Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Amusing Space Opera Quote

One of the first products released to support FGU's Space Opera was an adventure module entitled Martigan Belt. It was published in 1981 and written by Stephen Kingsley, who, judging by his "Dedication & Thanks" must have lived on Long Island, as he talks about Waterloo Hobbies in Stony Brook (no surprise, since I believe this was Scott Bizar's original game store). In any event, Kingsley's introduction includes a couple of sentences I found amusing:
Welcome to the universe of Space Opera. Space Opera presents a more complex set of rules than average, but also more complete. That's not an apology since life is also complex.
That's probably about as succinct a description of both Space Opera and the philosophy behind its design as any I could find. It's also why, despite my unhealthy fascination about the game, I have zero interest in actually playing it.

12 comments:

  1. I love this game. But most especially the ship supplements and adventures. The rules themselves, meh.

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  2. Fasolt in Peril is a great adventure by the way.

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  3. Their rationale suggests that they also wouldn't apologize for a rules set that was even more complex than life itself, though by definition it would be unplayable. It's like the worst of prog rock: prog for prog's sake.

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  4. I have good memories of Space Opera. I haven't taken a look at the game in years, and I'm guessing it wouldn't make the grade for rulesets these days. Still, a great, early rules-heavy game. Definitely not expecting to play it any time soon, though.

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  5. It still pains me that I grew up only a few towns over from Waterloo in Stony Brook, but could not find my way over there as a pre-teen or teenager. Rumors abounded of an awesome gaming store "near the university".

    I think by the time I had my driver's license they had moved even further away to their second location in Nassau County (Mineola, I think). The 1980's were truly a different time - I don't think the world seems as large to the kids nowadays. Partly because of the Internet, and partly because their parents are willing to drive them all over creation. If we couldn't get there by bike or on foot, it was out of the question!

    Now please excuse me - I have to go chase some kids off my lawn...

    ;-)

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  6. I don't remember exactly, but I believe Mr. Kingsley was a student at SUNY Stonybrook; Waterloo was situated just across the street from the Stonybrook LIRR train station, within walking distance of campus.

    There was a fair amount of cross-fertilization between the gamers at Waterloo and the SF club on campus (The Science Fiction Forum); in addition to Stephen Kingsley, a number of Space Opera and V&V supplements were written by another member of the Forum, Stefan Jones.

    Stonybrook Waterloo closed, unfortunately, sometime around 1986 or so, as the Bizars moved their headquarters to Arizona (I think). I think last time I looked the space was a bicycle store.

    The Mineola store stayed open a bit longer; by 1997-98 it too had closed. I remember walking all the way down there from Mineola station only to find the space empty... *sigh*

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  7. Is Space Opera actually more complete? Does it have rules for things that, say, Traveller doesn't have rules for, or does it just make its rules more complicated?

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  8. Fasolt in Peril is a great adventure by the way.

    I shall have to check it out then.

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  9. Their rationale suggests that they also wouldn't apologize for a rules set that was even more complex than life itself, though by definition it would be unplayable.

    Very likely! Still, I found the quote amusing, if only for the mindset that it exemplifies. I knew quite a few gamers back in the day who would have thought similarly.

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  10. The 1980's were truly a different time - I don't think the world seems as large to the kids nowadays. Partly because of the Internet, and partly because their parents are willing to drive them all over creation. If we couldn't get there by bike or on foot, it was out of the question!

    Very true. I remember when I was in high school and finally had regular access to a vehicle through a friend of mine. Being able to drive ourselves to The Compleat Strategist on our own rather than relying on others was something we'd never experienced before and we felt like the luckiest guys in the world.

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  11. Is Space Opera actually more complete? Does it have rules for things that, say, Traveller doesn't have rules for, or does it just make its rules more complicated?

    I think it's fairer to say that Space Opera is much more precise a game than Traveller. For example, instead of just having a single Engineering skill, as in Traveller, Space Opera has six or seven, each of which represents a narrow specialty within Engineering. I think it's largely a matter of taste which approach one prefers, but I can't deny that I find Space Opera a lot more intimidating (and confusing) than Traveller.

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  12. "I think it's fairer to say that Space Opera is much more precise a game than Traveller. For example, instead of just having a single Engineering skill, as in Traveller, Space Opera has six or seven, each of which represents a narrow specialty within Engineering. I think it's largely a matter of the designer of Space Opera having autism"

    Fixed that for you :)

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