So, instead of starting a new topic I'll write is this thread.
Don't know if my players frequent this forum but ROLAND, JACOB and LUDVIG, if you're reading this: kindly bugger off until we're done! =)
Yesterday we played through act 1, effective playtime was about 3 hours. 1.5 hours of small talk, system run through and character stuff. I handed out characters about a week in advance along with the act 1 agenda for each.
I will start by saying that we had a blast. The system is very good and pretty rules light (although there are some minor rules to keep track of), I really feel that the mechanics augment the Alien-feeling. There is an incredible amount of detail written into the scenario. Very cool. However this also put quite a strain on me as the GM. There was a lot to keep track of: lots of moving parts, NPCs, events, location descriptions and time. Yes, time felt very important partially because oxygen consumption can become something of a plot device. There was lot of going back and forth in the PDF between locations and events. I will print the events before our next session.
There was a couple of things that I didn't prepare for, that I should have thought about in advance. How much does the Cronus MU/TH/UR know? Access to her seems faily easy since both Miller and Wilson have access cards and the scenario states that smart PCs can start asking her questions. Can MU/TH/UR literally reveal most of what's happened? Where the ship's been? Can she replay the garbled distress call? Can she inform the players about the existences of xenomorphs on the ship?
Also time: I had a hard time gauging how much time in game the players should be able to spend on the Cronus before things start going to shit city. For example: replacing the air filters is one shift, that may as well be the whole scenario. Or not. How long does it take for the Cronus crew to shake off desorientation and amnesia?
My PCs were Miller, Rye (Lucas) and Wilson. In retrospect I would perhaps have given the Wilson player Davis or Cham for act 1 instead since they have a couple of important things to do involving their skills. However I don't think the Wilson player was bored or anything, he went off exploring (finding the Headless body, a shotgun and examining the bridge, getting spooked and shooting up an EVA suit) by himself while Miller hung out with the Cronus MU/TH/UR getting her back online. NPC Davis turned off her radio for a short while and snuck off to the medbay in search of drugs (preempting her act 2 agenda, yes). PC Miller went looking for her (guessed correctly that she might have gone looking for pills in the medbay), found her standing, frozen in front of the specimen jars but did not elect to explore the medbay further at that time (she did suffer stress from seeing the dead bloodbursters though). NPC Cham spent some time with the air scrubbers. Act 1 ended with the crew waking up and the bloodburster popping Coopers head. They failed to kill it and we wrapped up the session with the Montero crew huddling just inside the central cryo room wondering what the fuck just happened...