Do you like narrative story telling?
Do you like elegant resolution systems that allow the mechanics to follow the fiction?
Do you like drama and giant transforming robots?
How about gorgous art? Everyone loves gorgeous art.
This book has all of that and more.
In many ways Robotech was my childhood. While others were playing GI Joe and Transformers all I wanted was to color my hair blue and be a Veritech pilot. Well, my hair IS blue now (yay for being an adult) and with this new iteration of Robotech rpg rules I can finally be the Veritech Pilot I always wanted to be.
Unlike the previous licnese holders Palladium, SMG Games has put a premium in their mechanics on form following fiction. As, rather than a dense, almost internicene mechanical structure, a simple D6 pool rules the day.
Pick two skills, gather up some dice, and roll. Split those successes between your two actions each turn and boom, turn is done. And this is the thing, to get the feeling of robotech, the action needs to be driven by the narrative, not by artifical (and arguably meaningless) mechanical constraints. Robotech's skill and dice pool system does this wonderfully. With an open skill mechanic where those skills act more as descriptions of actions, rather than hard and fast THINGS YOU DO(tm) you can dictate the narrative focus of your character by rolling say "Cover your buddy" and "Ambush Tactics" to get the drop on a swarm of battle pods, or "Flash Move" and "I Can Fix It" to quickly repair a critical system on your ship. In otherwords, the skills empower your creativity rather than limiting the scope to a single action type.
Combat too, resolves relatively quickly with an innovative system of escalating action (beats), swarms and leaders with which to cinematically challenge your players. While I won't go into all the details here, the nuts and bolts are a simple trade off system where attack successes are blocked by armor and defense successes, and then trade for hit points on a 1 for 1 basis. With the use of equipment, heroic moves, and helping actions from players, those pools are modified and all in all it makes for a quick and satisfying resolultion system where my mini-missiles can indeed shoot down your mini-missles.
Lastly, let's talk about the art shall we? Franscico Etchart does an amazing job recreating many of the iconic scenes and people from the original Robotech series with updated art that's pleasing to the modern eye. Having just done a rewatch of the original series as research for my new capaign, I can say the art is faithful, but polished in a way that is, at it's best, stunning. And it's not just recreations of some of the seminal scenes from the show, but TONS of new art of ships, the key players and more that make the book a feast for the eyes. I can't underscore this enough, even if you just simply love the aesthetic of Robotech, and aren't much of a role player this game is worth it as an art book.
My primary complaint is in the book's structure. And it's a complaint I have with most books - After the first intro section where we get the basic feel, definitions and setting information I want all my rules in one place. Like many games (I'm looking at you WOTC) the flipping back and forth to find things is in full effect. But don't let that dissuade you from purchasing the game, which you TOTALLY SHOULD.
Robotech is more than a nostalga trip for us Gen X'ers and Xennials. It's a robust storytelling system that will allow you to fill your games with drama, conflict and creativity. That this isn't a Mithril Best Seller yet hurts my soul. Get it today.