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Outbreak: Deep Space

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Average Rating:3.9 / 5
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Outbreak: Deep Space
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Outbreak: Deep Space
Publisher: Hunters Entertainment
by James J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/16/2017 18:28:37

I have to give this 2 stars. I have been running games 40 years. literally all genres. At first I didn't understand it. A solid two weeks of reading it, plus questions to the team at the publisher's site, who were very helpful, multiple times, cleared up a lot of it for me.

Then once I understood it, It became a case of other systems do the exact same thing, easier. There are some nice bright spots in the rules but almost all of it is a system that simulates survival in space, but does so in a way that delves unneccessarily into minutiae, and uses mechanics that do not reflect reality or simplicity.

Literally, you get what they say... A toolkit for skills, abilities, and disadvantages, no setting. So it is an open world, create what you want, on a blank canvas. Okay great, but the details of the tools given to do that are just so complex, so full of jargon and abbbreviation, so densely written, without enough page references, it COULD be run, but unless you scrap half the book, running it as written is going to be very unnecessarily difficult.

There are spots in the rules for credits. From flat broke to 10,000 as a rich person. No cost charts. When queried, the response from the authors was, costs will vary across different campaigns. decide what things cost yourself.

If you want to design gear, you design it yourself, except for a few small page s of examples usimng their "Kit" system.

If you want planets, design it yourself, there are no rules for planets. I defaulted to using Traveller, to design planets for the campaign I planned to run.

If you want spaceships, there are no design rules for spaceships, other than a ship has locations, like Medbay, or Engine room, which usually is used as a force multiplier for a skill check or as resource points for gear. There are no rules for ship to ship combat. There are no rules for interstellar Travel. It is all design it yourself.

There are no rules for costs or costs of ships, or gear. "All of it will vary by campaign, so we left it up to the referee."

The art is amazingly wonderful.

If you have the time and desire, you could take a few weeks, and design things...using the Kit system to add "Descriptors" to an item, like... Gun, Rifle, Flashlight, Supressor, Auto-Fire, Scope. Each one of those things evokes like a Tag from a game like Fate, to give you a skill bonus.. if you have the relevant Skill to use that item's Tag.

This would be best used to run a game like Aliens or Pitch black or some similar shoot em up in space, but be prepared to create 90% of what you will use for your game.

The Mechanics are extremely difficult to grasp, and badly explained. Again, Jargon everywhere. Things like Encounter Check are abbreviated E%. Descriptor level, which is a measure of Tags, which add multipliers are DLv.

The character sheet is super complex. It has places where skills are calculated you have a box for the toal, but those formulas are not on the sheet, they are inside the book in the text descriptions of each skill.

The book text is hampered in grasping concepts for skills because of abbreviations, making it a foreign language check every few sentences.

The system does not flow, it is like jugglimng baslls of air to figure out how to generate a character with no foundation or grounding.

In actual play, you do not drink from a canteen, and mark it off, you have a system that has 5 points of water to be depleted. you might get one drink, you might get up to 5 drinks, it depends on making a roll of "5" on a d6 for the first drink. For the second drink, that's 2d6, on a 5 or more it is depleted. thrid drink 3d6. So literally you are tracking Individual drinks of water by dice roll, not knowing if you are emptying the canteen or not until you make the roll.

That kind of "micro-management by guessing" minutiae pervades the whole system. The attempt was to "Not have to worry about marking stuff off on a sheet minutiae, replaced by this die roll system to "add tension as befits horror, you do not know when you will run out of ammo, or food or water, or bandages."

What it added was Tension Headache over a few weeks of digging through to figure all of this out.

Forgive me, but if I have three bandages, and I use one, I got two left. that is pretty much kindergarten mathematics of resource management, done by 5 year old hands, not needing a calculator or dice.

People have run this at conventions, by scrapping a lot of the mechanics, and it was reported to be great. it was also reported to be worst Sci fi RPG ever made.

It has it's bright points, but for me, it was unworkable, needlessly complex, and a bear to understand.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Outbreak: Deep Space
Publisher: Hunters Entertainment
by Dane K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/24/2015 04:12:23

Since the update actually went through I've been playing Outbreak quite often with my friends. It's a damn solid title. I would also like to apologize to the publisher for the giant delay in removing my original negative comment/rating, between work and school it simply slipped through the cracks.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Outbreak: Deep Space
Publisher: Hunters Entertainment
by Moritz K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/28/2014 16:56:38

Let me say right away that I feel pretty let down by this book. I'll tell you why soon, but first let me list the good things about it:

1) Art. As to be seen by the cover art, this book boasts some beautiful illustrations.

2) Adaptability. With Outbreak: Deep Space you can create gaming nights with a wide variety of theme, going from the movie "Alien" to "Starship Troopers" and beyond.

3) Setting. This is really a subjective matter, but "Military Sci-Fi Survival Horror" is a fantastic combo indeed.

Now let me say why despite these good things, I don't like this game.

1) Mechanics. In my mind they are atrocious. Only a few pages into the book you find yourself reading about ever-accumulative percentile checks combined with a degree-of-success system that is bafflingly complicated; you will have four (!) different ways of using a simple D6 explained to you that will make you feel like your back in school, learning about faculties in math class; you will be learning about attributes, skills, abilities, descriptors, paradigms (wtf?) and the various horror-stats (why are there more than one?). This system seriously lacks focus. It feels like the designer took virtually every good sci-fi RPG ever made (Dark Heresy, Traveller, Savage Worlds to name a few) and mushed them together to create one chaotic clusterf*ck of a system.

2) Character Sheet. This really goes with the first point, but the character sheet is so cluttered that I feel it deserves a point on its own. In fact, if you want visual proof of this system being overly complicated, just have a look at the free character-sheet PDF and you will see what I'm talking about with your own eyes.

3) Layout. It's not horrible and they tried to make it fit the theme, but often times the graphics look out of place and in general it's not really neat.

4) Abbreviations. The book is full of them and they make what is a hard system already even harder to understand. Just as an example, the abbreviation for the Martial Arts skill is {MtlA%}. I sometimes felt like reading code that didn't compile properly.

5) Skill system. This is an extension of (1). There's a skill called Diplomacy (Ask). And if that's not enough: even when all your trillion tiny bonuses make your chance to succeed at a skill check go above 100%, you still have to roll and the rules for success get completely mixed up. What.

6) Fluff. Aside from the artwork, there's barely any in this book. No short stories, no example adventures, none of that. You can see now, why that makes this game terribly "adaptive" to your own setting. You'll have to come up with it.

7) Combat. You'll be adding numbers and calculating rolls more than either ROLEplaying or rolePLAYING. There's little fun to be found in rolling D100 (Check) + 2D6 (Difficulty) + 2D6 (Speed) and adding that together to compare it to tables and charts. What is a difficulty-die supposed to transfer anyway?

8) PDF Directory. There is none, which makes navigating this thing a nightmare.

So to conclude:

Buy this game if you are a hardcore min-maxer that feels unchallenged by AD&D 2 and has an equally oriented group of friends to play the game with.

Don't buy this game if you think D&D 3.5 is crunchy enough. Don't buy this game if you want a game with a lush setting or horror-feel. Don't buy this game if you like having some interaction with NPCs and your peers where you can just let go of numbers for a second. Don't buy this game if you have a group of friends that expects you to explain the rules to them because they don't want to read them, or don't have the rules (I don't think it can be done). Don't buy this game if you like having a neat and self-explanatory rulebook/PDF at your side.

Really, in general, don't buy this game.

I only paid 15$ for it and I still feel like I should get my money back. Actually, I feel like I should've been the one getting paid for having read through this thing.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Outbreak: Deep Space
Publisher: Hunters Entertainment
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/19/2014 20:35:38

The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=45134.

Most tabletop role-playing games can be classified in two different ways: a setting designed to fit with a set of mechanics or a set of mechanics designed to fit a setting. Yes there is some gray area between those two, but generally games fall into one of those two classifications. Outbreak: Deep Space is by far a game where the mechanics were designed around the setting.

Outbreak: Deep Space is a military sci-fi survival horror game. It’s kind of a mouthful, but it’s quite important to understand each one of those aspects, although not necessarily in that order. For starters, the setting and system are science fiction; seemingly far into the future. This means you get all that cool sci-fi equipment: armor, weapons, and gadgets. Second, it’s military; this means the game revolves around a lot of action without the drama, intrigue, and politics like space opera. Third, it’s horror; there are no shortage of scaring things to deal with on a regular basis. Finally, it’s survival horror; the goal is to survive because the horrors you’re facing are so bad that you may not make it to the end.

Understanding those four concepts can be easy for the setting, but Outbreak: Deep Space goes one giant step further and incorporates all four of those aspects in the games’ mechanics. However, this isn’t done on a piece-by-piece basic; it’s done by mashing all four of those aspects together to create a cohesive set of mechanics to support those four aspects. Oh yeah, they back it all up with some great setting-related artwork to boot. Let’s look at some of the mechanics that support what I’m saying:

Gear in Outbreak: Deep Space is quite dynamic. Gear is primarily supported by equipment kits, because a character should be completely outfitted to do the job they need to do. These kits can be further customized through external modifications and tech point upgrades. This is a very important mechanic to support that military sci-fi feel. It’s reminiscent of what a soldier in any army would be given so that they can be of value to their unit and do the job they’re supposed to do.

The effects of horror are numerous. You don’t just have one measurement of how horror effects a character, you have several: morale, insanity, psychological trauma, psychosis, therapy, regression, mental trauma, and other little bits here and there. This doesn’t just support horror, this is truly survival horror as it reminds you that there are many ways horror can affect a character and how many different ways a human might respond to that.

The overall level of horror is measured by an outbreak level. Granted, this is part of the Outbreak series, but this is one of the underlying mechanics, or at least it seems to be, that really defines survival horror as opposed to investigative or action horror. As the story progresses, the atmosphere worsens and things begin to happen more often. Maybe encounters are more frequent; maybe encounters are more deadly; maybe things just start feeling wrong.

I would like to note that Outbreak: Deep Space is not a game for beginners. However, I’d also like to point out that most beginners don’t start with survival horror as they may not be able to handle character death. (“This is the first time I’ve ever played and my character already died?!”) So, don’t approach this RPG with the idea that you’re going to be handled with kid gloves and walked through it like an introductory game. It pretty much has the assumption that you’ve played RPGs before and are ready to truly embrace the world of military sci-fi survival horror in all of its aspects. If you’re prepared for that type of atmosphere, than this is a game that will fit like a glove!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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