Finally I’ve managed to put together a pdf of our home-brewed sci fi rules Wandering Star. The rules have been playtested, albeit not very intense, so there might be glitches and imbalances. However, they are in any case intended for casual, friendly games, where inconsistencies can easily be remedied by gentlemanly parley (or a quick round of fisticuffs).
The design philosophy behind the rules is grounded in the idea that we want our sci fi games to feel like episodes of Star Wars or Firefly. This means that I deliberately tried to keep away from mechanics that model modern warfare. For example, weapon ranges are rather short (even though I know about the discussions surrounding this topic and would chose a different approach for historical games). Wandering Star is not supposed to force you to adopt modern small unit tactics, but to force you to behave like heroic rebel commandos in Star Wars!
The other design guideline was: Keep it simple! Now there are many rule writers who would say that their rules are simple, but not simplistic; I freely admit that mine are also simplistic. While the orders mechanics is based on the old GW game Space Marines (the first edition of their Epic system), I’ve radically simplified the weapons. There are only five weapon types, as I’m really not interested in those things and can’t be bothered to research. There are, however, a couple of special rules that cater for sci fi stuff such as camo suits, jump packs etc. There are also simple rules for vehicles.
There is no point system. Instead, there is a pre-game phase that lets you roll for the composition of your force, based on the units available for your army. I’ve included the stats for two armies from our own Palomar Breach universe, but of course the fun really starts if you put together your own!
The game is scenario based, with the fulfillment of mission objectives forming an integral part of the game mechanics. However, there is nothing to prevent you from having fun with a straight all-out battle!
Clearly, those rules are not for everybody. Here’s what I wrote in the introduction:
If you prefer rules that offer highly differentiated options for building up your forces, that let you tinker with points and army lists and that give a realistic and gritty portrayal of near future warfare, those are not the rules you are looking for. However, if you want rules that are easy to explain, fast to play and that provide the excitement of space operas like Star Wars and Firefly, give them a try – you might find them to your liking!
I’d be happy to hear what you think! For questions, feedback or just to say hi use the comment function or drop me an email at tob202[at]ymail[dot]com.