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Red Dwarf - The Roleplaying Game
by Ugavine

This is an SOS distress call from the mining ship, Red Dwarf. The crew are dead, killed by a radiation leak. The only survivors were Dave Lister, who was in suspended animation during the disaster and his pregnant cat who was safely sealed in the hold. Revived 3 million years later, Lister's only companions are: a life form who evolved from his cat and Arnold Rimmer, a hologram simulation of one of the dead crew.

Anyone unfamiliar with the Red Dwarf TV series is very unlikely to have picked up this RPG. But then anyone unfamiliar with the Red Dwarf TV series on a website called RPG Geek is probably living in outer space already.

First impressions.
Well from the off it doesnít seem like a book that has aspirations of becoming a best seller. While the core rulebook is a nice hardback with full colour cover inside is just black, white and pink with just a couple of full colour pages. The book is littered with black and white stills form the series as well as varying quality original artwork and a nice deck plan of Starbug. So Iím afraid my first impression is average. Itís a shame those photoís were not full colour as it would really have added to the presentation especially when you see other tie-inís like Farscape and the recent Doctor Who so well presented.

The chapters
Well there are quite a few of them so I wonít list them all. It basically covers all bases though; introduction, player-characters, space ships. The Rules of play is a mere 10 pages but the book is lacking any significant GM section making it less appealing to new players. That said it does tend to cover all bases of the TV series including all the characters down to Captain Hollister, Ace Rimmer and Duane Dibbly. It includes stats for all the ships that I can recall including both versions of Blue Midget and Simulant ships. In that respect the book serves as a great Red Dwarf Sourcebook on its own.

British fans may notice there is a slight American slant to the reading of this book. Itís a British series but this was published in the US, but it is still very much Red Dwarf. As well as the pictures the book is littered with humorous quotes form the series. It feels like Red Dwarf, even if the page layouts are not the most attractive Iíve seen. It is also a light hearted read which encourages players to just have a laugh. So impressed was I with the introduction/how to play chapter I gave it my new to RPGs girlfriend to read.

I quote an example; nothing in the rules says you have to do anything more than simply describe the activity: "I turn to the GELF pirate and cup myself in the universally insulting fashion."

Informative, amusing and pretty much what new players want to hear.

Smeg and the Heads
What about the player characters then. Well the game is designed for players to create their own alternate reality Red Dwarf and crew. All the familiars are then along with some amusing ones. The rules allow you to create a human, hologram, evolved animal (cat, dog, iguana), mechanoid, Gelf, wax droid and even stimulant. If thatís not enough then how about a Skutter or Talkie Toaster. "Do you want some Toast?"

The Rules - Up, up, up the ziggurat lickety spit.
The rules are pretty straight forward. Add your Attribute and appropriate skill to get a difficulty number. Roll 2D6, you have to get lower than the difficulty. Iíve not actually played it but it really seems simple enough to work with a game like Red Dwarf. This is not a gamers game, this is a geeks game. Itís about the feel of the show and having a laugh in the Red Dwarf universe.

Overall I think this is a game I could play for a few sessions with the right crowd. Itís not the greatest RPG ever and I donít think it even tries to be. But it is packed so much of series info that it deserves at least some recognition for sheer content.

For content as a Red Dwarf fan;


As a role-playing game;

Smoke me a Kipper, Iíll be back for Breakfast.



Club Squirrel ratings

     (1 Squirrel)  Pretty bad.  Not fun.  Play before you buy. 

     (2 Squirrels)  Below average, not much fun.

     (3 Squirrels)  Good game.  Fun with solid mechanics.

     (4 Squirrels)  Excellent game.  Great fun with much replayability.

     (5 Squirrels)  GOLDEN SQUIRREL.  One of the best games out there.




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