"The choice is up to you. Feel free to use as little or as much of the following rules for your campaign…" – Ed Teixeira, 5150: New Beginnings
This one’s for Steve Boulter… Steve, you said you weren’t convinced all Ed’s changes for 3rd Edition were of benefit. Here are my thoughts having played 5150: NB for a while…
- The new In Sight method – Rep d6 looking for passes rather than 2d6 vs Rep. I didn’t expect to like this, but it while it is fractionally slower in play, it makes many-on-many firefights flow more smoothly.
- Bonus dice. For when the Star absolutely, positively has to win a dice roll.
- The 5150: NB skills system. Rep and a couple of attributes aren’t really enough to keep me interested in a character, but LTL’s dozens of skills were overkill. This feels right in the sweet spot.
- The self-improvement rules. I like it that my Star can’t lose points unless he fails.
- The revised melee rules. I never really took to the idea of multiple sub-turns inside a melee, with the figures’ melee dice gradually eroding until one didn’t have any left. That’s gone now.
I don’t like:
- Bleeder wound status. I find it confusing, and have to keep looking it up. Maybe that will change as I play more, but currently I don’t think it adds anything to the game that Stunned and Out Of the Fight didn’t already cover to my satisfaction. This is the only thing I really have a problem with, but I’ll keep playing it for a while, since it often takes quite a few games before I realise what a particular rule is trying to do.
- Different reaction test charts for the different troop types. That’s been in 2HW games for a long time, and I’ve never really taken to it. However, I haven’t thought of a better way to do it, either, and they are so integral to the system that I don’t want to mess with them. The easiest solution is probably to restrict the troop types used in any one encounter, so I’m only looking up a couple of tables. Mind you, as long as you have a decent leader with each tactical group, it’s quite unusual for them to fail anything other than a Recover From Knock Down Test anyway.
- How long it takes to resolve PEFs. There are a couple of ways to deal with that, one is Ed’s approach of pre-dicing a bunch of encounters and putting them on cards, another is not to flesh them out beyond Rep and weapon carried, which is what I find myself doing most of the time.
I don’t mind:
- Hit location. I like the brutal elegance of rolling vs Impact. However, the hit location tables make it easier to use armour, by adding detail to damage resolution. I have toyed with the idea of dropping hit location and giving figures Star Power dice to represent armour, but that would mean more bookkeeping, which I hate.
- PEF movement rules. They are less intuitively obvious to me than the ones in earlier editions, but I picked them up easily enough.
Neither like nor dislike but don’t expect to use much:
- Cybertech enhancements and media crews. Just not my cup of tea.
- Terrain placement, buildings, hiring-on, legal and economic systems. I don’t have a problem with them, I just enjoy other parts of the game more, and when time is limited they’ll probably fall by the wayside.
So, overall, I’d say the 3rd edition rules are an improvement – I like more of the changes than I dislike.