Starship Troopers (board wargame)

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Starship Troopers
Publisher(s)Avalon Hill
Publication date1976; 44 years ago (1976)
Playing timecirca 120 minutes

Starship Troopers is a board wargame by Avalon Hill based on the novel of the same name by Robert A. Heinlein.[1] It was originally released in 1976 and designed by Randall C. Reed. Twenty years later, Avalon Hill redesigned and re-released a "movie" version (entitled Starship Troopers: Prepare for Battle!) in 1997 to coincide with the movie's release.

The game is a hexagon-based wargame for two players.[2] The player who takes the side of Arachnids has a sheet of paper with a copy of the map-board on which he plots out his bug-hive and tunnel system. The Mobile Infantry player sends in his soldiers and tries to dig them out. A third faction, the Skinnies, starts out playing on the bug side, but switches to the human side during later scenarios.


The game is set up as a series of seven scenarios that recreate the battles described in the novel; the first scenario uses the basic rules, and then each succeeding scenario adds a new layer of rules, gradually increasing the complexity of the game as players advance through the scenarios:[3]

  • "Feint against the humanoids": A single squad of Rasczak's Roughnecks hits a Skinny colony.
  • "Operation Bughouse": A complete platoon takes on an Arachnid hive.
  • "Invasion of Skinny-5": A platoon's attack on a Skinny industrial center.
  • "Revolt!": The Skinnies change sides and attack the Arachnids with the help of the Mobile Infantry.
  • "Sheol" (two parts)
    • "Operation Corkscrew": The combat engineers enter the battle
    • "Retreat and Evacuation": A group of wounded M.I. are rescued.
  • "Operation Royalty": A reinforced platoon takes on two Arachnids complexes to capture a Brain Bug.
  • "Klendathu": Two platoons vs. two Arachnids complexes in a fight to free human prisoners of war.


In the August–September 1976 edition of The Space Gamer (Issue No. 7), Todd Roseman felt that the game "faithfully recreates the heroic battles of the Terran Mobile Infantry as described in the classic Robert Heinlein novel" and concluded that "for those people who read Starship Troopers and said to themselves, 'I know there's a great game in there somewhere', go out and get a copy of SST... on the bounce!"[4] In the next issue of The Space Gamer, Sumner N. Clarren recommended Starship Troopers, saying "The game is truly tactical in scale and in flavor." and that "Starship Troopers is a fine tactical science fiction board game from Avalon Hill."[5]

In 1977, in the inaugural edition of White Dwarf,. Martin Easterbrook gave the game an overall rating of 9 out of 10, saying, "All in all this is probably the best SF game currently on the market because it has the well worked out background of Heinlein's novel and because it is an extrapolation of current military technology, allowing Avalon Hill to use their experience in game design"[1]

In 1980, in the inaugural edition of Ares Magazine, Eric Goldberg gave Starship Troopers a rating of 5 out of 9, citing the limited replay value of the game. ""The play of the game will prove interesting for the first few times, but then the simulation value of the game will be exhausted - this cannot stand on its own as a game."[6]

In the April 1980 edition of Dragon, Michael Crane liked the game components, which he said were up to Avalon Hill's usual high standards, although he didn't enjoy the colors used on the board game, which he called "enough to make the stomach churn." But he thought the rule book was well thought out, and concluded that "the game does provide a general 'feel' for the novel". Crane concluded by recommending the game, calling it "an excellent buy".[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Martin Easterbrook (June–July 1977). "Open Box: Starship Troopers (review)". White Dwarf. Games Workshop (1): 13.
  2. ^ "Starship Troopers". Boardgamegeek. 1976. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  3. ^ a b Crane, Michael (April 1980). "The Dragon's Augury". Dragon. TSR, Inc. (36): 64.
  4. ^ Roseman, Todd (August–September 1976). "Reviews". The Space Gamer. Metagaming (7): 14–15.
  5. ^ Clarren, Sumner N. (October–November 1976). "Reviews". The Space Gamer. Metagaming (8): 20–21.
  6. ^ Goldberg, Eric (March 1980). "A Galaxy of Games". Ares Magazine. Simulations Publications, Inc. (1): 30.

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