We had another playtest session Saturday, this time using the StarKarma diceless mechanics. We used the Doctors Without Orbits gang we had used before, finishing up the same scenario. It confirmed 2 things - that the diceless mechanics worked very well, with one small hitch, and that my group hates diceless. They like their dice, and that's that. The semi-diceless nature of StarRisk didn't bother them at all - they could always *choose* to roll, and they *liked* that choice - but not having dice at all frustrated them. It wasn't that there were no surprises, as the mechanics state that Target Numbers are kept secret, and points allocated are revealed simultaneously.
The hitch concerned Masteries, and how they work. James - of course - found the fatal flaw. James is the character who is guaranteed to push something logically until it falls over, which means he's invaluable for playtesting. The Mastery rule stated what when the character had a Mastery of a non-combat skill, if at first the skill check failed, the character could know the Target Number for a follow on attempt. James pointed out that, logically, a Master should allocate no points for the first attempt, thus revealing the TN for a second attempt for free. Thus I made a ruling that Masters have only one attempt for non-combat skills, but that they know the TN right away. This will be incorporated into the StarKarma rules.
We are not only moving to another resolution mechanic for our next session, but an entirely new group of characters, as the Doctors solved their problem, and identified the mysterious disease that was killing the uplifts. I have been reading Bedrock Games' Crime Network: Cosa Nostra, and really liking it, and my group immediately wanted to play it. I had to rule that out - we need to finish our playtesting for SC 3 - so instead they decided our next Company would be an Oceans Eleven style caper group. They wanted to be criminals, and that is perfectly within the Company rules. Any and all of the types of company can be Criminally Funded.
So, onwards and upwards!