Monday, March 7, 2016

Lead by Example update/review

I updated the lists with the new Commander Specialization trees and Signature Abilities.

REVIEWish part.

pre- TLDR: Limited but otherwise solid new game options that entail no surprises or frills. If you want to run massive battles on a regular basis, this book is a wonderful must have. Everyone else should pass.

With a title like Lead By Example, one would hope that this supplement would be a shining example of what a great Supplemental rules book should be. Unfortunately I found it rather the opposite.

The new races don't explore any new territory and have no stand out qualities that aren't negative (i'm looking at you Water Dependence).

There are some neat new pre-fab base parts if your party is slowly building a base of operations from the ground up. Other than that, there is disgustingly little in the way of new toys (gear, equipment, ect.). 

There aren't many new ships, and most of them won't be the kind you directly interact with on a regular basis. (primarily because they are giant) these ships are cool, and having a few statted out is nice but on the whole they won't come up much.

The new Specialization trees feel like snake oil.
they try to sell you their great new flavor but then you realize the only ingredient is nutrasweet... and for the same cost you could have gotten some full on cane sugar from that cool specialization tree over there..
The Specialization trees themselves are pretty on theme, and on their own don't seem all that bad. Unfortunately this book doesn't exist on its own, and with a change in the flavor text, you could do a better job accomplishing your goals using other pre-existing trees. about the only thing you couldn't get from other trees, are the talents dealing with the new Mass Combat game mechanic...

that brings us to the new Mass Combat game mechanic.
The mechanics for massive scale combats like the ones frequently seen in movies and the Star Wars Clone Wars animated show, are actually quite good. I think they are simple to understand, fit with the rest of the established rules very well and allow for a lot of fluid storytelling and interpretation.
Unfortunately as many experienced GMs can attest (myself included), large scale military engagements of this kind are extremely difficult to manage, even in the best of circumstances. in order to keep players engaged and meaningful, they often require quite a bit more preparation and consideration.
maybe it's just me but i feel like giant military conflicts are suppose to be the backdrop to the epic stuff the party is doing, or as itself the climax to something grander. Either way, the party probably won't be and maybe shouldn't be participating in those kinds of massive combats super regularly.

so the question becomes... are you and your group going to utilize these rules enough to make them worth while?... remembering that the Specialization trees also have talents and features designed to interact with these rules...

if you are going to be doing lots of large military engagements, then this book is pretty awesome and you should definitely buy it.
if you are like the other 97% of people who will likely only have one or two (if any) large combats ever in their entire campaign... you should probably just adjudicate the rules on your own and save the money.

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