Well, not quite. It happened like this…
My view is that players are generally much less concerned about the rules and setting than the GM, and I don’t think that’s just me; if the GM is enthusiastic, it’s easy to get the players involved; if the GM loses his enthusiasm, as I am, then the game falls apart. I’m starting to feel a bit burned out on Savage Worlds, and I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to see if any of the 2HW products would tempt the group as a change of pace; I was thinking of Labyrinth Lord as an alternative, but another picaresque fantasy game won’t be different enough for me to recharge, I fear.
This weekend we found ourselves with very few players, not much time, and a sickly GM (me –just a cold, but enough to take the edge off my usual fiendishness). So, rather than not play at all, we opted for a guest game – Chain Reaction Final Version.
How complex was character generation, they wanted to know. You are Rep 5, I said; pick a figure, you’ve got what the figure has.
Of course, based on that, I should have expected The Warforged’s figure to be a Blood Angels Space Marine with a rocket launcher (he kindly agreed not to play a terminator marine with lightning claws). The others were more restrained, picking a SAW gunner and one of my two female figures with assault rifles; I went with an MP and two grenades.
The whole game lasted about an hour, including briefing them on the rules, and got to the end of turn three. By that point, all of the PEFs had been resolved (as an improbably large number of Jafar – I ran out of figures and had to use lion men for some of them) and slaughtered, mostly with explosives.
The verdict from the players was that it was even faster and more furious than SW, and that because of the chain reactions from things like In Sight Tests, they weren’t waiting as long between turns, so felt more involved in the game. I warned them that 2HW products essentially view the story arc as a way of justifying and bridging the combats; but in honesty that isn’t too different from most RPGs. How about a campaign, I asked, as a change from SW? Fine, they said.
Those present were all keen Team Fortress 2 players, which I think helped their decision. We bemoaned the lack of TF2 figures, agreeing that we could do tabletop TF2 very easily with Chain Reaction.
So, which 2HW game, then? We discussed 5150, ATZ and Warrior Heroes – after the fact, I wondered about a Warhammer 40,000 game, which would be easy to do, and would give me an excuse to buy 5150: Star Army. As if I needed one.
By a narrow margin, All Things Zombie beat 5150; the group thinks we have enough fantasy games already, and that 5150: NB would overlap too much with the Shadowrun campaign. So, once we reach a natural break point for Shadows of Keron, we’ll park Beasts & Barbarians for a while and go zombie hunting.