Thursday, 21 August 2014

FiveCore/Five parsecs from home cured my slump


Well, I made it back to the UK. I'm much happier and my adventures continue.

This week I took a chance on "Five Parsecs from home", a sci-fi campaign book for the FiveCore system. I say took a chance because I couldn't find much about the product on the internet, but it seemed ideally tailored to the sorts of game I have been looking for, basically forever.

(I bought the PDF versions of Five parsecs from home and FiveCore Skirmish Rules from Wargames Vault.)


Here were the selling points that grabbed me:

  • 5 figures per side average game
  • Narrative heavy campaign system
  • Fast playing, narrative based combat system (as opposed to simulation or math heavy)
  • Firefly-esque setting and scope
  • Sandboxy, but not a totally blank slate
  • Provision for solo play
Unbelievably, every one of these claims was completely accurate. The FiveCore rules are a separate (inexpensive) download but the campaign book is where the whole package really starts to shine. It has a lot of very sci-fi specific extra stuff that meshes seamlessly with the core rules. This is because almost all new rules introduced still follow the same basic (and dead simple) dice mechanic.
This one point makes it very easy to make up new rules, even on the fly if you want. 

The campaign system features a plethora of charts to generate characters and events. What I liked about them was that they provide enough detail to get your creativity fired up, but are not especially constrictive. The whole thing is designed to assist imaginative narrative.

The bottom line is that after reading the books, I immediately set to rolling up a Group and playing a game. An extremely rare occurrence!

I used my freshly rolled team against a simple gang for this first skirmish. I would definitely suggest using at least a couple of talents or special bits of gear on each side, even for your first game. Testing the game using bland identical figures will not reveal the richness of the system. It is not an exercise in power-gaming.

The game went splendidly. My group attempted to blow up a parked vehicle and escape into the woods. After 13 turns, 2 of team had bailed (run away) two were down on the ground from gunfire and a brawl respectively, and the last man (alien) standing detonated the vehicle's fuel tank with some well placed rifle fire.
Both downed team members recovered, although one will have to skip the next 2 battles and has a permanent limp, and the other has suffered mental scarring.

I will close this quick post with a bombshell. I've found my system. 
I have no regrets about the last 4 years of buying, reading and testing rulesets (e.g Multiple Ganesha games, most THW, Pulp Alley, iTen, FUBAR, Savage Worlds et al) which have all had some really cool points... But the FiveCore Skirmish Narrative campaign combo has rendered all of them second-place in one play through. (at least as far as solo small-scale sci-fi narrative skirmish gaming is concerned).

Thank you Ivan Sorensen for writing such a great set!

28 comments:

  1. Great write-up! Do you think we could feature this article on DropShip horizon with a link back here?

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    1. Of course! I'd have written a more comprehensive review, but I'd rather spend the time getting back to another game :) I might do a series of posts about the campaign, just for fun.

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    2. Great, thanks! I think this ruleset deserves all the attention it can get. I look forward to getting my first game in soon.

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  2. Welcome back to blighty fella!

    The rules really are quite splendid for exactly as you say. Ive started a little campaign, following along the lines of the pictures, which are part of the book...cough cough....In fact..the pics are from my campaign :)

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  3. Glad to see you're back.
    Since both you and Harold are very enthousiast about the game, I guess I need to check them out myself.

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    1. Thank you! The rules are certainly very specific to a certain type of play, which just happens to be the exact kind I like. :)

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  4. Ooh, a ringing endorsement! And a fun looking game, judging from the pics on Instagram.

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    1. Most fun I've had playing with minis in years. No exaggeration.

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  5. Feel very humbled at all the nice words :)

    Let me know why sort of follow ups you'd Like to see.

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    1. Wel deserved, Ivan! I'm sure I'll come up with a wish-list as I get on with the campaign ;)

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  6. Good to read you again and with this excellent game

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    1. Thanks Raskal! it's nice to feel this enthusiastic about gaming after a long break.

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  7. Happy to read you again and welcome to UK!
    Regarding the rules you comment I'm sold.
    Cheers,
    Javier

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    1. Thank you Javier, hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

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  8. Great review. I'm going to by the pdfs now. If they are rubbish I'll be back to complain.

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    1. Well it's certainly a glowing endorsement... Not quite a review ;) I didn't exactly cover any of the mechanics etc. I have a good reason though: Could not be arsed... Would rather use that time for another game!

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  9. Greetings, Jacker! Thanks for the heads-up.

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    1. Hi Jay! I should have mentioned that one of the best things about this system is that if you only need a handful of figures to play. You, for example, already have a ton of minis you could use right away!

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    2. That was actually an important factor. I feel there's too few games out there where you can literally buy one pack of figures (in 15mm, that's what? 4 bucks?) and then have a game.

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    3. Thanks. BTW: In 2004 I decided to make a WWII ETO tabletop wargame to play solo, or with up to 4-6 players. I came up with a set of rules which allows for almost instant conflict, lots of "hands-on" gaming, exciting scenarios, a lot of figure-character-anthropomorphic-chit-chat to "personalize" your troops (with up to a maximum of 15 troops per side). The conflicts are played out on a 2'X2' board which rotates 360 degrees on a turn table...you don't have to move around the board for LOS etc.!

      I can decide to play a quick game for example of a German security guard and guard dog walking post at night, while an enemy trooper attempts to penetrate the defense perimeter and recon the enemy's resources. Takes only a few minutes to setup, a couple of movement turns, and all hell usually breaks out. Just the way I like to play!

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  10. Impressive recommendation! Thanks for this.

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  11. btw, I do post updates and whatnot here
    http://fivemennormandy.blogspot.com/

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  12. Found your rules huh?

    I figure I can throw in twenty bucks and see what's up.

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