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Cosmic Patrol: Core Rulebook $4.99 $3.74
Average Rating:4.3 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
6 9
0 2
2 2
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Cosmic Patrol: Core Rulebook
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Cosmic Patrol: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Andrew R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/16/2013 22:51:35
Looking to run an atompunk campaign using Savage Worlds rules, I picked this up on a whim, hoping to glean a few ideas for a homebrew. I'm so glad I did; the retro-future setting they've created is practically bursting at the seams with great ideas. What's more, the crisp writing -- light, pulpy, humorous but never ridiculous, with a cohesive feel, and obviously put together by people who really love sci fi from the 40's through the 60's -- makes for one of the most pleasing campaign setting reads I've ever encountered. Bubble helmets? Check. Psionically-endowed nefarious Moon Men? Check. Weird science and cool technobabble (I love "fractum embroilment field")? Check. All done with style. Like many good RPG settings, most of the ideas are stolen -- but never feel tacked on.

The setting is laid out in a series of short reports, scientific papers or histories, which jump around topic-wise. The approach was unsettling at first -- where was my giant setting map followed by detailed regional descriptions? Where were my sections on currency, everyday life, government, travel, and a planet-by-planet accounting of adventure locales? As I read on, though, the more I appreciated the way the articles encouraged me to imagine my own version of a living, breathing setting from the inside. Some folks may yearn for more of a "sourcebook" approach, but by relying on well-written "you are there" pieces over lists, I think they've sidestepped one of my common complaints about campaign settings: often, the writers are so intent on giving you details about everything that they don't leave room for your group's stories. Not so here, and it's great stuff.

In the end, I've ported about 90% of what I've read into my SW game, to the point where it really is just a Cosmic Patrol game with a ruleset of my own choosing.

I can't comment about the game system; frankly, I skipped over it for the fluff, and still feel like I got a great deal at $4.99. Other products in this line have lived up to the same high standards.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cosmic Patrol: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Daniel S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/24/2013 19:57:56
Cosmic Patrol is a very different system from what I and other roleplayers have been used to.
The good:
Game sessions are split up into 'scenes', where the GM changes when one ends and the other begins; Hence, there is no prep involved, save for having character sheets for all of the players.

The not so good:
Character creation appears FATE-esque at first glance, but this system doesn't explicitly translate them into game mechanics. Where in FATE a character's aspect that defines them would give them a bonus or penalty, in Cosmic Patrol it is merely a guideline determined by the GM. The book even flat out says that if a player fails a roll, but they -should- succeed, to have them succeed anyway. Well then, why bother rolling?
Speaking of rolling, character creation involves a D4, D6, D8, D10, and D12 per player. All of the dice for players is to roll for stat generation - The players choose the die for each stat to (hopefully) determine what they're really good at. The GM uses a D20 to determine difficulty of rolls to do things like breaking open doors, avoiding hazards, and the players roll the appropriate stat vs the GM to see if they succeed.

Bottom Line:
My main criticism about Cosmic Patrol is that it seems unable to commit on rules-light collaborative storytelling or game mechanics, and in so doing weakens both. If you can look past that, you'll find a delicious gem of 30s-to-50s sci fi pulp with plenty of setting included. And for 5$ you can't go wrong.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cosmic Patrol: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Franklin H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/15/2013 19:22:43
Wonderful game for the money, I was thrilled with the setting as you can tun your own version of the Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon/Space 1999 settings with the mechanics included.

Nice job by CGL.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cosmic Patrol: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Edward M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/18/2013 12:53:10
I liked the return to the fifties and sixties heydays of the pulp SciFi TV serials.
This game brought back a lot of fond memories.
Well worth the price.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cosmic Patrol: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/27/2012 14:40:23
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=25950.

Cosmic Patrol is a storytelling game set in a pulp sci-fi setting. You may say that “aren’t all role-playing games ultimately storytelling games?” While this is pretty much true, Cosmic Patrol is solely focused on the characters and the story they create. How is this done? By removing the Game Master and giving everyone the chance to tell the story according to the plot hooks that are laid out for that adventure. This is a big thing as Cosmic Patrol is meant to be more of an improvisational game whereas all you know is a description of the adventure’s framework, but everything inside is determined by whomever turn it is to be the Lead Narrator (the one taking the head spot for that particular narration). The key here is that the Lead Narrator is also a player and also telling their own story in regards to the adventure’s framework. The end result is an experience in collective narration creating a game that is not only fun, but extremely flexible in terms of how you want the setting to look and feel.

The basics of Cosmic Patrol are to use building blocks and plot points to create the story, continue moving it forward, and give players and the Lead Narrator the chance to do something spectacular. These elements are done on a narrative basis using things like cues to describe your character instead of just abilities and skills. But when the dice need to roll, there are basic abilities to aid resolution (for things like firing a weapon). When the dice are called upon, it is a simple base die (d12 or your Combat Stat Die) plus the applicable stat die and modifiers. Using a progressive die system, characters’ stats are defined by the die type, increasing as they “improve.” This, however, is only when the dice need to be rolled for particular resolutions, otherwise everything is done in narrative. It’s a simple system and quite visual (you’ll have to read about the armor and health system as they really can’t be summarized).

OVERALL

Cosmic Patrol is a great blend of storytelling and dice rolling that focuses very heavily on the characters and the adventure they have. The removal of a Game Master and taking turns as the Lead Narrator mean that everyone involved in the game is fully involved and able to drive the story in new and interesting ways. The pulp sci-fi setting means that the sky’s the limit and you can really go any direction desired with a large amount of flexibility.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
Cosmic Patrol is designed as a simple but pleasing book. The layout and formatting are very simple and there is little to no “flash” throughout. The art within only covers the different character types (PC and NPC), but provide a nice collection of flavor that really represents the genre. The book is extremely easy to read and the content flows quite nicely from beginning to end. I would have liked to see some pulp sci-fi art covering spaceships (because that can be a big part of the genre too), but what was included look excellent.

Mechanics: 8 out of 10
Cosmic Patrol is a role-playing game and heavily leans toward storytelling elements. It does not focus on dice rolling outside of very specific situations and requires the players to be as involved with the game as the Lead Narrator. The removal of the Game Master means that the storyline could follow the adventure’s direction properly or end up somewhere in outer-space (figuratively and literally). The use of cues, objectives, and tags for this type of game-play is excellent for storytelling games, but what if you end up with a player that tries to take everything way off the farm? Sometimes giving everyone an equal amount of power can backfire, but with the right gaming group, Cosmic Patrol can produce hours of wonderful role-playing experiences and lots of great stories to be told.

Desire to Play: 10 out of 10
For those looking for a story-heavy role-playing game, Cosmic Patrol is an excellent blend of simplicity, flexibility, and narration. I feel that a story-telling game such as this works extremely well in the pulp sci-fi realm (given its inherent fantastical appearance and virtually impossible scientific feats), blending the game’s mechanics perfectly with the setting. Take this game into another genre, and it may not be as exciting, but pulp sci-fi really allows the mind to be as creative as possible. If you’re going to tell a story, this is a great place to do it without forcing the players to roll the dice or make mechanical decisions.

Overall: 9 out of 10
Cosmic Patrol truly fits in with the storytelling crowd. It will be interesting to see what directions the game takes in future supplements, but for now there is a solid base to start from and an excellent amount of material to get your games running. I can see these types of games being extremely popular at conventions and random gamer gatherings with its ease of understanding and the ability to provide flexibility to the players and the Lead Narrator without being bogged down in rules.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cosmic Patrol: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Jens A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/25/2012 12:43:12
I was excited to discover Cosmic Patrol, but after reading the rules was disappointed by the game mechanics.

The system is slightly like a simplified FATE, in that characters have a fixed set of skills augmented by freeform "Cues", a health track of checkboxes, and a supply of powerful "plot points" that can be spent to re-roll or declare facts. Unfortunately the Cues have no mechanical affect at all; they're just there to remind the player of their character's personality and suggest likely actions. This seems like a real waste, compared to the richness of FATE's Aspects.

Cosmic Patrol has a GM (called the "Lead Narrator") but, unusually, the role rotates between players, with a different player as LN in each game "scene". Within a scene, players take turns narrating their characters' actions round-robin, with the LN narrating her PCs as well as the NPC / world actions. I haven't played the game yet, but I'm skeptical how well this will work in practice — it seems like a conflict of roles, in comparison to a truly GM-less game like Universalis, where the characters are, essentially, owned cooperatively.

The setting of the game is good, though, and there's a lot of setting in the book: a ten-page (appropriately pulpy) short story; 16 pages of history and world descriptions; 44 pages of premade PCs, NPCs and alien monsters; and finally seven two-page scenario descriptions (which are long on narration and color, but short on details of how to run them.)

Ultimately, the game mechanics felt too in-between to me: not as rich as the FATE engine in the very-similar Bulldogs, and yet more traditional than a story-game like Danger Patrol. I liked the setting, but, like most homebrewed RPG settings, I'm left feeling that I could have come up with something as good by myself given time.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Cosmic Patrol: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/28/2012 09:24:03
Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/02/28/tabletop-review-cosmic--
patrol/

Here’s a bit of character dialogue you’re likely to hear in a session of the new RPG Cosmic Patrol by Catalyst Game Labs, just to set the mood:

“Engage the turbo thrusters to full speed, rotate the Gibson Device a full quarter turn, and set us out at a flux of one hundred!” — “Are you mad? A flux destabilization at that level could turn us all into little bits of atom!” — “Well I don’t know about you, Dirk, but I’d rather be a particle than a gosh-darned Uth slave!”

Sounds like a bunch of nonsensical classic Sci-fi babble? Good! When you’re playing Cosmic Patrol, that’s how your characters ought to talk. Cosmic Patrol is a rules-light science fiction role-playing game set in what they call “retro-future.” That’s the way the distant future was thought to look by our parents and grandparents in the 1940s and 1950s. Cosmic Patrol is full of rayguns, lizard men, Venusian geniuses and Martian barbarians – and it’s a blast to play!

The basic premise of the game features all the Player Characters as crew members aboard a spaceship. Each game session, as prepared in the book, is a mission on which the crew must embark. Each mission is comprised of one to four scenes, and a scene is a burst of action and a major obstacle/problem/mystery that the crew must overcome. The game encourages fast and loose play with dice whirling, dialogue and conversation bursting forth, and a heavy emphasis on the “Yes, and…” aspect of improvisational theater. The result is a heady mix of action, glorious success, ridiculous failure, and (in my gaming group’s case) uproarious laughter.

The book does a wonderful job of providing a lush background to the world. The opening pages of the book contain an exciting short story set in the world of Cosmic Patrol. From there the readers get a detailed outline of events that brought Earth from the pre-space travel age to the current age of the book: where faster than light travel is easy, the moon is full of strange bald psychics, and Mars and Venus have, for ages, been the home of humans not terribly unlike Earthlings. This information is all crucial, as so much of the role-playing involved is off the cuff. If all the players have read the book and understand the world their characters live and die in, they are much better suited to confidently roll with the punches and further the story.

The structure of this storytelling game involves a revolving GM, or a “Lead Narrator.” Each LN is in charge of a Scene in the mission. He or she describes the scenario, plays all NPC’s and then the PC on his or her left describes what their character is doing. This rotates clockwise until it comes back to the LN, who then describes what their Player Character is doing. The shift in LN means the game can have wild shifts in tone and pace as the role of head storyteller changes. It keeps everyone on their feet and it really keeps the pace moving. Add to all this the mechanic of “Plot Tokens” and the game can really spin on its axis. Each player receives Plot Tokens, as well as the LN, and they can be used to do everything from changing the turn order and healing to making a giant comet come and crash into the moon base your characters are exploring. Anything can happen with a Plot Token, and we found ourselves at the end of our session lamenting how stingy we were with ours!

The game mechanics are simple and extremely easy to pick up. It took about fifteen minutes to get even the minute details explained and to get all players up to speed and ready to roll. Each trait: Brawn, Brains, Charisma, and Special (different for every character) have a set die mapped to them. To accomplish a task that may have a chance of failure, you simply roll that die plus a D12 vs. a D20. In combat, you roll your combat die versus the enemies combat die and see who comes out on top! In addition, there’s a static Luck number, and if you ever roll that number it’s an auto-success. There’s also hazy idea of distance (close, near, far). And, honestly, that’s about it for mechanics!

To play, you should have a copy of the book, something to take notes with, and the standard array of dice (D4, D6, D8, D10, D12 and D20). Also crucial to play is a good sense of humor, the ability to go out on a crazy limb, and a group of players you can role well with. Our only complaints were that there weren’t enough scenes in our Mission to let all of the players take a turn as Lead Narrator. If you’re playing with more than three players, think about how you could break up or add to the scenes written in the pre-made scenarios. We’ve already got plot threads dangling for, at least, three more missions with five scenes in each.

Finally, a note on the book itself: in physical form the book is refreshingly small in stature, but has everything you need to play immediately and build from. There are no separate books for Lead Narrators, no huge tomes of monsters and beasties, just a bunch of good stories, some basic rules, some cool characters to play as, and a few essential baddies and henchmen to get the game rolling. This is absolutely worth the suggested market retail price, at least!

If you’re looking for a game you can pick up quickly and jump right into, look no further than Cosmic Patrol. So buckle up, cadets, and blast off to your first mission aboard the Cosmic Patrol (just be sure to keep an eye on your flux destabilization)!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cosmic Patrol: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/17/2012 20:27:04
Cosmic Patrol has one of the best, built in implied settings I've seen in a game in a long time. (I hate to call it fluff, but even as fluff, it's awesome).

The system is something I had a bit of an issue fully groking at first, but I suspect that is due to my preconceived notions of what one should expect from an RPG system. This system is definitely more story than crunch, and truth be told, it fits the implied setting much tighter than a heavier setting would.

If I was given the opportunity to introduce new players to the hobby and give them these rules, dice and no other guidance, they would be up and running in less then 30 minutes. With an outside hand guiding them, probably less then 10.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cosmic Patrol: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Idle R. H. I. R. H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/25/2012 05:06:39
Cosmic Patrol is probably one of the best rules-lite storytelling game we've come across. It's simple enough that anyone can narrate a session (even a complete beginner) yet has enough of a system behind it to appeal to established RPG players. Although the default setting is 1930's pulp space opera adventure, the rules are universal and can be used for almost any genre or setting with only a little imagination. This game is an absolute blast to play, and is a great way to introduce people to the RPG hobby.

You can listen to our full review of Cosmic Patrol here: http://www.idleredhands.com/?p=1095

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cosmic Patrol: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Terry P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/18/2011 03:00:27
COSMIC PATROL NEEDS ARTWORK. THE WRITING IS SOUND, BUT YOU DO NOT GET TO SEE THE SPACESHIPS. THERE ARE SOME CHARACTER PICS, BUT FOR A CATALYST PRODUCT, THIS IS POOR.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Cosmic Patrol: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Cameron M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/18/2011 07:41:25
This game looked great, and I absolutely loved the premise. That being said, if you read some other reviews you get the idea that it's kind of a love-or-hate game. I love the background and fluff, but the game mechanics are not to my liking. I don't care for the 'roaming GM' aspect, although a full-time Narrator can be appointed. I don't care for the 'open-ended' type of ruleset, I don't care for the simplified game mechanics. I would have preferred a fully-developed RPG like Shadowrun is. I'm very glad I bought the 5 dollar PDF. It was worth that just to read some of the stories, background, etc. in the book. This could have been a great system for some, and it surely is to some, but for me it's a big miss. I would have loved a fully-fledged out game system, more traditional RPG style, with sourcebooks and miniature support. Just not my style. This is not a game that I could run for a couple years like a more standard RPG, this is a one-night 'scene'-type RPG that I am not really fond of. I realize that with the economic situation, this is kind of the wave of the present, but I'm not going to be drawn in. I'll stick with Shadowrun and other similar games.

That being said, if you like the 'rules-lite' type of RPG that is all the rage right now, this would be great for you. The fluff and background just can't be beat, I feel that the RPG crowd out there would really like this, if it were a full, more traditional RPG. I don't do scene-type stuff, so I'm out, but if you enjoy this game, good for you. It's great for what it is, a very simple ruleset.

As an aside, come on Catalyst, not a single write-up of a single Rocketship? This game is very open-ended. If you like that, great. You get a two of five, really should be 2.5 out of five, and half of that is for creativity of premise. However, I'm disappointed. This could have been the next D and D, possibly, or at least up there.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Cosmic Patrol: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/09/2011 11:01:05
Genius. The potential for this game is huge.
The dice system looks very playable.
I really like the character templates.
The pulp setting can be played totally straight - the representations here aren't too cheesy, just enough humour in the concept without being silly.
The design and art perfectly compliment the game.
Perfect for $4.99.

Join the Patrol!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cosmic Patrol: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Steve Z. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/02/2011 13:46:05
So, last night we played our first session of Cosmic Patrol, which promises to deliver old-timey rocket and raygun type science fiction fun. And it does, in spades.

Cosmic Patrol is significantly different from other RPGs in a couple of ways. First, it is set up for immediate, no prep play. All we did was print out a few of the pre-gen character sheets, pick a scenario from the back of the book , and we were off to the space races. Easy peasy.

Secondly, it is designed for the role of Gamemaster (or Narrator in CP speak) to be rotated around the table during play. Each adventure scenario is split up into multiple scenes. One player takes the role of Lead Narrator and sets the scene for the rest of the players. Then, play goes around the table, with everyone taking an action, including the Narrator who has a PC of his own. When the scene is resolved to everyone's satisfaction, the role of Narrator passes to the next player, who sets the scene and runs that until it is also resolved, and so on. I was skeptical about this way of playing at first, but seeing it in action, it really makes for a fun session of gaming.

Characters are defined by a handful of attributes, which are represnted by a die type (d4, d6, d8, d10 or d12) To do something, roll a d12+your die type vs. a d20 rolled by someone else, which can have mods applied to it by the Narrator. Beat the number and you succeed! Combat is even simpler with the player rolling his Combat die vs the NPC's Combat die, beating the NPC's roll to do damage. Every character has pips of armor and health, and you lose these as you take damage. The more damage you take, you start to take penalties to your die rolls.

Characters are also defined by a number of tags and descriptors that help define the character and what his or her attitudes and personality are like. There is no game mechanic attached to these and they are there merely to help the player get into character.

And finally we get Plot Points, which are tokens each player has to let him change elements of a scene. These can be used to regain health or armor, as well as change the scene around the characters. Say you're facing down a dread space crocolisk. You might spend a plot point to say there is an open hatch above the beast that you could try to leap to to escape it. Or another player might spend one to say that not only is there a Crocolisk, but now the walls are closing in on you! Either way will definitely add to the fun of the session. Plus, for every point a player spends, the Narrator gets a point to spend on the scene as well!

In closing, Cosmic Patrol is a hoot to play. The rules are very barebones and easy to use, and the play is smooth and very creative and fun! An excellent game for when you have no time to prep and don't want to have to resort to busting out a boardgame instead. Plus the mechanics of the game really could lend themselves to any genre of roleplay you like, if you were so inclined. Go buy this, strap on your Atomo-Lift Pack, and blast off for adventure!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cosmic Patrol: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by James M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/25/2011 19:26:56
I know space is cold and empty, but there's no reason this game has to be the same. The much vaunted cue system isn't really a system, just a list of (admittedly) good one liners. I was looking for a rules lite game, but this takes it one step further. If you're up for that, great, enjoy it. I wasn't quite prepared for it and got disappointed.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Cosmic Patrol: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Devon K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/24/2011 00:03:58
I'll start off by saying that Science Fiction is my favorite genre. While that's true, I've never cared for the classic SciFi style, until I read this game. Cosmic Patrol presents it's setting in an exciting way that's at the same time a quick read and very informative.

The rules for Cosmic Patrol are incredibly light, focusing on narration and quick resolution for Contests and Tests. Play focuses on a round-robin narration style, with each player narrating their character's actions for a turn before beginning a new turn. The players each have a pool of Plot Points that they can use to affect the narrative during each turn. These points are extremely powerful as they can be used for almost anything.

The game functions without a GM, opting instead for a position called a Lead Narrator that rotates between scenes. The game session is guided overall by a Mission Brief that presents the challenges and enemies that the Cosmic Patrolmen will encounter and this provides the starting point and directions for each scene that occurs in the game.

At first, I was worried about this game. I was afraid that it would work, but the simplicity of the system has an elegance to it that I'm really starting to enjoy the more I think about it. The freedom allowed in the narrative seems to be without horizon.

One thing I didn't like was the introduction information at the very beginning. The book defines a roleplaying game. It defines dice. It even defines imagination. If this is a book to introduce someone to the hobby of roleplaying, that's fine, but the detail was a little much, to my way of thinking.

I'm very excited to give this game a shot.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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