herr_phil
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Re: Who's gotten it to table so far?

Sun 07 Jul 2019, 03:32

My group just finished this in a one-shot (about 3 hours total time) and they are what I would consider to be intermediate players, then we watched the movie Aliens for good measure.  They know a few systems now, but none of them have ever picked up a tabletop RPG book on their own.  We are hardcore Call of Cthulhu fans but we pause for 4 month periods to play Star Wars, Traveller or a White Wolf game.

After we were finished I queried everyone on how it went and here were their comments:

- Agendas were great and really drove the plot more than the alien itself
- The core mechanic of counting a 6 as a success was good
- The atmosphere was definitely correct, the universe just oozes especially thanks to the content of the adventure
- Combat is simple (except for flipping between charts for neomorph attacks, then ranged modifiers, but more on that later) and also quite quick!
- Blending Prometheus and classic alien was clever and helped reduce some of the meta-gaming (which is unavoidable when Cooper started twitching)
- Alien behavior "randomized", not a bad method at all as it keeps things interesting (except we kept rolling a one, so our alien just kept hissing at people who were flaming it which kind of killed the mood as it got pummeled by everyone's weapons)
- Stress mechanic is really cool but the table didn't make sense.  A 7 panic chart result makes everyone more stressed but an 8 just makes you have a tougher time with agility?  Huh?  Our group really did not like the progression of the panic chart as it could lead to a cascading effect with little way to relieve stress in that particular scenario
- Critical hits are very effective at creating tension, but perhaps there is a way to temporarily relieve the effects of it rather then waiting so long?
- Art was great but tough on the printer (Yeah we could have used the other sheets, but really)
- The organization required lots of flipping back and forth from specialty attacks to modifiers to critical hits to panic, we had a laptop and tablet plus forms on hand and it was still a little tricky.
- Creating "events" instead of a linear path is a great way to do the adventure, it's just a little harder to jump back and forth
- Keeping track of food, water, air and battery got tedious as my players never left their suit by simply refilling it under cover trying to avoid breathing in the motes
- I think instead of using the 1 on a stress die running you out of ammo, it should be treated like other items with charges, e.g. you roll the amount of dice you have left of ammo, using an action to reload.
- My players had a really tough time coping with getting 5 sixes on regular dice plus 2 on a stress die but then a single 1 on a stress die undoing everything.  They understood it but just had a tough time accepting it.  Need more ways to reduce stress?
- From a GM perspective, the maps were great to draw all out on a huge mat, but whew that was work!  The little icons were cool but difficult to translate.

Overall cool, can't wait to play campaign games (Aliens Omnibus anyone?  Outbreak?).  Those agendas and the one-off nature really made things work.  The stress of the players went up with the amount of stress dice they added towards the end there.  Results:  Miller (Escaped in Corporate Suite Pod, presumed dead in space somewhere), Davis (Killed by destruction of Cronus, responsible for setting reactor to self-destruct and locking other players out as she did so), Rye (Killed by ship exploding as she tried to cut the reactor control room door open with a torch), Cham (Killed by Neomorph-induced throat injury), Wilson (Killed by Bloodburster leaving skull).
 
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The1TrueFredrix
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Re: Who's gotten it to table so far?

Sun 07 Jul 2019, 06:38

My players had a really tough time coping with getting 5 sixes on regular dice plus 2 on a stress die but then a single 1 on a stress die undoing everything.  They understood it but just had a tough time accepting it.  Need more ways to reduce stress?
Sounds like a good game, but your experience here sounds like co-host Dave’s first playtest. I just want to clarify. A single one on a stress die does not automatically cancel all successes. The successes are only cancelled if you roll a ten or more on the subsequent panic roll (results of ten or higher dictate an action you must take, which cancels out your intended action).
Dave’s first playtest too suffered from “panic”cascades”, but subsequently, players learned to better manage their stress. Splitting the party and finding places to rest are useful tactics. 
Effekt - A fan podcast celebrating Swedish RPGs including, but not limited to: Alien; Coriolis; Forbidden Lands; Symbaroum; and Tales from the Loop. Featuring discussion magazine episodes and Actual Play recordings. https://effektpodcast.org/
 
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aramis
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Location: Oregon, USA
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Re: Who's gotten it to table so far?

Sun 07 Jul 2019, 09:21

Note that panic check results  of 10+ mandate an action; that action replaces the action originally attempted.  (A 10 mandates standing there stupidly for a full stealth turn or until hit.) So, for example, 11 seek cover, the character just converts those 5 successes into a dive into cover.... describe appropriately the move to cover.

I missed the bit about replacement panic being no lower than the old one plus 1.

Note that a few reduce your stress but increase others' stress.
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mahughes
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Re: Who's gotten it to table so far?

Sun 07 Jul 2019, 16:24

So my gaming group and I got this wonderful game to the table yesterday for a playtest session if you will. Overall session was around 5 hours long and we made it through Acts I and II. We are a rather experienced group of roleplayers with several years and tons of different games under our belts so we were very eager to take a stab at Alien to see how it played out on the tabletop. I must say mechanically it played really well. A few rules errors were made by me (GM) but I expect to make a few anytime I run a new system.
The number one thing that stood out about this game for the players and myself was the Stress mechanic, we absolutely loved the tension that it built during play. At one point during actual game play one of the players was getting so anxious he had to step outside for a few minutes to catch his breath. Roleplaying at its finest right there.
The only complaints we really had were the consumables rolls seemed a bit odd. For example, a player carrying the motion tracker rolled power consumable and had 3 ones on the roll so immediately the power of the motion tracker went from 5 to 2 in one use. On the other hand we had a player roll for air consumable in her EV suit a number of times and never got a 1 so it seemed as if her air supply was infinite.
In addition we think there should be a mechanic in place to track ammunition more realistically than what is given. But that is probably a rule I can house rule and fix myself.
I also changed the android from Lucas to Linda as I chose to make it a female instead of a male character, especially since there are only two male characters as PCs on the Montero.
Overall at the end of the session I asked everyone to rate their game experience on a scale of 1 to 5 and the results were: out of 4 players - 4.5, 4, 4.5, 5. To me that speaks volumes about the quality of this product. Looking forward to the future of this game and many future sessions. Keep up the good work Free League.
 
herr_phil
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Re: Who's gotten it to table so far?

Sun 07 Jul 2019, 16:26

Ahh, I must have blended the pushing rolls with regular panic rolls.  The panic table stuff still should be addressed to prevent the cascading trouble, or maybe other ways to reduce stress?
 
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aramis
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Re: Who's gotten it to table so far?

Sun 07 Jul 2019, 21:21

Ahh, I must have blended the pushing rolls with regular panic rolls.  The panic table stuff still should be addressed to prevent the cascading trouble, or maybe other ways to reduce stress?
Cascading panic is realistic and thematic...
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jacob
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Re: Who's gotten it to table so far?

Mon 08 Jul 2019, 19:26

Cascading panic is realistic and thematic...
One of my favorite scenes in the game I ran was a character trying to read a medical log with Comtech (mentioned in a post above). he succeeded AND paniced so reasoned it was because the log was so horrific. He decided to 'hide' in the nearby science lab; (he wasn't running from actual danger but from the imagery he saw). 

Unfortunately the lab itself was horrific and so he turned panicked AGAIN. It wasn't 'by the book' per se but I figured his hide attempt had failed (NOT SAFE NOT SAFE).

This time he started running through the halls of the ship screaming, forcing the party to tackle him. 

Which caused the tackling character to panic and start shaking uncontrollably.

So we had two characters huddled in a hallway, one trying to run away, the other clinging to him, shaking and sobbing. 

That's when the first abomination showed up too...

Fun was had by all.
 
Toneturbo
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Re: Who's gotten it to table so far?

Thu 11 Jul 2019, 05:31

I have two different groups playing it right now.  Both groups took about 3.5 to finish Act 1.  All of my players are very experienced role players and have played several other systems over the years.

The rules are easy to learn and explain.  That part doesn't take long.  Describing the setting takes a little more time.

Both of my groups have a number of players that either haven't seen most (or even one) of the Alien movies, and/or, it has been a long time since they did see them.  So a portion of our time after talking about the rules is detailing the world, how things work, who's who, and explaining the basic relationships of the crew.

Once some of the "technical' stuff has been established, I start the story.  I let each player learn and do what they want (more or less) at their own pace.  When it look like it might start to bog down a bit, or it's time to move the story forward, I do another event.  Additionally, by always encouraging the players to follow their agendas, the Player vs Player interactions start right away.  Good stuff!  I love it!  The more banter between players the better!

I also take a bit more time because I don't want the players to feel like they are on a rail, so I let them investigate freely, and discover events as they encounter them (or when I want to spice it up).  It a slightly slower approach, but the players really start to care for their characters, and want to know what is going on in the story.  This scenario does a great job of maintaining curiosity and tension at the same time.  While we ended-up doing most of the events in Act 1, we ended up doing a few of the Act 2 events during Act 1 as well.

Both of my groups want to continue playing because it is a fun game/system, and they also want to see what happens to their characters.  I'm thinking it won't take as long to get through each of the next two Acts as it did for the first one.  Hopefully, I will find out soon (in the next couple of weeks).  I'm working on running two more groups once I get at least one of the current sessions completed.
 
hibishop
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Re: Who's gotten it to table so far?

Thu 11 Jul 2019, 19:04

I'm running the Chariot of the Gods scenario in three parts over the next three consecutive week.  Part One (Act I) is tomorrow. 
  • I turned Lucas into an already revealed, playable character from the start, so I have 6 pre-generated PC choices.
  • For gear management, I've consolidated all the Montero gear (rules/stats and all possibly available reloads) onto a single handout.  I've done the same for Cronus gear.
  • I have handouts for Critical Injuries - Human, Critical Injuries - Synthetic, and Panic Roll.
  • I'm in charge of the ship floor plans and any miscellaneous tokens.  I may need to do a little bit more towards Xeno management, but that won't become a problem until Acts II & III.
I've also tweaked some of the characters, their talents and gear.  I'll report back periodically on how it all turns out.
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