Welcome to the latest installment of Game On!, my blog within a blog covering the wonderful world of tabletop gaming.
Like many collectors, I tend to have a fairly obsessive personality. So, when something really catches my interest I can easily develop tunnel vision.
Ever since the Four Horsemen’s announcement, less than a month ago, about acquiring the license to The Outer Space Men I’ve found myself thinking about them more often than I should, pouring over Mel Birnkrant’s incredible website (surely the most exhaustive website pertaining to a vintage toyline that I’ve ever seen), sitting on Amazon.com with The Outer Space Men graphic novel in my cart (with only it’s pricepoint and my current lack of funds preventing me from ‘pulling the trigger’)and looking for old sci-fi novellas and short stories from the 30s through the 60s to read and get in the OSM vibe.
Yeah, I got it pretty bad.
I’ve already got a built in soft spot for sci fi from that era. When I was a kid growing up in San Jose, we have a program that aired in the afternoons on KTVU Ch 2 out of Oakland called Captain Cosmic (starring the inimitable Bob Wilkins as the heroic Captain Cosmic). The good Captain would introduce a variety of science fiction programming including the old Buster Crabbe Flash Gordon serials. Yeah, they were hokey and their effects were laughable, but they were entertaining as heck and I loved them. Captain Cosmic would also introduce me to Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, Space Giants and Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot, amongst other shows. It was great stuff in the wake of Star Wars for sci fi hungry kids in 1977.
I’m also a tabletop wargamer, as many of you may already know. Wargaming is another hobby that can prove perilous to the obsessive sort. I’ve been following the development of a game for awhile now called War Rockets from Hydra Miniatures. It’s a starship combat game set in a retro pulpy mileu a la Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers. It’s inspired really. There’s a multitude of miniature starship combat games on the market from the classic Star Fleet Battles to Babylon 5 and Star Wars, or original universe’s such as Spartan Games‘ excellent Firestorm Armada. But nothing captures the campy retro coolness of those seminal science fiction adventures quite like War Rocket does.
The first miniatures for the game have been released, with much more planned for down the road. There are four warring factions: Galacteers (human space patrol), Imperial (forces of the Marduk the Tyrant), Valkeeri (domineering space amazons) and Zenithians (saucer men from the seventh dimension).
Hydra is planning on launching the game this August at Gen Con (think the SDCC of gaming conventions) with more miniatures and the rulebook being made available. A game rises and falls on the basis of it’s ruleset, so it’s too early to tell if War Rocket is going to be a good game or not, but I certainly love the setting and the retro look they went for. Everything is wonderfully rendered. I am looking forward to getting a copy of the rules and trying this game out.
If it plays half as well as it looks it should be loads of fun!
For more information, be sure to check out: http://www.hydraminiatures.com/
For some of the other games mentioned in this blog: