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Robotech: The Macross Saga Roleplaying Game
Publisher: Strange Machine Games
by Justin G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/26/2019 15:02:48

Robotech: a fantastic sci-fi universe that presents that is wide in presenting and telling stories of humans. depicting hope, loss, love, war its rife with oppurtunities and stories to be explored and told.

while the franchise has experienced trouble in the past, and the RPG was not well treated by Paladium which was restrictive, difficult and confusing its now in a much better place with SMG.

the game is focussed primarily on giving tools to players and GM's to craft narratives and its rule set is deceptively simple with many nuiances influenced by player choice and in game situation. a high level of player freedom exists in the setting with the way its rules work but the system does a good job of guiding players. additionally, the system provides additional rules for those who want to tell different kinds of stories. simulation rules for those who want to focus much more to attention to detail and military operation, narrative rules for those who want to focus more on roleplay and high lethality for those who want to represent the dangers and horrors of interstellar war. its all about giving tools for telling the type of story you want to tell, so keep that in mind.

the system uses AD6 which is all about creating pools of dice (D6's to be exact) from your values associated with your skills to make actions. the pool size is capped by burnout which prevents pools from growing to large without using equipement that gives you extra dice for certain actions that don't count towards burn out. in this way you are not throwing around huge amounts of dice which may help appease those who are not fans of dice pool systems. additionally all sorts of modifiers can of course be placed to influence what numbers score successes.

character building is fast easy and fluid with a great deal of customisation. while you have your choice of the usual suspects from which to build your character, these really provide a base from where to expand and craft the character you want. the great part of how the systems skills functions, is that you are not restricted. a player should never be left out and not able to do something, meaning you don't need a balanced party with one player for every archetype because of the freedom afforded players. and the fact the system places those who can't do something at a disadvantage instead of just road blocking them like in Palladium. one of the primary parts of character creation to be aware of that can slip past you on first read is the importance of your element which indicates situtations for which you have been trained and experienced in operating which can impose benefits and hinderances depending on the game situation.

part of what makes the system so acessible and forgiving is the skills are umbrella skills. they are not set in stone but rather used by a player to creativley construct actions. this freedom of skill use can be overwhelming at first with the level of player freedom and vagueness at initial glance but the system helps guide players by giving each skill, while general in use, typicaly has a cost and a benefit that it achives while showing multiple examples of using a skill in different ways and situations along with guides on what actions players are trying to make to guide the creative freeom the player has in expressing how a character is doing something. in justifying and explaining how they are using those skills. this also means that a creative enough party will never get stuck in a situation where they can't do something without someone who has a certain skill unless they've run out of ideas.

combat and skills work the same way with enemies and challanges being presented as conflicts. the most difficult of these to wrao your head around is swarms and bosses. simply, a boss is less of a boss and more a normal enemy with stats as presented in the book. they have full use and access to their skills and equipment and have varying tiers and represent a normal kind of enemy seen in other RPG's. swarms are easy to track large groups that remove some of the ednurance and book keeping seen with smaller numbers of boss conflicts in exhcange for large groups that are very deadly but go down quickly. really, each of the conflicts is set up to give you choices of picking whats best for the story you are crafting.

the real difficulty and confusing part of an encounter that GM's will have to be hyper sensative to is the communcation round in which players plan their turn and then are given one chance each to go around and clarify said plan. essentially setting their own initative order as everything technically happens at the same time but there are optional rules for that. the difficulty is determing if players can actually communicate with each others characters and how much time to give them. you are not exactly guided on how to do this so it comes down to the GM to impose their will.

finally, damage cascade is perhaps the killer thing in the system. by combinnig and stacking successes in attacking, light weapons can hurt mechs, and mechs can hurt naval ships. this means players can take on bigger fish then themself and its not complete suicide to take on enemies without vehicles. this is great for players who want to take advantures to later gens or run different kinds of stories. especially compared to Paladium systems where MD did so much regular damage that it was suicide and damaging back with light weapons was pointless. here damage cascade allows players to overcome big scary challanges together (thats not say as a regular human you want to be shot with Mecha damage weapons. that will still kill but at least you can hurt them back). there is a lot more on the combat and its has many cool parts to it. it can be hard to wrap around at first but after re-reading and adjusting its simple yet deep.

finally the book itself is beautiful. high quality art and detailed lore sections outlining the entire Macros saga and parts of its background.

Overall, the game is built to flow well and be easy to get into but it has the crunch to allow exploration and provides all the tools for crafting whatever kind of RPG experience you want. make a horror advanture that takes advantage of the stress and drama systems as well as mental breaks. create a survival adventure where team working and communication are key. run a high lethal war story following a squad of pilots or a deadly military espionage and intrigue story with spies and entertainers to cause great ruses. thats what the book does best. all the tools you can need that are simple enough but with lots of depth and player freedom for interacting in the story. 4.5/5. as nothing is perfect and some concepts need time for those used to other systems to adapt given the systems on vagueness intended to allow creativity with less then literal meaning and rules and more figurative concepts to work into the solid rule set.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Robotech: The Macross Saga Roleplaying Game
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Creator Reply:
Wow, one of the most in depth reviews I've ever seen. Thanks! Jeff
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