Aliens & Asteroids
Designer: Brian Fitzpatrick
Artist: Jason Adams, et al.
Publisher: Mobius Adventures / Gallant knight Games
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 2+
Playing Time: NA
Main mechanic / Theme: Inverse 20 RPG / Space marines
Listen up, Space Grunts! This is no time for lollygaggers.
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Aliens and Asteroids (A&A) is a minimalistic science fiction roleplaying game (RPG) written by Brian Fitzpatrick and Alan Bahr. The rulebook is about 100 pages and includes an introductory scenario.
Gameplay and mechanics
I know there are people who think otherwise, but every space marine is an individual. Characters start with seven attributes. These are modified by Point of Origin, where your character hails from. You also select a background and then a career path.
Space marines can choose one of five career paths. Their background and the career path can provide a combination of traits making the space marine effective in their role on the team.
Equipment can be assigned, requisitioned, or bought. For starting out, I assigned the character their equipment based on their career and team function and it worked out great. I did let players requisition a few additional items they felt rounded out their character. They were ready to go.
A&A uses an inverse d20 system. This system scores success on rolling a d20 under the target. This simplified measure makes for quick resolution and fast play when determining statistical outcomes. You can just go with that, or we like to take the rolls and give more description.
Advancing characters is also made easy. Advancement is based on the number of missions completed. Leveling a character allows for the selection of a new trait.
Theme, Artwork and Illustration, Graphic Design and Layout (optional)
A&A is a simplified space science fiction RPG that has focused on a few specific elements. All the characters are space marines of the Dominion. Space marines are the muscle that goes out first to find out what is there. They are also the ones who go out afterwards to clean up messes left behind. There really isn’t much they aren’t tasked to do off of the civilized planets. This focus allows for quick game scenarios.
There is still a lot you can do in this setting. The game takes place in the future and Earth (The Dominion) is pretty much in control of the inner solar system and colonies further out. This includes other solar systems by use of the jump gates created by Bance, which some believe is alien technology.
There are alien races. Each of the other races have their own agenda—some of which is known. The information given about the races provides enough background to allow a Referee to use them effectively in ways fitting their own unique style and desire for their campaign.
There are many things the marines can be sent to do, but they will more than likely be involved in combat in one form or another.
Using a minimalistic system provides A&A the ease of entry when creating characters and play for people who want it. Even our players who like the statistical number crunching of more in-depth games liked how A&A played
A&A is an RPG that is quick to learn and ready to play. Character creation is easy for even inexperienced players and the concept of playing a marine is something most people already have preconceived ideas about that can be put to use. For more experienced players, there is still a wide enough range of choices to allow them to create unique characters.
Using the inverse d20 system for task resolution makes for streamlined play. The combats went as quickly as other activities.
A&A can be used wonderfully as a full-on campaign setting or as a great filler game. There is enough information to create a series of chapters in a longer story, or a quick mission for a smaller team.
We enjoyed our game and have another RPG ready to play.
About the Author
Daniel Yocom does geeky things at night because his day job won't let him. This dates back to the 1960s through games, books, movies, and stranger things better shared in small groups. He's written hundreds of articles about these topics for his own blog, other websites, and magazines after extensive research along with short stories. His research includes attending conventions, sharing on panels and presentations, and road-tripping with his wife. Join him at guildmastergaming.com.