Starforce: Alpha Centauri

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Starforce: Alpha Centauri[1] was a board game published in 1974 by Simulations Publications Inc.. It was one of their first science fiction games, a departure from their usual historical wargames. It was based on a concept by Redmond Simonsen.

Concept[edit]

StarForce described a future history of humanity reaching out into local interstellar space, and making first contact (and war) with a number of alien species. FTL (faster than light) travel was based on "telesthetic" (teleportation) powers enhanced by artificial intelligence, both from on-board crew members and with the assistance of fixed Star Gate installations. Space combat was relatively non-violent, mostly based on telepathic disruption of the enemy's crews. The space volume on the map represented real astronomical data,[1] designed to allow players to become familiar with the layout of nearby stars.

Mechanics[edit]

Unlike most board games, StarForce used both pre-plotted simultaneous movement, and a 3D playspace covering a radius of approximately 20 light years from Sol. "Semi-hidden" movement allowed players to display their horizontal location while keeping their vertical position concealed.

Spin-offs[edit]

Two spin-off games were developed.

StarSoldier[2] covered "super-infantry" combat on the worlds and objects of the StarForce universe, and included rules that allowed it to be used to resolve planetary actions during a StarForce game. It also used pre-plotted simultaneous turn resolution. StarSoldier could also be played as a "link game", in which Starforce was played as the primary, or strategic game and StarSoldier was used for the "tactical resolution" of battles, using game counters called "Strike Commands" representing 100,000 individual soldiers transported by a single StarForce. The playing time required was typically many times that of either game alone, 8–12 hours of continuous play being an average.

Outreach[3] took the game to a galactic scale, covering centuries of time, and describing massive movements of huge civilisations across a large part of the Milky Way galaxy.

Cultural impact[edit]

The synthpop group The Human League took their name from one of the StarForce power groups.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "StarForce 'Alpha Centauri': Interstellar Conflict in the 25th Century | Board Game". BoardGameGeek. Retrieved 2012-11-27. 
  2. ^ "StarSoldier: Tactical Warfare in the 25th Century | Board Game". BoardGameGeek. Retrieved 2012-11-27. 
  3. ^ "Outreach: The Conquest of the Galaxy, 3000AD | Board Game". BoardGameGeek. Retrieved 2012-11-27. 
  4. ^ Turner, Sean: Blind Youth, a complete guide to The Human League 1977-1980.