Thursday, January 7, 2016

Game of the Year 2015: White Star

For me it really is no contest what last year's biggest and best game was.

It was +James Spahn's White Star.


Not that it is faux-Star Wars in a year of Star Wars (but that helps).
Not that it is a Swords & Wizardry reskinned (but that also helps).

No, it is because it is just so damn fun.  You can tell that James must have been having a great time writing this. It shows in his work.  Plus it is such a good seller on RPGNow and DriveThruRPG others must find it fun as well.

I also give it this nod for all the great supplements that have been coming out for it. You can find some of them in this nifty little guide, The White Star Catalog.

White Star isn't just a cool set of rules, it is also a nice sandbox with some minor assumptions on a game universe.   The best elements are left open for others to play with and develop further.

Between Star & Void is a great example.
This book covers the Star Knights and their enemies, the Void Knights, in greater detail.  +Matthew Skail has done a great job of showing us what both groups of Knights can do.  I came away not so much wanting to run "Jedi" or "Sith" but something more akin to the Green Lantern Corps.  At 109 pages it is a pretty full (101 pages of content) of material for Star Knights and Void Knights.  This book also includes Mystics, Star Pilot, Way Adapt and Alien Star Knight, and of course, Void Knights and an extra special group, the Eclipse Knights.
There are plenty of new Meditations for the Knights and Mystics and new Empowerments for Void Knights.  The Void Knights really kind of steal the show here a bit.  I think everyone loves a  good bad guy.  Though the Star Pilot will get a lot of love in some game groups I am sure.
We also have a chapter on Star Knight Martial Styles and a chapter on Star Sword construction.  They really put the "Tao" in "Way" here.  I have to admit reading this feels just like playing games in the late 70s early 80s when sci-fi was king and everywhere. I had toys from various franchises and freely mixed them all together is a crazy, and mostly incoherent, whole.  But I didn't care, it was fun.
This book is like that.  Not crazy and incoherent, but certainly a lot of fun.
There are some great Appendices here too. There is an alternate Meditation system in Appendix A.
Appendix B includes some "Fantasy Conversions" for Swords & Wizardry, Labyrinth Lord, Adventurer Conqueror King, or higher level White Star games.  This includes higher level Meditations

The art is a mixed lot, but I love the cover.
There are some obvious typos and the text needs some cleaning up here and there, but nothing that impacts readability or use.  There is a lot of fun in this book and I can't wait to try it out.

Even given my long complicated relationship with Sci-Fi RPGs, I think I may have found my game.

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