Friday night the boys and I tried out Battlestations, the sci-fi sorta-RPG with ship-to-ship combat. This is a game I received in the BoardGameGeek secret santa gift exchange, and it has been a struggle to get out. The main reason? I think this is a difficult game to teach yourself, and it doesn't have to be that way.

We played one of the intro missions and even used a pre-generated character for Matthew (a marine). Jacob took on the role of the scientist. I played the bad guys, and probably had too much of an advantage given that Jacob/Matthew had to fill out their ship with weaker "bots" (essentially commandable non-player-characters).

I wouldn't have been able to get started in the game without reading Jason Little's Battlestations - Example of Play walkthrough. The rules could use oh so much work - it is way too easy to get lost in the trees and never see the forest. As difficult as D&D 3.5 may be to learn, I think it is probably much easier for newbies to get into it given the narrative play examples included in the box.

In the end it wasn't a very satisfying experience. Too many rules lookups, the game felt fiddly, and it didn't keep Matthew's attention very well. We won't give up, though, and will try another session with Ken and Brandon to see if it gets better with more players and with a more experienced GM. I'll report back of course, but right now I'd be hard pressed to recommend this over other sci-fi RPGs like Star Wars D20.