Review of Edge of Space

The first game I ran at L.U.G.Con was +matt jackson‘s little hit, Edge of Space.  I had bought a paper copy while they still existed earlier this year and was fascinated by the little game that could.  My copies are in little brown books.  I ma not sure how many pages there are in the main rulebook as I do not have them with me but there aren’t many.  If there are 20 pages in it I would be surprised!

Game and module…

A couple of months earlier +Christopher Hardy  mentioned that he had ran this game for a group and they loved it.  He definitely had plans to do it again in the future.  I was looking for something rules light to run as a lead in to me running a Pathfinder game so I decided it would be this game with the module that came with it.  Incident at Intrepid Station is the module that shipped with the game and it is longer than the main rulebook!  But it is a nice simple premise of the marines show up, do some of what they do best and find out what happened at the little space station.

I scanned the map of the base and then enhanced it with some Gimp wizardry.  From there I loaded it up into roll20 and bought myself some sci-fi token sets to get underway.  Once it was in roll20 I then decorated the map with tokens of tables, beds, computers, chairs and the like.  With some dynamic lighting added (as I pay roll20 for the privilege) the map looked and played exceptionally well and I was ready.

The night of the game I got a message from Matt Jackson as someone had tipped him off about the game which was cool.  He wished me luck and asked for a rundown of the game when I was done.  I was expecting three players to show for the game but during the game I found out that one of them had been called in to work so could not attend.  I felt letting the marines wander with only two players was a bit rough so I made a marine NPC (“Dolphen” named after Dolph Lundren!) and played along with them.  I am so glad I did as Dolphen proved to be a critical piece in the games end story.

The game is very rules light, which will not surprise you when I tell you that you can read the entire rules book in around 5 minutes.  Character generation consists of choosing a job and rolling 4 dice to see what skills you end up with.  A set of target numbers are provided for skill tests and combat is generally an opposed roll.  Damage is determined via damage levels rather than a HP system and you have some basic equipment you can set up.

I realised about 20 minutes before the game that the station
was an orbiting one, so I added a “docking tunnel” so the
players could not see the landed shuttle etc…

Some of the rules are a little confusing but it is easy enough to gloss over them.  For example it talks of combat being an opposed test between the attacking skill and the defender.  So Brawl could be the attackers skill and the defender could use rifle to deflect the blow with the butt of his gun.  But I could not work out what sort of skill would be opposed in a ranged attack?  Is it an opposed test at all?  there seemed to be no athletics skill or the like to jump out of the way, so I winged it and continued on through.  Also, armour is said to soak a level of damage and I wondered if that was every attack or just once before it became useless.  i decided it must be just once or otherwise none of the critters had a chance anyway.

Rule confusions like this are bound to occur in a game that is so small.  It really did not bother me that much.  It is my job to make up rules on the fly and I did.  The players loved the game so that is all that matters.  The game ran the better part of three hours and we got a fantastic end to it being a showdown between the marine that was a stickler to the orders vs. the marines that saw the inherent dangers of following them.  There was one marine fatality in the game and just on the quiet side, none of the monsters killed him…  If you want to watch the game in action you can find it on YouTube via my channel or you can go to the blog page here that has the video embedded.

The next day I found out that the author of the game was so chuffed his game was being played at the Con and online that he has now made his game a free download on DrivethruRPG!  What is more is I found out that he watched the game and loved it so I suppose he saved me having to tell him how the night went.  Anyway I hope all of you that read this decide to download the game and have a look at it.  I actually hope that of those of you that do, all of you give the game a run because it really is worth it.

Poor old Dolphen, cut down in his prime…

In conclusion I have to say that I am really glad I ran the game.  One of the players is now asking me whenever I am chatting to him about when the next game will be.  He had a blast, so did I and the third player loved it as well.  I have to say I think there will be a few more games in the future of this one.  Simple, light and easy to pick up.  I had a beer while playing and all that was missing was pretzels or peanuts or something similar.  I have to give this game a healthy 4 out of 5 motion trackers for being the smallest game I have ever played as well as one of the funnest nights I have ever had for a one off game!  well done Matt Jackson for making it and also deciding you are ready for it to go out free to the masses.  We the space marines salute thee!

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