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Bulldogs! is the Guardians of the Galaxy RPG You’ve Been Waiting For

Bulldogs! is the Guardians of the Galaxy RPG You’ve Been Waiting For

For those folks who weren’t paying attention to last night’s big game, Disney laid out a new trailer featuring everyone’s favorite band of space scoundrels. Here it is for those who missed it (and for those who want to watch it for the 300th time):

May seems like a long time to wait for another volume of snarky dialog, big space action and roguish charm. Luckily, tabletop RPGs are not lacking for games where a crew of outlaws, outcasts and outsiders band together aboard a ship for some rollicking good times. Out of all the choices available, Bulldogs! from Galileo Games is the best choice for adventures that feel like the adventures of Star Lord and his crew.

The title of Bulldogs! refers to the crews of the TransGalaxy Corporation that have Class D licenses. They get the jobs and the cargoes that nobody else does. They ship toxic waste, deadly xenomorphs and devastating weapons hidden in crates claiming to be full of stuffed animals for charity. The crews are usually recruited from the types of people that are desperate for a job. Criminals looking for money, washouts from the military, rich kids looking to rebel against their parents and plenty of other unusual personalities end up crewing a Class D freighter. As the company recruiters are fond of saying: “If you’ve got a pulse, we’ve got a job for you!”

The Fate edition was very well-received by fans of the game. It Kickstarted and released an edition over the past year that updated the mechanics with the clarifications from Fate Core and also released a full-color hardcover that will happily nestle next to it on the shelf of your FLGS. The true engine of Fate are aspects; short, colorful phrases that can be used to interact with the mechanics of the game. All Fate characters possess a few aspects. By invoking an aspect, a character gets a bonus to a roll or a reroll of the dice by spending a Fate point. By compelling an aspect, the character causes themselves a bit of narrative trouble but receives a Fate point to use later.

Let’s look at Peter Quill. His character has the aspect You May Know Me as…Star-Lord. He can use this aspect to his advantage whenever he takes a swashbuckling action like punching a bad guy. But every time he accepts a compel on the aspect, someone ends up disrespecting his name by not knowing who he is.

Image result for bulldogs rpgBulldogs! highlights relationships through the use of Fate’s aspect mechanic. Every crew member has an aspect that connect to the captain of the ship, who is often an NPC. When the character uses that relationship as a benefit, they can get bonuses to skill rolls needed in the clutch. When the character’s relationship causes them trouble they get fate points that they can spend later for a future benefit. Not only that, but the ship gets aspects to reflect its own character traits. The Millennium Falcon, for example, might be The Fastest Hunk of Junk In The Galaxy. This aspect lets Han Solo invoke it to fight past swarms of TIE Fighters, but he was compelling it a lot in The Empire Strikes Back every time the ship’s hyperdrive failed.

Bulldogs! is set primarily in the Frontier Zone between two giant space empires locked in a cold war far away from Earth. The Zone is populated with classic galactic archetypes like the human stand-ins called Arsubarans and robots of varying size and functionality.  Each species is a collection of aspects that allow for similar behavior between characters. They also have bonuses and penalties that make each alien and robot play differently. Fans of the movie will want to check out these species for characters that feel like their big screen counterparts.

  • The Hackragorkans are scaly lizard race known for their aggression like Drax the Destroyer.
  • The Ken Reeg are a green-skinned race that’s mistrusted by nearly everyone else like Gamora.
  • The Ursemenites are a race of short, furry temperamental humanoids whose cuteness is only matched by their love of unnecessary violence like Rocket.

There isn’t a space druid race that corresponds directly to Groot, but the game comes with rules that allow for custom alien species with just a little simple and a few minutes dreaming up species aspects.

No matter your favorite crew of space scoundrels, Bulldogs! is an excellent system to use to mix and match your favorite ones together at your table.

Image Credits: Galileo Games

What’s your favorite crew full of space scoundrels? Sound off in the comments!

Rob Wieland is an author, game designer and professional nerd. He writes about kaiju, Jedi, gangsters, elves, Vulcans and sometimes all of them at the same time. His blog is here, his Twitter is here and his meat body can be found in scenic Milwaukee, WI.

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