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Space: 1889
 
$29.95 $7.95
Average Rating:4.3 / 5
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Space: 1889
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Space: 1889
Publisher: Heliograph, Inc.
by David T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/07/2015 15:54:44

This is an amazing game, which I missed first time round (due to the Housing Market crash).

We have played several sessions, it's fun and easy, I thought it might be a bit to simplistic at character generation, but with the career choices you can make interesting characters.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Space: 1889
Publisher: Heliograph, Inc.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/14/2015 11:47:21

Space: 1889 was originally released in 1988 by Game Designer's Workshop. I am reviewing my old GDW hardcover from the time and the new PDF by Heliograph, Inc.. The are identical in most respects, save for copyright information.
The book is 225 pages with covers, ads and maps. The maps are also really nice featuring the three faces of Mars and of Venus.

The book lacks proper chapter numbers, but instead goes with titles. The Introduction covers the basics of what Space: 1889 is all about. This includes a brief history of the last few years and some of the events of the modern day of 1889. Characters covers basic character creation. Today a point-buy system is the defacto means of character generation for most games, but in 1988 it was a new-ish idea. Characters have six attributes, Physical attributes of Strength (Str), Agility (Agl), and Endurance (End). Psychological attributes are Intellect (Int), Charisma (Chr), and Social Level (Soc). Like Ubiquity and Unisystem these are ranked 1 to 6. Characters are given a total of 21 points to distribute among these attributes.
Characters also have 24 skills they can train in either via Careers or training aka purchasing extra skills. Also detailed is Wealth, which is a function of Social level and what career you may or may not have. A few guideline careers are offered with suggestions on what attributes they should have.

Up next is the Victorian Age. While I didn't get to play this game much back in the day, I devoured this chapter. It is the Victorian age, but not exactly like the one we know from history. Afterall the British were not fighting on Mars back then.
The chapter is largely Anglocentric, which is to be expected really. There is not a lot here we have not seen before...except that this is one of the first Victorian Sci-Fantasy games on the market. Even Masque of the Red Death would be another year off and Cthulhu by Gaslight was still not everywhere yet. Note: Those three games, Masque, Cthulhu by Gaslight, and Space: 1889 made up a sort of holy trinity for me back in the late 80s and early 90s. So much I wanted to do with them all as one campaign. College though got in the way...

The Referee section covers basic rules, NPCs, adventures and experience. The system is largely a Attribute/Skill Dice pool vs a Target Number. Not too difficult really, and in fact still playable by today's standards.

Equipment is predictably a large chapter. More so than the Characters and Referee chapters combined. But it also has nice illustrations of various equipment including weapons. Heck it is worth looking just for the picture of the rail gun! This is also one of the chapters that has utility for other games. I have not compared the prices or other stats of the weapons with other versions of the game, but they seem consistent. Indeed, the prices and stats (range, rate of fire) are useful for plenty of other games too. I have not run down the lists in all the games, but it looks like there are more weapons in this version. The PDF and the hardcover includes the original color inserts. I love the designs of the Martian ships. Wery cool.

The follows right into the Science chapter. This one is of course just fun. Flying through the ether and other weird science. This covers building your own equipment and inventions.

Combat covers... well combat. All sorts of conditions are covered, ground, aerial, missile, melee, and heavy weapons. There are even sections on explosives and animal combat. Color inserts here too.

The next two chapters cover Travel. The first is Travel and Exploration and Space Travel. Personally the meat of these two chapters is the Space Travel. Several points of interest in the Solar System are discussed, mostly the inner planets and the asteroid belt.

The next chapters cover the various locations in the Solar System. Luna, Mars and Venus. Each deals with the unique flora and fauna of the planets. The most detail goes to Mars of course.

We end with some useful charts.

The art throughout the book is a mixed lot. Very much a part of the times of the late 1980s. Though I noticed some good Jim Holloway and Jeff Dee illustrations. Judging it by today's standards though isn't really fair.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Space: 1889
Publisher: Heliograph, Inc.
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/14/2013 13:46:55

Years ago I picked up a game book with a Victorian Era British soldier on the cover fighting off gold-skinned ape men with fin ears. The logo had "SPACE" drawn as riveted metal with a stylized "1889" below it. I picked up the blue book and read the back cover.

"Role-Playing In A More Civilized Time. Everything Jules Verne should have written. Everything H. G. Wells could have written. Everything A. Conan Doyle thought of, but never published because it was too fantastic. Everything you need for adventures of the century! The Space 1889 role-playing game covers the exciting background of Victorian science fiction: ether fliers and Martian cloud ships, the canals and ancient civilizations of the red planet, Venus' swamps and dinosaurs, the honeycombed interior of Luna, and the thrills of inventions and inventors; the driving force behind Victoria's multi-world empire!"

In the game's history, Thomas Edison invented a device called the Ether Propeller which allowed ships raised to high enough altitude to travel through space at amazing rates of speed. In the 19th century, Ether was believed to be light's medium like water for waves and air for sound. SPACE:1889 uses ether and other scientific theories from the 1800s to build a universe consistent with the mindset of the day.

Space: 1889 and its companion Sky Galleons of Mars ignited my imagination the way few settings ever have. While other science fiction RPGs sent characters to the far future, Frank Chadwick sent gamers into the past. The character combat system wasn't great but the ship-to-ship rules were first rate . The original work gave you atlases of Mars, Venus, the Moon, and Mercury along with the indigenous races for each planet. I fought the cursed Belgians from one end of Mars to the other and knew victory captaining the screw galley Texan's Pride. Now THAT was a setting!

The game has since been redone in Savage Worlds and a soon-to-be-release Ubiquity system. I can't say enough about the setting or it's creator, Frank Chadwick. Go forth, young adventurer, can conquer the skies of Mars.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Space: 1889
Publisher: Heliograph, Inc.
by Mark L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/06/2013 22:10:36

I introduced this game to my daughter a few years ago and she loved it. She is in the Navy now and doesnt have room for a library of gamebooks but this bundle will all fit on her Kindle Fire nicely!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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