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I’ve been looking at the rules more closely, and it’s turned out to be a considerably more granular, nitty-gritty, RPG-lite kind of ruleset than I had expected, much like Dan said. For instance: all figures have wound locations (torso, legs, arms, head) with different wound effects; there are a lot of combat modifers (nearly 50 in all, counting both ranged combat and melee modifiers); a lot of weapons and armour types with various special rules; figures can perform multiple actions per turn and there are a lot of actions available to perform, many of them quite granular (to give you one of the more extreme examples, priming a grenade is one action, throwing it is another); there are several character states (wounded, stressed, pinned, knocked prone, weapon dropped, etc) that require keeping track of; and a LOT of character traits such as skills, weapon upgrades and cybernetic enhancements.

There are some other interesting aspects to the rules. There’s what appears to be a very dynamic action/reaction system that involves “gambling” with your initiative to perform as many actions as possible without losing that initiative to the other player. As yet I have no idea how well this plays – no way to know until I’ve had a few games in (which probably won’t be soon). The mission generation system looks fun, but it’s the sort of thing that’s been done often before: You roll on one table for mission type, another table for location, and a third table for complicating circumstances. Or you just select without rolling, because obviously most players won’t have the available terrain for all location types. The faction and character building rules look fun as well, or at least, the process of building factions and characters looks fun in and of itself (if potentially time-consuming), although what with all the character traits and tactical disciplines (the latter being traits that apply to the entire faction) gameplay itself may become rather complex.

It seems that in a typical game, every figure is a unique character. Similarly, every faction has a theme of its own, such as Bounty Hunters, Star Cops, Merchants, Psionics (the Force is strong with these ones… ) and so on. The rules say a faction must be 4-6 characters, so unless house rules are used, it’s not the sort of game where there’s much in the way of “cannon fodder” or “mooks”. I might want to modify that last bit, myself. At least there’s some sort of provisions in there for making some characters be “worth more” than others, so they don’t all have to be equally capable.

Overall, I’d say that Rogue Stars is even more granular than the old Rattrap Productions rulesets (.45 Adventure, Gloire, Fantastic Worlds and Broadsword Adventures) that I used to play a lot, and those were plenty granular. Definitely not a ruleset for everyone. For my part, I’m going to hang in there and give it a try – as I said, it’s not my first time playing complex RPG-lite games like this. I probably won’t go all in for it, though. There are times when I’ll want to use the same figures for a simpler, quicker game, and for that I’ll turn to other rulesets written with the same general theme in mind, like Clash on the Fringe, Starport Scum, 5150 or possibly Void Pirates depending on what that turns out to be like.