Friday 24 April 2015

Five Parsecs from Home Review

Well from the outset the whole idea and feel of Five Parsecs really grabbed my attention. Years gone by I had played both Laserburn and, more often, Traveller and Five Parsecs immediately took me back to my 20's, it gave me the opportunity to play out Star Wars or Blakes 7 and later films like Firefly. Small groups of individuals banded together, for whatever reason, to carve out a fortune, investigate the mysterious or battle against fascist imperial forces.

Character Development
The core rules start out with the development of your crew, whether you decide to have all characters or just one and several grunts is up to you. I enjoyed the whole process of character generation so much that I opted for the whole crew being fully rounded characters. Through a series of tables the crew gain a background with which to approach all the skirmish games that are to follow. How they interact with each other, whether they have their own agenda, what their motivations are. By the end of the process I felt like I had invested some effort in the creation of my crew and as a result have enjoyed, more I believe, the ups and downs of their adventures.

Some classic 70's haircuts from the cast of Blakes 7

Core Rules
The core rules for Five Parsecs come from the original Fivecore rule system, which you will need in order to play. It is a straight forward no nonsense system which gets the job done and works well. The biggest concept to get your head round is the lack of a stat line. Characters develop skills which can, along with the weapons they carry, define the difference between them and their enemies or their crew mates.

Campaign Play
Now this is where the system really shines for me. The whole reasoning behind the game is to encourage campaign play, which for me is groups of linked games with a theme running throughout. Continuity of characters, befriending or aggravating other individuals or groups makes Five Parsecs come to life. The surrounding campaign play informs and develops the outcomes of the tabletop game and encourages you, because of its existence, to make decisions with the background in mind.

So far I have only played this solo in order to get the flavour of it and to get most of the rules in my old head, but soon "she who must not be named" (or photographed) intends to use the Copplestone figures I bought to create her own crew. I can't wait.

Later I bought Every Star an Opportunity, and again this is loaded with all the tables you need to create a whole sub-sector of  interesting planets to play in. I have a whole raft of names for planets that will be rolled up before long and then my crew will be liberating aliens, confronting Unity and generally trying to make a living across the galaxies.

Many thanks to Ivan Sorensen for creating all of the Fivecore series.

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