Monday, March 12, 2007

Two from the Vault

I was reminded about an old favorite of mine after Brian put up a post about an up coming game called Race for the Galaxy. I too will be watching this one, but I am reminded about an old SPI game that all well-rounded gamers should at least be familiar with.

In the Mid 1970, SPI put out three companion games: Star Force, Outreach, and Star Soldier. These three games all were related and pretty much took place in the same world. I think that Star Force was the first and the other two were designed around it, but I could be wrong. I owned Star Force and Outreach and really liked them both. I never did get Star Soldier, but I did get a chance to see it up close and it seemed to be a complex (for the time) Squad Leader type of game. Star Force takes place in the area around our own star (Sol) ad extends about 100 light years around (going by memory). Outreach occurs on a far larger scale where each hex is about 1,500 light years and the turns are a generation.

I think that these were very good games for their time. The mechanics were cleaver and original (as far as I can tell). Star Force was the first science fiction game that I got and I enjoyed it so much that I later got Outreach and Starship Troopers (Avalon Hill).

My criticism of these games was a lack of a good story line. Twilight Imperium has a fairly detailed story line and the different races have their own unique histories and abilities. Star Force made a sad mistake of taking a first contact between two alien races and making their technologies and strategies identical. This made the lack of any real story or history even drier. Later in the game, a new and more alien race is discovered, but without much more of an “Alien Impact”

Because Outreach takes place on such a large scale, the players represent not races, but civilizations with different tech-levels. This makes things a little more interesting, but it still left me wanting something more.

These were good games that I enjoyed playing way back then and I have fond memories of them. If you did not know of them and took the time and trouble to read this, well now you know a little more. I hope that "Race for the Galaxy" follows in the tradition of well designed games by Rio Grande and that we as a group can have some good sessions of it.



At 8:50 PM, March 12, 2007, Blogger Ben said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who remembers these games. Ever play Freedom in the Galaxy?

At 9:22 PM, March 12, 2007, Blogger Carlos Pena said...

I thought that Freedom in the Galaxy was a great game. I recall that when I first saw it that I thought it looked kind of like a Star Wars rip off. But the sales guy at the game store (a really old college guy) told that it was really quite good. I got it and loved it!

I had the orriginal SPI version, but I don't know what ever became of it. Years later I got a used copy that was the Avalon Hill version. I don't think that anything had changed, but it would have been good to hav ethe SPI version in my collection.

In regards to my orriginal posting, Freedom in the Galaxy had a well defined story line. Thanks for bringing this one up, Ben. I had almost forgotten! I should probably go over this one again.


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