Ashen Stars – A Review

The first thing I’m going to say about this game is that it’s GUMSHOE. I really, really like GUMSHOE. It’s a wonderful system that really supports the style of games I like to run and play. So, as soon as I saw there was a new GUMSHOE game out, and that it was space opera, I was as giddy as a school girl and had very high expectations for this game.

After reading the game, I’m very please with it. But it didn’t meet all my expectations.

The positive aspects of this game are many. It’s GUMSHOE, so I know I already like the system. However, a few additional character traits have been added that I think will make for a few more interesting twists during game play. I like the addition of Drives in this game. I see them as adding an extra dimension and direction to the characters, one that I’ve not seen in the previous GUMSHOE games I’ve played. The Reputation score is also very intriguing and I’m excited to get my hands in there and tinker with that system and see how it works.

The only real negative aspect I saw in the game was the space combat. In theory, I like the process of setting a goal to achieve through combat and having all your exchanges add points towards achieving that goal. But, in this case, it felt like that system was just another step back from the action. It seemed like another layer of insulation between the characters and the players. Personally, I feel it is going to require a bit of tweaking and testing before I’m happy with how that runs in the game. And, I don’t feel space battles really fit with the flavor of the rest of the game.

Even so, this is a wonderful book and if you’re a fan of GUMSHOE, you really need to pick this one up. The sections on running the game have been the most helpful of any GUMSHOE game I’ve read. The setting is extremely interesting and has just enough detail to get my imagination going and enough blank spaces for me to insert my own creations. Wonderful job!

Check out the game at DriveThruRPG!

This entry was posted in Game Reviews and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.