"Go to the sign of Harvel's Axe, a dubious inn on the edge of the Thieves Quarter, in the City of Greyhawk, and look to your own wrist. If you perceive a bracelet and dangling dice, watch for the next throw in the war between Law and Chaos and be prepared to follow the compelling geas." -Signal

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

BTRC - Slag!


Slag! Combat on the High Frontier is not really a role playing game but then BattleTech in it's true form isn't either. This is a space combat game that I normally would not have bought but it is by BTRC so I had too. I know that I never even opened the pages to look inside. Below is a review from rpg.net that I am going to post in it's entirety.

http://www.rpg.net/news+reviews/reviews/rev_989.html 

Note: This review pertains to the PDF version of Slag! and not the print version. The print version is available from http://www.hyperbooks.com

Slag! bills itself as "A game of combat on the high frontier". For the most part, it fulfills this billing. Unfortunately, there are also parts that don't fit this billing.

When I picked up this space combat game (my first) I wanted big weapons, lots of things blowing up and a certain amount of realism to ground me to the game. Slag! fits that description. There is something for almost everyone in this game of ship to ship combat in space.

If you are looking for a combat simulator for Robotech styled space conflicts with lots of small fighters swarming around the Earth defending it from the invading forces, Slag! will work for you. If you are looking for deep space combat between interstellar behemoths slugging it out in an all out grudge match, Slag! will also work for you.

Movement in Slag! is provided by a number of technically explained drives. None of these drives will shoot you across the board in a turn and most of them allow you to plod along at a normal pace, blasting the holy what-for out of your opponents. Utilizing an alternating moving system, this also insures that players won't get bored during large scale battles.

There are a multitude of weapons, defense systems, and scenario based options for ship that allow you to customize a ship to just your liking. Designing a ship is as easy as picking out your systems for your ship and placing them on the ship in whatever order you like. This is the easiest ship design I have ever seen, even new players will catch on right away.

Slag is based on a diceless system that presumes that computers are advanced enough that even in space, you can occasionally hit. So for you poor dice rollers out there, here's your game. Each round, players may fire any or all of their weapons at their opponents in an attempt to take them down. You can also allocate weapons to defending against your opponents attacks, thereby reducing the amount of firepower you are firing at them, but also reducing the amount of firepower that is going to hurt you.

The damage system is interesting in the way that damaged parts of the ship are alternately chosen by the players. This makes choosing a hit location a little more strategic than saying "Okay, you hit my Armor, Hull, and took out my Railgun". You must decide the first hit location, and then your opponent gets to choose the next one. Tricky, but makes for interesting ship design and strategic damage location.

Slag! also has rules and designs for alien bases, space stations, space mines, and atmospheric combat. While the rules can't cover every eventuality, they do a good job at covering the necessities for the game. The rules are easy to learn, some of the calculations can be a bit confusing sometimes, but mostly they are adding and subtracting.

The only disappointing feature of Slag! is the apparent abstraction of 3D space combat. While they attempt to incorporate it with certain ideas, it sometimes feel's more like the game is based on 2D combat. Which in and of itself is not a bad thing. Trying to simulate three dimensions in diceless system without adding several pages of rules would be almost impossible.

Ultimately, I would recommend Slag! for anyone looking to get into a space combat system for little money. There are very space combat games out there that retail for less than $30 or so, with Slag! coming in at $5.00 and still having a good system, with well thought out ship ideas and it's unique ship design, it is well worth the money.

Style: 4 (Classy and well done)
Substance: 4 (Meaty)

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