Starship Troopers (board wargame)

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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. 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. 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 scenarios for the game were used to recreate the battles described in the novel in a realistic way. The game is broken down into seven different scenarios, and the scenarios are designed so that the game rules are introduced a few at a time as the scenarios progress[1] (but can then all be played using the full set of rules).

1. Feint against the humanoids: A single squad of Rasczak's Roughnecks hits a Skinny colony.

2. Operation Bughouse: A complete platoon takes on an Arachnid hive.

3. Invasion of Skinny-5: A platoon's attack on a Skinny industrial center.

4. Revolt!: The Skinnies change sides and attack the Arachnids with the help of the Mobile Infantry.

5. Sheol (two parts) - Operation Corkscrew: The combat engineers enter the battle and - Retreat and Evacuation: A group of wounded M.I. are rescued.

6. Operation Royalty: A reinforced platoon takes on two Arachnids complexes to capture a Brain Bug.

7. Klendathu: Two platoons vs. two Arachnids complexes in a fight to free human prisoners of war.


Todd Roseman reviewed Starship Troopers in The Space Gamer No. 7.[2] He 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!"[2] Sumner N. Clarren also reviewed Starship Troopers in The Space Gamer No. 8.[3] He commented that "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."[3]

In a 1977 review of the original (1976) Avalon Hill game, Martin Easterbrook stated that "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] and gave the game an overall 9/10 rating.

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  1. ^ a b c Martin Easterbrook (June–July 1977). "Open Box: Starship Troopers (review)". White Dwarf. Games Workshop (1): 13. 
  2. ^ a b Taylor, Glen (August–September 1976). "Reviews". The Space Gamer. Metagaming (7): 14–15. 
  3. ^ a b Clarren, Sumner N. (October–November 1976). "Reviews". The Space Gamer. Metagaming (8): 20–21. 

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