Why Beam Saber is it a great product to play the typical stories of Gundam? And why is it worth analyzing his kickstarter?
I like it Gundam, and I've always been looking for a role-playing game that would allow you to tell a similar story. A history of war, of people involved in spite of themselves who may or may not survive. A story of how people change (or get worse) when faced with difficulties.
And possibly a story also with i wick. Of the various types of wick we also talked here .
The RPG landscape is so vast and rich that, I said to myself, "there will certainly be a game that does exactly that!" And I'm sure everyone has their own proposal on the right way to do it. "Use the FATE System!" My web contacts said. "USA Not the End! " Said the wallet that had just made the pledge. "USA Savage Worlds! " Someone said from behind a bush.
All valid options if you have the right combination of time, game design and slams. Unfortunately, I missed all these things (even though I had considered hacking Nightwitches, by Jason Morningstar, to simulate the One Year War). I therefore preferred to wait for that in mare magnum of role-play authors someone did the job for me.
That someone is Austin Ramsay. Who drew up a forged in the dark that is called Beam Saber (very easy call for Gundam fans), of which you find the kickstarter here .
Il forged in the dark for playing Gundam: strengths and weaknesses of Beam Saber
DISCLAIMER I: I do not pretend to say that the forged in the dark is the best way to play Gundam, for playing wick or to play a war story. Anyone who claims that there is a better way to play anything is a victim of Morgoth's fallacy *. Each person, and each group of people, responds differently to games and situations. So, the reasons why a fantasy crime campaign gets better with me Blades in The Dark that with D&D 3.5 (!!!) need not necessarily apply to everyone.
DISCLAIMER II: Beam Saber it is not an official game on Gundam, is not sponsored by Bandai and the quotes a Gundam they are limited to the bibliography and the title.
Having said that, there are many games that talk about war and do it in a very narrative way, with a focus on both the war itself and those who fight it. And there are many games they speak of wick, and they often do this by going too far into mechanical detail, transforming themselves into table pvp simulators. Personally, for that kind of experience wick I prefer video games, where the detail is managed by a computing capacity higher than that of any master.
The system Blades in the Dark well combines my needs for a game with crunch with mechanics that push the history and evolution of the characters. It is not a perfect system, and at times it risks becoming too mechanical if you do not take the necessary pause to insert del free play between one scene and another.
The characters and their booklets
In the present case, in Beam Saber players will play a group involved in a galactic war. The war between different factions has always been going on and the characters find themselves involved despite themselves. The characters are part of one team, and are equipped with vehicles proper: depending on the tone you want to give it, it can be space hunting, wick or vehicles on wheels. Mission after mission, the characters will have the opportunity to grow, shatter, empower their team with upgrade various and achieve group and personal goals.
There will be several booklets for the various characters and their vehicles, with upgrades and color elements to select. Particular note: in the creation of the character you must also define thetraumatic event which will lead the character to be involved in the war, a sign that for none of the PCs it was a good time.
Perhaps too much adherence to the regulation of Blades in the Dark?
For the rest the game takes full hands from Blades in the Dark, so dice rolls, missions, and advancements work the same way. Maybe there will be some distinctive element which will emerge better in the final draft of the manual.
Anyway, since quickstart it is clear that the game is written for the most part, without leaving too much of the basic manual Blades in the Dark. In my opinion they wanted to keep too much of the structure, creating for example teams and drivers that are not very playable or that have little to do with the theme.
The stories that inspire Beam Saber
The main sources of inspiration for the stories that can be played are: The Black Company, Macross, Escaflowne, Armored Trooper Votoms and of course the franchise of Gundam.
In this case, the author quotes the classic series and more mature products as: The 8th MS Team, War in the Pocket e Iron Blooded Orphans. Having said that, personally I found myself definitely in tune with the tastes of the author (I am one of those who do not like newtype). Mention also to Generation Kill, appreciated miniseries on the lives of soldiers during the war in Iraq.
A kickstarter based on better paying your collaborators
Austin Ramsay's project is also interesting for the way the Kickstarter was managed. In fact, fully supporting the unionization of Kickstarter workers, the author decided to hitting all stretch goals in paying better for their collaborators, going so far as to increase their wages by + 150%!
In my opinion this is a relatively new thing for the world of Kickstarter, but disavow me if I'm wrong. But usually stretch goals have always been used to improve the product, to make it more attractive and inclusive of everything. Other times they have been used to have the complete product, setting a very low goal and adding all the things that would have made the game worthy of the name (illustrations in a decent number, colors, layout, color notes).
Instead for Ramsay and his team (who took care to present indicating reference pronouns) the threshold for reaching Beam Saber it is high (24.000 Canadian dollars), but the product is already final. All the rest, therefore, is to reward his collaborators.
Beam Saber and the use of Kickstarter
I personally appreciated this intention, and I think it should be rewarded. It goes against the trend compared to how KS is used today, but it's nice to see these signs. In some ways, it is very reminiscent of the crowdfunding of Dura Landes, which also had a high achievement threshold for a complete product aimed at the correct payment of all workers.
Almost two weeks to the end of KS, Beam Saber has achieved its goal of completion, but still no stretch goals, certainly something to think about. We are probably too used to thinking of crowdfunding as a shop to have products in advance instead of what was originally: a way to find funders for the realization of projects. Too much attention on the sale of a product and little, now, on the path that leads to make it. It's capitalism, baby!
* For which it is typical of the wicked to think that everyone acts according to their mental patterns.