View Full Version : Good System for a social engineering-heavy spy-vs-spy alien invasion game?

2016-05-11, 07:37 PM
I've got an idea for a game, and my group is rather enthusiastic about it. I'd like some suggestions for a system for it, if you good people would be so inclined.

In short, the idea is that we've been quietly invaded by unethical 'documentary' filmmakers from outer space, and bad things happen to good people (and polities) in order to boost ratings via schadenfreude; a fair number of conspiracy theories concerning new world orders are technically true, but merely refer to human front groups for the aliens. The players are part of a government endeavor to covertly mitigate this subtle extraterrestrial meddling in our affairs, hiding their activities from both the unsuspecting public and our screenwriting alien overlords. For security reasons, this endeavor is entitled "This One Weird Project, Discovered by a Mom, Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity" and based at "Meet Hot Singles In Your Area 51" in order to prevent it being casually discovered via search engine, which should give some insight into the silliness of the campaign.

When I pitched this to my players, they latched onto it as "Liberal Crime X-COM", and immediately started planning memetic engineering, wetwork, and research into alien materials, having already decided amongst themselves who the extraterrestrial agents provocateur were. I suppose I could handle all of that with a reasonably generic system like FATE, but if anyone knows of a good rules-light spy vs. spy system that can also accommodate social combat and perhaps long-term projects as well, that would be great.

Incidentally, I'm aware that the only way a game like this could work would be with a group that's explicitly okay with all the specifics of it, which is why I haven't gone into specifics above -- nor will I in-game. Just Silly Party v. Slightly Silly Party v. Sensible Party all the way down the line.

Mark Hall
2016-05-12, 10:33 AM
While I'd lean towards a reasonably generic system, as well, you might get some mileage out of 3rd Eye Games game Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. It assumes a fair bit more involvement with the aliens in a semi-friendly manner, but could be skewed towards conspiracy work pretty easily.

Hida Reju
2016-05-14, 10:18 PM
Fate could do it but if you want to do Spy stuff I recommend Spycraft either 1st or 2nd Edition. It's a variant of D20 but one of the better ones, and you could crib the Shadowforce Archer books for Alien Psi powers/Tech.

2016-05-16, 03:13 PM
Agents of S.W.I.N.G. is suppose to be a really good game based upon Fate, though not Fate Core. I haven't played it, but heard good things.

An unusual, but interesting, choice would be Cortex Plus. It is the engine behind many good games such as Leverage, Firefly, Smallville and Marvel Heroic. You can purchase the base Cortex Plus rules with non-licensed settings.

2016-05-17, 02:17 AM
Four words:

Teenagers from Outer Space (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teenagers_from_Outer_Space_(role-playing_game))

2016-05-17, 07:30 AM
With so much social stuff I want to say a Powered by the Apocalypse system. I know there is a generic PbtA system, I just can't recall the name. Perhaps that would work. PbtA systems have EXCELLENT systems for social interaction.