BG5 5

Starship Troopers (1976)

Man, every time I try to crack into a wargame, I wind up throwing up my hands in surrender. I am just incapable of enjoying rules sets like this. Which is a bummer, because Starship Troopers (1976) is legitimately interesting because it appears to be radically asymmetrical for the time.

We’re looking at a two player game that moves through seven scenarios, humans on one side, bugs on the other, with a rogue faction of fickle allegiance in the mix. These scenarios work to recreate the major points of conflict in the novel by Robert Heinlein. The human side is fairly conventional, though individual troopers can carry specialized ordinance and equipment (perhaps showing the influence of D&D’s concept of player characters). They’re tough and have a lot of firepower. The bugs, though, aren’t on the board. As with Battleship, their player creates a secret map of the underground hive, with their units only hitting the board if they burrow to the surface. Their big offensive capability is mines that are laid before play — they vary in strength, ranging from one hex to seven hexes. So it seems to set the stage for a tense game of cat and mouse, with the human player trying to flush out the location of the central hive brain and the bugs trying to bait the humans into clustering in the blast zone of a mine. I’d love to play it if I could get over my allergy to bookkeeping, of which there seems to be quite a lot!

That cover art is pretty rad though. The interior art is kind of weird. I dig the collage of in-universe documents in the last page of the rulebook — they really set the narrative stage.

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