As a disclaimer before I go into my first impressions of the Alpha test of the Dystopian Universe RPG, this was a very quick and dirty session. Most of the players had tried FATE based games before but were not very familiar with the system. And I was not ‘full-on’ prepared for this. So keep all that in mind, if you please. I am hoping to have more fully prepped and fleshed out sessions starting Sunday.
Love it. I loved it the first time I read through it. Though I was expecting to love it. I love dystopian stories, and I have always loved the games The Resistance and Coup. So, no surprise there.
I also thought it was great that I could break out my games and use components for the RPG. Credits from Coup became FATE points, and characters from Coup actually play a part in the game, and I used the tracking system from The Resistance to keep track of threat levels during missions.
Explained well, with clear examples, much in the way the FATE core rule book is set up. It’s like FATE, and it’s not like FATE. There were more fiddly bits. When I first read the rules, I was excited about the extra things that the GM could track and use. There is a mechanic called blowback, that allows the GM to up the threat level during the missions. I was thinking this would create great tension. However, during the game this played out differently than I expected.
Also, I don’t know that I was quite grocking the new actions that this game employs. Rather than Attack, Defend, Overcome and Create Advantage, there is Fight, Manipulate, Maneuver and Observe. I’m not complaining, I think it works well for the playsheet style character sheets, I just think it will take a little time to get used to.
Both players and GM need to get used to having Le Resistance as a character, almost, during game play. We could have taken more advantage of that.
Players liked the new character playsheets. Mostly. One player had trouble creating useful aspects from the questions asked on the playsheet. Otherwise, it made character creation very easy, and players got the idea of who they were playing right away.
They also would have liked (and I will prepare this before playing again) a list of resources that are available to the characters when prepping for a mission. There are a few examples given, but not a very big list.
Game play was smooth, and fun. The player that usually betrays other players in our usual RPG games was already excited about that aspect being built into this game. I used a white board to show zones and keep track of aspects on the location, and the players picked up on it right away.
There were three players, the Hacker, the Malcontent, and the Cleaner. This was a great team combination, and the players meshed perfectly to accomplish one part of the first mission. They also commented that this would work well (at least the first mission) for a solo run, as each character would have been able to pull it off on their own.
The only thing that surprised me was how the blowback/threat level ended up playing out. The first level I could advance to in the mission didn’t make sense in the narrative. So instead I switched level 2 with level 3. This is hard to explain without spoilers, so hopefully this makes sense. The characters all passed their rolls so well as to make the level 2 threat not make sense. I don’t see this as a big deal, as I personally tend to run games in favor of the narrative rather than mechanics. But some people might get hung up on this.
So, over all, I really enjoyed my first quick run through of this game. I’m hoping to start a more formal game on Sunday, with more players, and cheat sheets for myself so I’m not flipping through my book like crazy. So many aspects of this game appeals to me, like the secrets characters keep, the favors that may get called in, the puzzle like mission setup, and the dystopian theme.