Pen & Paper Roleplaying Central => Reviews => Topic started by: Mcrow on September 06, 2006, 11:03:49 PM

Title: Cold Space
Post by: Mcrow on September 06, 2006, 11:03:49 PM


Cold Space is set during the Cold War where Albert Einstein was a key part in the development of Faster Than Light travel. During the Korean war anti-gravity gunships roam the battlefields while zeppelins (converted into gun platforms) dominate land from the sky. World War II subs, ships, and aircraft are converted into contra-gravity ships. The arms race has begun.

Once humanity took to the stars they immediately started colonizing. As usual wherever humans go conflict emerges and in space is no different. A colony declares independence from the home country and civil war erupts. Secret wars are fought under the radar.

There is a lot more very cool twists on the Cold War like the ones above. Another thing about Cold Space is that all of the science in the game has some basis in real science. Sure, there are some rules of physics bent and broken, but plausibility is still very much there. Cold space is a true hard Sci-Fi RPG.

System & Content:

Character generation is in a life building manner. Once you generate attributes you choose your for mothers milk skills, which brings your character up to age ten. Then you choose a junior high school so you get six more skills and add four more years to your age. A high school is chosen and six more skills and four more years are added. Then the player can choose to go though college or start employment. There are extensive lists of colleges and employments.

Cold space uses the Star Cluster 2 rules, which works very well for this game. The system is a percentile somewhat like the BRP system. The basic skill resolution is simple, you have a base chance of 45% plus 5% per level of skill and then you get a bonus form the attribute the skill is based on.

The combat system starts with initiative. Initiative is the most complicated part of the game. A quick run downis that everyone rolls percentile, and the lowest roll goes first. A round is 120 half second segments and combat is resolved lowest to highest. The catch is that players can trade initiative for a bonus to hit or damage. So if youroll a 40 for you initiative you could trade 20 initiatives for a +20 to hit or damage, but then your initiative goes up to 60. Characters with a high level of skill with a weapon gets a bonus attack for each 5 levels of the skill (a character with a +11 with a weapon skill gets a total of 3 attacks). A character can choose when the attacks hap-
pen in initiative, starting with your rolled initiative, but all must be at least ten initiatives apart. While the initiative rules are a little more complex than normal, it does force players to really think. Do I wait and so I can get a better shot or do react immediately?

The to hit roll is a straight up percentile roll using your weapon skill minus the targets armor and/or cover (or any other modifiers. If you roll under you hit and roll percentile a gain and add the weapons damage bonus to the result to get the damage total. For example: If you made your to hit roll and were successful you roll a d100 and get a 40. Your weapon bonus was +25 so the total damage is 65. The only problem related to the combat system is that there is no place in the rules that actually tells you how to make an attack. Now between the examples and having experience with percentile systems I was able to figure it out, but I’m concerned that players new to percentile systems or RPGs in general might get confused.

Cold space also includes nice ship combat and vehicle rules as well as a great NPC generation system. There are also respectable equipment lists, planet detail section, and pre generated ships.

Layout and Looks:

First I have to say that to me art and looks of a book are not a huge factor in my RPG buying habits. However, I know that many people hold production values at a higher priority level than me. The art in the book appears to mostly clip art that has been modified to suit the games purposes. While the illustrations do a good job of depicting elements of the setting, I think some may be turned off by the over use of the smudge effects used on them.

The layout is much improved over Flying Mice’s previous products. The tables for each school and employment are still there but they have been reduced in size and take up much less space. There is much less white space and few typos. Cold Space definitely shows that the publisher is willing to work at his craft and make improvements where needed. The comp PDF version that I was given isn’t bookmarked which is a bit annoying. My only complaints about the layout is it bounces from two columns to one and back again over and some of the sections seem to out of my preferred order, but chalk these up to personal taste.


Cold Space is a quality game with a incredibly cool concept. It makes up for the few short comings in the production value department with a great setting ,overall functionality, and completeness. Cold Space is a game that I recommend highly for those interested in the Cold War and hard Sci-fi.