of the “supplies and services” paragraphs (r205a-p), usually by rolling a 5, you can continue rolling on that paragraph, trying to secure the things you are after, until you get a “No more rolls”, usually by rolling 3 on 2d6, at which point you have to go back to rolling on table r233. Notably there is no “No more rolls” number in Industrial areas, Rough Terrain and Palaces have roll no table (events only) and some areas are a d6 roll not 2d6 (Military, Craters, Prison).

If you’re in space
• Movement within a system or to and from the surface of planets is quantised into 1 hour actions. Almost anything you can think of doing costs an hour of time (but nothing else) in a Starship. These same actions (except climbing to orbit from planets with a gravity of 10 or more) can be achieved in the Boat, but take more time and spend fuel units.
• Movement between systems requires a hyperjump, which takes no time and spends Hypercharges depending on the distance. A hyperjump requires a success roll against a risk factor determined by the condition of your ship and your position in the system. You roll a single d6 and must exceed the risk factor. For an undamaged starship 4 light hours “Out” of system the risk factor is zero and the jump automatically succeeds.
• On entering a new system you roll a d6 and reference the system descriptions in the rules (r207a-j), which will send you to an event.

At the end of each day
• Check each piece of equipment used for breakdown by rolling 1d6 against its Tech Level. If you roll below its Tech Level, it breaks down (your initial Starship, Starship Guns, Boat and Sidearm are all Tech Level 1, so they never fail!).

Winning
Always a tricky concept in roleplaying, but in the context of this game, if you’ve made all your payments on your ship and are asset positive when you finish your game you are definitely “winning”. Total victory lies in freedom from the loan-sharks, by paying off the 120 000 Secs principal. Losing can be considered either as finishing without a starship, or death. Also, there are in fact a number of paragraphs that can end the game on the right/wrong roll.

Observations on the Components
The two booklets are somewhat arbitrarily split into “Rules” and “Events” (for instance the rules for Psionics are in the events booklet, a number of generic buy/sell events including the buy encounters for each area type are in the rules booklet). Indeed the Events booklet contains paragraphs e001 to e199 and e400 to e439 whereas the Rules booklet contains r201 to r242 (r243 to r299 do not exist) and r300 to r339 (it is not explicit, but I assume r200 and r340 to r399 don’t exist either) but this does suggest that this was, at one time, a single book.

The rules are very dense both physically - lots of small close type - and structurally - most rules reference other rules which will explain specific points in further detail. However as the referenced rule may well reference further rules it’s easy to get into a sense of infinite regress. Eventually I sat and read all the rules in order without skipping to other references which finally gave me a handle on the system. This does mean that the suggestion you can learn by playing needs to be taken with a large pinch of salt. However, you are getting what is essentially a complete SF roleplaying system, so the length and complexity are a reasonable consequence of this.

However, the game is littered with tables-that-are-not-tables (a kind of list prose style) for non-cross referenced d6 and 2d6 rolls, making some of the text a real bind to read, especially when there are some that seem obvious table candidates (like a system entry table) that are written in this list prose style. I understand that this is a product of its time and there was probably a necessity to keep the booklets to just 48 pages and no longer, for printing reasons, however the game would be vastly improved by proper tables when they appear, or even bulleted text.

Compare the following:

1-you are offered four cases of stolen hand computers, each is 5 S base price and is 4 CU in size; 2-you are offered pure dylaweed extract at 25 S per CU; 3-you are offered one night of absolute delight for 3 S; 4-you are offered a stolen collection of rare illustrated books for 10 S, they take up 2 CU of space; 5-you are jumped by three men, each E6,M4,H5 with side-arms (see r210 for tech level), one will begin in contact, attacking, see r305; 6-you are offered counterfeit money up to 5,000 S face value, each 100 S of fake money will cost you 10 S of your real money

And

1. you are offered four cases of stolen hand computers, each is 5 S base price and is 4 CU in size;
2. you are offered pure dylaweed extract at 25 S per CU;
3. you are offered one night of absolute delight for 3 S;
4. you are offered a stolen collection of rare illustrated books for 10 S, they take up 2 CU of space;
5. you are jumped by three men, each E6,M4,H5 with side-arms (see r210 for tech level), one will begin in contact, attacking, see r305;
6. you are offered counterfeit money up to 5,000 S face value, each 100 S of fake money will cost you 10 S of your real money

I know which one I’d rather be facing. Some paragraphs are laid out like this, but they are the exception rather than the rule. It also looks as if quite a bit of the formatting was lost between the scans and the .pdfs, so perhaps I shouldn’t judge my own Print and Play version too harshly.

The 12 map tiles are combined in pairs to form planets although bizarrely, in such ways that some end up upside down some of the time. Given there are only 15 planets in the whole game, and a planet map would fit on a single tile (if orbit was omitted) the 12 tiles seem something of a strange choice although it does give scope for randomized planets, for which rules are given, and so adds a little to the replay value. However, given that there is no tracking system for light-hours out, the loss of tracking for orbit or space station (which could still be placed in the corners) would be a small matter. And no planet is any of the original pairs (although they may have done that deliberately to make it clear they had to be cut up before play).

I occurred to me that surely it should’ve been possible to print the tiles in such a way that they are all the correct way up? Anyway, I did a little analysis (a lot actually) and came to the conclusions outlined in Appendix II, although the tables won't display correctly here - if you really want to see my working PM me!

Neat Mechanics

Tech Levels – All equipment has a tech level between 1 and 6, to hit with a gun you add its tech level to your marksmanship and roll equal or less on 2d6. However, when checking any equipment you used that day for breakdown you roll 1d6. If you roll below a piece of equipment’s Tech Level it breaks down and needs repair. A neat little Faustian deal!

Cunning – That characteristic which distinguishes the eponymous Star Smuggler from the NPCs and allows him to bend them to his will (on occasion). I thought the idea of giving the Hero their own edge over the NPCs was a nice touch.

Starting in debt and needing to employ crew – this certainly gives the game a nice edge and drives the need to make money.

Oddities
The setting of the tech and wealth system codes seems at best vestigial and at worst arcane. There seems no sense to the sequence 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 100 and the numbers have no meaning in the game. They are only ever used as column references in lookup tables, so why not 10 to 100 step 10? Or even 1 to 10?

It’s ludicrously easy to escape from jail.

My Experience of the Game
After missing buying this when this first came out I was delighted when I found it legally free for download some 25 years later. After downloading it, I initially tried an "on PC" game beguiled by the suggestion in the introduction that You can learn this game as you play. Simply start with the first event (e001 and then read sections as necessary... ). But I abandoned it as I found it impossible to get into it due to the apparent recursive nature of the rules. Also the need to constantly “flick” between cross-referencing rules on screen was a serious pain.

Recently I printed everything out, spent some happy hours creating some play aids only to end up playing a very depressing game (I spent nearly all my initial capital on cargo I couldn't work out how to sell, I lost my starship and cargo to pirates, escaping in the boat, which I sold after I flew it into a gravity well it couldn't escape on its own).

After that I wanted to _know_ it was possible to recover from such a position so I "dismantled" it to see how the game worked, which was enjoyable in itself, but I came away convinced that, despite my admiration of the design, largely, it didn’t quite hang together. Incidentally, I found it wasn’t really possible to recover from losing your starship and certainly becoming a hireling for someone else doesn’t seem to be an option.

After analyzing the Entry & Contact table for Wholly Negative (will certainly cost you money/endurance or cause you to be “Wanted”), Most Likely Negative, Neutral (the opportunity to buy goods, an avoidable negative event or something that has a more or less even chance of being positive or negative) and Positive (will make you money almost certainly) encounters, I got the following: Out of 126 encounters 45 (36%) are Negative or Most Likely Negative with only 20 (16%) positive although 12 of the negative encounters (and 2 of the positive) can’t happen on a contact try, only on entry.

Ultimately too much bad stuff happens too randomly for this to be enjoyable for me. If a DM treated me like this I’d politely but quickly leave his game.

Conclusions
Star smuggler is indeed a “most ambitious and sophisticated” attempt to produce a replayable programmed adventure. However, it is an uneasy truce because “replayable programmed” is essentially an oxymoron and there are several ways in which this doesn’t work well.

I somehow felt cheated by the frequent negative “one-shots”. For instance, one of the distress signals is from pirates trying to sucker you in, but once you decide to respond there’s no way of avoiding being boarded. I would have liked the opportunity to recognise there was something fishy going on. Obviously, with experience you can avoid these encounters, but that does leave me to wonder why they’re there in the first place, except to cause you to lose your early games.

There are some choices that very abruptly end the game when a roll either kills you or causes some fantastic event that gives you a “fake” victory. Neither of these is really satisfactory in an RPG. Rolling a die to decide win or lose is just nonsense. Tell me I have to take damage (and make it variable on a skill roll perhaps), but don’t kill me outright. Give me a large reward or some cool piece of kit or some special advantage, but don’t tell me “You’ve won, stop playing now”.

The Entry & Contact table contains a lot of purely negative events as do the System Entry rolls for each system. The -1 penalty for being detected on entry and the +1 bonus for staying make too little difference as the tables do not seem to be uniformly graded for high rolls=better and low rolls = worse, beyond the Roll 1 – 1 = 0 events being almost wholly negative (maybe that’s deliberate to give the game a random feel and perhaps it makes sense that staying in place for too long has its inherent risks).

Some areas and systems are worse than others, but it would be an extremely slow process working out which are which, and I feel it’s something Duke Springer would have a decent sense of, but I as a player do not, so the game needs to provide it somehow (I ended up doing this for myself by analysing the Entry and Contact encounter table which I’ve now colour coded).

It’s a fine line between making it too easy and making the player a constant random victim of circumstance but it certainly felt the latter way to me. I wondered if the game actually needed different tables for contact tries and entry events. Also, it’s not always obvious where to buy or sell certain items, again the game really ought to provide that information if only in general terms.

Also the game doesn’t respond to how well I’m doing; my contacts don’t get any better, there’s no sense of increasing risk/reward and my opponents have a fixed strength that doesn’t respond to the size/quality of my party (surely opponents have intel. too?), which makes it a little too “brittle” (either I’m overwhelmed or I can take them on).

Finally there is just the sheer lack of control. I can choose where to go, but I can’t seek out certain types of goods and quite often, if I stick around long enough to get the correct roll, lots of bad stuff will happen meanwhile. There’re also some strange choices over what the player decides and what they don’t. Why can’t I choose the protagonist’s name? Why are E, H and M fixed, but not cunning or starting money? Why do people (and indeed equipment and items) screw me over on a die/dice roll rather than there being some way for me to colour the outcome?

This maybe comes down to my own inner distinction between a boardgame and an RPG. I don’t expect to lose an RPG unless I’m either very unlucky or very stupid and playing Star Smuggler you need to be prepared to lose. A lot.

p.s. Writing all this has inspired me to have another go at this game, especially as I’ve now short circuited the learning curve by analysing the game and the success chance of each encounter (there’s an coloured version of the Crib Sheet in the Files Section). You’ll know how it goes because if I enjoy it my rating will go up!

Appendix I
Errata – Rules then Encounters *= Wrong in the scans of the originals on the website.
*r205k Ruins 7-find damaged skimmer, roll 1d6 again, 1-5-requires one repair unit, 6-cannot be damaged but can be cannibalized for one repair unit instead; should read 6-cannot be repaired but can be cannibalized for one repair unit instead;
*r206 Asteroids One game title represents an asteroid belt, rather than half a planetary surface. There are six asteroids shown on the title, plus a space station. should read One game tile represents an asteroid belt, rather than half a planetary surface. There are six asteroids shown on the tile, plus a space station.
*r215b Commercial Vehicles …ground effects vehicles should read …ground effect vehicles(?)
*r219 Repair of Vehicles & Equipment When vehicles or equipment break-down, or are-damaged, should read are damaged. (no hyphen)
*r225 Detection (r225a) first, determine if you are detected. Refer to the Entry Detection Table (r238) and cross-reference the mode of entry and the tech code of the system. Then roll one die (1d6) and add or subtract a certain amount when entering certain types of areas (see table). If the result falls within the range given on the table, you are detected. If the result is greater than the range on the table, you enter undetected and no entry encounter occurs. Entering undetected often means that nobody paid any attention to you, rather than you sneaking in totally unseen.
should read something like
Detection (r225a) first, determine if you are detected. Refer to the Entry Detection Table (r238) and cross-reference the mode of entry and the tech code of the system and add or subtract a certain amount when entering certain types of areas (see table) to give your detection factor. Then roll one die (1d6). If the result is less than or equal to the detection factor you are detected. If the result is greater than your detection factor, you enter undetected and no entry encounter occurs. Entering undetected often means that nobody paid any attention to you, rather than you sneaking in totally unseen.
r233 Entry & Contact Table compare 1d6 roll with area entered, or area where contact try is made Entry Encounter: subtract one (-1) form die roll; should have a full stop between made and Entry. This was not necessary with the original formatting.
*r233 Entry & Contact Table City roll 5 should reference r205a not r295a (which doesn’t exist in any case).
*r238 Entry Detection Table … entry is detect if roll… should read …entry is detected if roll…
*r317 Combat …unable to fife any weapons… should read …unable to fire any weapons..
*e005 Robot Caravan second paragraph…use it to move goods on food from area to area... should read …use it to move goods or food from area to area...
*e075 Open Laboratory 1-find nothing of obvious values; should read …value;
*e081 Attack or Escape the Battleship 5-if you shot missed, roll again, should read 5-if your shot missed
*e119 Something on Hull – The option so send someone/some people outside to try and shoot the object off with hand weapon or a boat-mounted weapon is missing. It should send you to e407 (which is otherwise unreferenced).
*e156 Clone Bank Second Paragraph Last Sentence Setting up special accounts and identifies for your clone is often a good idea. should read Setting up special accounts and identities for your clone is often a good idea.
*e173 Try for Contact You may contact, should read You make contact,
*e173 Try for Contact Paragraph 2 …but if you do see r425 when it is opened, should read …but if you do see e425 when it is opened,
*e182 Answer Distress Call You approach the starship and notices pieces of debris nearby. should read You approach the starship and notice pieces of debris nearby.
*e182 Answer Distress Call Nowhere in this section does it say how many pirates there are in total. 2d6 perhaps?

Appendix II

I'm afraid the tables I had here don't display, so you'll have to make do with just my conclusions. The ultra curious can PM me for the Excel spreadsheet, but be warned, it's Excel07

The current tiles configuration. Planets that require one of the tiles to be upside down (7 out of 15).

After several hours with Excel, I came to the conclusion that fiddling with the locations on the planet-halves won’t produce a different solution and still recreate the whole planets faithfully with the same number of tiles. However it did suggest a way of largely avoiding upside down map-tiles (although it would mean re-creating them).

A suggested correction A – right, B – Left, C – Left, D – Left, E – Right, F – Right, G – Right, H – Left, I – Left, J- Right, K – either left or right, preferably one of each.

Upside down tiles could be avoided totally if two versions of K were printed, one left and one right which leads me to suspect that during the design process whether K was a LHS or RHS planet was lost track of (because it is the one paired with the Asteroids, and so in a sense it doesn’t “matter”). At some later stage on the way to print the information on which tiles should be which half was also apparently lost.

FWIW here’s a suggested printing order. C, F, I, J and K are in the right places. A & B and G & H need swapping. E and D can be swapped without creating an actual planet with C or F respectively. Obviously anyone going to the trouble of re-creating these could also make both LH and RH versions of K.

B-A C-E D-F H-G I-J K-K

Appendix III

So what do I want from a solo star-trader RPG?
• Replayability (which isn’t quite the same as randomness)
• Some sense of the risk I am taking in each situation, and some control over the bad stuff.
• A safety net if it all goes wrong. By this I mean some way of clawing back to square one. E.g. become a hireling yourself for a time.
• A game like this needs some way of developing trading loops that are reliable (to give a little security), but increase in fragility or decrease in profitability (to avoid boredom).
• A way for the game to adjust its difficulty and the consummate rewards to the player’s situation. “I have three possible jobs for you…”
• Instructions or at least clues on how and where to sell each item purchased.
• No one-shot prat-falls
• No fake victories. Help (cool kit, new abilities or skills) or hinder (fine, waste time or deliver damage) but no sudden – you won/died.
• A legal system that includes fines, community service and bail.

Now I have my manifesto, maybe I should develop some house rules or even write my own game…

If you got this far, thanks for reading!
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Lance McMillan
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Excellent in-depth review. I applaud the obvious effort it took to put this together, and also your stick-to-it-iveness (I tried the game once, long ago, and gave up after about the first five minutes as it was so frustrating).

I encourage you to try out writing your own version of such a game -- it'd be great to see it done right (but watch out, I suspect it'd be a huge undertaking). Regardless, I'd love to see what you did with such a project as I've always felt the solo-adventure genre was woefully short of good entries.
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Brett Christensen
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Thanks for the great review!

I'm with you on a lot of these points (although I still seem to like it a bit more). I have at least 10 full games under my belt and I've never won. I've come close, only to be destroyed in a one-shot type of termination. These 'instant death' type of entries really have to be modified. I mean, would it be so hard to just take a time penalty of some kind? I always felt with a little more development it could be really brilliant. Some other things I always hoped for were a way to scale the combat encounters better (again, to avoid more instant death) and a way to have the 'cunning' affect more results by having a broader scaled set of outcomes where cunning is used. In regards to combat I've toyed with the idea of using a more intuitive skirmish combat system. Such as, in the newer games by Dark City Games (and the old Metagaming microgames) where you have a small hex map with keyed locations to put Duke, his crew, and the opponents when combat occurs. This wouldn't be to change the combat rules, but just to set up each skirmish in a logical way visually. Not to mention it would give a lot more flavor to the various encounters and a natural way to scale the encounter based on where everyone is located. Another thing, how come the fights can end with the baddies taking your stuff but when Duke wins he never loots anyone? I mean, c'mon! The looting of guns and money! *sigh* Anyway, this game is certainly an unpolished gem.
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Simon Hunt
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Lance

Many thanks for the encouragement.

One of the things that impressed me so much about the game was how much work went into it, and I'm not sure I'll ever get beyond a few vague ideas that won't ever quite justify the time. However, I'm doing the rounds of solo Sci-fi games (Legends of Time and Space: Void Station 57, Intruder and Last Frontier: The Vesuvius Incident are recent additions to my collection) so you never know, if I immerse myself long enough, eventually inspiration might come!
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Brett

The odd thing is, I think I actually do like the game - but it's a bit like being a teenager infatuated with a dreadful girlfriend. I spent a good chunk of today working on new Map Tiles (for some reason I simply can't let go!).

I'm also a huge fan of the Legends guys. I recently did a similar de-construction of Legends of Time and Space: Void Station 57 with a view to making it a bit more replayable (I'm still working on it...). The idea of using the Legends hexmaps for the combats is genius - I have to try that!

I also agree that less specific application of cunning (so you could use it when you needed to) would be a good target for a first house rule.

And I have to admit that when I hosed those muties with the ship's guns, I did prise the T2 HH-Weapon from the leader's cold dead hands - I don't remember reading a rule that said I couldn't

Edit: In fact I just found the rule that says I can!

Acquiring Equipment without Purchase (r223b)
certain events may allow you to find intact or damaged
equipment without spending money. In addition, if you defeat
others in combat, you may take any equipment or valuables
they have (indicated in the event), assuming it wasn't damaged
or destroyed in battle. Damaged equipment that you can move
can also be taken.
You take prisoners after combat only if so indicated in the
event paragraph. Otherwise, those who are not killed are
assumed to escape.
Each person you encounter will have "pocket change" in sees
equal to a 1d6 cross-indexed with the system's wealth code on
table r241. Ignore any fractional sees of pocket change. In other
words, pocket change is base price of 1 S times multiplier given
on that table.


Although the amount of pocket change is, to say the least, disappointing!
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Brett Christensen
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Nice work on r223b! I haven't played since March of '07 so I guess my memory is a bit fuzzy. All this talk is making me want to break it out again. I would love to see some upside-right map tiles as well. I thought I would be the only one bothered by the planet tiles, glad to see I'm not the only crazy one out there.
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simon cogan
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I really enjoyed reading your detailed reviews, analysis and errata.

'Star Smuggler was a game I played many years ago, and like its counterpart 'Barbarian Prince' I very much enjoyed.

I think it would be fairly easy to use a system like this in a new genre - and I did a 'Star Wars' variant a few years back where you played Han Solo.

In fact, I've now put one of my efforts up on BGG - 'Doctor Who: Solitaire Story Game' that uses the same kind of ideas and systems.

Take a look and let me know wwhat you think.

Simon Cogan
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Simon Hunt
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Downloading at 56 Kbps. Reading at 0.2 Kbps
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OGRE 6e at last!
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ptdnet wrote:
I only got to the first few sentences of "r203" in your review and thought "WHAT THE FUUUU____ ???"

This doesn't sound remotely fun!
That may be my fault - I was making a perhaps clumsy attempt to clarify what the gameplay is like. It's possible that if you download the files and tackle r203 for real, it's not as bad as I make it sound.

That said, this is deeply old school, with lots of rolling, cross-referencing and die-roll-modifiers. But if you know that up front, it _is_ actually quite fun. There are other aspects of the game that aren't, but the basic gameplay is okay for its time.

Thanks for reading anyway!
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