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Space Aces: TNG (The New Guidebook)
by Isabel T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/27/2021 09:33:58

Space Aces is a really cool set of tools for space adventures. I love the random tables and have been using them to randomize loot, locations and events and more for my Stars Without Number campaign -- an excellent and campier counterpart to the more serious random tables in Stars Without Number.

The good:

  • Really campy randomized tables. Want to generate some sort of weird gizmo for your players to loot from an ancient space-wreck? How about a "collapsible mega bazooka!"
    • Pages 6-22 are randomized tables, and each page is a different topic ("gadgets" and "mechs" and "hyperspace hubris" and more).
    • Each page/topic includes a number of sub-tables, e.g for star ruins you have type, aesthetic, purpose, etc. I personally find that sometimes I don't need to use-all sub-tables when generating an element since sometimes just the first 2-3 will give me the inspiration I seek, the tables are just that good.
  • Gorgeous art. I love the graphic design and typography of the rulebook. It all lends to that campy sci-fi flavor.
  • Tables are easy to use. Pretty much all the tables use d6s, so no more having to figure out which dice to roll for each table. Since most tables have 6-12 results, each result feels very distinct.

The less good:

  • The actual play rules (pages 2-5) seem a bit barren. I plan to try them out with my group eventually, but they aren't as clear as other systems as to how to go from the "three step plan" for a randomized mission to the actual acting out of the plan. An "example of play" section would've helped in this regard, but the rulebook is too short to include such an example. The value of space aces is definitely in the table, not in the gameplay rules.
  • The character sheet is very visually dense. The character sheet includes play instructions on it, and this combined with the iconography makes it very hard to parse. Additional whitespace and a few dividing lines would help make the character sheet easier to read. I find the lack of aesthetics in the character sheet very surprising when juxtaposed with the otherwise stellar rulebook.


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Space Aces: TNG (The New Guidebook)
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Space Aces: TNG (The New Guidebook)
by Michael S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/20/2021 06:14:24

Great game that really gets your creative juices flowing. Works very well in both group and solo play in either one-shot episodes or longer campaigns. Simple, streamlines rules leave room for a wide range of tinkering to include addtion of other available generic space opera product rules. This is all wrapped up in one of the most gorgeous rulebook presentations I have ever seem. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Space Aces: TOS (The Original Sheets)
by Dom C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/28/2020 20:01:15

This is a crazy value at its current price of $3.00! I can't wait to give this a try at the table some day. There are endless opportunities for character and mission creation, and so many options for seamlessly adding anything to your sci-fi game. The stats in character creation opens up so many opportunities for characters to be more than just the space equivalent of murder hobos.

I would love to see a fantasy version of this too! Keep the character stats the same please!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Space Aces: TOS (The Original Sheets)
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Space Aces: TOS (The Original Sheets)
by Sean P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/16/2020 04:46:19

I love this game. It packs a whole lot of space opera goodness into a very tight, rules-lite package. Even if you don't love its minimal rules, it is completely worth the download for the scenario generators.

The game looks nice at first impression, with a three column layout in landscape mode. A good use of B&W icons both evoke a space-pulpy feel and support the minimal design. However, though it looks great, some of the material is not in the order in which I would like to present it to players. It helps to read through the entire game to see how the pieces fit together (so grab the all-in-one PDF, for sure). In fact, though I like the overall look, I made my own documents for use at the table. Some reviewers might deduct stars for layout, but I entreat readers to put aside their graphic prejudices to give the game some serious consideration.

THE SYSTEM: Characters start with five stats, a wide open Skill of choice (think trope or archetype), and Style represented by player choice of three adjectives. The stats are Moxie, Smarts, Wiggles, Friends and Pockets. The resolution mechanic is to roll a d20 and a d6. The d20 is to roll over the GM's target number, add your most appropriate stat, and rolled with advantage if your Skill applies. The d6 is the Cost of the outcome, which can be have a cost, no cost or come with a benefit.

On a Fail, the player marks 1 Grit. Accumulate five Grit to turn any failed roll to standard success. A d20 roll of 1 is a Critical fail, and earns the character an Ailment. Ailments subtract from character rolls. Player Characters start with six hit points, called Gumption, which they regain with a long rest.

That's the gist of the game. I love that there's no mention of how to use Style. Is it a mechanic or just character flavor? If you need the rules to tell you how to use Style, then you should probably steer clear of this game. However, the system is the tip of the iceberg.

Space Aces comes with scenario generators. They are much like the old Madlibs where you fill in noun, verb or adjective. However, there is an Episode Guide that tells you on which tables to roll to fill in the blanks. Here is one result for The Setup:

Hired by [Explor-A-Corp (boldly go)] to [Escort] the / a / an [Artifact] to / at / in a [Asteroid] [Archive (contain info)] [Volatile] from [Law] [Sow Chaos].

You then fill in details by rolling similarly for The Scene (or a few scences!), The Snag and The Snafu. The tables do not yield smoothly flowing prose that you read aloud to the players. However, they get the creative juices flowing and ready for a one-shot right away**.

**Though the tables are great, I didn't see myself taking the time to roll the many dice to fill in all the blanks. Instead, I took the time to copy the tables into a spreadsheet and concatenate the rolls into a very fast Episode Guide. The results are now instant and inspiring.

Space Aces approaches dungeons, NPCs, monsters, items, giant mechs, giant monsters (e.g. Godzilla-ish), and hex crawls in similar Madlib+tables fashion. It's not a new concept, but the content is simple and evocative, which makes it brilliant.

Finally, not to be glossed over is the starship section. Whether The Enterprise, The Millenium Falcon or The Serenity, the ship is an integral part of any space opera. Space Aces again provides tables just dripping with flavor. The space combat mechanics, which I WILL gloss over, are again simple, but lend themselves to rollicking ship drama. If a group wants, the ship can become a major feature of the game — repairing, upgrading, trading up — whether Maguffin or an NPC (self-aware AI, anyone?).

I really like Space Aces. I think it is the right direction for rules-lite RPGs. How well do I like it? I just re-bought this PWYW title for $5. Kudos for a well-thought game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thank you so much for that amazingly in-depth review! Concatenation got the mission generator is an incredible idea! I am in the process of making this a zine as well to make the info more easily accessible for players and GMs and add a few more fun bits and bobs. I’d love to get your input before it’s done. Shoot me a message on Twitter if you want @P0rthos47
Thank you so much for that amazingly in-depth review! Concatenation got the mission generator is an incredible idea! I am in the process of making this a zine as well to make the info more easily accessible for players and GMs and add a few more fun bits and bobs. I’d love to get your input before it’s done. Shoot me a message on Twitter if you want @P0rthos47
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