StarGate 1900 is the general term for a slice of science fantasy broadly occurring between the turn of the 20th century and the start of the Second World War. The technological sensibilities and military fashion is predominantly in the inter-war ‘pulp’ period.
To simplify travel between strange alien places, the notion of the StarGate is included, more or less exactly as it was depicted in the movie – though it has been exploited when found rather than languishing for decades. In addition, the space travel described in the Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers settings are also included (just because I love those spitzen-sparken rockets).
Specifically, StarGate 1900 plays on several themes, and while it currently has a science-fantasy backdrop, it pulls any and all of the following flavours:
- Gangsters and G-Men encounters
- Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers adventures (Rockets & Rayguns)
- Gentlemen space explorer adventures (Brass & Bakelite)
- “Back of Beyond” adventures
- Russian Revolution and Spanish Civil War adventures
- Tactical WWI scenarios
- Gunboat diplomacy colonial adventures
- “Call of Cthulhu” supernatural horror encounters
- Nazi weird science expeditions
- “Indiana Jones” adventures
- Anything that could appear in “StarGate” translated into this time period (with the great powers of Earth active in these explorations)
- And finally, preferably combinations of the above.
A StarGate 1900 wargame campaign is composed of three connected tabletop game sessions, expanded by role-playing sessions where necessary. A StarGate is generally present on the table in the beginning or end games, making it an origin or a destination. Sometimes there may be the gate in both end games to depict an ingress, penetration and egress mission.
Scale and Mechanics
Skirmish to squad scale encounters (8 to 15 figures per side) using 28mm (1:56, S Gauge) figures.
The primary rules set for the games is Flying Lead, by Ganesha Games, supplemented by Mutants and Death Ray Guns. To assist with out-of-game role-playing decisions, and to help develop scenarios, and – where needed – to expand on the unexpected within a game, the Mythic GameMaster Emulator by Word Mill Publishing.
A three game campaign is always fought on one side by a team of StarGate Explorers. These are professionals in the mould of the SG1 team, but displaced to the appropriate time period. They may even be alien explorers. Typically there will be around 6 figures in an Explorer team as they are trained professionals.
Opposing them are a variety of creatures and circumstances that are determined randomly. Depending on what type of alien citizen they are their numbers will range from 5, for alien-hunter Special Agents, to 15 for more for passive civilians.
Using the Flying lead points system, both sides should be around 600 points.
Another type of opponent is hostile terrain, and this is treated like a complex trap puzzle for the player controlling them.
Designing a campaign
1. Decide on the basic mission profile. These come in three basic flavours:
a) Game 1: Enter via StarGate. Game 2: Travel while maintaining force. Game 3: Reach objective in alien territory and do mischief.
b) Game 1: Start in alien territory and do mischief. Game 2: Travel while maintaining force. Game 3: Successfully evacuate via StarGate.
c) Game 1: Enter via StarGate. Game 2: Do mischief at objective. Game 3: Successfully evacuate via StarGate.
2. Player 1 selects and equip an Explorer team. This team has to persist through the three campaign games. Their losses are carried forward.
3. Player 2 now takes one game at a time find the Primary opponents by rolling on the Opposition table. These are the main forces that the second side has at their disposal. Then find the Secondary opponents by rolling on the table. These are other forces that the second side can manipulate.
Note that Primary and Secondary opponents can be different for the three games. Only the Explorers need to have and maintain consistency between games.
Now that Player 2 knows the forces available he can design his ‘army’.
Use these tools to design the forces.
4. Taking one game at a time find Player 1’s main objective by rolling on the Action table.
5. For each game find the dominant terrain feature by rolling on the table.
6. Finally, using the Action and Dominant Terrain findings, think up a credible, reasonable, difficult but achievable objective for the Explorers. If you are having difficulty with this, use the Mythic Random Events table to come up with some seed words.
As a campaign system, overall victory is given to the player who won two or more out of the three connected games.
For each game, use the victory points system described in Flying Lead. Award an additional 20 points to the Explorers if they achieved the objectives of the game, or 20 points to the ‘locals’ if they prevented this.
In addition, since we are basically talking about a bunch of aliens chrashing in and shooting up the locals, capturing explorers is a valid goal for the locals (eewwww… alien disections). Therefore, for every Explorer left on the field at the end of each game (dead or wounded), the local side gets 5 points. Not leaving your dead and wounded is a good thing to do for many reasons, not the least of which is that it prevents the creepy natives from carving up your former friends. So for every corpse or wounded character carried or assisted off the field, the Explorers are awarded 2 points.