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Space elves and dwarves was a... surprise

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Spiff
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Space elves and dwarves was a... surprise

I'm not sure how I feel about them.  Seems like even if they wanted to include a fey nature-loving race they should have called them something else and made them look at least a little non-D&Dish.  This is a space game, right? Same with a techno-inventor race of dwarves.  Discuss?


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They aren't called elves and dwarves, they are Tansdimensional Neo-Elves and Quasiimetallic Techno-Dwarves. Completely different things, the reason behind it is that they didn't want to go with the typically crazy alien look. Or something along those lines.

 

Also! The orcs, spedtres, and humans didn't have an effect?

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Although I would have preferred completely new and original races (which is usually the standard for space games), I'm OK with the DnD crossover.  

It seems they are going for that traditional dungeon crawl party feel but in a completely new setting for it. I think it will be interesting to see how it transfers. 

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The orcs did a little, but since they were at the top of the page, I hadn't had much time to digest them before hitting the elves and dwarves. ;)

The spectres are exactly what I'm talking about.  They're spectres but they're spacey enough that they feel right for being in space.

I may end up being completely wrong.  I had a similar immediate negative reaction to Argent Adept when we first heard about him, and he turned out to be just fine.  I guess I'm just surprised in a not-entirely positive way, is all.


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Elves with 4 arms, lazers coming out of devices on their wrists, and flying spaceships and Dwarves made of metal and use their metal bodies and hair to make spaceships aren't spacey enough? But a Spectre is fine... Well I guess everyone has their own thought process. Shame really, considering humans are acceptible to go into space but all other fantasy races are bound to live on planets all their lives.

 

It feels nothing like DnD when playing GSF, infact it feels more of a ship building game that you fly through the galaxy and blow stuff up!

 

Also why is it that people think of DnD, haven't fantasy races been around long before DnD was even around?

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I definitely understand, Spiff. GSF is very much science-fantasy, and I think it works pretty well. You'll get a better idea of it as the details are shared. The race being a "dwarf" or an "elf" really doesn't matter so much, as they the races are significantly different from D&D-defined races. The science-fantasy aspects create interesting races and characters, and the mechanics build around that pretty well.

Just my opinion, though - we'll see how everyone feels as they are exposed to additional details. smiley


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Ronway wrote:

 Also why is it that people think of DnD, haven't fantasy races been around long before DnD was even around?

 

This may be an age thing. I was introduced to elves, dwarves, and orcs through Lord of the Rings and D&D at about the same time. These races have roots in literature and folklore before LotR, but those are relatively obscure. There may have been a lot of appearances of elves, dwarves, and orcs in other literature and media (TV, movies, games) since I first learned of these races, but the original associations for me are preeminent.


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Ronway wrote:

Tansdimensional Neo-Elves and Quasiimetallic Techno-Dwarves

 

Quite a mouthful. 


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Yeah, DnD and LOTR introduced me to the races as well, so the association remains tied to those things and it usually leans more to DnD because while I read the LOTR books as a kid, I was much more invested into the DnD Worlds. 

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The "origins" of most of those races is Norse Mythology, of which LotR is full of (Gandalf is Odin).


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GSF is very much science-fantasy

That may seem obvious to the playtesters who have been marinating in GSF for a while now, but there's nothing in the Setting section on Kickstarter which mentions fantasy at all.  It's not until you scroll down to the Races when you get the whiplash.

This is additive to my other concern about the atmopherics of GSF -- it makes sense for superheroes to fight supervillains over and over because it's their job and because comics have trained us to understand that these battles happen on a regular basis.  But why would rogues and smugglers fight a galactic evil over and over?  If there are enough recurring evils menacing the galaxy, you'd think they'd bring in the actual space marines.  Smugglers taking on the Evil is cool as a one-off, but it strains credulity if these people who are typically just out for themselves are now front-lining our galactic defenses game after game, IMO.


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I am really enjoying the idea of the Fantasy Races in Space.  Its a fun new view on things and doesn't lock us into the dwarves are in the mountains and the elves are in the forests.   Though Dwarves will probably reside in asteroids.  any way I think this game looks like a blast.

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Spiff wrote:

That may seem obvious to the playtesters who have been marinating in GSF for a while now, but there's nothing in the Setting section on Kickstarter which mentions fantasy at all.  It's not until you scroll down to the Races when you get the whiplash.

You are absolutely right, Spiff. This is great feedback for the >G folks on some updates they can make to the front page of the Kickstarter.

Spiff wrote:

This is additive to my other concern about the atmopherics of GSF -- it makes sense for superheroes to fight supervillains over and over because it's their job and because comics have trained us to understand that these battles happen on a regular basis. But why would rogues and smugglers fight a galactic evil over and over? If there are enough recurring evils menacing the galaxy, you'd think they'd bring in the actual space marines. Smugglers taking on the Evil is cool as a one-off, but it strains credulity if these people who are typically just out for themselves are now front-lining our galactic defenses game after game, IMO.

Personally, I haven't looked at it that way, but that's probably just the GM in me finding ways to explain the situation. smiley I'm not saying you're wrong - just that I am looking at it differently.

I'm imagining each game is just that game. A group of individuals get together to take down a great threat. The games aren't related to each other - it's just another game that happens to be set in the same setting (kinda like Betrayal at House on the Hill is just a game at the house but all the games take place in the House on the Hill, each game of Elder Signs is a different game even though the setting is the same, etc.).

I definitely understand what you're saying, though, as that is how we've looked at SotM. I just don't think that's how GSF is supposed to be viewed, personally. frown


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I know Christopher in one of his... What are they called those web interview things? Anyways! I may be adding more into it than what was said or slightly off, but the gist is correct, I think. Having these big evil menace causing trouble really makes it hard to have your business, as you'll be encountering them everywhere you go. There may also be a few of them that are still good folk and want to help different places if their as an issue going on. While others are in it just because they seem a little... Blood Thirsty.

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Space elves are as space elves do. I'm fairly sure that no official material refers to the Humankind Empire Abh as Elves, but the easiest way to describe them is to say they're elves.

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The first thing I thought was "oh, it's 40K Rogue Trader the co-op game"

20% funded in a couple of hours shows a lot of fan support, this will no doubt soar past funding in a matter of days. Looking forward to some more detail on gameplay, videos, etc.

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I don't doubt it, but keep in mind that for SotM there were a lot of people buying up to the current expansion (especially for the IR KS). With this KS there is nothing to buy up to.


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I think the fantasy elements make it suitably absurd. It has a very over-the-top technobabble vibe going on, which I'm really digging so far. Techno-Dwarves isn't enough. They're Quasimetallic Techno-Dwarves.

Also, Rogue Trader is a perfect touchstone.


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I'll admit I was rather hoping for some proper alien races too. The spectres look pretty cool (even if the fact they're undead makes them kind of Fantasy-ish...in a Sci-Fi game), but the rest are really just Sci-Fi versions of the most common Fantasy RPG races - humans, elves, dwarves, and orcs. I dunno, I suppose I'll have to see how it goes. Maybe it's supposed to be a deliberate Fantasy/Sci-Fi crossover...


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I actually like how direct the lore is. No messing with the "eldar" or "vulcans," >Games calls them like they is. They're SPACE ELVES. WE HAVE ELVES AND THEY'RE IN SPACE! AND OTHER DIMENTIONS TOO! I think that's the kind of camp that helped me fall in love with the Silver-age wackiness of SotM in the first place. Probably going to back this thing. I hope it's playable solo...

 

 


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Zalrus9 wrote:

I hope it's playable solo...  

I am not having a problem.


Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.
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A little bit of pseudoscience handwaving is all I need to be good with this.  Dwarves were just heavy gravity sorts, who grew strong but short under 1.5g.  Elves grew long and fine in .7

 

No problems.


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conrad4 wrote:

I am really enjoying the idea of the Fantasy Races in Space.  Its a fun new view on things and doesn't lock us into the dwarves are in the mountains and the elves are in the forests.   Though Dwarves will probably reside in asteroids.  any way I think this game looks like a blast.

If you like fantasy races in space,you should check out 40k

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For me the only reason why I can say the whiplash didn't hit me as hard would be because of Shadowrun.  Shadowrun was the first time I ran into a setting that was a mix of Science Fiction melding with Fantasy.  If we start seeing Cyberspace type situations than I"m down for that.

 

I will say it is a bit jarring to see Dwarfs and Elves and Orcs.  If anything they're fantasy type humanoids.  I wouldn't mind less bipeds and more quadrapeds or other sci-fi type races. Robots, Rock People, Sentient Slime.  Maybe I feel spoiled with my own personal history playing games like Star Control 1, 2 and 3.  Where Aliens like the Illwrath and Ur-Quan go up against the hybrid fused race like the Chmmr or even the goofy Pkunk.

 

That said, >G hasn't let me down with Sentinels so before I pass anything that sounds like a final judgement, I want to see how this one pans out.  The game play sounds fun and for me that's the important part. They (or us the community) can always add other races in later.

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Maybe it seems weird to me just because the races are straight up called elves and dwarves and stuff (even with the extra bits like "Quasimetallic" ;)), names that are from the Fantasy genre rather than the Sci-Fi one. I dunno, I suppose I just expect these things to have different names so I can go "Oh, Eldar...okay so they're basically elves". And since I always try to play the most non-human-looking race that I can, that's probably another reason why I don't find these ones too incredibly amazing-looking (apart from the speccies, who as mentioned I think look cool)...but I [i]am/i] basically judging this entirely on the artwork and race names, with no clue at all as to how they play. And maybe some more races wil be added in expansions or something :).


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Just throwing my thoughts out there. Have you guys thought that maybe they are called that and have that name as to not alienate some of the more wary purchasers/players? I mean, a nerdy guy like me has no problem pronouncing the full name, but when someone says these guys are dwarves, there are already preconceptions that could help speed up explaining and gameplay. Knowing that dwarfs are stubborn, tough to kill and great at technology. So i already have a grasp of what who my dwarf character is. Then  the space stuff is extra.  Gimli in Space!

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Penta: yes


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In ancient times, during the intitial genesis of this game, Christopher and I held in our hands two potential settings for what was then known as Project Tungsten: we could either go incredibly "hard" sci-fi, and have alien races as scientifically realistic as possible (no resemblance to earth species, i.e., no bipedal tetrapods, or obvious birds/reptiles/fish/etc, and really delve into the chemistry and evolutionary history of each race, or embrace the inherently "science fantasy" nature of every popular science fiction setting of the past century. We opted for the later as we find it to be more accessable, and more amenable to the over-the-top science-fictiony feeling we want for this particular game. It lets us be ridiculously dramatic in a fun and tongue-in-cheek sort of way, which really fits in well with the game's flavor.

 

And who knows, one of these years we might even right the proper game for the first, "hard" sci-fi setting!


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My main concern wasn't that it was space-fantasy, but just that its space-fantasyness hadn't been mentioned anywhere previously and it's not even mentioned in the Setting section of the Kickstarter.  That allows people for form a more hard sci-fi expectation before they're surprised by the mention of elves and dwarves.  Might want to weave the space-fantasyness of it into the public descriptions, is my suggestion.  If the game were described as a space-fantasy game from the get-go, I don't think anyone will have problems with it.


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I think thats too much putting things in Boxes. Im all for breaking boxes.


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One thing I'm curious about, and that I *almost* expect is that new races will be released in expansions, and then we may have more crazy things going on. These are just the base races, but yeah, I did a double take with space elves, then remembered space orcs, it feels odd, but I also have limited knowledge as to the world and races, so I expect I'll get more comfortable. A little warning would have been appreciated though as spiff has mentioned.

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Funny comment from a guy on the Kickstarter who was also taken by surprise by the elves and dwarves:

 

Meta-human... sure, fine 
Sulph-orc... interesting 
Techno-dwarf... ermmm.... really? 
Neo-elf.... No no no, frikkin quit it,no!

I love Sentinels, and this looks like a neat game design, but the fiction is killing me. The beauty of space fantasy is that the races can be anything. ANYTHING! Slapping on the same, tired old Tolkien fare is weak sauce, even if it's "neo". If you used them as starting archtypes, so be it, but at least give the races some respectably original names.

Are the orbit-goblins, cyber-ogres, and astro-wizards waiting for the first expansion?

(Hypocritically, I like the war-spectres...)

Now I want orbit-goblins and cyber-ogres too!  Astro-wizards would be too much though. ;)

 


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...and the response from GtG:

GtG wrote:

The flavor and lore of this game is very intentionally tongue-in-cheek science-fantasy. It was a very deliberate design decision that we made for several reasons. First, nearly every popular science fiction setting is "science fantasy" to some degree, from Star Wars (which has space wizards), to Star Trek, Babylon Five, etc, where all of the races are human, or humans with a funny nose/spots/a hat/etc. We decided to be very obvious and over-the-top with the "science fantasy" theme, ergo neo-elves and techno-dwarves, etc. Second, we find that initially constraining a setting with something very familiar (e.g. generic fantasy races, or comic book heroes) actually allows us to develop richer back stories and lore that is wholly unique. Indeed, initially, many people dismissed Sentinels as just a "knock off" of popular DC and Marvel characters. However, as people played the game and absorbed the back story and lore of that universe, many came to love those characters and stories on their own merits. We truly hope and believe that the same thing will be true for this setting.


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Which is pretty accurate, considering the incredibly awesome backstory for Technodwarf society.


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I want Astro-gnomers!! and Cosmo-paladins!!

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jagarciao wrote:

I want Astro-gnomers!! and Cosmo-paladins!!

+1 +1 +1 +1


Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.
-Robert E. Howard, "The Tower of the Elephant"

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Dark matter necromancer. 

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We decided to be very obvious and over-the-top with the "science fantasy" theme

I think that was probably the problem right there.  When one person thinks they're being goofy and over-the-top but the other person isn't in on the joke, it looks like the first person is just being dumb.  A little prep work to make sure the community knew what to expect would have gone a long way.


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I dunno, it felt pretty obviously over the top to me...

There are people who think Stephen Colbert and Sasha Baron Cohen's characters are real, so you can never assume people are going to get the joke, but I'm not sure I think it's worthwhile to cater to the humorless.


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XChylde wrote:

Dark matter necromancer. 

 

Oh man, I totally want this to be a thing, now.

 

Also, elves and dwarves didn't make me bat an eye, but I groan a little bit each time I say "Sulph-Orcs" out loud. Puns.

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These aren't your dad's puns!

TURBO-PUNS!


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To be honest, I do not see how with terms like Quasimetallic Techno-Dwarves that it is not obvious what their goal was here. That name is no where close to trying to trying to be serious hard sci-fi, which sounds like it is what a lot of people were kind of expecting. These names are too over the top to be taken too seriously. 

I thought the intentional over the top trekkie techno-babble mixed with a basic core of D&D fantasy was kind of hillarious in its own way. You know in the movie Fanboys (if you don't, stop what you are doing and find it because you have not lived) how the trekkies and the Star Wars fans hate eachother and just do not mix? I kind of view fantasy and sci-fi people having that same sort of rift (Its mostly the Trekkies wink).

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You have to admit, Quasimetallic Techno-Dwarves sounds like something a 12-year-old would come up with, and if you didn't know it was done on purpose by adults who knew what they were doing, you'd just think it was ridiculous.  I don't think they needed to be too pedantic about it, but I think being a little more obvious about what they were up to would have helped.

For example, there's still no mention of space-fantasy in the official description of the game on Kickstarter:

Galactic Strike Force: the tactical, cooperative, space battle, deck building game from the creators of Sentinels of the Multiverse!

That makes it sound like a pretty straightforward game, no?  Perhaps inserting "space-fantasy" (maybe even a "zany") into that list of descriptors would at least let people know what they should expect when they scroll farther down the page.

If I'd bought a copy of a certain "cooperative comic book card game" then later found out that it was manga-themed, I'd have had the same kind of whiplash because the game's description did not set up my expectations properly, even if the manga-themed card game was still good.

To tell the truth, the excessive techno-babble is beginning to grate on my nerves.  I was expecting a space game but got a space-fantasy game, which I've come to terms with.  Now I've learned it's a crazy Trekkie techno-babble space-fantasy world (zany!  fun, right?), and it's a little rough having to dig through three or four nonsense adjectives to get to the noun each time.  Luckily, most of that stuff should be relatively ignorable when I'm actually playing the game (which is actually kind of a shame in and of itself).


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Just sounds like a case of "to each their own". As I alluded to before, it does not surprise me in the least that the people who wanted straight space sci-fi are a little unhappy about the fantasy element thrown in.

I also do not believe "zany" would be a word >G would use to describe GSF. It might be tounge-in-cheek but it is not Munchin level satire either ya know? I think the universe they are building will be as engaging as the SotM one, and while it does not seem like it wants to take itself too seriously, it does not look like a full on looney toons caricature of the genre either.

 

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I understand and agree with that.  I can deal with my own adjective-fatigue.  I'd still like it to be marketed better.  I'll give an example:

Smallworld.  It has a definite feeling the game wants you go to get.  How does it reinforce that feeling with players?

  1. Art/Component design?  Check.  The art is goofy.  The dwarves are drunk.
  2. Gameplay?  Check.  The abilities of the different races are dripping with personality.
  3. Text?  Check.  The rulebook and box makes it very clear the feeling the game wants to convey.
  4. The game's description on BGG:

In Small World, players vie for conquest and control of a world that is simply too small to accommodate them all.

Designed by Philippe Keyaerts as a fantasy follow-up to his award-winning VinciSmall World is inhabited by a zany cast of characters such as dwarves, wizards, amazons, giants, orcs, and even humans, who use their troops to occupy territory and conquer adjacent lands in order to push the other races off the face of the earth.

Picking the right combination from the 14 different fantasy races and 20 unique special powers, players rush to expand their empires - often at the expense of weaker neighbors. Yet they must also know when to push their own over-extended civilization into decline and ride a new one to victory!

Says right there it's "inhabited by a zany cast of characters".  Everything works together.  Now, compare that to GSF:

  1. Art?  Nothing particularly tongue-in-cheek here.  It's all relatively straight-forward pictures of the characters, as far as I can see.  Everything I've seen so far would not be out of place in a game of SotM, for instance.
  2. Ship design?  The ships are quite attractive and not tongue-in-cheek at all.  Maybe that one orc ship that's a conglomeration of other ships might be leaning towards tongue-in-cheek, but if so, it's minor.
  3. Gameplay?  We haven't seen much of the gameplay (another problem...) but nothing in the gameplay seems to indicate the game is over-the-top. The rules seem pretty straight.
  4. Component design?  The sample cards I've seen look pretty straight-forward.  Nothing over-the-top here.
  5. Text?  Whoa, here's where it careens into tongue-in-cheek.  This is the only place that is broadcasting the over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek feeling the designers apparently want players to pick up.
  6. The game's description?  No mention of over-the-topness.

My only point is that a bad job of broadcasting the designer's intentions is being done, and can be improved by taking simple steps.  It's a point I've made before and should probably stop making. :)


Spiff's SotM site: www.spiffworld.com/sotm

Katsue
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Spiff wrote:

Now, compare that to GSF:Art?  Nothing particularly tongue-in-cheek here.  It's all relatively straight-forward pictures of the characters, as far as I can see.  Everything I've seen so far would not be out of place in a game of SotM, for instance.

Look at the art and flavour text on Inspiring Presence, and tell me that Sentinels of the Multiverse is not cheesy.

Foote
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Tempest talking to a fish beats that I think cheeky

Spiff
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If SotM is meant to be an over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek superhero game, then it's marketed poorly as well. ;)


Spiff's SotM site: www.spiffworld.com/sotm

jagarciao
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I do have to agree that the tongue-in-cheekness of the game is not always quite as obvious... The names of the races and the wordiness of the descriptions is really the only part where this is evident, and that may have been done on purpose so that those who prefer to see the game in a more serious light can ignore it if they choose to do so (as I am sure many will), but I think it does give the game a little bit of a confused feel, like it doesn't quite know where it wants to be. 

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Taking cheesy/tongue-in-cheek/campy things seriously is fun. See also: Rocky Horror, Army of Darkness.


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Reckless
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It seems like the criticisms here are that >G actually sincerely enjoys this product and isn't ironically snickering at its execution.  I don't think we need to infantilize GSF by throwing around words like "zany" or "wacky".  What about the fantasy-race inspired characters gives people such mental whiplash?  It's an aesthetic choice.  They aren't hanging out in space taverns drinking space grok, kicking down hover doors and slicing up meteor Owlbears.  This isn't Spelljammer.  It also, however, isn't Warhammer 40k.

If you're the kind of person that demands your science fiction be completely divorced from fantasy, then this game will disappoint you.  However, if you're fond of reinterpretations of old DnD tropes in a new setting ala Dark Sun or Forgotten Realms, then this game will disappoint you, as well.


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