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Tachyon Squadron $12.00 $8.04
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Tachyon Squadron
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Tachyon Squadron
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Jeff P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/26/2019 11:33:32

'Tachyon Squadron' is a setting for the Fate Core system. If you aren't familiar with Fate Core, you probably should be-- it's one of the easiest, fastest-playing, most versatile systems out there. If you already play Fate Core, you know what a fantastic system it is, and you should check out 'Tachyon Squadron,' too, especially if you grew up loving the tropes of rebellious hotshot pilots from TV shows like "Baa Baa Black Sheep" or "Battlestar Galactica" or films like "Top Gun" or even "Star Wars."

And man oh man does this rules set capture those tropes! There are a lot of tweaks from the default Fate rules set, and they all work together magnificently to facilitate a roleplaying game about the fighter pilot genre.

First off, character creation is slightly modified from standard Fate Core, using a streamlined skill and attribute set, but the biggest change is in the use of a 'decompression' Aspect. If you're already familiar with the Fate system, you need no introduction to Aspects, but for everyone else, we're talking about short descriptors of your character which define his or her personality and have an in-game effect during play. In 'Tachyon Squadron,' players have healthy and unhealthy means of decompressing, or dealing with the stress of constant stressful missions. One character might decompress in a healthy manner by spending quality family time with her husband and kids, but decompress in an unhealthy manner by drinking a bit too much on weekends. Another character might get healthy decompression working out between missions, but decompress in an unhealthy manner by raging and getting into fights with anyone who crosses him.

Another minor innovation is the ability to 'minimize' or 'maximize' an individual die in the Fate dice pool. While the rules for minimizing or maximizing die rolls seemed a little gimmicky to me upon first read, in actual play the system works swimmingly, allowing players to 'stack the deck' a bit by playing to their strengths. In other words, this mechanic allows players to think tactically and make strategic decisions during gameplay, splendidly setting the mood for dogfighting ship-to-ship combat.

And that last bit is where 'Tachyon Squadron' really shines-- dogfights. In a game about pilots and the fighter craft that they fly, you obviously need a great system for dogfights, and 'Tachyon Squadron' manages to raise the bar here. Using a pretty simple zone system, author Clark Valentine created a really nifty mini-game within the game, where events are completely random and chaotic, yet players can make tactical decisions to gain the upper hand. This system is now my go-to for starfighter combat in any game; it really is THAT good.

Fate Core is a great roleplaying game because it plays fast and easy at the table, but still has a lot of gears and levers that GM's can adjust to change the way things work and feel during play. 'Tachyon Squadron' is a prime example of how those settings can be adjusted to create something new and innovative. If you're like me and your toes curl at the thought of playing a hotshot pilot in a game of starfighting combat, you're really missing the boat if you aren't playing this game!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tachyon Squadron
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Michael F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/11/2019 05:44:56

Layout was great. New fighter rules look fun and engaging (and adaptable so when I get around to kitbashing Crimsion skies and fate using this) chracter creation easy and again adaptable. World is basically open with a few settings but no major spoiler arcs so you can make it whatever story you want. (its basically a supported "mercenery" unit like the Flying tigers in Earth history but if you want to do more hard mercenery (piolt has to pay for repairs consumables himself) Like Area 88 not much change is needed would have liked to see more about the enemies but cannot say it was really needed.only one other thing i thought was missing so I will put it here
An Irish Airman Foresees His Death W. B. Yeats, 1865 - 1939 I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross, My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public man, nor cheering crowds, A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind In balance with this life, this death. although in my head while reading this i kept changing it to "somewhere among the stars above"

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tachyon Squadron
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Geoffrey S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/24/2018 04:59:12

This is a read review of the pdf, which I kickstarted. Disclaimer : I translated some past FATE products from Evil Hat, in French.

Summary :

A nice product, with some strong parts (system for fighter space fights, new rules…) and some very weak points (world building). A must have if you want to play star fighter pilots. If you want a full fleshed space opera Fate game, I think you may still use it for fighter rules.

Content description : It starts with some general information about the world of Tachyon Squadron, and what are the difference with regular Fate.

Second main part is character creation. There are several good things here, for example the Decompression Aspect. Pity the precise rule is not explained from start and you have to wait for 80 pages to understand it fully. Theres is not even a direct link to the rule. Another good thing is the Gear Stunts rules which I appreciate : it helps maximize rolls, instead of a static bonus, and you have as much of them as you want, allowing PC to stack equipments. Can probably be used on other Fate games gear heavy, like Transhumanity Fate.

Then engagement rules. Its it 47 pages long, the biggest chunk of the book. It is a bit more crunchy than your average Fate, but not that much and gives players and GM plenty of options to represent spatial fights. Extended exemples provide good insights on this sub system. It ends with a 6 pages details on aerial fighter terminology, maneuvers and so on. A very good bit ! The only lacking point is a capital ship against capital ship rule, probably excluded out of complexity and lack of space.

After that you have some data one the Tahcyonverse, 13 pages long. It has some interesting story seeds but not much else. It tries to give some general background information about the Draconic system, a secessionist system from a imperialistic Dominion, which was at war with the Terran centric, democratic-in-words Republic supporting the secessionist. A handful of places in the system are described, quite generic.

Next part deals with pilots life, on missions and off-duty. Only 9 pages long, it gives some good examples of Players activities, with mechanical effects.

GMing : 13 pages on how to build and run an interesting militray campaign, and spatial encounters . Ships : 19 pages, with small and large ships, military and civilian. Pretty standard in here. People of interest : 6 pages. Pregenerated characters : 11 pages 2 scenarios : 13 pages, one against pirates, one against the big bad empire. Quick reference sheet, PC Starfighter sheet, and a blanck PC sheet

Art : good, without much else. It is done in a comic tone, but may have benefitted from a darker tone, to fit the theme.

Layout : if you know a the Fate worlds product line, you will be right at home here.

What I liked :

  • Unified stress rules. Stress disappears when the PC take actions to relieve it. It may push the boundaries of plausabilitiy but it may be interesting from a story perspective. GM has to be careful about PC exposition, since it may end with one player taking all light on systemic bar brawls.
  • gear stunt rule : this one was missing for games where stacking equipment is a part of the setting. It is pretty simple and intelligent
  • Engagements rules : already described . It may even stand as a mini spatial game, on par with some board game.

Could have been even better with :

  • capital ships rules. 'Cause if the PCs have to protect a warship it has to be used on something, like the bad guy capital ship / station / you name it…
  • better world buidling. The conflict is pretty uninteresting and mostly incoherent. You have to defend a Macguffin state from big mustache baddies with some support from small mustach no-as-baddies. You fight here because you believe in the cause, but it quite unclear why the Draconic state is much better at anything than the Dominion. How it got ride of it in the first place anyway ? Without any serious military power, it is unclear how it has not been crushed right from the start by the Dominion. NPC described are mostly monodimensional but it fits the genre. The biggest lack is the absence of handful of baddies : the GM has to build them from scratch ; it could have been great to have two admirals / officers, and a roster of four / five antagonist pilots to give more personality at the opposition and some NPC aspects for the GM to throw Fate Points at them. Crap, the GMing tips even advice you to do so, but prefer to spend 11 pages on pregenerated PC. In all honesty, the pregen PC could be used for this, but you have to tweak them.
  • broader focus. The game is meant for playing spatial fighter pilots in a mercenary unit. With almost two hundred pages and 12 dollars later, it delivers but you are not going anywhere else, unless you do some heavy work of background writing, and rules hacking from an Evil Hat toolkit or from another game, like Diaspora.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
Tachyon Squadron
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/16/2018 23:59:46

BLUF: It is a good supplement. Not exceptional. Space Opera/Military Sci-Fi mash-up...maybe.

Good. You can always use a scyfy military game. I loved BSG and Space Above and Beyond so this is right up my alley. I love Military Sci-Fi, such as the Fleet series. The tropes put forward in this title are to be expected based on the bibliography in the back of the book.

I like the new mechanics presented in this book. They include a new engagement process to conflict for Dogfighting that I really like. It puts tactics in there as more than a place holder. I used to read all the stories of fighter combat in WWI, WWII, and Korean War. This is faithful and not complicated, and really captures the excitement of aerial combat. (It even has a copy of Boelke's Dicta!) Stress for PCs is handled differently. For those familiar with Fate you will immediatly recognize the simplified use of the stress track common to NPCs in the regular game. (I don't think the change was necessary as someone that has played Fate for years now) Character creation supports building PCs that are aerial gunslingers. You can almost feel the swagger. As for Aspects the new addition to the mix is "Decompression" it takes the place of a Trouble. You have a healthy and an unhealthy way to decompress from the stress of being a fighter pilot. Of course these provide you with great plot hooks. You have a different way to approach Stunts. You have familiar Personal Stunts (2 free the rest cost refresh) and Gear Stunts which are not like Extras! Gear stunts allow you to "Maximize" your dice. Say you have a peice of gear that gives you technical advice when you roll 4dF you can change one of the dice from a 0 or - to a +. You can do this for a max of two dice per roll using two different pieces of gear. I love this mechanic. It is crunchier than normal and makes gear helpful but not overpowering. (You can have as many pieces of gear as the GM allows)

Not so good. I miss the Tazio Bettin and Enrica Eren Angiolini art that came with the old Fate books. This is of course a personal observation. To me the art in this book is simplistic and a bit muddled. I don't feel that there is the art that evokes the look and feel of a fighter or spaceship. The nose art on fighters is a thing in the campaign.It is mentioned specifically but the examples shown just seem way out of touch with real nose art. There are a plethora of examples of real nose art (and fanciful nose art) on the interwebs use that (and it makes me wonder if the artist even tried to do the same). I am also disappointed in the choice to use bizarre personal pronouns. Referring to an individual as "they" in character descriptions is disruptive to the reader. I lost count of the number of paragraphs I had to reread b/c someone couldn't just say him/he/her/she. I also find it disconcerting that the authors thought it was necessary to add in the sexual orientations and attitudes of the pregen PCs. Of the 6 PCs we have two people who are gay, one transgendered, one asexual (?!?), one that sleeps around so much they don't recognize past partners, and finally one that used to have a partner of the opposite sex (but not anymore). Not one happily married heterosexual? Why? I don't know! We also have two religions represented, Islam and Hindu. Where are the Buddists and the Christians? If you have political correctness tendencies please keep them to yourself. This is a game. Not your soap box. This isn't the first time I have disagreed with a personal ideology being given prominent place in an Evil Hat product. We have enough division over sexuality, political ideology, and religion in this world we don't need more in the gaming community. Rein it in. Please make games, not statements.

If you don't mind (or approve of) political correctness with you games and you love Space Opera space combat you will love this unabashedly. If you don't want to have someone pushing their ideology on you, you will need to ignore the political correctness schtick to get at the meat of the game. For me this is an acceptable attempt at a Space Opera game. It also captures the excitement and panache of aerial combat without ignoring the tactical side. Without the PC stuff I'd have given this 5 stars.

If I were sitting at a table with friends I would "x-card" these topics.

EDIT: You are part of the Draconis Volunteer Group or DVG. Given the situation and the obvious similarities I am very surprised that the history of the American Volunteer Group (AVG) or Flying Tigers isn't mentioned at all.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
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