Actual Play – Star Force (3/29/2015)

star_forceStar Force Officers: Colin Fahrion, Sean Nittner, and my littles.
System: Star Force

I saw Colin was running Star Force at Square One and had room for three players. I asked if it was okay if I signed up with my girls and he was all for it, so we filled up the game!

Star Force is played with rotating GMs. Each player makes a Star Force officer and they are played in teams of two. In the four player version that means that two Star Force officers are partners while the other two players GM, and then after a successful mission, you switch.

Star Force Operators

Zoz – The cunning envoy from Bizbor, an insectoid alien that used to use his diplomatic status as a cover for assassinations.  When Zoz’s planetary leader was arrested Zoz was given the choice to join Star Force or go with him to jail!

Crouton – The bread cat “explosive” scientist crouton used to work for a company doing science. Then she figured out they were terrible people so she blew up the building they were working in and joined Star Force.

Clover – The temperamental food editor used to food blog but now she saves the universe.

Misha “Hyperspace” Chronoton – The relentless explorer used to work for the Dhalan corporation finding planets and stripping them of all their natural resources. Misha is a cybernetic entity composed of thousands and thousands of robotic bees. BEES! A planet Misha was mining collapsed in itself and she was saved by Clover. After that she changed her ways and joined Star Force.

Wow…. our heroes are not exactly heroic. Except for Clover, they all had pretty sordid pasts!

Just trying to enjoy some Spacebucks!

Star Force officers Misha and Clover were on a patio in a Spacebucks on the the desert planet Brhd (pronounced Bread). They were fishing for bread/sand fish (what kind of fish they were kept changing) and sipping Spacebucks coffee when suddenly they heard a huge explosion and the floating city listed to the side, threatening to collapse into the currently-being-terraformed sand below.

Clover was really annoyed. I’m off duty! She did however pull up a schematic of the entire city and determine the explosion happened on the anti-gravity region under the floating city (the undercity) where the terraforming operations were occurring. Meanwhile Misha seeing that things were falling out of the city, flew around the outer edge and saved a child before he fell from a ledge

The criminal activist Moltov was trying to destroy the terraforming operation. Sounds like a job for STAR FORCE!

After an initial encounter where the under city was narrowly saved by forming a telekinetic net of bees (BEES!) and restoring the anti-grav system via lever pulling, Moltov was driven back… into the city’s primary power core!

There Moltov was once again defeated (though not without putting up a fight) and order was restored. However Moltov did not act without conscience. He was trying to stop the terraforming operation because of the sandfish/breadfish below… they are sentient! Misha, who once destroyed worlds callously but now wanted to redeem herself and clover, who didn’t much like fishing anyway, agreed that we should move the terraforming operation to another part of the planet and make a special reserve for the native inhabitants. We apologized to the fish we had caught and through them back into the desert below!

 Wanted for Theft: Selka the Sly

Officers Zoz and Crouton were called into Captain Doris Liverly’s ready room for a mission briefing. The nefarious Selka the Sly had just stolen a Phantom Field Generator and then disappeared. She must be apprehended…by STAR FORCE!

Before being sent out on this dangerous mission however the Star Force operators were given two gadgets. Spring jump boots and psychic field dampeners disguised as hamburgers.

The officers started by investigating the space station where the Phantom Field Generator was stolen from. They found it powered down, with a large breach in the hull. Inside they used their Star Force shield to give the station enough power to tap into the computer and get the layout. Crouton found the generator had been housed on Floor E75 – right next to the reactor core… and there were still three scientists there!

Zoz moved quickly to get to E75 and found the three abalone Professor Doctor Scientists. There was no life support on the ship but they appeared to still be alive. He extended his force field around them to provide them air — Just when Crouton realized that Selka the Sly’s psychic DNA was still on board…and had infected the Professor Doctor Scientists. They were now Selka Drones!

She communicated it to Zoz but it was too late, Professor Doctor Scientist George was on him like an abalone stuck to a rock! He used it razor tongue to gash the Star Force officer and infect him with Sekla’s psychic DNA!

Crouton the bread cat flew to his aid, and together they defeated the psychic slaves.

Using the psychic DNA footprint Courton and Zoz got on their ship, the Starship Interprize and tracked it down to none other than the fabled Black Mist, Selka’s large industrial space ship that hid in the tail of a comet!

With some difficulty they boarded the ship, found one of Sekla’s drones, and reversed the polarity of the psychic dampeners to force Selka to inhabit the drone herself! Once trapped inside Selka and the Star Force officers had a mighty show down including live electric wires whipping about, polarized beam rays to attack Selka but not her host, and of course psychic domination handled using a clock!

Selka was defeated and it turned out all she wanted the Phantom Field Generator was to make a body that could house her hive mind and still allow her psychic control of the galaxy. See, she’s a sympathetic character.

Thoughts on the game

Playing with kids, especially kids as GMs is a lot of fun. It also requires some patience. My kids have some great ideas (bread cat!) and they are easily distracted. A lot of times though that distraction is a hibernation mode where interesting ideas are bubbling around in their noggins. For instance a lot of times when we’d ask them what something looks like they would stop and draw it. Which is slow, but kind of cook when you think about it. Now we have a physical artifact for that thing!

The rules for Star Force are fun. Based on the same mechanic as Lasers & Feelings you’ve got a single stat (your number) and you want to roll under it for doing fighty things and over it for doing non-fighty things. My 12 year old gear head daughter figured out that if she gave her scientist a 2 and just never fought things but found other kinds of solutions to problems, she’s pratically never miss a roll. In fact because she usually did science and put her shield power in systems, she rolled lots and lots of crits! Zoz on the other hand who had a 4 and was a killer, noticed that he only ever rolled 1 die to attack and that meant that he sometimes failed, but mostly got what he wanted with complications. It’s almost like the game is encouraging people not to use violence to solve their problems …

The point allocation was a lot of fun, but only Colin remembered that you have two actions and can spend them to do something other than reallocate your shield energy and take an action. The rest of us just scrambled with moving our power around and getting worn down after four or five rounds. Fortuitously, that was usually sufficient to resolve the current threat.

Not sure how wacky the game is supposed to be, but our game was pretty gonzo silly. BREAD CAT!