I've used a Livejournal for some time to talk about gaming. I plan on using this as a mirror to that (so others may comment) on my design rambles.
-First Up: Ace Playtest.
ACE, stands for Action Card Engine, its a card driven RPG I've been working on aimed at allowing fast, easy mecha role-playing. Whether the mecha IS the character (Braireous from Appleseed, Optimus Prime from the Transformers), or the mecha is an addition to the character, I want them to be handled identically in terms of mechanical resolution, stats, etc. Now there are some slight differences I've found a nead to account for, but for the most part the playtest is working smoothly.
The setting I'm using for ACE is Vast Frontiers, a space western setting where mecha are called "slingers", and the rough and tumble frontier has its share of "gunslingers" eking out a living on the edge through violence.
The current group is two players one a young, thoughtfully played yet hyperkinetic go-getter who after helping out got deputized by the sherriff. The other is an older man with daughter who was hired because of his "history of violence" as the sherriff, there are reasons they hired the most violent man they could find who wasn't psychotic, the catch of course being that due to his wife's death, and his daughter's existence, he's way less violent than they "wanted".
They being the Mayor and his corporate masters for "Hangman's Gulch" an asteroid field with miners, bandits, and others lurking in the rocks, as well as the planetary colony below filled with 'dirt' farmers.
Mecha in the game are used for a variety of purposes, cargo handlers, repair walkers for vacuum, mining, farming (replacing tractor/ox and so on. The catch of course is virtually no-one owns "new" mecha--the slingers are all cast offs from The Line.
The Line is a hyperspace transit system which uses a tuglike "Line Engine" to haul cargo and passenger pods between explored locations--utilizing fixed jump points to ease transition to and from hyperspace. For a fee anyone can buy a berth on a "passenger" pod (often barely pressurized cargo pods) for a massive fee one can attach a whole pod. Individuals may own spaceships, but the cost is exorbant, and usually only found in very succussful groups (criminals may have a jumpship for outlaw banditry, and Line-robbing.)
Because most slingers are modified from Repair units off the line, none of integral weapons, most are heavily rekitted to new purposes, including violence by local engineers or gunsmiths.
So far the new system of handling "straights" (cards played that give a bonus beyond the initial value because they closely match the task at hand) is smooth if a bit fiddly. But no more so than the trumps from Saga which inspired them.
Right now I'm using a custom deck, but I may try and go back to using a slightly modified standard card deck. The main issue is that I've got is the 'Glitch' suite used like a bit of a wild card for triggering setbacks. I've got five suits, a standard deck only 4 (and a standard deck has too few cards for play if you have 5+ players with multiple card hands.)