So, Bulldogs! was an odd read.
Not odd, in a bad way, but I have read quite a few Fate books at this point and there are certain parts in each of them that I can pretty much skip. The introduction to fate, this is how fate works parts of the books.
This is not a criticism, but just part of the experience.
For the most part, Bulldogs! does not stray too far from what Fate already does. The biggest difference is in its setting. It is hard to look at this and not compare it to Diaspora, since they are sci-fi games using the Fate system. They do go about their approach very differently though. Diaspora is more of a hard sci-fi game where you get to create the system from scratch. There is a lot to like about that. Bulldogs! already has a setting and allows you to jump into the game a lot quicker.
It also has a very Firefly feel to it, which is what drew me to the game in the first place. I would play either gladly, this one just hits what I want a bit more.
There are a couple of things this game a bit differently than other Fate games.
First, the character creation is not as collaborative. That doesn’t mean you cannot do as a group, but instead of your character being a part of another’s phase, everyone is done separately. You do not get involved with their “adventure type” phase and it gives you ideas on how to come up with your aspects. Things like weaknesses, your homeworld, your profession, or ones specific to the alien race you choose to play. It is unlike anything Fate has done before, but it seems interesting.
Another interesting thing is the game suggests that you let the GM be the captain. That is an interesting idea, but some people may want the Firefly game and can you imagine someone not being Mal?
Then you get to make a ship (or you can choose one already made), and off you go!
Secondly, there are the races I spoke of a moment ago. They are:
Arsubararans-Human like and pretty much everywhere.
Dolome-Huge, blue, tripod-legged. Very loyal, but you probably don’t want to make them angry.
Hacragorkans-green, burly, tattooed, and man do they love fighting. It is what they excel at.
Ken Reeg-Slick, smooth, and also green. They are manipulators of the highest order. Dealing with them is always a risk.
Robots-Where would the galaxy be without them? They come in just about every shape and size you could imagine.
Ryjyllians- Catlike and with retractable claws, they are fierce mercenaries that have a high code of honor.
Saldrallans-Snake-like and cold blooded. They were one side of the thousand years war. Their ruthless pragmatism guides the Empire well.
Templari-Haughty and purple, the Templari rule the Devalkamanchan Republic, guided by their belief that they are genetically superior to all others.
Tetsuashans-They are slug like and unlikely adventurers, but they seem at ease in space. They have an affinity for piloting and ship-building.
Urseminites-They resemble small teddy bears, but don’t let that fool you. They are angry and murderous in temperament. Due to this, they tend to be despised by all.
The best part is that they also give you really good tools on creating your own species. Which is most definitely what I want to do. They give you a lot of examples of abilities to choose from, and it looks like it would be fun to do.
The ship combat is handled a lot like normal combat, but it seems like it would flow well, as each member can do certain things. From piloting, firing cannons, repairing, etc.
Overall, it was a fun read and I really want to play this pretty badly. I have wanted to play something that gets the feeling of Firefly, and I think this could be it.