New Millennium Entertainment, 1996
What you get/need
Conspiracy X $25.00
Concept - 5
Dark secrets, hidden agendas, paranormal activities, aliens? This is the world of Conspiracy X, an X-Files/Burning Zone style game set in today's society. The president might not be human, the world may actually be run by a secret organization, everything from Hanger 18 to occult and arcane magic to Nazi concentration camps that performed paranormal experiments... everything but Warehouse 23! It's all nutty fun, until someone looses an eye or is abducted by aliens...
Character Creation - 4
Character creation is relatively simple. The player is given 100 points to spend on attributes, skills, training, and psionic powers; if more points are needed, the player can gain points from lowering attributes or taking disadvantages. A large problem with character creation is the limited range in attributes and skills. Attributes measure between 1 and 5, with three being the average, and 5 being extraordinary (without being super human). The system does not allow for a large range between characters, and it's possible to come up with a room full of "clones".
After the characters have been created they must pool their resources together to get their building and any equipment they might need. An interesting idea, that would work well if the characters had more points that they could spend to get their resources. However the nice GM who doesn't allow the characters to have more points could always add in an influential NPC... but they'd have to be nice.
Playability - 4
The small range of attributes and skills does not allow for a very comprehensive check system. That, combined with the lack of detail presented in the book, can leave the reader with a light feeling of vertigo. Once the dementia the reader may experience is overcome the system is okay at best and annoying at worst. About the only thing that allows the system to stand out is the Zener cards that are included in the game. The Zener cards are used instead of rolling dice when attempting to perform a psionic action. So, in a sense, your character's psionics are measured by your own psychic powers (or luck, as there's a one in five chance of guessing the card). Otherwise the system is sparse and very limited, and not very fun.
Writing - 3
While the stories and background are written quite well, the mechanics are written poorly, and the book is not put together well. The largest problem I experienced with the book is finding any reference to Difficulty Levels. The limited table of contents combined with the fact that there is no index makes looking anything up very annoying.
Highs - Very cool conspiracy background data and X-Files-ish feel for game ideas. Nice stories! Zener cards are a nice touch.
Lows - Little range in attributes and skills. System is not well thought out. Poor organization. No index!
Final Call - Better for an X-Files-style game idea book than an actual game.