Other Science Fiction Games

bossmoss's picture
bossmoss
July 8, 2015 - 1:32am
I have played Star Frontiers for a very long time, and it is probably my favorite science fiction game, but when I was young I played several other science fiction games as well, and I still have most of those books.  Occasionally I manage to throw together some other kind of game, but normally when I have free gaming time these days, it goes towards Star Frontiers.

Here are some of the other science fiction games that I played back in the day:

Traveller
Other Suns
Universe
Space Opera
Space Master (1st & 2nd ed)
GURPS
Star Trek (several)
Doctor Who (FASA)
Albedo
Well World
Ringworld
Alternity
Starfaring
Space Patrol / Star Patrol
Star Probe / Empires


Yes, I'm an old-school grognard.

No, I don't have the star map for Universe (I have the 2nd edition book, not the boxed set).

Now, some of these I played more than others.  For example, Traveller, GURPS and Alternity got a lot of use.  I have a ton of Traveller stuff, mostly the original-era stuff, but some GURPS Traveller, too.

We often combined systems.  I guess I still do that.

So I was wondering if anyone else played any of these particular games.  Not the newer science fiction games (there are tons of those) or fantasy games (that's a different list!), but the "classics".
Comments:

Tchklinxa's picture
Tchklinxa
July 8, 2015 - 5:14am
Honestly I could never get anyone to play Traveler... I had it and I remeber barrowing from it.
I have Gurps, and occasonally pick up a Gurps resource to pilage, but again no one I knew would play it.
So it wass 

D&D
GW
SF

STAR TREK I played once the ship tactical version, and all the boys I palyed with got really angry when my tholians and klingon ships took out all of their Federation ships. It was me versus 3 of them. They never asked to play ST with me again. Frown

An old Biplane RPgG helped me tactically kick their butts I played that with my cousins all the time. 

I had 007

I am sure a few others too.



 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."

jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 8, 2015 - 5:29am
Star Fleet Battles and lots of it. Someone even published a tactics manual which I purchased and studied. I got so good I had to play my friends at serious firepower imballances or ournumbered. Winning while being outnumbered and out gunned lead to me having a big head. Reached a point where some friends felt the game wasn't fun and stopped playing with me as they were tired of loosing or tired of me.

Switched to Car Wars and played a lot of that.

bought and read Space Gamer by SJG

One issue of Space Gamer had a mini game called Orbit War- WW3 between US and Russia played out in orbit with shuttles, rockets, hunter killer satelites and etc. I've nuked the hell out of the earth numerous times playing that game.

Played some Ogre from SJC but it never held the interest that Car Wars did.

Eventually dabbled in GURPs 1st edition but was not that impressed since the rules came without magic and spells.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

bossmoss's picture
bossmoss
July 8, 2015 - 11:39am
Traveller was one of my first science fiction games.  I had a couple friends who were into it, so that was our main science fiction game until Star Frontiers came along.

Gamma World should have been on that list.  I've played that since its first incarnation, and I still love it.

Ah yes, Starfleet Battles.  I never actually knew anyone who played it, but I owned a few of their supplements.  I probably would have played it if I could have found anyone to play it with.

I did play the James Bond rpg a couple times, but not regularly.

I think most people borrow stuff from GURPS to use in other games.  I used lots of GURPS Fantasy in my D&D game.

The GURPS stuff I actually played was their science fiction setting.
  - GURPS Space
  - GURPS Aliens
  - GURPS Space Bestiary
  - GURPS Space Atlas (there was a whole series of these)
  - GURPS High Tech

I liked a lot of their aliens, and used them in other games as well.


Tchklinxa's picture
Tchklinxa
July 8, 2015 - 2:15pm
GURPS TOONS is a hoot if you ever find it...
 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."

Malcadon's picture
Malcadon
July 8, 2015 - 4:45pm
Since we are dropping names, here is a list of games I know of (most of which, I never played):

Space Opera RPGs
Ashen Star, Albedo, Alternity, Ashen Star, Buck Rogers XXVc, Bulldogs, Cosmic Patrol, Cosmic Quest, D6 Space, ECHOES, Eclipse Phase, Edge of Space, GURPS Space, Hulks & Horrors, Humanspace Empires, Lensman, Mutant Chronicles, Ringworld, Rogue Space, Space Opera, Space Ryft, Star Frontiers, Serenity, Space Patrol, Star*Drive, Starfaring, Star Trek, Star Wars (D6, D20, Sage, etc.), Stars Without Number, Starship Troopers, Terminal Space, Traveller, Universe, X-plorers.

Mecha-Themed RPGs
Armored Trooper VOTOMs, Bubblegum Crisis, Heavy Gear, Jovian Chronocles, Mecha, Mechwarrior, Mekton, Robotech, Silhouette Core.

Post-Apocalypse-themed RPGs
Aftermath, Barbarians of the Aftermath, Broken Urthe, Darwin's World, Gamma World, Living Steel, Metamorphosis Alpha, Mutant & Machinegun, Mutant Epoch, Mutant Future, Rifts, Runes & Radiations, Tempora Mutantur.

Cyberpunk-Themed RPGs
Cyberpunk 2020, Cyberworld, Cybernet, Cyberspace, Daring Tales of the Sprawl, Shadowrun.

Spacehip Wargames
Alpha Omega, Attack Vector Tactical, BOHICA, Firestorm Armada, Full Thrust, GOBS (Generic Outlandishly Big Spacefleets), JUMP Into the Unknown (Justified Use of Military Power), Silent Fury, Star Trek (Star Trek Battle Manual, Star Fleet Battles, etc).

Mecha-Themed Wargames
Armored Trooper VOTOMS: Plotters City Woodo, Battletech (with Aerotech, Citytech Mechforce, et al.), Fang of the Sun Dougram: Battle of Kalnock and Stanrey, Gear Krieg, Heavy Gear, Jovian Chronocles, Mekawing Z.

Tank-themed Wargames
Hammer's Slammers, KR 16, Ogre.

Powersuit-themed Wargames
Final Frontier, Galatic Grenadiers, Infinity, Laserburn, Mutant Chronicles, Starship Marine, Stargrunts II, Warhammer 40,000 (including Gorkamorka and Necromunda).

Scifi-themed Boardgames
Buck Rogers Battles of the XXVc, Fortress America, Omega Virus, Risk 2210 AD, Space Crusade/Hulk/Quest.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 8, 2015 - 5:20pm
Top Secret a couple of times.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

bossmoss's picture
bossmoss
July 8, 2015 - 11:09pm
Wow, from the ones on Malcadon's list, I'm surprised at how many I haven't played.

I am familiar with most of the RPGs, but few of the wargames.  I guess most of my wargames are from SPI.  I know Mutant Chronicles, Battletech, Robotech, Ogre, Jovian Chronicles, and a few others.

I appear to own most of the Space Opera rpgs on your list. 


Tchklinxa's picture
Tchklinxa
July 9, 2015 - 5:02am
Some of these I am currious about but mainly as resources: 

"Post-Apocalypse-themed RPGs
Aftermath, Barbarians of the Aftermath, Broken Urthe, Darwin's World, Gamma World, Living Steel, Metamorphosis Alpha, Mutant & Machinegun, Mutant Epoch, Mutant Future, Rifts, Runes & Radiations, Tempora Mutantur."

I have MA1 rules & ship plans.... I have seen Darwin's Worls & Mutant Epoch referenced a lot by the post apocalypse RP gamers: since I started researching heavy Gamma World conversion ideas I am working on for SF. So those 2 seem popular. 
 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."

Putraack's picture
Putraack
July 9, 2015 - 8:48pm
Let me borrow Malcadon's categories:

Space Opera RPGs

Star Frontiers, Serenity,  Star Wars (D6),

Science Fiction RPGs
Traveller, Space:1889, 2300AD. FASA Star Trek

Post-Apocalypse-themed RPGs
Gamma World, Morrow Project, Twilight:2000 (not really sci-fi, but it's one of my favorites!)

Spaceship Wargames
Full Thrust, Star Fleet Battles, Star Trek tactical combat simulator

Mecha-Themed Wargames
Battletech

Scifi-themed Boardgames
Federation Space, Federation & Empire, Twilight Imperium

Underlined games are ones that I've played/run a lot.
As I've said elsehwere, I'm much more of a historical gamer than a sci-fi one, and while I can find a D&D group among my friends really easily, sci-fi is a much harder sell. I can remember my high school D&D club looking over Traveller for the first time, and we all wondered, "But what do you DO with it?" Unlike Star Frontiers, no one had a module to show us the way.

bossmoss's picture
bossmoss
July 9, 2015 - 10:51pm
I always had the same problem.  D&D?  No problem.  People were lining up to join the group.  Science fiction?  Crickets.  I had a core handful of friends who were into the sci fi games, and that was about it.

Putraack's picture
Putraack
July 10, 2015 - 1:16pm
I suspect a big reason I played so much more of SFB and Battletech than SF RPGs, is that they needed only 2 players, and one or the other of my younger brothers was up for these. RPGs need a whole group.

As it was, one of these brothers and I spent a summer vacation (1981?) playing Warriors of White Light by ourselves, him as GM, me running the whole boarding party or squadron. The scenarios included in there were pretty much just tactical actions, the role-playing was to be added by the players & referee, which we fell short on. I suppose that's a big part of why I'd like to run that one again.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 10, 2015 - 1:57pm
Victorian Sci fi or steam punk: I own both GASLIGHT (Glorious Adventures in Science Loosely Involving Generally Historic Times) and Space 1889. i've not played either though I think Space 1889 is perhaps a better RPG. Gaslight started out as little books for Massed battle and skirmish level of wargaming and little book on RPG ing with the Gaslight system they each were easy to understand and you could move between them simply. Then they added a little book call American Civil War by Gaslight and I think one on Gaslight for the Pulp fiction era. Then they did a compendium in hard cover and i actually found that confusing to a small degree. With the little books you jump from one level of action to another and you knew what was going on but when I read the compendium it just struck me as a little confusing. Space 1889 has a lot going for it with all the supporting material though the modules are reputed to be very linear (choo-choo).
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

bossmoss's picture
bossmoss
July 12, 2015 - 1:37am
Never played Space: 1889, but I always thought it looked interesting.  I have the box set for it.  Love the ships.

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
July 15, 2015 - 1:00pm
Traveller.
And some mini-box game (probably a Steve Jackson game) whose title escapes me that I bought on clearance for 99¢.

That's it. I wasn't very tuned in to the RPG scene even in its prime, only browsing what was on the shelves in the early to mid 1980s and pretty much ignoring anything that wasn't TSR unless it really stood out. Regrettably I never heard of West End Games Star Wars until well after everything was out of print and priced in terms of unobtanium...I'm pretty sure I would have loved it. I'm also somewhat surprised to see it isn't on anyone else's list as well.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 16, 2015 - 7:44am
  1. Mini box games, likely its Ogre, GEV or Car Wars. Ogre is Bolo sized tanks stomping on traditional sized tanks and infatry. GEV was an Ogre expansion adding ground effects vehicles. Car Wars was his really big hit with a number of mini box expansions (Truck Stop, and one that provided two poster sizedaps of a town and a ton of extra counters and was a 50 bikers come to town bent on hell raising )
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
July 16, 2015 - 10:13am
It wasn't Car Wars, although I also had a mini-box game from that line as well. This was a Star Frotniers-ish game with a hex map of a single deck plan ship and counters played with 4d6 (of which one tiny d6 was included).
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 16, 2015 - 3:06pm
Huh, I'm curious now.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Stibbons's picture
Stibbons
July 17, 2015 - 7:00am
Take a look here- http://maverick.brainiac.com/cmm/cmm_index.html and see if you can recognise it.
Set course for the 80's... (My Livejournal)

Putraack's picture
Putraack
July 17, 2015 - 7:59am
jedion357 wrote:
i've not played either though I think Space 1889 is perhaps a better RPG. ... Space 1889 has a lot going for it with all the supporting material though the modules are reputed to be very linear (choo-choo).



Space:1889's rules often get a bad rap, even to this fan, they seem a bit confused. I've had very good (read: easy to do) results converting to D6 (like Star Wars), or Savage Worlds. Swapping it to Traveller rules wouldn't be too hard, either.

As a miniatures system, though, it rocks! Sky Galleons of Mars, Ironclads & Ether Flyers, and Soldiers' Companion are very compatible, so that one can play battles with air, naval, and ground components very easily. (Provided you have the miniatures to scale properly)

The modules as written, well, yeah.

Good news, there is a new rules set (Ubiquity, which I am completely unfamiliar with), which means new adventures and material coming soon. A revised Sky Galleons (the air-combat game) is in development, and there will even be a movie, Kickstarted successfully. It seems strange to me that all of this is coming from Germany, but there you are.

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
July 17, 2015 - 8:52am
Stibbons wrote:
Take a look here- http://maverick.brainiac.com/cmm/cmm_index.html and see if you can recognise it.

I didn't see anything there that struck a chord. It was a really basic box, dark blue with an armored/suited space soldier and little else on the cover, not even any background art just the figure.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

Stibbons's picture
Stibbons
July 17, 2015 - 11:23am
The Forever War?

The only other thing I can suggest is a hunt through Wayne's Books (worth it for the nostalgia alone...) 
Set course for the 80's... (My Livejournal)

Stibbons's picture
Stibbons
July 17, 2015 - 12:04pm
Space RPGs...
Well Traveller was what I played, but what I had most fun with was the West End Games D6 "Star Wars" RPG. The new Fantasy Flight Games version is a good game, but not as fun. 

"Bulldogs" from Galileo Games is fun, FATE powered (earlier D20 editions are available) and essentially "Han Solo the RPG", crappy ship, mismatched crew, two opposed empires in a fragile truce, megacorps ready to roll over everything in the pursuit of profit. Hilarity ensues.

Big Eyes Small Mouth did a "Space Fantasy" supplement which is worth a look for ideas for Star Frontiers (they were going to call it "Space Opera" but a certain other games manufacturer sent legal things their way for copyright infringement).

Always had a soft spot for "Jovian Chronicles" from Dream Pod Nine, GUNDAM the RPG by any other name, a spin off from R. Talsorian's Mekton, again an excellent game (Mekton 2 was my version, but a new Mekton Zero is due out, don't hold your breath though). Talsorian also did "Teenagers From Outer Space" which is an absolute hoot and one of my favourite games. Ianus Games (who later gave rise to Dream Pod Nine) also did the Star Riders game using the same mechanic. 

What else... GURPS did numerous space settings, "Transhuman Space" and Classic "Traveller" flavour. There's the "Serenity" and "Firefly" RPGS, very shiny. Of course there's always the "Red Dwarf" RPG from Deep 7, which will always have a place on my shelves, oh smeg yes.

Space 1889, as mentioned above, has just come out in a new Ubiquity powered edition, good luck getting a copy though unless you were part of the Kickstarter (I have mine sitting in the local games shop until payday arrives)
Set course for the 80's... (My Livejournal)

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
July 17, 2015 - 6:11pm

I have that game sitting on the shelf behind me.  Haven't played it in years, though.  And that's not the game Shadow described.  The Forever War is based on a book of the same name and is a tactical boardgame
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
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Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
July 18, 2015 - 12:44pm
I may have to hunt through the garage and see if I can uncover it.

I also have a couple Shatterzone books, but have never played the game.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 18, 2015 - 3:30pm
I was always curious of Paranoia from the Dragon mag ads but it was never available locally. I eventually induldged myself as an adult on eBay and found the concept intriguing but never had a group that I thought would be game. Very happy to get the module with the dome city map as it clearly adaptable to SF .
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Malcadon's picture
Malcadon
July 19, 2015 - 1:00pm
Would it be nice to have a Star Trek holodeck to run these game settings? (I mean, after wearing it out on pornagraphic scenarios, as would likely be the case with us. Wink)

jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 19, 2015 - 1:43pm
Malcadon wrote:
Would it be nice to have a Star Trek holodeck to run these game settings? (I mean, after wearing it out on pornagraphic scenarios, as would likely be the case with us. Wink)
I'm taking command of a Federation command cruiser from the bridge of the original enterprise for several games of Star Fleet battles before switching to command several different Klingon vessels using one of the assundry Klingon ship bridges seen in one of the assundry movies and TV series and when I win I'll be "taking a lap" with either the green chick or L'rsa AND Betor! So in that case the "porn" will be after winning the game :D PS: when I get around to playing the old Romulan War Eagle Denise Crosby as a Romulan will be on that bridge ;)
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Karxan's picture
Karxan
July 22, 2015 - 11:41pm
I started out playing Gamma World, then found Top Secret. Loved being a spy. I played D&D and Tunnels and Trolls for awhile also. I got into Gamma World then found Star Frontiers, which was easy to play and loved Knight Hawks. When I was 16 a friend gave me OGRE and I was hooked on scifi boardgames. I got into Battletech not the Mechwarrior rpg though. I played a little of Traveller, had Universe but didn't like the mechanics. I evend tried out Boothill, I love Westerns. Nothing really got my interest except for SF and GW for rpg's and OGRE and BT for boardgaming.