Thursday, December 10, 2015
Retrostar -- now you too can experience 70's Sci-Fi Cinema Role Playing
Retrostar is a great game, and you must buy it.
Okay, okay some qualifiers: it's a great emulator of 70's style cinematic sci-fi. If you are part of that special culture of older SF fans and gamers who can claim to have experienced the 70's then Retrostar is going to speak a language you forgot you knew. In many ways it does for SF gaming what Dungeon Crawl Classics did for fantasy: it drags a unique decade of flavor back to the forefront and shows you how it's aged into a fine, unique vintage over the last 35-odd years.
I'm still absorbing the book, but it's a very minimalist rules system designed to capture the flavor of the cinematic adventures of Buck Rogers, Space 1999, Land of the Lost and countless other 70's-era science fiction shows I either never knew existed or always wanted to watch when I was a kid but couldn't find (I can't say I wasn't allowed to....my parents let me watch pretty much anything back then! But I grew up on a ranch in Arizona, and television was very limited, so finding an SF show to watch was a monumental experience).
A character in Retrostar has three stats: Adventure, Thought and Drama. Other defining traits include background, casting, plot and cheese....yes, this is basically aimed at a hardcore emulation of the subgenre of 70's films in all their glory. The dice mechanic is really simple, and aims at representing what a character can do in the framework of a scene; imagine it being like a game which lets you roll up working scripts in collaboration with a pool of other hack TV writers and you get the idea.
The art is good, and evocative of the era (bell bottoms? check). The book is filled with interesting content, and if you're in the least bit in to vintage SF from that era it's worth reading for the research interest alone. In fact if you value your gamebooks on their readability then this is a must-have.
I'll post more soon about how the system works but for now, go to the website to check out the free Lightspeed version.