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Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers

Entry updated 11 March 2024. Tagged: Game.

Board and counter Wargame (1976). Avalon Hill. Designed by Randall Reed.

Starship Troopers is a simulation of the fictional reality depicted in Robert A Heinlein's 1959 Military SF novel of the same name. Its gameplay concentrates on what has perhaps proved to be the most influential feature of the book, despite its enthusiastic political evangelism: infantry combat between humans in Powered Armour and giant arachnids. The game's most interesting aspect is the asymmetric nature of the conflict (see Worlds in Balance); the human Mobile Infantry can deploy a variety of powerful weapons and specialized Psionic talents, while the arachnids lurk underneath the normal map in a tunnel complex secretly constructed by their player. Starship Troopers is primarily a game of hidden movement, in which the Mobile Infantry must attempt to determine the structure of the tunnels while the arachnids attack as opportunities arise. It is not as sophisticated or as convincing a portrait of future infantry combat as its contemporary Starsoldier (1977) (see Starforce: Alpha Centauri), but its use of a simple turn-based mechanic rather than Starsoldier's simultaneously executed written orders makes it faster and often more enjoyable to play. [NT]

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