I’ve written a review of Gunslingers and Gamblers (available here at RPGNow.com or here through Lulu.com), a game which I consider to be one of the best pick-up systems for running a Wild West-themed game. Sure, other Old West oriented games exist—Aces & Eights being one of the more popular out there—but G&G is a fast, loose system that a GM can easily run with only a half an hour’s notice. The main thing it requires is a handful of poker dice. While it can be run with standard six-sided dice, the poker dice are its shtick and one that is easily understood by all involved even though it may take a few plays just to firmly get “hands” in mind if you’re not a poker player.*
The dice have the following faces: 9, 10, J, Q, K, A. All die rolls involve throwing five dice and seeing who gets the best hand, ranging from a pair (two dice with the same face) up to five-of-a-kind (all dice showing the same face). Once a player understands the ranking of hands, throwing dice and reading the result become almost intuitive, making for a very quick game, something I always look forward to, both as player and referee.
Now, a few weeks ago, one of the players mentioned using the G&G rules for a modern ops game. Switch out some of the skills (all of which are very broad to begin with—guns, melee, riding, for instance) with their current equivalents and then go. Members of the military (and by extension mercenaries) play dice games, so the shtick would still hold. And this would work fine.
But I’ve been hankering to run a Star Wars game for some time and while there are other systems out there already built with that title in mind (West End Games d6 version, Wizards of the Coast’s d20 version, a few variants can be found on the ‘net for Savage Worlds), my gaming group knows me well for making mountains out of molehills where my gaming ideas are concerned.
At one point I’d considered using 7th Sea as the base for a Star Wars conversion, but after a short-lived pirate campaign, I decided the system moved too slowly for me. Then, after the suggestion was made for modern ops, I thought, “What about Star Wars?”
And all the players in my group groaned. In jest, because they like Star Wars but they also know it’ll be awhile before I get things up and running while I figure out how best to work the Gunslingers and Gamblers system with a Star Wars-oriented spin to its basic poker dice shtick.
Next up, looking at Star Wars “poker”.
* My son played G&G the first time when he was 7 and picked it up very quickly. Of course, he’s been playing with dice since he was three and seems to have a firmer grasp on most things numbers related than I do.