25 May 2011

Role-Playing in War - GURPS Mass Combat

GURPS Mass Combat (GURPS, Fourth Edition)GURPS Mass Combat by David L. Pulver

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Now here's the book we needed for that WWII Supers campaign. It would have been much better to play-out the Battle of Kasserine Pass (with the odds sufficiently stacked to ensure a historical US defeat) or had our super-soldier enhanced Polish Parachute Brigade fight a battle in Dresden against Nazi werewolves than sort-of hand-wave those fights as window-dressing.

It's always been interesting to me that RPGs have traditionally had trouble in handling army-on-army combat. The ancestor of all RPGs is after all a miniatures wargame - Chainmail. But I've seen lots of systems proposed that just didn't work right. I haven't played Pulver's rules here, but this volume really looks like it strikes a nice balance, not getting bogged in details and still allowing for pauses in action for character-level fights and heroic action. I've always been a fan of giving my characters skill ranks in Administration, Strategy, and Intelligence Analysis even when I know the GM prefers to have players role-play these skills (yes, it is a bit method-actor-y of me). With this book, your stargetic-genius space-merc can really shine by turning the tide with a rag-tag band, and you won't be stuck arguing with the GM about how good your tactical ideas are.

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