When we ask for our listeners to tell us about games they enjoy, it’s not idle banter or grasping for engagement. The titles you tell us about do lead to episodes, like this
Rogue Planet review we just did.
Listen to the Fortified Niche episode.
Technically, Rogue Planet is a game set on some weird runaway planet where sword-and-planet adventures take place and wildly disparate technology levels clash. Practically, it’s just a very setting-agnostic set of skirmish rules.
The first weirdness of Rogue Planet is the resolution system: it’s taken straight out of Powered by the Apocalypse games. 2d6, 7+ for success, 10+ for good successes.
And where PbtA uses the PCs’ dice failures to inflict harm on them (NPCs don’t ever roll), most failures in Rogue Planet allow the opponent free moves with their troops. This is important, since you only get d6 activations your turn. Sure, you can move any distance as long as you don’t hit an obstacle, but you can only travel in straight line. Thus the dice failure moves make movement less restrictive, especially for players who built their time wide rather than tall.
The army building is only a little less weird. That’s because your first decision – whether to stay with the Light infantry profile or pay for Medium and Heavy – is purely about staying power. And that deals with the exotic HP system. Each unit, powered weapon, and power armor contributes to a shared energy pool. And when a unit is hit, you can choose to expended energy to keep them going. Finally, a game where you have choice when it comes to casualties!
Notably, heroes don’t act that way. They can only suffer one damage per attack, but they have to sacrifice Pawns, not energy, to not die. Pawns technically represent all sorts of friends and hanger-ons, appearing on the table but otherwise uninteractable. Each brings some benefit, like rolling more activation dice or boosting defenses. But as the Pawns die, those bonuses are lost. So this is like a cooler implementation of the Age of Sigmar’s wound tracks. Your hero gets weaker as they get more wounded – but in what precise way are they weaker?
Now, the real downsides of the Rogue Planet come in lack of optimization and balancing. The book could be written better and stricter. It could also use more gear/upgrade varieties, named in clearer terms. Currently, only the machinegun acts in the way you’d expect.
And thus we close the book on another Rogue Planet, a Good Ruleset. It was an odd experience because reading the rules soured us on the game – but playing it made the good parts really shine.