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Solar Echoes Mission: The Seeds of Chaos
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/29/2014 17:20:55
An entertaining, low-level mission that provides a great way to introduce players to the rule system as well as the game world.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Solar Echoes Mission: The Seeds of Chaos
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Solar Echoes Starter Kit
by Cecilia R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/04/2014 07:15:04
First of all, I must admit I am mainly a researcher on roleplaying games, gaming culture and surrounding topics. This is going to be helpful to explain my further decision of giving this programme the rating it deserves.

Roleplaying games as any fiction, fantasy and SF genres in particular, rely on diegesis - the creation of the universe the adventures take place in. Many RPGs use nearly the same "generic" sword and sorcery fantasy settings we all know and, after some time, grow bored of. It is mainly because of the popularity of fantasy genre in literature, film and computer games. It seems a lot of people think "If they were turned into bestsellers, I can do it too". Unfortunately, basing on the same archetypes turns them into stereotypes, thus killing the excitement of the session.

On another hand, creating a science-fiction world requires more creativity combined with knowledge of how our own world works. While most people will not mind a wizard who defies the laws of gravity, they will instantly notice something is wrong if the author makes a silly mistake when describing the ecosystem of a Sci-Fi planet. That is why I deem SF RPGs to be more demanding on the publisher's side. For me, Solar Echoes is a very good place to start one's journey to SF roleplaying.

First of all, the rules are relatively intuitive. The rule of five makes it easy to conduct calculations, which, if the rules are too complicated, can easily daunt beginner roleplayers. The basic rules of Solar Echoes are laid-out neatly and allow more flexibility than more popular systems I know. This is very positive for both the players and GMs, the latter ones being able to let their creative juices flow and reshape the game to their - and their players - liking. Sample sheets provided in the pack help imagine the playable character and fill in one's own - another good move from the publisher. There are few things more disheartening for a player than lots of rules that by no means fit into the sheet, leaving a blank page instead of a PC. Solar Echoes is not the case here, it maintains a balance between each element.

The world of Solar Echoes is well-rounded for me. It is neither overdeveloped, which lets the GMs add their own flair to sessions, nor too short. This is a pro for me, because I enjoy flexibility. Expanding the world is a great pleasure for both the GM and the players, who step by step, adventure by adventure, add their ideas to the original concept. Solar Echoes Orientation Guide finely expands the knowledge of the galaxy of Solar Echoes.

Certainly the major pro of Solar Echoes, which other competitive products lack in my humble opinion, is the focus on professions usually overlooked by GMs - thus people who, on a smaller scale than the armies, let's say, work in all kinds of third-level situations, for instance espionage and diplomacy. I prefer smaller parties with well-developed characters and their flaws. Typical archetypal warriors do not appeal to me, therefore as a rule of contradiction, Solar Echoes is a good choice when it comes to SF. I admit I have a soft spot for "protect the Balance" thing. It is really refreshing! The focus on this is shown perfectly by the rules for hacking, persuasion and diplomacy, which I value highly.

It is a well-rounded game in a highly SF setting. Definitely a good start for roleplaying for science-fiction lovers. The price is definitely attractive - too high a price can prevent the potential customer from trying the system. I admit I usually use fantasy settings, but Solar Echoes were a great choice to start doing something more SF. I am glad I took the plunge to try it. Lastly, Corefun Studios LLC offers free-to-try extensions such as Overnight Elite Pack, Solar Echoes Orientation Guide and Xenos NPC Pirate Pack, which allow the group to expand their possibilities and see if they enjoy the setting.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Solar Echoes Starter Kit
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FREE Xenos NPC Pirate Pack
by Richard A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/27/2014 19:52:29
This would have been a much better product, if the front and back views of the five characters had actually been different from one another. I had to take a fine-line marker and black out one view on each figure, in order to have a reverse side. Still, it was free, so I rated Average.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
FREE Xenos NPC Pirate Pack
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Solar Echoes Player's Guide
by nick f. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/23/2013 14:07:15
After quite a bit of planing, calling, no shows, and organization, I was finally able to gather the gang and sit down for a much anticipated first game of solar echoes. I had read the rules. I had learned all of the races, archetypes, skills, scenarios and I'm not going to lie I was excited going into this. However, I wasn't sure if my friends would like it as much as i thought I would. So I figured I would start with just the introductory scenario. I passed out all of the character sheets and quick reference sheets of abilities and skills (Which are seemingly endless and full of possibilities). Luckily they were able to adopt the character management system fairly easily with little help from me. I also had to remind them that it is a highly team based game, so they wanted to have abilities that not only reflected the archetype they were going for, but fit instrumentally well with one another. Friend A, chose the Reln race (known for their way with words) named Salem Marsec (I don't know how he came up with that one). Mixed in some speech craft, a bit of stealth and deceit, with a nasty katana and a sniper rifle pair. Friend B, chose the Erwani race (a crazy looking sentient plant species), named Cloran Fyl. He was a techy that was good with hacking and had a floating orb companion that he named 'Bean Pod' as well as an arsenal of grenades. Friend C chose a Chiraktis (a praying mantis style bug class) This one comes in either warrior or worker. Naturally he chose the warrior. Equipped him with some biotech abilities so he could dole out quick heals, a quick use pistol and some martial art abilities and a tricky little grenade that has a deadly swarm of nano tech (that i will let you discover on your own). After spending about 30 mins nerding out over character building (which surprisingly is less time than we normally take) everyone was eager to jump in and use their new finely tuned avatars. Without giving out too much detail into the scenario. We were essentially sent to take out a weapons dealer. The combat in this game was very different compared to anything else we had tried. It is all about co operation, quick actions and reactions, and a fast paced all at once game play system that we found to be easy to pick up and fun to adapt to. If situations did not play out as they did I could for see a multitude of out comes at every turn. As the GM I ran through every trick in the book, and the players fought hard and achieved the goals set in front of them, of course not excluding loss, trial and tribulation along the way. At one point they used the Relns speech craft and a guards disguise they looted off of a dead body to sneak through a security clearance and hijack a space ship, which they had to hack into and override systems (also a fun mini-game attached to this). All in order to pursue an enemy that tried fleeing into space which then lead to an epic space battle. The game came with some pretty nice images that you could use for the space ships and vehicles, but we decided to use various ships we had lying around the house (made for a much cooler space battle). After completing the objective, rewards were doled out in the form of Loot and Xp for completing various achievements throughout the mission I.E. completing in a timely manner, RP MVP, killing/not killing certain NPCs, ect. We ended up having a great time and we are cycling sessions in for once or twice a month. This game is fun and keeps you interested. It feels like you are on the crew of Firefly or Cowboy Bebop. LOVED THIS GAME.

Tl;Dr: The game is fun, fast paced, original concept with varying environments, creative, and imaginative races with an easy to learn system. It feels like you are apart of the crew of your favorite syfy space craft with endless possibilities.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Solar Echoes Player's Guide
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Solar Echoes Player's Guide
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/08/2013 22:42:20
In my opinion the book is well organized and written in an easy to understand way. Every aspect of the game is being well thought off and covered. Rules are easy to find in the book, and aren't mixed with narrative. It gets right to the point, good for quick reference. It seems like a complicated system at first like any new game system, but once you start playing, it moves fast and is easy to understand. I also like the variety this game offer. You can customized the character that suits your style of play. Besides the routine combat talents. I also enjoyed the other, non-combat options they had, like Engineering, Persuasion, Biotech (Medical), Hacking, Disguise, Robotics, Resourcefulness, and Vehicle Talents. I also like the artwork at the beginning of each chapter and also all the art pieces through out the book. It gives you the right feel and set your mood to indulge in the game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Solar Echoes Player's Guide
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/01/2013 15:26:07
The following review was originally written at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=30510.

Solar Echoes Player’s Guide is the base handbook for the Solar Echoes core mechanics and a very high-level overview of the setting in terms of the history that has led to the setting’s present day and a look at the different character races. Everything else is core mechanics only, giving the player everything they need to play in an adventure or campaign. While not saying it outright, Solar Echoes is a space opera setting whereas the player characters are explorers or warriors of some type that travel the stars along with a host of others.

Solar Echoes utilizes a roll-over dice pool system whereas a player rolls a number of d6′s equivalent to the character’s base stat and adds any applicable modifiers (including those from skills) in hopes to meet or exceed the given target number. (Opposed rolls use a dice pool where the only the highest die rolled is considered.) The target numbers are fairly static meaning that as a character progresses, they do get better because the target numbers don’t continually increase. The base dice mechanics are very simple and straight-forward. Base attributes are determined by character race and then players choose the skills their character is going to have. There are no character classes and players are free to create whatever character type they want, given the inherent flavor of the character race. The game does include a number of recommended archetypes to help players get started.

As stated, this Player’s Guide provides all the basics and core mechanics. Outside of that and you’ll have to get the Mission Controller’s Guide.

OVERALL

Solar Echoes is a decent space opera system. I can’t say much about the setting as there is little information here in regards to the setting. The combat system utilizes an integrated turn sequence whereas the players and MC act upon and react to each other going back and forth without slowing down. It can definitely keep the game moving better and keep players from getting bored. However, there are a lot of mechanics and it almost seems as though there are too many situations attempting to be discerned in the core mechanics. In other words, too many modifiers for too many situations means too much memorization or constantly referencing back through the book.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 6 out of 10
Solar Echoes Player’s Guide is a decent publication. The layout is smooth enough, but I was quite let down by the artwork. Each chapter has a two-page piece of artwork leading into the chapter, although none of them seem to pertain to what that chapter is about. Yes the artwork looks cool, but it has little to no meaning to the system or setting. While the cover art looks excellent and really draws you in, the large color pieces inside are let downs. The artwork in the character creation and equipment sections look awesome, and the rest of the artwork should have followed their lead. I also found a problem with all of the sidebars – none of them seemed to be legible. Either the font wasn’t right or they weren’t placed properly, but I really couldn’t read any of them without squinting.

The content formatting, however, was fairly bland; most of it read like a Power Point presentation. Each section has lots and lots of crunch, but there is very little narrative to either fully introduce the section, describe the mechanics, tie the mechanics to the setting or to other mechanics, or to simply give the reader something to read. There was definitely too much crunch and not enough narrative, and the setting doesn’t come through outside of History and Character Creation.

Mechanics: 7 out of 10
The base mechanics are interesting enough, but suffer from bloating in some areas. Although the character creation part is streamlined and the skills are kept trim, combat and talents are a bit much. The talents all seemed to be oriented toward combat leading to characters that may be useless outside of combat or at least the game falls short on exciting non-combat encounters. Additionally, a lot of the mechanics carried too many situations for penalties or bonuses whereas too many situations are trying to be compensated for instead of keeping it simple and consistent. Combat, while interesting and designed to keep everyone involved all the time, has a lot of fiddly rules that seem more like a miniatures war game than a role-playing game. All of the combat mechanics appear to be written exclusively with the use of a square-grid battlemap, otherwise they may break down. To me, this could slow things down. I would have preferred to see all the mechanics as trim and streamlined as character creation and skill usage.

Desire to Play: 6 out of 10
The core mechanics for Solar Echoes present an RPG that is interesting and unique. However, the setting information within this Player’s Guide does not; it completely falls flat and fails to present the player with enough information to immerse themselves within the game’s setting. If you want to try something new whereas combat is designed to be more interactive and presents itself as a grid-based system, then Solar Echoes is a great place to start. However, there is very little setting information and you would have to get as much out of it as you can or want to.

Overall: 6 out of 10
Solar Echoes Player’s Guide is obviously a great place for players to start should they be getting ready to play a Solar Echoes adventure or campaign. You’ll have to rely on the MC to provide additional setting information (hopefully) from the Mission Controller’s Guide, but you’ll definitely have no problem making a character. You may have some difficulty plowing through the combat mechanics during the first few sessions, but having a chance to act and react back-and-forth from PC to NPC can make for some excellent game sessions and you may find yourself preferring the integrated turn sequence over the basic initiative system.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you for the honest review of our Player's Guide. We looked into the issue you brought up regarding blurry text in our “Flavor Text” boxes, and realized on some computers the resolution of these images was not as sharp as intended. As a result, we have corrected this by uncompressing the file to produce optimum clarity—we had wanted to keep the file size smaller for everyone, but agree that the text was slightly blurry in some instances due to the compression. Regarding your comments on setting, a lot is detailed in the flavor text boxes throughout the book, but we have also now added some of the setting material from the Mission Controller's Guide into the Player's Guide in the History section. As for mixing rules text with setting text, we had decided against this because we want players to be able to quickly find the rules they need to keep the game moving. The Player's Guide is intended to provide players with everything they need to create a character, buy equipment, and jump right into the game with an understanding of the rules. Yes, we do use a battlemap grid system for squad combat, which is a familiar method of gaming used in many RPG's. However, we step away from this for our vehicle combat, using a simplified, abstract system that frees players up from using a grid to conduct exciting battles. We believe these systems are well-suited for a tactical combat game. We hope that everyone enjoys the updates we have made to the Player's Guide, and welcome your reviews. Thank you for your thoughts on Solar Echoes! Andy Mitchell, Corefun Studios
Solar Echoes Mission: Derelict
by Jim C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/11/2012 01:26:31
The setting seems unafraid to make use of cliches and sketched-in background. Probably there's nothing wrong with using images that everyone can recognise to get to the action quicker. Progress of the adventure, as written, involves telling quite a few untruths to the players and then punishing them for reacting to the situation as described and that, I think, I would want to do differently.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Solar Echoes Mission: Derelict
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Publisher Reply:
We appreciate your honest review, and have re-examined several areas in the mission as a result. Though players during our beta tests seemed to enjoy the surprises, we do agree that there were a couple spots that were slightly misleading, and have since updated the wording in this mission. We hope this will help enhance the story and overall fun for "Derelict," and thanks again for your feedback! -Andy Corefun Studios, LLC
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