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Tachyon Squadron $12.00 $8.04
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!]
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Tachyon Squadron
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