Looking ahead to 42 years and beyond...
The game that had the biggest impact on me in the last year is definitely Star Trek Adventures by Modiphius Entertainment.
.As someone who has run a great many RPG sessions in the Star Trek universe over the past three decades plus, I pretty know what I want out of a Star Trek Role Playing Game.
When Modiphius' Star Trek RPG was announced I was initially very excited. A new Star Trek game! How awesome! It has been so long (or at least it felt like so long) since there had been an official RPG that the mere fact was was being published was enough to get the juices flowing once again, in spite of my feelings over the dismal J.J. Abrams films.
This new game would ignore that continuity in favor of a Next Generation focus, while covering all the various main canon eras. Hurrah!
I was invited into the playtest and also asked to submit a pitch for a adventure to be included in one of their future products. I was super-jazzed...and then I read the playtest rules. My heart sank as I found the Modiphius game not to my liking. In truth, I found it very difficult to comprehend. It lacked many of the details I would expect a Star Trek game to have, while adding over-complicated rules for some aspects of the game.
Needless to say I lost interest and enthusiasm for the playtest and submitting material. I would stick with the Last Unicorn Game*, still my favorite version of tabletop Star Trek RPGing and one of my favorite games of all time.
Then the oddest thing happened...
Some months after the game was released, my friend Keith, who GMs our Wednesday night Google Hangouts game, decided to give the game a trial run.
He ran several sessions over Hangouts with a handful of players including myself. One fellow had played the game before and when we (both the other players and Keith) ran into a question or a snag, this guy was able to help us out.
Once I'd played the game I suddenly understood many of the mechanics that had confused me in the playtest. I also grasped that this game took a somewhat different approach to Star Trek than its predecessors had. I quickly started liking it, then loving it.
I bought the PDF of the Core Rulebook and gave them game a thorough read. Once I felt I had a solid lock on the system, I converted the Star Trek campaign I was running with Dan's Group - Star Trek: Prosperity - over to Star Trek Adventures with the promise that I would switch back to LUG Star Trek if we didn't like this version better.
As it turned out, Star Trek Adventures was perfect for the group and the campaign. It was amazing how much smoother things ran. Everyone in the group felt Star Trek Adventures' mechanics were a bit simpler and more intuitive. It also has some crunch in all the right places, adding more depth to the combat and action scenes than I expected.
We are still running Star Trek: Prosperity (not in its third year) and Star Trek Adventures is definitely working for us. For a game I initially did not like at all, I am very impressed by how the final product turned out. It really challenged my preconceptions regarding the balance between simplicity and crunch and even how I view my favorite setting in relation to gaming.
*Last Unicorn Games' ICON System Star Trek Role Playing Game is still my favorite Star Trek game. Why? Well, it's not so much for the rules but the feel that the rules convey. To put it more clearly, if I want a relaxed, fast paced Star Trek experience I will go with Star Trek Adventures every time. For a more in-depth, heavy role playing, simulation of people living in the Star Trek universe type of game, LUG Star Trek's greater range of options and more detailed mechanics are my preference.