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Starblazer Adventures
 

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Average Rating:4.4 / 5
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Starblazer Adventures
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Starblazer Adventures
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/08/2011 07:23:03
Originally Published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2011/09/07/tabletop-review-starbla-
zer-adventures/

At 632 pages, Starblazer Adventures is an intimidating book, even in PDF format. Based on the classic British sci-fi comic book Starblazer- Space Fiction Adventures in Pictures, which I must cop to having never read, Starblazer Adventures is subtitled the Rock and Roll Space Opera Adventure Game. That is a whole lot of modifiers for a game to deliver on. Girded by the famed Fate System, Starblazer Adventures is a whole lot to wrap your brain around.

I figure there are three kinds of people who will seek out Starblazer Adventures. Fans of the comic book series, fanciers of the Fate System, and players looking for the ultimate Space Opera RPG all have reasons to check out Starblazer Adventures. The only group of people guaranteed to be disappointed are fans of the anime series Star Blazers aka Space Battleship Yamato, which has nothing to do with this project. My dreams of a campaign based on the music videos of Daft Punk will have to wait.

Starblazer Adventures is, as previously mentioned, based on the Fate System. Fate is a fairly light rules system. All player actions are resolved via a pair of opposed d6s with modifiers. This system is modified by plain language descriptors, like ‘Good’ or ‘Great.’ By using each character’s own attributes and prior experience as adventure hooks, the Fate System is a more common sense system that strikes a nice balance between dice rolling mechanics and more storyteller style games.


For fans of the comic book, there is a treasure trove of material here. Even without an intimate knowledge of Starblazer, I can tell this is the work of fans. There are multi-page spreads from Starblazer, which do a better job illustrating the Rock and Roll Space Opera aesthetic than any wall of text could ever communicate. From stony faced men of action to curvaceous spacecraft, the art of Starblazer Adventures is evocative and romantic. This is a canvas of stars waiting for legends to be written across it. In short, yes, I do quite enjoy the art. Starblazer fans will also be happy to find stats included for some of the more well-known heroes from the comics. There is even an issue by issue index of the comics, which might come in handy for those who are suddenly interested in Starblazer after this book.

Fate System players have a couple of reasons to check out Starblazer Adventures even if they do not plan on using the material in its entirety. There are rules for generating alien races, starships, worlds, robots, vehicles… Basically, if you are using Fate to play science fiction, Starblazer Adventures has enough rules material to justify a purchase. While the overall utility may not be there for campaigns that are not science fiction, this is the best and most flexible execution of the Fate System I have run into. Were I to use Fate without the Starblazer setting, I would be inclined to use this iteration of Fate as my base ruleset.

Space Opera is a genre that has been given several RPG treatments over the years. There was the classic Space Opera from Fantasy Games Unlimited, which I never played. Traveller has been described as such, but I always found it to be more like Heinlein-style hard SF than Space Opera. In the 80′s, FASA published the very awkward Star Trek RPG, which I never could get much fun out of. TSR even got into the act with Star Frontiers, a fun little game that they made open source after the demise of TSR. Due to cultural relevancy, the most played Space Opera RPGs are hands down the Star Wars games, be it the West End Games classic I favor or the Wizards of the Coast edition I am unfamiliar with. Heck, the Space Opera game I have played most is probably GURPS with the classic Lensman sourcebook. Does anyone even read E.E. “Doc” Smith anymore? Even with all of these books, there has been a lack of an easy to use, flexible Space Opera book.


Starblazer Adventures is that book. The default settings, there are three, are a solid starting point for those who want to build a setting from scratch or adapt a setting from another source. The Trailblazing Era; or ‘Space Cowboys & Smoking Lasers!’ represents the early days of human interstellar transportation, with humanity hanging out largely in our own solar system. This type of setting is most often used in Hard SF instead of Space Opera, but there are plenty of adventure hooks given that defy that expectation. The Era of Expansion; or ‘Fortress Earth and the Thermal Wars’ is the most common modern Space Opera setting. This is the Space Opera of Firefly and Enterprise, with humans travelling across the galaxy and encountering aliens. For me, this means putting together a Cowboy Bebop campaign, but Outlaw Star or Mass Effect would be just as easy to adapt. Finally, there is the Cosmopolitan Era; or ‘Who Elected the Guy with Two Heads?’ This is what I would call High Space Opera. Technology is inseparable from magic, aliens and humans live side by side, and intrigues can span the galaxy. When I think of Space Opera, this is what I think of. Star Trek, Star Wars, and Lensman are the touchstones here. If I was able to find the right players for it, the Cosmopolitan Era would be perfect setting a campaign based on the Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem movie.


Between the ease of the Fate System and the creation tools provided in Starblazer Adventures, there is enough of a skeleton to hold up just about any Space Opera setting you could imagine. Out of the proverbial box, the default settings are interesting enough that I can easily imagine running them using the material in the book. Going in, I did not expect to fall in love with the Starblazer setting. Having no point of reference, I expected it to be dry and old-fashioned. Instead, I found Starblazer to be good, pulpy fun with a healthy dose of cheese.

The final question is a simple one: should you purchase Starblazer Adventures? The answer is equally simple: maybe. If you are planning a Space Opera RPG campaign, or even a one-off, with the Fate System, then Starblazer Adventures is a must buy. Ditto if you are a fan of the comic book series. For more general science fiction or Fate System fans, the answer is less emphatic, but still a ‘yes.’ The only group of people I cannot, in good conscious, recommend Starblazer Adventures to are Hard SF fans looking for an RPG ruleset. Traveller is still the answer for Hard SF gamers. Between the fantastic art, drawn from the comic, the elegant rules, and the thoroughness with which the material is covered, Starblazer Adventures is as close to a definitive word on the Space Opera as I can imagine.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Starblazer Adventures
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Patrick H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/11/2010 14:23:45
Wow, my first experience with FATE - a truly massive tome filled to the brim with pulp space opera goodness.

This thing has everything from strong character creation to equipment, reams of information on building starships, space monsters, war machines, robots, alien worlds, cool adventures, and awesome campaigns.

It is a massive toolkit for building just about anything Sci Fi based. A lot of systems there to help you build exactly what you want out for YOUR sci fi game.

There are also at least a hundred pages of loose "setting" stuff - READ: good stuff you can move to your game.

I highly recommend also picking up Mindjammer too. While Starblazers gives you the tools to build what you want, I found Mindjammer to be a perfect example of seeing the systems IMPLEMENTED (and it is a great supplement aside form that). If found this really helped me see some of starblazer in action.

If there is one weakness, it is that there is so much stuff in the book, I find myself getting lost in it and unable to find some things I am looking for. It is a tad "all-over-the-place". But that said, I would rather have it be as complete as it is... so this is a nitpick at best.

Oh and one more thing... There seems to be this little war out there between people who like Starblazer and Diaspora. Do yourself a favor... ignore it (the war that is). They are both great. I highly recommend picking them both up. They both have their strengths and flaws. I bought them both and took form each what worked best for my group. i suggest your do the same... (and don't forget Mindjammers!)

Do yourself a favor - purchase this gem.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Starblazer Adventures
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Tim L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/24/2009 07:34:27
Wow. Truly exceptional cinematic science fiction universe to play in for the FATE and Fudge system. HUGE book with lots of examples and original comic strip excepts. Could easily cross over into science fantasy, anime, and pulp sf. Highly recommended.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Starblazer Adventures
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Craig B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/28/2009 00:18:09
I am a massive fan of sci-fi RPGs, and for something different from the system I usually play or write for I picked up this. Every penny has been well-spent as far as I am concerned. This game has captured my imagination with it's depiction of pulp-style sci-fi. Great artwork, a cool setting and a neat set of rules. It is well-presented and to paraphrase a certain well known computer company.... "it just works..."

Great stuff. Thank you!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Starblazer Adventures
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Christian F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/02/2008 21:23:18
This is an amazing amount of game for the price. The Fate 3 system is exceptional for cinematic play. It takes a little to get your head around Aspects, one of the primary concepts of Fate, but once you do it will change the way you think about role-playing. The setting is amazingly researched and every effort seems to have been made to promote the pulpy feel of the original comics. This book is huge, entertaining, easy to read, laced with art from the comics and to top it off, there is a random adventure generator.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Starblazer Adventures
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by peter t. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/08/2008 20:50:33
Starblazer Adventures:
Rock and Roll Space Opera Adventures kinda says it all. The hark back to the days reading these kind of comics as a young lad really fires up the imagination. Comic like Starblazer, 2000AD or Heavy Metal have inspired a lot of modern gaming, the inspiration for Warhammer Fantasy, 40K & just about every modern gritty sci-fi game. It combines the best elements of 80's sci-fi comics with a dash of classic 30's Pulp thrown in. Starblazer Adventures would cope equally as well with Buck Rogers as with Strontium Dog, and clearly owes a debt to it's forebear Spirit of the Century.

The current incarnation of FATE/Fudge is simple, quick and versatile. There is enough crunch to keep the rules lawyers happy, yet it is essentially a story-driven system well adapted to those who want an imersive game. They system encourages the heroics that make the Space Opera genre appealing to it's fans. I've used a lot of games for space opera, WEG's D6 Starwars, D20, Silhouette, 7th Sea, ORE... the list goes on, but for simplicity and fun, FATE takes the cake.

I picked up the massive pre-release version and pdf at GenCon this year and think it was my best purchase there.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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