I played X-Plorers yesterday via google+ yesterday. Despite even two of the players down print copies of the rules, none of us had played the game before.
As I expected it was a lot of fun, but in some need to major tweaking. The adventure I set up was pretty simple: the party was on a transport between worlds taken hostage by drug-smuggling pirates. I had some nearby planets for them to explore as well, but we never got that far.
It's three in the morning right now, so I'm just going to give a basic run down of things I noticed from the game:
- Weapons deal a hell of a lot of damage compared to character hit points. A 3rd level character has only a 50% chance to survive the damage of a single lazer blast. No character, PC or NPC survived a single shot. Now, I don't shy away form character death, but this is too much even for me. I felt like I had to pull some strings to make sure the character had a fighting chance, like giving the party surprise in just about every combat (although, I should give most of the credit to the players' cunning plans). Having a character die in the first ten minutes of the game was pretty exciting though, I have to say. Poor Anthony (also a player in my Vats of Mazarin game) doesn't have great luck with his character's surviving, even with the critical hit table.
- The scout feels more like a infiltrator/criminal than a scout. No survival skills, but lost of sneaking around pocketing credit cards. It's almost as if the class if trying too hard to cover two archtypes and failing at both.
- 1st level characters don't have very good odds with their skills. Poor Will (also a Vats of Mazarin player) failed five piloting rolls during a space combat with two fighters. Not a single success.
- Pilots and, especially, Navigators doesn't really don't feel like they affect the outcome of space combat much. Gunners blow things up; Navigators can heal the ship. Pilots and Navigators can only grant +1 bonuses to the ships defenses or other characters' rolls. I guess the Pilot gets to move the ships around the board and can try to escape entirely. The Navigator, while useful, just doesn't seem like a very fun position to fill. I had a pretty in-depth discussion after the game with Mark, who seemed to share my sentiments. However, we both agreed that both the narrative and teamwork the system creates is excellent. All the guns are pointing in the right direction, but there's still a little tweaking that needs to be done, I reckon.
- The miscellaneous Agility/Intelligence/Physique/Presence saving throws worked out great! One of my favorite things about the game. Simple, but very clever. I especially likes Anthony trying to convince a crowed of cowering civilians to save his ass from an old fashioned shoot out with a rifleman. He failed (although they joined in and battered the pirate around a little bit after Sargent Stiles, Anthony's character, took him down).
That isn't to say X-Plorers doesn't get a lot of things right. Overall, I thought it would pretty fun. This is pretty much a list of things for me to fix up and tweak.