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fjw70

Simplifying the game?

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Does anyone have any ideas for simplifying this game? I am thinking of playing with the kids and we aren't really into the whole character building thing and I try to keep the rules light for fast easy play.

Here are my ideas right now.

- no talent trees

- slightly simplified skill list (I.e. one piloting, one ranged, and one knowledge skill)

- no strain to track (only wounds)

- no crit table (will use the crit rules from the Beginner's Games)

- no weapon/vehicle mods

- no obligation/duties/etc.

Would anything critical be missed here? Any other ideas to simplify?

EDIT: No race special abilities. Races would be handled through role playing.

Edited by fjw70

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Depends a lot on their age. My 7 & 4 get a lot of fun just narrating the dice! So we find cool pictures of characters then they choose one to play. Then I give each a 4,3,3,2,2,1 to spend on characteristics, we go through each talking broadly about what the stats do "Brawn is how big and strong you are, Agility is how quick you can move" etc

Then they choose 1 force power to use and 1 important piece of equipment. Then we play.

During play we talk about what their trying to do, and il ask "do you think you have done a lot of that before?" Then together we decided how many times to upgrade their checks, usually with me reigning them in! Lots of fun, LOTS of action thanks to the 7yo, and most importantly lots of laughs.

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Agreed, 14 and 9 will get it easily.  And if my dim memory serves me, I recall some blog post a couple years ago about somebody hosting a game at Gencon with 6 year olds, and it went great.  I don't think you should remove anything, except maybe Obligation and Duty (which I stop using after chargen anyway).  Besides, the crit tables are fun :)

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They could handle it but from past experience they aren't really into the crunch of RPGs and just like the story aspect and rolling dice. That is why I want to simplify it. I am basically going with a WEG philosophy (improving characters through skill ranks) with the FFG dice.

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My biggest concern is not being able to increase defense. I could introduce melee and ranged skills for defense. The other idea is allowing athletics to increase defense.

Edited by fjw70

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My biggest concern is not being able to increase defense. I could introduce melee and ranged skills for defense. The other idea is allowing athletics to increase defense.

 

Well, here you're hitting an area that even intelligent people find confusing, so the right solution may depend on your kids.  You might simplify to ONE defense score, and let it stack (e.g. armor defense AND cover AND defensive weapons).  If they start getting abusive of that mechanic (crazy defense stacking), ease them into the "real" way of doing it. 

 

Something I've found that works well for RPG neophytes (and veterans, too, for that matter) is giving them cards for actions,e.g. "Rifle Attack" and "Move Object".  The cards have all the info that they need on them for that specific character.  That way, they don't need any on-the-fly math, and you can get down to brass tacks.

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Maybe I can let the narrative dictate the defense. For example, Dodge with Athletics and parry with melee or brawl, then use that skill rank for defense. Or I could make dodge and parry there own skills. Hmm, I will have to try it out and see how it works.

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Maybe I can let the narrative dictate the defense. For example, Dodge with Athletics and parry with melee or brawl, then use that skill rank for defense. Or I could make dodge and parry there own skills. Hmm, I will have to try it out and see how it works.

 

I would worry that's making things more complicated, but you know your kids best.

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Just build their opposing dice pool on the fly relative to the situation. I just eyeball everything with the intention of creating cool narrative results. Want them to be in cover with armour and they said they are trying to dodge, just give the NPC a couple of black or an upgrade to the difficulty. Like I said I fly loose, the kids like the game to flow quickly and have BIG moments, don't get stuck in the crunch. Although mine are clearly in a different age bracket to yours so you may have to crunch it up a bit more for the older ones. I'm usually running episodic adventures so the PC's stay the same, but the "missions" vary wildly.

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Maybe I can let the narrative dictate the defense. For example, Dodge with Athletics and parry with melee or brawl, then use that skill rank for defense. Or I could make dodge and parry there own skills. Hmm, I will have to try it out and see how it works.

 

Honestly, after all the stuff you yanked out, adding this back in with special house rules seems to achieve the opposite of what you're after.  If you want to keep it simple, just offer basic armour to boost their soak, or armoured clothing to give them +1 defense.

 

Really, there's no need to commit to it yet anyway.  Find out how they handle the first few sessions of your stripped down rules.  If everything goes swimmingly, then consider adding them back in a bit at a time.  Start with the Talents, which will take care of the defense issue without having to resort to house rules.

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Maybe I can let the narrative dictate the defense. For example, Dodge with Athletics and parry with melee or brawl, then use that skill rank for defense. Or I could make dodge and parry there own skills. Hmm, I will have to try it out and see how it works.

 

Honestly, after all the stuff you yanked out, adding this back in with special house rules seems to achieve the opposite of what you're after.  If you want to keep it simple, just offer basic armour to boost their soak, or armoured clothing to give them +1 defense.

 

Really, there's no need to commit to it yet anyway.  Find out how they handle the first few sessions of your stripped down rules.  If everything goes swimmingly, then consider adding them back in a bit at a time.  Start with the Talents, which will take care of the defense issue without having to resort to house rules.

Good points.

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I don't think you need to simplify it with a 14 and 9 yoa at the table.  The 6 yoa will have a blast regardless of understanding because they're playing with the big kids and it's star wars....

 

This.

 

Agreed, 14 and 9 will get it easily.  And if my dim memory serves me, I recall some blog post a couple years ago about somebody hosting a game at Gencon with 6 year olds, and it went great.  I don't think you should remove anything, except maybe Obligation and Duty (which I stop using after chargen anyway).  Besides, the crit tables are fun :)

And this.

Although, I don't agree with not using the Obligation/Duty, as I find those are very important for the narration in my game. (although, you could skip the negative strain thing if you wish)

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Kids are more capable than many people give them credit for. Nothing is so complicated that a young kid couldn't learn it. 

 

Generally, yes, but three counter-points:

  • The game's recommended minimum age (at least for the beginners set) is 13
  • Learning isn't necessarily understanding, and the game rules are much easier once you understand them.
  • I would count on kids being able to understand what written at their reading level. I don't think the core books are written at a third grade level.  

IMO, a typical 14 year old is fine, a typical 9 year old might need some help, but you're gonna get exceptions in both directions.  If they're kids that want to play star wars RPGs, though, they've already got great taste, so that's a plus.   :)

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I have a similiar problem in our F&D game: too many options and variables.

As characters grow in experience and work through threes they often turn into lists of talents and dice pool modifying abilities. 

Add in powers and skills on top of talents and my players often forget all the things their characters can do.

I format character sheets so its all on one page and with the dice symbols for ease of reference, but they still forget.

They are very dialed in vis-a-vis character and story and love the narrative dice, but the mechanics present too many variables.

I have yet to find a satisfying way of simplifying / streamlining it.

 

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