Top Secret S/I Returns to the Table

29 Dec

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone has been having a good holiday season. My Christmas time has been light on the gaming front, but we made up for it this past weekend in a big way. Our gaming group got together for the first time in months, with a full roster including two people joining us via a laptop and webcam.

And let me say, technology is great. Members of our circle of friends have moved far and wide and the ability to bring them back to our gaming table is wonderful. There is no substitute for physically being together, but having friends join in over the Internet is a heck of a lot better than not having them there at all.

The session had me back in the GM’s seat with the return of Top Secret S/I. Once again set in 1965 and with several agents returning from my previous game. For this outing I used the first mission from the GURPS adventure book, Operation Endgame. The mission is a set in Denmark and involves facilitating the defection of a master KGB spy, code named “Midnight”. One thing that is nice about espionage games is that their focus on intrigue means they are not tightly bound to a specific rules set. Switching the game system from GURPS to Top Secret was a snap. I did need to make other changes to the adventure such as downgrading the technology from the early 90’s to the mid-60’s, adding a few minor characters and removing one principle NPC who really isn’t necessary. There’s also a bottleneck in the investigation that needed a fix, but that was easily provided by giving the targets more agency to act on their own.

I was worried about the number of players. Seven is my hard cap and I was at it, but for investigative games I’m more comfortable with five. However things worked out well and my players had a good time. They played well, had some close shaves, had fun with various bits of misdirection, and triumphed in the end. I only got them to burn one luck point along the way, since in proper spy fashion they avoided most direct confrontations. What fights they did get into were brief, brutal affairs. There were two fatalities, both NPC killers and both resulting from knife wounds. One lead to uncomfortable conversations with the Copenhagen police, the other contributed to the well being of the local fish population.

A nice side benefit is that one of the agents has picked up a new enemy. One of the slain NPCs has a brother who was allowed to escape, and he knows which agent killed his brother.

He’ll definitely show up again. It’s a moral imperative.

Top Secret S/I continues to impress me with its mechanics and my players are having fun with the spy genre. I’m looking forward to bringing it out again in the future.

Not much new on the board gaming front, however I did get to try out King of New York. This is the sequel to the giant monster game King of Tokyowhich I quite enjoy. The new game brings a little more to the table, adding nice variation to the game without sacrificing the simplicity of the original. I don’t own a copy of either yet, but New York has taken Tokyo’s place on my wish list.

I picked up the Pendragon collection on its recent Bundle of Holding resurrection. The Bundle has also brought back the Delta Green collection. I picked that set up on its last offering, but they’ve added a couple new titles to it. One of the classy things that the Bundle of Holding does is that if they bring back a previous offering with additional material, they give the new files to previous purchasers at no cost. So now I have even more Delta Green to read! The Pendragon offering is finished, but you still have two days to get in on the Delta Green set. Plus there are four more bundles currently on sale.

How have the holidays been for you and your gaming groups? Any new treasures for your library?


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Posted by on December 29, 2014 in Gaming


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