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"What is your favorite VSF world?" Topic

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79thPA Supporting Member of TMP21 Nov 2022 8:23 a.m. PST

I have been tempted by VSF for several decades, but other projects always move to the front of the line. I have been tossing around a "Confederates on Mars" idea for many years.

I like 25s, but that is a lot of money and a lot of painting, so I have been thinking about 15s. 25mm machines, railroads and whatever also take up a lot of real estate, which is another reason to consider smaller scales. 1/72 plastics might make a good compromise between size and cost. As far as "Martians" go, I have the usual lizardman types running through my brain, as well as New Kingdom Egyptians, Aztecs and Incas. That would give me cause to have those pyramids that 'some ancient aliens theorists' like to talk about.

What is you favorite VSF setting and scale?

Lascaris21 Nov 2022 9:00 a.m. PST

I don't play VSF but I think a Space 1889 campaign would be cool

Andrew Walters21 Nov 2022 9:27 a.m. PST

That's a good question. There are so many and they are so different from each other there should be some kind of taxonomic system to describe them succinctly. Magic or no? Space travel or no? Anti-grav or no? Robots or no? Crazy tech in the hands of a few (20,000 leagues) or many? Europe at war? Landships? Giant walkers? Giant airships?

My favorite is going to be Girl Genius far and away, but it self-identifies as "gas-light" and there's no minis game for it, which is a terrible, terrible shame. There is GURPS…

For minis I would vote Space 1889 because it is neat, it's complete (land, see, air, Mars), I like the rules, and it's readily available.

After that my next vote would be for whatever your friends like.

But you can also just pick your favorite rules, slap whatever minis and terrain on the table you like, back fill with made-up nonsense, and go. That will be pretty much the same as any established universe.

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP21 Nov 2022 9:36 a.m. PST

Space 1889. Just a lot to work with in that setting.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian21 Nov 2022 9:48 a.m. PST

Space: 1889
John Carter

witteridderludo21 Nov 2022 10:48 a.m. PST

Space 1889

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP21 Nov 2022 10:58 a.m. PST

I tend to work right on the borderland of VSF--traditional science-fiction Mars before the space probes rang down the curtain--and mostly in what I refer to as "Mars Beta."

Mars Prime has one Earthman, brought there by mind transfer, astral projection or flying carpet. It's John Carter country. In Mars Beta, Terra has rockets, which bring the Martians Northwest Smith, Matt Carse and John Eric Stark. Terrans can swagger about a bit in the trade cities--if they don't venture into any dark alleys--but unlike Space 1889, this is not the Raj. Do something stupid, and only your friends will go looking for you--if you have any friends.

The law extends about half a day's ride from Kahora Spaceport, the tech is ancient, rare and legendary, and the women are fierce and beautiful. Fortune and glory, my friends--fortune and glory.

Happy to use Space:1889 material, but only in that context.

Oh. And 25/28mm. The original John Carter of Mars figures, supplemented by Space: 1889 figures, and a bit of Paroom Station, plus whatever else I feel like--Great White Hunters out after banths, for instance. Might be a few Jawas in the high desert, along with the Shun and the Tharks. It's a skirmish and RPG setting, not a mass battle one.

skedaddle Supporting Member of TMP21 Nov 2022 11:10 a.m. PST


Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP21 Nov 2022 1:37 p.m. PST

Been having fun in Savage World's Deadlands (weird Wild West, with a dose of steampunk), but my preferred VSF setting would remain Space: 1889.

ERB over Verne, Verne over Wells, Wells over Gibson & Sterling.

JMcCarroll21 Nov 2022 3:06 p.m. PST

Enjoyed Dystopian wars (for battles) and EOTD for Role playing.

Alakamassa21 Nov 2022 3:34 p.m. PST

Land Ironclads and Aeronefs in 2mm/1:1000 scale using scratch-built models. 1860-1905 period. UK vs. France. Britain vs. Boers, Uk & France vs. Germany. Mars invades Earth, Earth invades Mars. Great rules that require some house modification to play on a big table.

Rich Bliss21 Nov 2022 5:30 p.m. PST

Space 1889, but no flyers.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2022 6:37 a.m. PST

I think something popped up on my fb feed about a kickstarter for Space 1889.

I like what Russ at OG is doing with his OZZ range; some VSF possibilities there.

SpuriousMilius22 Nov 2022 7:12 a.m. PST

Ditto John Carter/Barsoom. I also considered doing ERB's Venus but I didn't know what minis to use & these books are more obscure than Tarzan & John Carter.

Black Hat Miniatures22 Nov 2022 9:15 a.m. PST

Mine is a mash up of ERB and HG Wells as in my "Martian Empires" rules and miniatures…

Micman Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2022 1:07 p.m. PST

Another for Space 1889.

DyeHard22 Nov 2022 1:51 p.m. PST

This is like some kind of softball to me:

This some 20 year old website of mine will give you some ideas:

I had been working on 15mm VSF since I played a game that would end up being Space 1889 with Frank Chadwick down in Normal IL. sometime in the mid 1980s.

The Space 1889 Solder's Companion is an excellent start for rules:

Perhaps not from Amazon, also Battles By G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.
Are very fun! But there are other rules, or simply convert any Colonial type rules to suit.

The good points, all the colonizing powers can be taken from a Boxer Rebellion line, Nice still colorful uniforms, you can throw some Franco-Prussian in for added color. There are also left overs of the "All Quiet on the Martian Front" for items as well. Making landships at this scale is also easy, I provide a How-To. But stealing other games bits with an added smokestack will do fine.

Aliens, mostly from fantasy line.

There is Martian Empires

Peter Pig makes some nice Barsoom figures.

But fantasy Elves work out pretty well for some type of ancient civilization:


I like the Lizardmen for the occupants of Venus. Goblins can make good Moonmen from the Space 1889 style.

15mm is best if units and vehicles are what you want to play. Allows enough room to mix them.

If you want personality driven games, then 28mm (25mm) might work out better.

TheBeast Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2022 6:29 p.m. PST


It has been large and varied enough to have Jason Carr (not John Carter) attacking Kraag strongholds in impossible to scale mountain fortresses to battles of those trying to attack a secret vault hidden in the fetid alleyways of a nondescript harbor city (the Tong's Yeti never did get all the snarls out of it's fur) to hordes of giant tribal warriors clambering onto flying gunboats which dipped a BIT too low.

Mostly 15 to 28…


Anton Ryzbak22 Nov 2022 8:29 p.m. PST

I liked the Space 1889 world but was badly unsatisfied with the rules. I adapted the Men Who Would Be Kings rules for VSF and we had a good campaign of that. The rules mods and some battle reports can be found here;

SpuriousMilius23 Nov 2022 2:36 a.m. PST

If anyone seeks suitable minis, IMO, Bronze Age Miniatures have excellent figures for Barsoom gaming. The figures are excellent & the dealer is the best of all those that I've dealt with in my long sojourn in our hobby the service is excellent

DyeHard23 Nov 2022 1:49 p.m. PST

Here is a brief rundown of rules:

When the Navy Walked:


The Hive and the Flame (sort of VSF version of Starship Trooprs)

The GASLIGHT Compendium (GASLIGHT plus supplements)

Steampunk Rules!

Valor & Steel & Flesh (now out of print)

Adventures In Jimland (free pdf)
PDF link

Afriboria (free downloads)

A Fistful of Tripods (free pdf)
PDF link

TRIPODS & HUSSARS (free pdf)
PDF link

Forgotten Futures (more free rules)

Martian Empires

Now converting rules is not too difficult, let the natives be the starting point of the Aliens with some stats changes to suit.

The Sword and The Flame
Would be a classic start. See such as "THE STEAM AND THE FLAME"

Some use Battlefield Evolution (a modern card driven type game)
See this facebookgroup:

But any old (or new) colonial type rules could be pressed into service. I have been using a converted set of "Indunas Colonels and Emirs" another converted set is here for free:
PDF link

The joy of the unreal is no one can tell you, you are wrong.

pvernon Supporting Member of TMP23 Nov 2022 5:09 p.m. PST

Another, Space 1889

Covert Walrus24 Nov 2022 9:21 p.m. PST

Torn between late Dystopian Wars (Spartan, not the new hybrid Wild West Exodus one), and Space:1889.

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