We have been playing the Serenity (aka Firefly) Role-playing Game now for several weeks in a row. It is very much enjoyed by everyone due to the feel and setting of the game. Here are a few thoughts about the game so far...
The feel of this game is very enjoyable. The Margaret-Weiss folks really captured the idiosyncracies of Joss Whedon's 'Verse very aptly. Not everyone in the group had seen the Firefly series or the Serenity movie, but everyone was quickly able to get into character and have a great time playing the game. The fun combo of Old West and Asian cultures, thrown in with the Scifi, make for a diverse range of experiences even without any "aliens" or the spells/magic of a fantasy setting.
I can not recall having more fun during the character creation phase with any other RPG, ever. It was just fun reading aloud the directions (in a western drawl of course) to the players as we went through creating the characters step by step.
I've noted that many of the RPG's of the past 10 years have suffered from terrible organization issues. They may have very pretty pages and artwork, but many get (justly) lambasted for being extremely disorganized and difficult to make characters. The Serenity RPG suffers from a little bit of this, having to jump from section to section to get a character fully created, rather than be able to more smoothly flow one section/chapter at a time, to the completed character. But it wasn't too ornery an experience, and again, the humor and tone of the writing made it very enjoyable for everyone.
I love all the Chinese phrases they took the trouble to include in the various books. I have studied Mandarin (and Cantonese to a lesser degree) over the years, but never learned such "colorful" phrases.
The actual game play has been fun. It is quick and dirty. I generally prefer more detailed systems, especially critical wounds and such, but I've been GMing for so many decades, that the details are quickly added in a fashion that the players do not miss not having the system provide it (thank you Rolemaster for all those great critical descriptions long ago).
This is a fun game. Much of that is due to the nature of the Whedon 'Verse, but the authors of the game clearly understood it and very skillfully communicated that into this fun RPG. I have dabbled with some of the other Margaret Weiss productions Cortex games, namely Battle Star Galactica, and Farscape (?), and my boys have played the Supernatural RPG. But in looking through the BSG books, the style just doesn't click as nicely, and the BSG book is much more a mess when trying to create a character. So much so, we haven't finished one yet, so haven't actually played a session (yet).
Overall, the Serenity RPG is a blast! The Cortex system is simplistic, but the richness of the setting, and many supplements makes for a rich experience. We are all looking forward to many more sessions in the coming weeks.
Zài jiàn !