Sunday, February 24, 2019

Sentinel Comics Starter Kit - Second Impressions

Second round of the Sentinel Comics Starter Kit tonight. See Part 1 over here.

So, the way this kit works is there are 6 adventures. One is an introductory adventure that can basically be played standalone. You can even double up the first two without moving on. The next three can be tackled in any order, leading up the grand finale, the sixth adventure. We played The first two last week in Part 1. We played 3-5 tonight. I'm going spoiler lite, but providing my thoughts here.

- I still like the game system. The group has gotten used to the mechanics. Their Green-Yellow-Red abilities are starting to become second nature. They are watching for them, and ready to use them when available. That's a good thing, IMO. There's a lot on a given character sheet, so it can be daunting...but none of my players seem bothered by them.

- There's a LOT of metagaming going on here. They've figured out how to utilize their Principles to farm for Hero Points. They bend their solutions around their powers and qualities to get the best possible dice combinations they can come up with. I'm real accommodating, but I'm also not afraid to say "no" if it doesn't make sense. My players are cool with this. We're also cool with metagaming. Savage Worlds has a bit of that. I like my games to have a lot of "game" to them, or we're just telling stories. That's my take, doesn't have to be yours. If you like systems to "get out of the way"...this ain't it. You decide if that's a feature or a bug. (I call it a feature.)

- The three adventures tonight, frankly, were not very fun to run. Two of them were not much more than just a series of Overcome actions. That wasn't by player decision, that's how they are structured. In fact, they outright failed the last adventure, and I don't blame them, because the Overcome actions being called for were, frankly, silly. It required multiple overcome actions to make it through a maze...but the thing they were overcoming were...hieroglyphics. Not giving directions, but telling a story. It didn't work, and it sucked the energy out of the group. Yes, an experienced GM can circumvent this stuff. But I tried to run the Starter Kit as a starter kit, as close to the rules as possible, to decide how I feel about the product. Tonight's adventures felt incredibly one dimensional.

-  I'm not a big fan of how the information in the adventures is laid out. Part of it is on me, but there are points where the necessary information felt very lacking. I'll get into more detail in Part 3, after we finish off the Starter Kit, and that one will be a little more spoiler heavy.

- I didn't back the Kickstarter, funds being the reason...but I still want the core rulebook. One of the designers told me that one of the qualms we had about the system had already been addressed, and I'm genuinely excited to look at character creation and see how it plays putting your own characters together.

- My feeling right now is: The game is great...I'm just not sold on 3/5s of the Starter Kit adventures (jury is still out on the final adventure until we play it).

Sunday, February 17, 2019