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Creation Date: June 14th, 2013 05:27 AM
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SpaceBadger's Blog: BBCodes stopped working in this Blog Description, so I moved my Links down to a Blog Entry and made it Sticky, so the latest new Blog Entries will actually be below (following) the Links entry.
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In Moot Member Blogs First NEW GAME in a Long Time! Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #68 New July 3rd, 2019 11:26 AM
First NEW GAME in a Long Time: SOLO and Orbital 2100

I recently bought my first new game in a long time, since maybe 2010 or 2011, I think. Or maybe 2012. My disability from Trigeminal Neuralgia started right after Christmas in 2012, and money got tight pretty quickly. It has only gotten tighter as my wife also became disabled with lung problems. So most of the time since then, when I considered getting new games, whatever the price was it would register on my brain as, "Too Expensive."

Updating all of my Traveller books to PDF via FFE CD-ROMs in 2013 was a big splurge, but I considered it a necessity because at the time I was relying on Traveller for distraction from massive amounts of pain, and I couldn't access all of my books from bed, but I could read PDFs on my laptop. (Besides, thanks to FFE's "4-4-3" deal, I got them all, plus T5, for less than $100 total!)

I've had my eye on one particular game for several years now, but my internal decision-maker kept coming up, "Too Expensive!" until recently I discussed it with my wife and she told me to buy it. She thinks that it has been good for me getting back into Traveller the past few months, rather than just watching random TV and movies on my tablet or phone and sometimes reading e-books. So if this new game gives me something interesting to focus on, but is not so complicated that it is beyond my damaged brain capabilities and frustrates me, then that would be good, and would be worth $44 or more.

So I bought them. The new game is actually two game books, SOLO by Zozer Games for the game system, and Orbital 2100 by Zozer Games for the setting. SOLO provides a system for playing the SF RPG of your choice (expressly intended for Cepheus Engine and "the classic 2d6 SF RPG" which is not-so-secret code for Traveller) as a solo game, with no referee or GameMaster. Four campaign types are provided: exploring, trading, naval patrol, or "Travelling." Each includes encounter tables and numerous other tables to set up adventures with some element of surprise and discovery without any GM. The main element of the game is the Plan, a mechanic for resolving portions of an adventure as scenes, after which the player creates (with suitable rolls as needed) a narrative to bring the PC(s) to that resolution, at which point the player, with help from various tables, decides what happens until a new Plan is needed. I haven't been able to try it out yet, but it sounds reasonably interesting and got some good reviews.

One thing that SOLO does not provide, except in the most generic sense, is a setting to play in. For that purpose I bought Zozer's Orbital 2100, a near-future hard-SF setting written by Paul Elliott for Cepheus Engine (which of course means it could just as easily be used with Traveller). I've had my eye on Orbital since I first heard of it, as it's been an almost life-long wish of mine to have a harder science version of Traveller, in which mass meant something and there were real costs to moving that mass from a gravity well into orbit, as well as costs for pushing that mass around from one planet to another. Unfortunately my own high school level physics knowledge and long-forgotten calculus have never been up to the task of creating realistic systems for ground-to-orbit and interplanetary travel. Orbital doesn't go into 100% realistic mathematical simulation of these, but it does provide what appear to be very useful and realistic abstractions, as opposed to the unrealistic simplifications or simple avoidance by sufficiently high technology that I've seen in all previous rules. I'm not so enthusiastic about the political setup in the book (Cold War between Earth and Luna), but I figure I can use that for my first SOLO campaign while I work out how I want things in my own hard-SF ATU, from initial exploration of the Solar System, through first STL travel to other star systems, discovery of FTL tech, and entry into interstellar society.

Just having new game books to read has been an enormous morale boost for me!


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